One of the privileges of being a former head of state is that you can comment authoritatively about the state of the world without ever having to doing anything about it. The presumption is that you had the opportunity to do something and, by God, you rose to the challenge.
And then there is Bill Clinton.
Former president Clinton appeared in full lip-biting glory before the graduating class at Syracuse University this past weekend. Clinton boldly told the graduates that the United States must “make a safer world by cooperating with others.”
So much for thinking outside of the box.
Later in his address Clinton reminds us of one personal flaw that seems overshadowed by his more colorful foibles . . . by which I mean his inability to render a clear judgment on even the most inconsequential of issues.
Recall the evening when he undermined his entire economic program by telling an audience of high-net worth individuals that he thought he had raised their taxes too much? How about his position on the Gulf War which he described as leaning against it unless the vote was close.
Now you can relive those exciting days by listening to Bill explain how the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 turned a page in history:
"It marked the beginning of America's clear vulnerability to global terror, although we had lost people in the 70's and early 80's, too," he said.
Oh, and there were some in the late 60s too, as well as some isolated incidents in the mid 1950s, and umm there was a guy killed in the late 40s I believe.
It’s remarkable the way Clinton manages to leave the impression that everything he says comes with an unspoken addendum of small print disclaimers and caveats.
"The world of 1999 and the world of 2003 are not so very different. In 1999, we had the dangers of terror and weapons of mass destruction — it's just that they weren't in the headlines because they hadn't happened here. But we were working hard to deal with them."
Add bitter punch line here.