View Full Version : Clinton Takes World Stage

09-22-2005, 10:36 AM
Clinton carves out global role


NEW YORK It had the look of a revival meeting.
At the closing session of his Global Initiative conference last week, Bill Clinton stood atop a circular stage surrounded by rows of his faithful people who had come from around the world to pay homage to his notion of the global village. The former president walked about the stage for more than an hour speaking without the aid of notes about the things that should be done to wipe out poverty, end religious conflicts, control climate change and encourage good governance.

It was a mesmerizing performance, one in which Clinton quoted Scripture and called the financial backers of his plan to the stage in much the same way that black preachers usher tithers before their congregations. In all, Clinton raised nearly $1.3 billion.

Nearly five years after leaving office, and nearly seven years after the U.S. House impeached him for lying about violating his marital vows, Clinton has become a moral force on the world stage.

"Why are we obligated to help other people?" Clinton asked. "Yes, it's in our interest, but it's also morally right," he said in answer to his question. "It's the right thing to do."

I know such a characterization will cause many Clinton bashers to wail inconsolably, but those who do are probably motivated more by their lack of faith in human redemption than by religious conviction.

"He's showing that you don't need formal authority. You can have moral authority and be a player not positional authority, but moral authority," said Rodney Slater, who served as secretary of Transportation during Clinton's presidency. And what about Clinton's adulterous relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a personal failing that he long ago admitted? "In many ways, it's a personal crisis like that which drives you to a position of moral authority," Slater said.

World crusade, shadow government

In fact, Clinton seems to have found a new calling. His work for a better planet is part crusade, part shadow world government. His call for a global initiative a partnership among politicians, religious leaders, entrepreneurs and activists to do what the world's nations haven't been able to achieve drew an eclectic mix of people to his inaugural global conference.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams were there. So were actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Barbra Streisand; Democrat John Glenn and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Also Republicans Paul Wolfowitz and Condoleezza Rice; the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Jordanian King Abdullah.

Clinton's initiative also holds a lot of promise. Getting people to talk across politics, geography and ideology about the problems that plague our world is an impressive undertaking. Getting them to agree to work together, beyond the existing structures of international relations, holds out much hope for the future.

Scant coverage by U.S. journalists

Unfortunately, the gathering was more heavily covered by foreign journalists than the U.S. news media. That's too bad. The work Clinton pledged to battle the spread of AIDS in Africa, religious conflicts in the Middle East and changing weather patterns brought on by global warming deserves the attention of Americans.

"I've reached an age now where it doesn't matter whatever happens to me. I just don't want anyone to die before their time," Clinton said. "I've asked you here because I think all of us have an unprecedented power to solve problems, save lives and help people see the future."

Of course, Clinton isn't the first former president to carve out a special place for himself. Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his efforts to end conflicts and promote democracy. But he was largely a single actor. Clinton is creating a movement.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," Clinton said of his determination to solve some of the problems his global initiative is taking on. It was the kind of use of biblical Scripture that would make any evangelist proud.

DeWayne Wickham writes weekly for USA TODAY.

09-22-2005, 12:58 PM
I'd like to see him get a Nobel Peace Prize as well, I think he deserves it. :clap

09-22-2005, 01:04 PM
He's a scamp. And now wonder the europeans love him, he's a pink as Liberace's underwear.


09-22-2005, 01:36 PM
Clinton creates peace in the world.

While bush only creates war & hostility.

Calling President Clinton a communist, is campy & pedestrian, at best Cloud.

You so dissapoint me when you expound so, in your impound of base brevity.

09-22-2005, 01:41 PM
He serves not my brand of Kool-aid. :winky


09-22-2005, 01:41 PM

Gooooo Bill!
http://bardscoliseum.com/images/smilies/clap.gif http://bardscoliseum.com/images/smilies/arahrah.gif http://bardscoliseum.com/images/smilies/clap.gif http://bardscoliseum.com/images/smilies/arahrah.gif

09-22-2005, 02:44 PM
I understand your distaste for Clinton Cloud. Bush envokes the same distaste in me!! :D

09-22-2005, 02:59 PM
Calling President Clinton a communist, is campy & pedestrian, at best Cloud.

Do NOT put words in my mouth, bard, you are neither capable nor worthy.


09-22-2005, 03:01 PM
Save the worthy shit, Mr pretend high-brow!

They were your words.

Own em or delete em.

09-22-2005, 03:46 PM
His faults are known to all.
I only wish his qualities were, as well.

09-22-2005, 07:47 PM
Save the worthy shit, Mr pretend high-brow!

They were your words.

Own em or delete em.

A communist is traditionally referred to as a red, a socialist as a pinko. Clinton is a socialist. I don't like socialists much.

High-brow? Hardly, I'm here, am I not?


09-22-2005, 08:14 PM
socialism, like communism, does have it's good points.

Clinton has to be one of the most complex of American presidents. One the one hand he is an admitted adulterer, a repeat offender, even. But he is a good politician - if you will allow the oxymoron. I mean good in the sense that he was able to get things accomplished with a minimum of bloodshed and hard feelings between parties.

On the one hand he comes off as a not too smart, good ole' boy, down home Arkansas hick. But on the world stage he is slick and accomplished, getting things done that need to be done.

He reminds me of men like Thomas Jefferson - who believed in freedom for all, but held slaves. This believer in knowledge and ideas, an inventor, a writer, an architect, an enlighted 'Renaissance Man' who still held humans in bondage.
Or Abraham Lincoln, an illiterate who didn't learn how to read or write until he was older, a man who liked a dirty joke and never quite attained that veneer of civilization his wife would like, but still managed by the skin of his teeth to hold the country together and left a legacy that is still being interpreted today.

I don't think Clinton will be remembered in quite the same way, I don't see him being carved into Mount Rushmore anytime soon, but he is still an interesting study of contrasts. And he stirs passions wherever he goes - man , I should really rephrase that. :laugh
What I meant is that few people are indifferent to him, they either love him or hate him. Which could work either for or against him now.

09-22-2005, 08:49 PM
I never did think Clinton was all so gosh awful. Maybe not the best Prez we have ever had, but certainly not the worst. What he did was wrong, but I think that is his cross to bear. People change constantly. Some for the better, some not. I like what I am hearing from Clinton these days.
Now I got to get some beauty sleep. Lord knows I certainly need it. :ohwell

09-23-2005, 02:38 PM
Saw Clinton talking on the BBC- :thumbsup Thanks for the read IP-