An interesting sidenote in Senator Hillary Clinton’s address to Aipac in New York last Thursday was her discussion of the need to build support among the American public for an ongoing U.S. role in the Middle East.
In the last section of her address, Clinton made the case for engagement with Iran – in order to learn more about the regime, in order to show our allies that we had exhausted all possibilities before pursuing military action, and she said, in order to keep faith with the American people.
It was one sign – along with Clinton’s recent calls that Bush wrap up his Iraq adventure before he leaves office in 2009 – that she is already thinking like someone who might actually be steering the ship as president.
Here’s what she said….
“It is also important that we look at the support of the American people for American leadership – including military leadership – around the world. The problems that we face in Iraq today have certainly caused many Americans to move away from a belief that the United States has a role in promoting freedom and democracy. If we withdraw from the world – if we turn our backs on the dangers that we face – that, I believe, will cause problems for us, and very big problems for Israel.
“We need American support, first and foremost, for American leadership in combatting the dangers of extremism and terrorism. So as I look over the horizon, I think we have undermined our leadership and ability to maneuver successfully in this increasingly dangerous world at a time when we are needed even more than ever.”
One other note about the Aipac dinner: John Edwards, who gave a red-meat address to an Israeli security conference in January, worked the crowd during the cocktail hour.