It’s difficult to know where to start with this nonsense from a recent speech given by Hillary Clinton, in which the presumed Democratic front-runner finally defines what she sees as “smart power,” and what she claims is a 21st-century approach to diplomacy. In large part, the former Secretary of State says it means psychoanalyzing enemies to understand them better, which … is exactly what nations have been doing for centuries, if not millenia. That’s why, for instance, our nations turned out experts in Sovietology like Condoleezza Rice, so that they could rise to positions of policymaking importance and apply their insights into the internal culture of our enemies for our best strategic advantage.

Hillary goes one step farther by claiming that we must empathize with our enemies in order to “define the problems”:

This is what we call smart power. Using every possible tool and partner to advance peace and security. Leaving no one on the sidelines. Showing respect even for one’s enemies. Trying to understand, in so far as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view. Helping to define the problems, determine the solutions. That is what we believe in the 21st century will change — change the prospects for peace.

Empathize? It was empathy that produced the notorious “reset button” Hillary presented to Sergei Lavrov, and the Russian point of view with which she and the Obama administration empathized was that everything was George Bush’s fault. The flat-footed response to Russian aggression ever since shows exactly why analysis and empathy are two very different things, and why one’s necessary and the other results in naive and feckless policies. The Obama administration utterly failed to define the problems that were already clear by the time Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 because it was too busy trying to woo Vladimir Putin rather than put policies in place that would discourage him from adventurism.

Besides, with which enemies are we called to empathize now? Iran? Well, the mullahs are still murdering gays and lesbians, oppressing their people, rigging elections, calling for the extermination of Israel, and building a nuclear weapon with which to accomplish it. Also, they are sponsoring terrorist networks like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad while helping fuel the war in Iraq with its backing of Nouri al-Maliki’s purges prior to his ejection as Prime Minister. It’ll be mighty difficult to find points of empathy with the government that still refers to the US as The Great Satan, but Hillary sure tried — and John Kerry is still trying, too.

John Hinderaker found another laughable point in the supposed deep thoughts of the former Secretary of State:

Of the hundreds of peace treaties signed since the early 1990s, between or within nations, she said fewer than 10 percent had any female negotiators and fewer than 3 percent had women as signatories.

“Is it any wonder that many of these agreements fail between [sic] a few years?” Clinton asked.

It’s enough to give non sequiturs a bad name! But beyond the easy ridicule, there is a serious point: liberalism of the Clinton variety is utterly out of ammo. Hillary has no ideas of any intellectual or strategic significance. All she can do is utter platitudes and pander to 1970s-style feminism. And for this she gets $300,000 a pop?

It’s an especially rich zinger coming from a Secretary of State who cannot point to any major agreement or treaty signed during her watch. What about that “reset button,” Mrs. Clinton? How well did that work out after “a few years”?

Smart power, indeed.