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Heard Around the Hillary-Sphere: Mini News Round-Up

September 10, 2010

A couple of things jumped out at me today in terms of Hillary news so I thought I’d provide some links.

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.

[snip]

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.

[snip]

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.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/10/ED981FBC3A.DTL#ixzz0z8kRAuPO

[emphasis added]

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!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. HillaryFan permalink
    September 10, 2010 11:56 am

    Thanks so much for this round-up and the video!

    I have to say I agree with you on all counts. Many of the people that talked crap about her during the primary seem to like her so long as she’s in any job other than SOS. I like to think there are people that are willing to admit they were wrong and that they really do now have an appreciation for her leadership skills- Chris Mathews comes to mind. His rhetoric about her during the campaign- he called her a socialist!- was so sexist and over the top but now he practically swoons when he talks about her. I just can’t help it, I don’t trust him but at least he’s not criticizing her.

    The story about Japan seems a bit silly. Perhaps they are reading too much into her word order?

  2. Tovah permalink
    September 10, 2010 3:15 pm

    Thanks for news summaries. It’s nice to see Hillary so prominent in the news but it’s annoying when the media try to speculate and create controversy.

  3. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    September 10, 2010 8:44 pm

    People who keep perseverating about Hillary’s “hawkishness” are completely (willfully?) misunderstanding the change in priorities she has brought to the State Department — it’s all about development and diplomacy over defense, and I don’t that that’s just empty rhetoric.

  4. September 11, 2010 12:22 am

    I agree, Carolyn. Compared to most people on Capitol Hill Hillary is a dove. Sometimes she’s too hawkish for me too, but that’s because she doesn’t talk out of both sides of her mouth. Obama talks about “diplomacy”, but are we out of Iraq or Afghanistan yet? Remember that war he promised to end in eighteen months?
    I think Hillary is seen as being a Hawk because she’s shown that she’s capable of being Commander in Chief, was on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, ect. and she is a woman. John Edwards and John Kerry, for example, also voted to authorize military forces in Iraq, but for some reason they were given a pass and she wasn’t. I think that to people in the media, anyone lady who shows any kind of leadership ability is considered a “hawk.”

  5. Thain permalink
    September 11, 2010 9:01 am

    I think the reasons she’s sometimes viewed as such a hawk is because during her time in the Senate it was an image she cultivated and it allowed her to attract moderate and conservative Dems to her side. She also at times sounded like she worked for AIPAC in her rhetoric regarding the Middle East and that made her a favorite of the neocons, at least among the Democrats. Then there are all the leaks from unnamed officials about how she and secy gates are essentially of absolute like mind in all foreign policy decisions and that they take the most military view of everything- is it true? Who knows. Someone made sure we knew that during the debate about Afghanistan, she wanted more troops and then there was the Rolling Stone interview about McChrystal. It was also reported she didn’t want him fired and either did Gates. True? Who knows. Now there’s the talk of her for Secy of Defense and whether she would want that job, who knows but lets be honest, doves are put in consideration to run the US military industrial complex. Some think that if she were POTUS we’d have attacked Iran by now. I like to think that’s not true because it would be a disaster.

    As Carolyn said her work at state has focused on development but the media largely ignore that. I think they like the Hillary as Hawk theme because it makes it look like there are divisions in the administration. That gives some liberals someone to blame instead of the person in charge- BARACK OBAMA, who is no liberal. His people may be trying to have their cake and eat it too by making him appear less hawkish for the base while getting credit at the same time from moderates for entrenching us even more in the war.

    Anyway, that’s my take. I know some will disagree.

    • Steve permalink
      September 11, 2010 9:15 am

      Thain, I live in NY and I can tell you, you can’t get elected to Dog Catcher unless you pander to the AIPAC crowd. Sad, but true. While it pained me to watch Senator Clinton have to drink the Kool Aid I knew she really had no choice. Just listen to any NY politician talk about the Middle East and they are all reading from the same extreme Likudnik script. And yes, their words usually come back to haunt them in one way or another. Hillary was asked about her statements as Senator in the last interview she gave with Arab television and she understandably tried to side step it.

  6. Thain permalink
    September 11, 2010 9:04 am

    Above I meant to say “doves AREN’T put in consideration to run the military industrial complex.”

  7. September 11, 2010 9:30 am

    I should probably just ignore all the hawk talk in the media because it puts me in a foul mood and the whole unnamed source thing is suspicious- everyone has an agenda. During the 2008 campaign some were saying Hillary was a neocon all the while people like Dick Morris were trying to push the idea that Hillary was an anti-Israel anti-Semite. So, it just goes to show you that people toss around these labels because they have a political agenda.

    As a liberal, I think it’s time for the hard core pro-Obama liberals to wake up and realize that their hero really isn’t liberal. I understand their disappointment because as a liberal myself, eternal disappointment is something I’m used to. But they can’t continue to blame Obama’s conservative terrorism and war policies on Gates and Hillary. If he wanted Gitmo closed he would get it closed. If he really believed what he said in 2008 about Bush’s most illegal and immoral terrorism policies then he would have ended them, but instead he has expanded them. As this point in time, the government and our President have more “secret” war powers than any President in history including Bush and Nixon- it’s a neocons wet dream. We are engaged in undeclared wars in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan among others. We the people are left entirely out of the equation. I understand the need for some things to remain classified but I can’t help but think our Founders would be rolling over in their graves if they saw what the government can now do without ANY authorization or notification of Congress.

    Ok, enough national security/war talk, it bums me out.

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