Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Worst Secretary of State Ever?

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton makes one pine for the doltish Condi Rice. Rice was a bumbling tool of Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives. Hillary, on the other hand, is a full partner in the warmongery.

She’s told the Iranians they have to accept the uranium-to-Russia deal exactly the way it is or they can stick it. No wiggle room, no space for compromise. No accepting that the other side might have a legitimate point of contention that we could accommodate, thereby securing a mutually advantageous agreement. No, none of that. Hillary’s got to be a tough girl 24/7/365.

Hillary seemed to be doing okay in the Senate. It didn’t appear that she was hissing everybody off, which is a lot more than you can say of her performance at State.

Candidate Hillary tried to sound hawkish to keep the neocons from calling her a girl. Secretary Hillary is pulling the same stunt.

Iran has a number of legitimate ambitions, something a senior diplomat like Hillary is supposed to be able to recognize and deal with. It wants to be a regional superpower, and it sees the way to becoming one as becoming the first Middle Eastern country to establish an independent nuclear energy industry. We should be partnering with them in that regard, not discouraging them.

Iran has good reason to balk at certain aspects of the uranium export deal. France has screwed Iran in the past on nuclear issues. We don’t trust the French; why should the Iranians?

Iran has good reason to be leery of us. We’ve been talking about attacking it for years and so has Israel, whose toches we’ve been kissing for decades.

On her ill-will tour of the Middle East, Hillary accused Pakistan of failing to go after al-Qaeda. "I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn't get them if they really wanted to," Clinton said in an interview with Pakistani journalists in Lahore. That was a smooth move, Hill—smooth as gravel.

A quarter-million people have fled the tribal region of Waziristan where we bullied Pakistan into conducting a major offensive against the Taliban. Does Hillary think that’s all been a put on?

Hillary said that the runoff election in Afghanistan would be legitimate even if Hamid Karzai’s main opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, boycotted it, or if he retired gracefully. She said: “We see that happen in our own country where, for whatever combination of reasons, one of the candidates decides not to go forward.”

Jesus, Mary and Shemp, Hillary. When a U.S. politician doesn’t go forward with a runoff, it’s usually because he’s out of money and can’t compete anymore. Abdullah dropped out because he knew the runoff would be as crooked as the original election because the same Karzai appointed election officials would be in charge of it. Now Hillary is joining the throng of western warmongers in declaring that Karzai is the “legitimate” president of Afghanistan so they can sanctify the escalation of the war there that will ensure the long-term existence of NATO and the U.S. Army.

Maybe it’s unfair to blast Hillary for our discombobulated foreign policy. After all, it’s been discombobulated since long before she was Secretary of State. And she’s certainly not the first Secretary of State to be totally full of both herself and crap. Henry Kissinger is the Babe Ruth in that corner of God’s record book.

One has to wonder if Hillary hasn’t been unduly influenced by her long association with her husband. Bill could always talk his way out of an awkward situation, by parsing the definition of be verbs, if necessary (it depends what your definition of “is” is. Or was. Or will be.)

On the (thankfully) last leg of her Middle East tour, Hillary bounced into Egypt to set back peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel. Bottom line: Israel can do whatever it wants because it owns all of America’s politicians, but the Arabs, and specifically the Palestinians, should put up with it. Real good, Hillary. Why not just tell the Arabs they should be thankful they have their own urine to drink?

As Jason Ditz of Antiwar.com points out, Hillary has reversed her position vis-à-vis Israel and Palestine in the course of 24 hours.

President Obama made a lot of mistakes when he set his foreign policy team in place. Keeping Bob Gates, David Petraeus, and Ray Odierno onboard was an error he may never recover from. Putting Petraeus protégé Stanley McChrystal in charge of Afghanistan was massively daft. But making Hillary Clinton Secretary of State was a yikes-kebob. Talk about strident—Hillary could make Mrs. Santa crotchety.

It might have been: I’d like to have seen Jim Webb in the Defense Secretary Job. John Kerry would have made for a good Secretary of State. Maybe it’s better that those guys are still in the Senate. But it would, beyond doubt, be better if Hillary were still in the Senate. She did a lot less harm there.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


  1. They say Obama actually reads books. Somebody should have given him a copy of The Peter Principle.

    Too late now.

  2. Shillary has always been an Israel firster chicken hawk. Her turn around to Egypt came on orders from the [realist] camp. Very Kissingeresque. Saudi Arabia would have been to obvious. Egypt and [our] dictator. I mean Egypts dictator Mubarak considers himself a peace broker. Besides they have to keep the streets of Cairo at ease. Where is Dennis Ross? Where is Holbrooke? Shillary has her own covert balkanizing team within the state dept.

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