Soft Power and Hard Batons

The motto of Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 was, "It's the economy, stupid." But if all we really want is economic prosperity, we'd better get used to a world that doesn't mind Leninism with its shopping malls.

LONDON – We all remember one phrase from the first presidential campaign by a Clinton.

When Bill Clinton was running for the job in the early 1990’s, one of his staff explained what the central issue in the election was. “It’s the economy, stupid.” he said. Economics explains all – jobs, prices, savings, houses. It determines the public mood and sets the political agenda.

The point is reinforced by a curious glossy magazine advertisement that you might have seen recently. It is for expensive luggage. Mikhail Gorbachev sits in the back of a limousine. He is being driven past the Berlin Wall. On the seat next to him is the luxury brand, a leather attaché case. The message? Who cares about the Wall; forget politics; money rules.

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