Did anyone catch Bill Clinton being interviewed on the CBC this morning by my old soccer chum Adrian Harewood (filling in for Anna Maria Tremonti)? It was a fascinating interview, if only because it was a a sad reminder of what poor communicators most politicians are in comparison. I think Paul Wells had it right on his blog last week, when he lamented Clinton as a massive talent, massively squandered.
One particularly interesting part was when Adrian asked Clinton about how to deal with the ongoing threat of terrorism. Clinton conceded that there is no sense in trying to reason or bargain with some of the more extreme members of Al-Qaeda. He said that the real trick is convincing the millions of potential recruits, those living in poverty and oppression and who see no hope for the future, that the US — and the West in general — is on their side.
A tough job, and fraught with plenty of enormous obstacles. But consider that what this amounts to is a form of “root cause” thinking about terrorism. That is, Clinton’s remarks were virtually identical in substance to those made by Jean Chretien last year in his “notorious” post-9/11 interview with Peter Mansbridge, in which he was widely interpreted as blaming the US for the attacks on the WTC.
Some rich quasi-Canadian society lady named Marie-Josee Kravis wrote an outrageous piece in the Wall Street Journal called ““Why is Jean Chrétien so intent on finding a justification for terrorism?” which was nothing short of a deliberate misconstrual of Chretien’s views, and an obvious attempt at discrediting the Canadian government in the eyes of the US Republican Administration. I was asked by the Ottawa Citizen to reply to Kravis’s article, and my piece was published along with Kravis’s. I thought then, and still think, that Chretien’s position was both correct, obvious and rather mild. Nice to see that Clinton agrees.
UPDATE: Joyce’s wishes are the CBC’s command. Here’s The Current’s interview with Clinton