Freitag, Oktober 30, 2009

In Days Of Old...

This struck me as indicative of the free ride that the Obama Administration continues to get from the Press.

Mrs. Clinton is, to be blunt, a loose cannon. She's condescending - a few days ago she spoke of terrorists as cowards and sounded anything but statesman like, sounding instead like a scolding teacher speaking to small children - and is, if anything, making things worse rather than better.

By going to Pakistan on a mission to explicitly improve relations and then to engage in mindless speculation as to why Pakistan isn't doing a better job is the sign of a number of serious errors:

1) Antagonizing a needed ally in public for little or no reason;

2) Criticizing the Pakistani for trying to balance their own national security interests - that the population in the Tribal Territories not completely turn against the nation of Pakistan as a whole - with those of the US, who is interested in seeing the Tribal Territories cease to act as a safe haven for those creating problems in Afghanistan;

3) Failing to see that Pakistan has paid a serious blood toll for helping the Americans (or if she understands that, even worse: belittling those losses);

4) Continuing a series of "unusually frank remarks" which is nothing more than her stating her political beliefs about a number of controversies in public.

Hillary Clinton isn't on the campaign trail, she isn't a Senator from New York. She is the Secretary of State.

When she makes statements in public, they will not be taken as her own private opinion, but rather a statement by the Secretary of State of the United States of America. She's arrogant, irresponsible and it is increasingly clear that she is neither qualified nor has the right personality to be Secretary of State. She has the job because the Obama Administration wanted to make her supporters happy and willing to support him. She couldn't be President: Secretary of State was the consolation prize for this supremely ambitious woman.

In days of old the Secretary of State, when visiting abroad, would hold "frank and open" discussions with his counterparts behind closed doors, not talk about the host country negatively with newspaper editors from that country.

In days of old the Secretary of State, when formulating policy, would carefully weigh their words and use the very precise and carefully chosen words of professional diplomacy, not tell the world what their opinions on matters are apparently off-the-cuff.

In days of old the Secretary of State would be comprehensively briefed on the internal politics of countries they visit in order to better understand what motivates their discussion partners in order to make negotiations work more smoothly and achieve results, not antagonize their hosts with private opinions that both show ignorance and belittling of local achievements. People in the Third World are often very proud of things that appear to us, as Westerners, to be fairly trivial and not too interesting. Belittling the apparently second-rate highway system, a couple of dams with electricity generation, or a couple of waste water treatment plants in a developing country is an insult: we take them for granted, but the vast majority of the world sees them as something to be very proud of, and pride is a dangerous thing to insult.

In days of old the Secretary of State would be a political appointee with significant international experience, chosen to represent the country, not the primary runner-up with no international experience worth speaking of and chosen in order to placate her supporters.

Of course, in days of old you'd might also expect some professionalism on the part of such people.

Oh, how I yearn for the days of old.

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