Monday, November 02, 2009

Whose Foreign Policy?

I have, to this point, been impressed with and supportive of Hillary Clinton’s role as Secretary of State. This past week she has said a number of things that have given me rather serious pause.

I was not taken with her aggressive rhetoric in Pakistan. It reminded me far too much of the “for us or against us” attitude of the Bush years. I voted for Obama in no small part because I wanted this nation to move away from that kind of foreign policy, and I have been very happy with our progress in doing so. Clinton has been part of that to now, and I take a dim view of her embracing this kind of attitude now.

I especially disliked her response to the question from a journalist about whether the use of missiles from unmanned drones in noncombat areas was terrorism. Her response was a terse and unamplified, “No, I do not.”

I would not go so far as to call that practice terrorism, but I am appreciative of the Pakistani attitude toward our attacks within their borders, and I think the question deserved a more diplomatic response. To me her answer showed a lack of sensitivity that did not serve our nation well.

Then she has been trying to put a favorable spin on the Afghan election mess. After being informed that Abdullah was likely to withdraw from the runoff election, which he has since done, she said that such an event would not affect the legitimacy of the election. "We see that happen in our own country where, for whatever combination of reasons, one of the candidates decides not to go forward. I don't think it has anything to do with the legitimacy of the election."

Yes, we have elections in this country where one candidate runs unopposed, but they do not occur as the result of open and unabashed fraud, and they most certainly do not happen for the nation's highest office. For Clinton to compare the two in an effort to justify our occupation of that benighted nation is disgusting. I was hoping that kind of self-serving transparent dishonesty had gone out with the Bush gang of thugs.

Finally, after Obama called for a freeze on Isreali settlement building in the occupied territories of Palestine and had that rejected by Israel, Clinton is calling for a resumption of peace talks and sanctioning, even praising, the continuance of building in violation of international sanction at “a reduced pace.” The Arab world, not without rather good reason, is taking her words as a signal that America remains an unapologetic supporter of Israel and is no friend of the Muslim peoples.

Bucking what seems to be the prevailing American sentiment, I would like for the world to see us as a responsible member of the community of nations and not as a military bully imposing its footprint on civilization. I thought we had been making progress in that direction, but either I have been mistaking Obama’s intentions, or Hillary Clinton has embarked on her own agenda.

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