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Bill Clinton's Plan for World Domination


The CGI is divided into four topics: promoting good governance, reducing global poverty, improving the environment, and religious reconciliation. Dozens of world leaders are scheduled to attend—Tony Blair, Shimon Peres, and King Abdullah among them. Because Clinton wants the conference to be bipartisan, he personally invited Rupert Murdoch and Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Condi is also attending.)

What he hopes will distinguish it from others will be its outcome. “Ideally,” he says, “if between 500 and 1,000 people actually fill out those little forms and say, This is what I’m going to do to fight poverty, in terms of investing in Gaza or helping a country abolish their school fees, or This is what I’m going to do to fight global warming—as the head of company, I’m going to save the equivalent of 100,000 cars a year on the highway . . . ” You can almost hear the man who came of age during the sixties speaking, until he comes up with a perfect third-way description of the event: “It’s social entrepreneurialism!” And perhaps it will be, if it works—as well as a means for him to deliver on the goals of his presidency, even if it’s after the fact. How funny that Clinton had to form a nongovernmental organization—“become his own NGO,” as he likes to say—in order to finally fulfill his promise. Then again, maybe that’s appropriate for a man who gave an elegy for Big Government in his 1996 State of the Union.

“Whenever I hear him speak,” says McCurry, “I’m struck by how he still talks about wanting the United States to emerge with noble purpose in this incredible age we’re in. It’s what he wanted his presidency to be about, but it got diverted for a number of reasons, some less savory than others. Some just because of the realities of the times.”

Perhaps that’s the loveliest thing for Clinton about being released from public office: As a politician, he was a pragmatist, but as a civilian, he’s an idealist again. Watching him in Africa, it’s impossible to feel an ounce of cynicism about his motives. He’s genuinely delighted that Kenya has abolished its school fees. He really does think that the AIDS crisis is a problem that can be solved. He could be playing golf right now. But he’s not—he’s in sweltering AIDS clinics in Zanzibar at four in the afternoon.

And maybe—just maybe—he’ll figure out a way to use this new, internationalist phase of his life as a dress rehearsal for his future and final act, as secretary-general of the U.N. When he’s 75, say. “I just don’t know,” Clinton says, stammering a bit, as he leaves the genocide memorial and heads back into his SUV. “There’s never been an American secretary-general. So you know, I just, I, I can’t imagine it would ever really happen.” He considers. “I mean, if Hillary weren’t in politics, if we didn’t have anything else to do, if I were lucid and strong, if someone really wanted me to do it, I guess I’d think about it.”

Then he jumps into the car and heads to the airport, where he’ll shortly be leaving for the Canary Islands—a seventeen-hour flight, to a place where he’ll spend a single day.


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