Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Hillary Still Unprepared

It's no secret that I vehemently opposed Obama's choice for Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. From my Say it ain't so, O post:

Hillary as Secretary of State?


Mrs. Bosnia Sniper Fire is going to be the one you rely on for honest appraisals of our foreign relations? A politician whose closest qualification for the job is a few tea parties as first lady? Now she's ready to negotiate with our allies and enemies alike where our national interests are on the line... not to mention potential conflicts/wars/etc.

This lady?

Say it ain't so, O. Say it ain't so.

A woman who ran for president on a single term as Senator (negating time spent campaigning)... whose only other resume pad was a claim that being married to somebody somehow makes you qualified to do their job. I realize you had even less relevant and irrelevant experience, but that should only be a stronger reason to pick people who have a better resume.

A woman whose education in political science and law focused primarily on domestic issues, not foreign policy. Did the fact she had an international relations course in the 60s help sway you that her lack of credentials otherwise was less important?

A woman who, like your VP, you argued emphatically lacked judgment on foreign policy?

A woman whose exaggerated claims to having any serious diplomatic experience became one of the biggest laughing stocks of the election (see video above).

For someone who argued that his leadership, judgment, and Washington outsider meme would be the best alternative, this choice casts a very dark shadow over claims to anything of the sort.

Ugh... I need a drink...

Oh crap. I almost forgot...

The woman who was peer pressured into boozing it up on the campaign trail is going to be the tough negotiator with our enemies?


I was always a stronger backer of Richardson, both as the Democratic Party candidate for President, but also for the Secretary of State job, both of which he was infinitely more qualified for in terms of relevant experience than the current residents. Given the questions about campaign finances at the time it may not have been a politically possible option, but that's no excuse not to ensure we have someone far more prepared for the job, especially in the world we face today, standing at the forefront of our diplomatic machine.

Instead the embarrassments have just kept coming. From her public displays of obsessing over her husband overshadowing her, to her inability to even coordinate a simple translation for a long planned high profile publicity stunt, or announcing mock-worthy ignorance in Europe about the origins of democracy, etc.

Now she's snubbing one of our strongest modern allies by her reckless and ignorant statements in Argentina:

What was she thinking? By taking a last-minute detour, on her five-day trip to Latin America, to visit President Fernández de Kirchner in Buenos Aires, Hillary Clinton has — recklessly — given the appearance of throwing America’s weight behind Argentina in its row with Britain over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands (see opposite page).

Intruding in the dispute was lamentable enough. But in further offering to mediate between Buenos Aires and London, the US Secretary of State is implying that there may be some fruitful area of grey between their rival black-and-white claims. By suggesting so boldly that there may be room for negotiation when Britain has insisted that there is none, Mrs Clinton gives the impression that Argentina has America’s tacit support in the dispute.

Mrs Clinton’s words — “It is our position that this is a matter to be resolved between the UK and Argentina. If we can be of any help in facilitating such an effort, we stand ready to do so” — give every impression of dispassionate neutrality. But what rattles Britain about her remarks in Buenos Aires is that diplomats of Mrs Clinton’s pedigree rarely speak clumsily, or without calculation. Especially disturbing to Whitehall ears, ever alert to the slightest nuance, was hearing Mrs Clinton refer to the islands as “Las Malvinas” as well as by their British name of the Falklands.

Speaking as one close ally to another, Britain must remind America that it has no need for a go-between in its quarrel with Buenos Aires, since it has full confidence in the legitimacy of its territorial claim. Britain is, rightly, dismayed that Mrs Clinton seems to be encouraging Argentina to believe that any hopes it might nurse of possessing the Falklands one day may not be impossibly fanciful. This is a disservice to Argentina, and an undeserved snub to Britain.


Britain has been seeking to quell its row with Argentina. It was careless of Mrs Clinton to encourage Argentina to think that it might have America’s support if it now stoked the dispute.

One can google the relevant background here, but CNN gives a brief rundown in its article about Hillary's opening of the can of worms:

Argentina has always claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, which sit off its coast and have been under British rule since 1833. Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982, prompting a war in which more than 600 Argentinean and 255 British military personnel died.

Britain keeps a military presence on the islands, and the Falkland Islands government -- representing a population of about 2,500 -- says it remains committed to British sovereignty. [emphasis added]

I was talking to one of my Red Coat friends from across the pond who was venting his frustration with the whole mess. The problem isn't with British feelings towards Obama, for whom he described as remaining quite doe-eyed. The problem is that time and time again they keep getting signals that the Obama Administration has no affection back. Hillary took a great leap towards reinforcing those worries.

While we're desperately trying to hold our coalition together in active theaters of war, of which the UK has been a steadfast military ally going back several administrations... Hillary is sending signals that we're going to stab them in the back on their claim to the Falklands, the population of which overwhelmingly supports that arrangement, and the Argentinian claims of which are both ancient and sparse (or entirely manufactured at times).

This is just ridiculous and unacceptable. But so was her appointment in the first place. Gah!

If you need me, I'll be out back... kicking puppies.

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