Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Balance at State

Ever since she has been in office I have been making complimentary comments about Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. I have observed a few injudicious statements, but it was not all that easy to know how much was her lack of tact and how much was official policy. Is she at times playing “bad cop” to Obama’s “good cop” routine? Both her faux pas on the Israeli settlements, and some seriously unfortunate things she had to say about Iran could have fit that scenario.

She was clumsy in handling the Honduras presidential ouster but, in her defense, so was Obama and she was pretty much following his line on that and tripping over the same obstacles he did. Her pratfalls were significantly less elegant than his were, but…

Now she has managed to outdo Obama in pissing off the British over the Falklands affair and, again, it’s hard to know how much is her and how much comes from her boss. The British are convinced Obama is getting back at them for releasing our torture memos in their court proceedings. He threatened to do so before they released them, so their feelings are not without some degree of foundation.

Daniel Larison has a discussion in which he attributes it to her own character and which is worth reading. I commend him to you in any case. He’s not a liberal but he has, for instance, a firm conviction that we should be making friends with Iran rather than bombing it, and is almost always worth reading.

I do find myself in complete agreement with his statement that, “it is important to have a Secretary of State capable of striking the right balance,” and that, “We don’t have one.”

Update: Oh yes, rereading Larison, I had forgotten about that "China will find itself isolated" thing. That was another episode reminding me about drinking coffee at my computer. I'm nearing the need for a new keyboard.

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