Saturday, July 25, 2009

Where is Hillary?

Tina Brown recently wrote at The Daily Beast asking "for Barack Obama to let Hillary Clinton take off her burqa." She felt that Obama had purposefully reduced Hillary's spotlight. As Tina points out, it is curious that Hillary wasn't allowed by the president's message team to go on the Sunday talk shows until six months into her tenure as secretary of State.

The New York Daily News has a story up last week titled, "The curious case of the steadily shrinking Hillary Clinton,"which made the case for Hillary's reduced role in this administration. The author attributes it to some personal grudges with Obama, but I think it may be because Hillary has been.... how shall I put this? screwing up.

This week Hillary was being called names by N. Korea's foreign ministry. Her efforts to bring N. Korea to the table for six-party talks on denuclearizing have completely failed. Upset by Clinton's remarks on N. Korea, the foreign minister described Clinton as a "primary schoolgirl" and called her "unintelligent." They said her remarks were "vulgar." Which may provide some late night fodder, but it ignores the serious business of getting N. Korea to release two American female journalists imprisoned there, Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

Earlier this month Hillary took the apology cues from Obama, hoping that that might inspire the N. Koreans to release the journalists. Hillary said that the reporters had expressed "great remorse for this incident" and that "everyone is very sorry that it happened."

Not surprisingly, this didn't work. Now there were harsher words thrown back at N. Korea. A State Department spokesman said, "What is vulgar is that the North Korean government chooses to harvest missiles rather than enough food for its people. And what is unintelligent is the path that the North Korean government has chosen. It's a dead end, which dooms the North Korean people to a dismal future."

I'm not sure what it's going to take to get our journalists back. When one is dealing with a madman, I realize it's hard to figure out what will work. But after a while the United States just looks weak and ineffectual, and that is never good.

Then this week Hillary dropped this bombshell (excuse the pun):

"If the US extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf,'' she said, "it's unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer, because they won't be able to intimidate and dominate, as they apparently believe they can, once they have a nuclear weapon.''

The comment made Israel stand up and take notice since it suggests that the U.S. has come to terms with the idea that Iran will eventually be a nuclear-armed state. Aides to Hillary quickly said that Hillary didn't mean to imply that at all.

This "nuclear umbrella" policy is nothing new. We have it with NATO allies as well as Japan and South Korea. But any implication that we have accepted the notion of nuclear armed Iran is not only disturbing, but again makes us look weak.

In May Hillary declared that Iran was building a monster embassy in Nicaragua, "and you can only imagine what that's for." That turned out to be completely untrue.

I must say that this is a surprise to me. I may not like Hillary's politics, but I did think that she would be a decent Secretary of State. I never expected such blunders.

Lucky for Hillary, our media is too concerned with an arrogant Harvard professor's grievances with a policeman, to pay much attention to Hillary and her gaffes.