Friday, February 01, 2013

Hillary Bids Adieu to State Department

Somehow it seems appropriate that on Hillary Clinton's last day as Secretary of State that it would be shadowed by yet another terrorist attack at one of our overseas embassies.  This time it was in Ankara,Turkey.  

Given that she escaped virtually blemish free after the horrific actions in Benghazi, Libya and that so many on the left continue to sweep it all under the rug as quickly as possible, it seems just a wee bit of karma is in play.

Matter of fact, Hillary Clinton's popularity remains the highest of any other member of the Obama administration.  One could argue that it is possible that since she was always traveling and out of the public light and not doing much in the form of political statements, her warm and fuzzy status will be soon tarnished back into the reality as she prepares to re-enter the political world. 

This is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bidding adieu to her minions:

You'll hear her say that the world is a safer place now. Yeah, the Ambassador in Turkey is on line one, Hillary.

The lapdog media would have you believe that she left with the loudest applause of appreciation ever from the State Department employees.  The truth is, that is how it is always.  They are career workers who show that level of deference to whomever is in the job.  That is how they keep their jobs.  The last Secretary of State left to the same applause and by all accounts was much admired and respected by those with whom she worked.  That was Condoleezza Rice.

More truth about Hillary Clinton's record - some are willing to write about it.  She was challenged over her assertion  that the U.S. is more respected now than when she went into her position four years ago.  Also, former Secretary Rice was cited for working far more diligently on the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

But if Clinton has mastered the lingo and the memes — the Twitter feeds and town halls that are now required tools for top diplomats — her substantive legacy remains thin, especially when it comes to the Middle East.

Clinton was prescient in predicting the upheavals that have convulsed the Arab world over the last two years. At a forum in Doha, Qatar, in January 2011, she warned assembled dignitaries that “in too many places, in too many ways, the region’s foundations are sinking into the sand.”

But she and the administration she serves have struggled to keep pace with developments in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and most especially, Syria. The death of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans last September at the hands of Muslim extremists who have yet to be caught and punished occurred on Clinton’s watch; the US failure to adequately protect its mission in Benghazi will remain a blot on her record.

On Arab-Israel peace, Clinton did less than her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, and has little to show. After an early effort led by the Obama administration’s special envoy, George Mitchell, failed, the peace process has remained in limbo. Clinton’s only major accomplishment was helping to clinch a cease-fire last year between Israel and Hamas in a brief war that neither side wanted to prolong.

And while Clinton bragged on Thursday about the international coalition the Obama administration has assembled against Iran and the “crippling sanctions” that have been imposed against that country, a negotiated cap on Iran’s nuclear program and improvement in US-Iran relations seem as elusive as ever.

Clinton said nothing Thursday about the negotiating stalemate with Iran, promising only that “we will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.”

During a brief question and answer session, she was asked why America is even more unpopular in the Middle East than it was during President George W. Bush's administration — at least judging from public opinion polls. Clinton said that was “unfortunate.” But like  many of her predecessors, she seemed to blame anti-Americanism in the region more on a US failure to explain itself properly than on US policies that continue to antagonize and disappoint local populations.

The fact is this - the U.S. is not liked around the world, whether we exhibit an aggressive foreign policy promoting our principles of freedom and democracy, as in the Bush administration or if we exhibit a lead from behind passive foreign policy, as in the Obama administration. No other country has our power or might and that causes bitterness and jealousy.

Given an opportunity, Hillary Clinton smacked the Bush administration as often as possible.  Whether it was the ridiculous disaster of the "re-set" with Russia photo op or the delusion that by the simple act of a change in administration brings a new respect for America overseas, Hillary has been ok but not particularly good and certainly not great.  Her record will find her performance wanting.

Hillary will be back, mark my words.  She'll take a nice rest and enjoy having the luxury of her time being her own.  She's had a full four years of non-stop world travel and now boasts of the most miles traveled as Secretary of State. It's a good excuse to not have to stay home when you don't want to do that so much.  You'll remember the criticisms Hillary faced for her love of travel as a First Lady and taking her pals along for the fun.

Yes, I think she'll be back.  I'm certain she still wants to be president.  Time will tell if she has the energy to try it one more time.

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