Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Special Relationship

I haven't written on my blog in a while. Not that it matters, no one reads it. I have had 10 hits in the last few weeks so if you are reading this, you are among a select (small ) group. Some of those hits may have been me so its possible even fewer than 10 people clicked on my blog. That's probably less than the statistically probable amount of people who would find my blog by accident while surfing the web to find "Biggest Loser" diet tips.

No matter, I mostly just write for myself anyway.

The other night I was flipping around the channels and happened on "The Special Relationship" on HBO. To the annoyance of my wife I watched it and was absorbed in it. She lasted about 15 minutes before going upstairs to watch something else.

First of all I am curious how much of it is real. I read online that the conversations between Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were fictionalized. I don't know if that means they never happened or if they are fictionalized based on second hand accounts. If they are completely fiction they were extremely believable and fit with the history that has happened since.

To my surprise I felt my opinion of Bill Clinton changing. I never liked Bill Clinton when he was in office. Loathing would be a fair description of how I felt. I have to say that my feelings about him as a person have not changed much. As a president however, he has gone up a few notches in my mental ranking of presidents. I am beginning to think that overall his presidency was less destructive than Bush 43 who I voted for twice. I mean, what came out of the Clinton administration? Don't ask don't tell? Welfare reform? An endless string of sleazy stories? White water? Travelgate? I guess that you could make the argument, and I did in the past, that the Clinton presidency led to 911 by its lax stance on terrorism. To be fair though this was not unique to Clinton and there were policy failures going back to the 60's that probably had more to do with this. Looking back on it, the scandals and the sleaze did not really have the wide ranging long lasting impact that the failed policies in Iraq and Afghanistan will have in the years to come. Clinton's problems were small time relatively speaking, they began and ended with him.

My opinion of Tony Blair has taken an opposite trajectory. Not knowing much about him before the movie and maybe still not knowing much, I was surprised by his naivete. In the movie he stands by Bill and forms a personal relationship with him. He then expects the president to commit troops to Yugoslavia based on that. WTF? I'm no diplomatic expert but do any countries make foreing policy decisions based on being buddies with the people in charge of allied countries? That he expected Clinton to do this is even more surprising. Bill Clinton is a shark who would eat his young if it came down to it. To think that Clinton was going to stick his neck out without obvious benefit because he and Tony were "friends" is beyond naive, its incomprehensible. If things went down as the film has it, Clinton comes out looking like Nostradamus while Blair looks like a very polite very likable Mr. Magoo. Until that is you think about his plans to risk American lives for his humanitarian desires. I really would like to know how much of this movie is fact and how much is a hatchet job on Tony Blair.

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