Rob Riemen: Derek, you are not actively involved in this campaign. But suppose Hillary Clinton not only will win the nomination but she even becomes President. What would be your advice concerning the three topics which she should make her top priority as President of America?
Derek Shearer: Well, she absolutely has to, as President, because she will be Commander in Chief— And again that’s different from any country. The President of the United States is Commander in Chief of our armed forces an swears and oath to protect the people and the Constitution of the United States. So she will have to deal with terrorism, and with groups like ISIS. I mean, that just comes with the job.
So I would say that’s not so much number one, but that’s part of every day of her job, and one shouldn’t be surprised about it. We’ll be able to talk at the symposium, maybe, about how you do that. But she absolutely is committed to do it, and she’s ready to do it.
I think secondly she’s going to have to be much clearer about American leadership in the world. And what I mean [by] clearer is that Obama has sent lots of mixed signals. And sometimes he’s talked a lot about military force. Other times he’s talked about diplomacy. But he kind of goes hot and cold. And sometimes he seems like he wants to intervene in countries, other times he doesn’t. It’s very… I think there’s not really an Obama doctrine other than what he said, “don’t do stupid things.” But of course, why should any President of the United States do stupid things?
People are going to look to the United States for leadership on a number of issues. An obvious one’s climate change, but we can come back to others. How to relate to Putin. How to deal with a rising China and Xi Jinping. These are all challenges that anyone who becomes President has to deal with.
But I think the interesting and most difficult challenge for Mrs. Clinton if she becomes President is how to bring America together. Because as you said, Rob, this is a very divisive time in the country. There are reasons for it. And we have an angry right wing populism supporting Donald Trump. And I would argue also even worse, supporting Ted Cruz. But we have a kind of angry left wing populism supporting Bernie Sanders. And is there some commonality or reasons for this anger? And can she tease that out and then come up with ideas, programs, and language that starts to bring the country together to heal a lot of these divides? I think there are ideas about how to do it. I think she could do it. And I think it’s going to be a big challenge.
But that’s really the hardest thing, because it’s going to be a very bitter election. And groups like the Koch Brothers are going to spend upwards of half a billion dollars trying to defeat her. The worst things you can imagine that have been said about her will be repeated in ads. New things will come up. And at the end of it, a lot of people are going to be even more bitter and angry. How does she deal with that as President?
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