There’s been a lot of coverage of the Clinton speech that focused on a) the Washington pageantry of whether Clinton is a player in the Obama administration or b) the relatively unsurprising statements she made about policy. For my part, I’m uninterested in the first question and see little need to dwell on the second, and tend to think the most important aspects of the emerging Clinton legacy at State thus far are the structural changes she’s pursuing that could really put diplomacy and development work in position to rebalance the civilian and military sides of national security. Ben Smith does a good job of piercing the spin — which, judging from the broader coverage, Clinton aides rather successfully launched — and Peter Scoblic has the best effort yet at contextualizing the importance of Clinton’s formulations of positive-sum multilateralism:
Clinton emphasized the essentiality of American leadership to global cooperation–"just as no nation can meet these challenges alone, no challenge can be met without America"–which I think is important both because it’s true and because it represents a constructive interpretation of American exceptionalism that can be leveraged to our benefit.
Yes, I’ve said something nice about someone at TNR who did good work, nothing to see here, let’s all move on. There’s one other thing worth mentioning here: Peter says that one of his colleagues observed that "Clinton’s every action is read less for what it is than for what it might indicate about her position within the administration." Notice the passive voice. Dear journalists: we don’t have to focus on the paegentry. Let’s put our backs into it and earn what little money we make, shall we?