November 19, 2008

Madame Secretary Hillary

Raimondo on Hillary’s coming ascension at State:

Obama, however, being the consummate politician that he is, had a solution: hand foreign policy over to the Clintons. Cede Hillary the international arena ? his area of greatest weakness ? and use her connections to his own advantage. This would free him to roll up his sleeves and tackle the great problem of how to kick-start America’s economic engine.

Obama, of course, is still the president, with the final word on all matters foreign and domestic. Yet by conceding de facto direction of our overseas operations ? two wars, and a few more in the making ? he could solve his three biggest political problems: (1) The Clintons, who, by their very existence, pose a threat; (2) His own inexperience in the field of foreign affairs, and his lack of personal connections in this rarefied realm; and (3) The very high expectations that demand total concentration on solving the single most important problem facing the country.

The neocons seemed pleased by the appointment—Michael Goldfarb, fresh off his duties as official blogger to the McCain campaign, says “Hail Clinton!”:

On the issues, Clinton’s a hawk. Not only did she vote to authorize the war in Iraq, she delivered her vote in style—her floor speech on October 10, 2002, went so far as to connect Saddam to al Qaeda:

In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. [emphasis mine]

Clinton flipped on the war, but as the nomination slipped out of her reach last spring she spoke of the threats this country faces, and of the prescriptions offered by Obama, in language that would warm the hearts of neoconservatives (if we had them). She threatened to “obliterate” Iran in response to unprovoked aggression against Israel, she spoke of unconditional meetings with the leaders of rogue states as “irresponsible and, frankly, naive,” and she castigated Obama’s transparent saber-rattling on Pakistan (“last summer [Obama] basically threatened to bomb Pakistan, which I don’t think was a particularly wise position to take.”). On matters of diplomacy, Clinton’s views are not so different from those held by John McCain and most Republicans—and they are certainly well to the right of Obama.


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