Heard Around the Hillary-Sphere: Mini News Round-Up
First of all, the chattering classes in the Beltway must be having a slow news day despite the wall to wall news coverage in preparation for the big Koran burning tomorrow, because they are saying there is a rift between Secretary Clinton and Obama with respect to her statements during her CFR speech the other day about violence in Mexico. I hardly think this is a big deal, but the media loves any hint of disagreement between these two:
…Obama’s remarks in La Opinion appeared at odds with Clinton’s comments a day earlier that the situation in Mexico is “looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago,” with drug traffickers controlling “parts of the country.”
“In Colombia, it got to the point where. . . more than a third of the country – nearly 40 percent of the country at one time or another – was controlled by the insurgents, by FARC,” Clinton said, referring to the Colombian revolutionary group.
The two sets of comments seemed to reflect a rare disagreement between Obama and Clinton, former political rivals who have gone to great lengths to emphasize their unity and growing friendship over the past year and a half.
But the administration denied that there was any daylight between the president and his secretary of state.
Asked whether Obama’s interview contradicted Clinton’s, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley replied, “Not at all.”
… [emphasis added]
So, end of story? No, of course not, it’s all over the internet.
And then there is this bit of silliness:
For Americans worried that political change in Japan means a drift from Washington, a move more toward Asia, take heart: Many Japanese remain as worried as ever about just where they stand in the hierarchy of the U.S. view of the world, quite literally parsing every word uttered by top government officials, seeking deep meaning in seemingly small statements.
Take, for example, the report from the Yomiuri Shimbun on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s major policy address earlier this week to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. While American press dispatches focused on the grand themes of healing alliances and “a new American moment,” Japan’s largest daily newspaper published this alarming headline: “Japan is Lower Than South Korea in the Ranking of U.S. Allies in Asia.”
The conclusion was drawn from this brief passage buried 3,800 words into Mrs. Clinton’s 6,000-word long remarks : “Look at the Asia-Pacific region. When we took office, there was a perception, fair or not, that America was absent. So we made it clear from the beginning that we were back. We reaffirmed our bonds with close allies like South Korea, Japan, Australia, and we deepened our engagement with China and India.”
The Yomiuri asserted that was “changing the order traditionally used in the past — that is Japan, South Korea and Australia.” The article went on to attribute the flip in the list to tensions over a Marine base in Okinawa, saying that “some Japan experts in the U.S. speculate that it’s a message sent from the Obama administration to get Japan to realize the fact that U.S. has reviewed Japan’s ranking.”
Not so, insists State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. “The secretary was not sending any subliminal message there,” he told Japan Real Time…[emphasis added]
There is this mostly positive review of Secretary Clinton’s tenure at the State Dept. thus far (from the San Fransisco Chronicle):
Hillary Clinton’s blend of diligence, caution and toughness didn’t always serve her well as a presidential candidate. But these attributes make her a powerful secretary of state, the unsung hero for a White House team trying to mend global fences without looking weak.
Her message of strength and obligation may make Obama truehearts swoon. Clinton’s thoughts also come at the start of an election season when President Obama will be knocked for failures overseas along with the economy.
But it’s also vintage Clinton. From her days on the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, she was always a proponent of military muscle and a tough regard for American foes. She and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, another hawkish voice, are running the Obama foreign policy store.
Clinton’s doctrine adds urgency in settling affairs on a crowded world stage. Washington has a special duty to lead, a role that much of the world appreciates. It’s time to accept that role, not shy away from it because of political risk or recent history.
I actually don’t agree with the first sentence because it seems that all the Hillary naysayers are happy so long as she’s not in the Oval Office, but perhaps I’m being too defensive? I also don’t like how everyone refers to she and Secretary Gates as the administration hawks. I don’t like it in part because I worry that it’s true. But that’s my own issue I have to deal with.
Here is an Eid-ul-Fitr video message from Secretary Clinton that was released today
Ok, now I’m back to work! Hope everyone is having a good Friday!