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Propping Up Hillary July 29, 2011

Posted by geoff in News.

Lacking any real power or backing in her diplomatic mission, Hillary resorts to the death glare. (Picture from Slate)

I have to admit that I would have greatly preferred seeing Hillary Clinton elected compared to what we ended up with. But even so, I can’t abide her being propped up by her admirers as an incredibly effective Secretary of State. Perhaps I’m being too harsh – after all, being a decent SecState under the squish administration is a tough job. So here, judge for yourself:

…(a) politician has been on the other side of the world the past couple of weeks advancing American interests and the policies of the president with meaningful results and exceptional skill.That politician is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is just completing an around-the-world mission that has taken her from the economic frontlines of the eurozone crisis to the markets of tomorrow in Asia. The trip, obscured in the noise around the debt ceiling debate, has been a real triumph for the Obama administration and has revealed that many of its policies over the past two years are now bearing significant fruit. It has also revealed the State Department’s deftness and bench-depth in dealing with an Asia agenda that is vastly more important in every respect than virtually anything that has been discussed inside the beltway for months.

Wow. And here I thought our Asian policy was an unmitigated disaster. What did she do that was so great?

In Greece, she conveyed at a critical moment, America’s unequivocal support for that country’s economic recovery plan.

That’s great: with that and a Starbuck’s gift card you can get yourself a cup of coffee. As another article bluntly put it, “The United States will have no role in the bailout decision, to be made by the 17 key “Eurozone” countries of the European Union.” So that attaboy was meaningless in any pragmatic sense.

What’s next?

When visiting Pakistan, the site of America’s most difficult relationship, her performance was even hailed in the local press. The Pakistan Observer carried an article stating, “Drum roll for Hillary because she has hit a home run.”

This is a funny one, because the author of the Pakistan Observer article was actually griping about Hillary when he wrote it. As he says at the end of the “drum roll” paragraph,

Hillary’s lecture to civil society representatives on water conservation, misuse of drinking water and her curt refusal to extend civil nuclear cooperation and reservations on Pak-China civil nuclear cooperation reflects Washington’s indifference towards Pakistan’s economic and energy concerns. Thus, public feels that as always Washington has stabbed Pakistan in the back to protect its strategic interests in the region.

Back to He-Who-Slobbereth-Upon-Hillary. Next he talks about:

a central legacy of her efforts at State which is the elevation of the U.S.-India relationship to being a centerpiece of America’s 21st century foreign policy.

I suppose he’s talking about the US-India relationship that President Bush was making the center of America’s Asian policy. The same relationship that was jeopardized by Democrats’ opposition to the nuclear energy deal between the countries. Now, not only is it a good idea, but it’s Hillary’s idea? Har.

Finally we get to Asia, and China in particular.

…Obama, Clinton and their Asia team have systematically worked to establish a foundation for managing that [the US-China] relationship. What is more their choice was not kow-towing or bluster nor was it the blunt instrument of containment. Rather than have chosen what might be called broad engagement, deepening not only the relationship with Beijing and with potential counter-weights like India, but also systematically and often invisibly working to strengthen ties with many of the smaller countries in Asia.

I thought “broad engagement” was when a guy becomes affianced. But seriously, I don’t even know what this means. Or, more accurately, I think I know what it means, but I don’t see what good it can possibly do.

He goes on to say that she gave some great, tough speeches on her tour through Asia. Great. Pointless, ineffectual, ignored by China and all members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, but great. There are no teeth in her speeches, and everybody knows it. That’s not her fault, but haven’t we had enough of an administration that gives great speeches but has no substance?

Apparently Foreign Policy Magazine hasn’t.


1. lauraw - July 29, 2011

This post is a welcome respite from the current political drama.

2. geoff - July 29, 2011

Yeah, I try to stay away from the Really Big stories that all the big blogs cover so that people have something different to read. And as important as the debt limit debate is, I’ve been burned out on it for 2 weeks already.

I now look at the debt limit this way: if it’s raised, great. If not, think of the armageddon parties we’ll have the night before the gov’t stops paying bills (presuming the gov’t can figure out when that really is).

3. lauraw - July 29, 2011

Armageddon Parties, heh.


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