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Tuesday Appointments and Loose Ends

November 9, 2010

Yesterday I posted the Hamish and Andy interview transcript but here is a video snippet of the radio interview (I wish it was the whole thing) and it’s worth watching- very funny:

Secretary Clinton returns from foreign travel and thankfully [for her] doesn’t have tons of public appearances, meetings, bilaterals, etc. However, that doesn’t mean she still won’t be working her tail off:

9:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with the Assistant Secretaries, at the Department of State.

And don’t forget that tonight the interview of Secretary Clinton and her good friend and fellow hawk Defense Secretary Gates will air on Nighline. Check your local listings for times.

Then here is this Australian commentary which f-a4hrc highlighted in the comments and which is worth posting an excerpt here:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has brought wonderful and woefully-needed leadership administrative competence to the US State Department.

The same skills that she employs in managing her bureaucracy served her well in her Asian excursion. Her ability to use diplomatic tools, as opposed to the US navy, as a mechanism to further American policy is easy to recognise but difficult to describe.

Her techniques represent a welcome departure from the style employed in the previous administration. With the exception of the rather eccentric though effective Nixon/Kissinger duet, American foreign policy has invariably been that of a solo player – sometimes looked at as a bully. Hillary Clinton, who has been given a broad charter by US president Obama, clearly recognises the limits of unilateralism and is working to build American foreign policy built on cooperation and consultation. From an Australian perspective, as a regional power, the secretary’s efforts are to be commended.

While the secretary’s current visit was planned long before the mid-term election results, the success and smoothness of her visit cannot be entirely separated from the mauling the Obama administration took at the polls last week. Not only did the Democrats lose 60 House Seats and come perilously close to losing control of the Senate where only 33 per cent of the seats were in contention, the Democrats in many cases struggled to retain otherwise safe seats.

In other words, under Obama, safe Democratic seats became marginals. In contrast to such a dismal domestic political environment, the style and effectiveness of Hillary Clinton is a very distinct bright spot for the administration. This is not to say that her visit to Asia was all style without substance designed to play well on the US nightly news. The style was coupled with incredible diplomatic effectiveness.

Without the ideological fetters of some of her predecessors, Dr Rice immediately comes to mind, secretary Clinton is approaching foreign policy with a very honest and sincere American view that despite the rise of other nations, the US still has a critical role to play in maintaining world stability. However, based on the debacles of the preceding Bush administration, secretary Clinton knows that American influence must be based on engagement and discussion rather than impossibly costly military exercises. In a word, she brings both idealism and political realism to foreign policy that has for too long been the domain of academic ideologues.


Viewed in this light, it is really quite wonderful to see how she operates. She has all the ease of a politician working a crowd and is not cowed by academics or experts because she knows that she is every bit as bright as anyone else. In short, she understands people and power even in the elevated world of foreign ministers.

As for results, this trip has already had successes. The secretary is making Americanism an essential aspect or component of foreign policy in every nation she visits. She is capitalising on the familiarity of America and using that familiarity to fill the gaps in other countries’ policies with American policies. She knows that no other nation is in a position to do this and none will be able to for the foreseeable future. Make no mistake about it, she is pushing an American agenda but she achieves it by making American policy Japanese policy or Filipino policy or even Australian policy.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    November 9, 2010 11:16 am

    Thanks for the reminder about the Nightline interview tonight. So did everybody watch the special “Inside the State Dept.” last night? It was fantastic. I guess unless someone violates copyright law and puts it on YouTube Stacy won’t be able to post the whole program here.

    Stacy, I think if HIllary did take the job of Secy of Defense we’d probably have to do an intervention for/on you. But don’t worry, I don’t think she wants that job. I’m just guessing, but it’s totally different than what she’s doing now. I agree that it’s suspicious that Newt and the righties are talking this up- Chris Mathews is (he’s not really a rightie) but Fox News has been pushing it. Honestly, I think they are trying to stir stuff up and annoy the Democratic base. So don’t get too upset yet.

    Thanks for the video, it’s wonderful!

  2. Thain permalink
    November 9, 2010 11:33 am

    Hillary has a great sense of humor.

    I’m not a gates fan. Hearing him call for the repeal of DADT yesterday which someone brought up here in the comments at the time, is really annoying. He’s a snake. He knows damn well it ain’t gonna happen. He’s been kicking the can down the road for 2 years and warning congress the sky will fall if they go ahead and overturn it before the defense department gets the results of its stupid, biased study. Now he suddenly wants it done, study be damned. Lame.

  3. filipino-american4hrc permalink
    November 9, 2010 12:05 pm

    Hillary already said that she’s happy doing her job:

    I don’t want to dwell into conspiracy theories, but I can’t help but feel that those pushing for Hillary to take on Gates’ job knows that it’s a political loser — what with a failing war in Afghanistan, DADT, a bloated defense budget that she would be forced to defend even though she has made her position clear about the need to cut the deficit (Bill Clinton cut the defense budget for several years as part of his balanced budget, that’s why the military hated him even more), etc.

    • November 9, 2010 12:09 pm

      I agree with you. It could be a bit of a set up of sorts. The GOP refuses to cut defense, as do many in the Tea Party. Any Secy of Defense that tries is going to be hung out to dry. Also, things are not going well in either Afghanistan or Iraq (the new govt), despite claims to the contrary.

      • filipino-american4hrc permalink
        November 9, 2010 12:49 pm

        “Any Secy of Defense that tries is going to be hung out to dry. ”

        Especially when the President himself has no position on this. If Bill Clinton could do it when he did not have the super-majorities that Obama had before the mid-terms, and faced a hostile military and Joints Chiefs that accused Clinton of everything from draft-dodging to being a closet communist (not to mention his insistence on letting gays serve in the military), heck, that US$750-B dollar DoD budget could easily have been cut by 30% under Obama.

  4. November 9, 2010 12:05 pm

    Here’s the Newt Gingrich quote about Hillary as Secy of Defense:

    She probably would be a fantastic Secy of Defense. I can’t really think of anything she wouldn’t be good at. But I don’t trust Newt and honestly, I don’t want her be the head of the Defense Department. Wars may sometimes be necessary and reasonable people can disagree about when they are necessary but war is diametrically opposed to any reasonable promotion of human rights. In other words, it’s hard to promote war and the military industrial complex while promoting human rights. Also, the DoD has too many secrets. As they say “in war the first casualty is the truth…”

  5. Tovah permalink
    November 9, 2010 12:36 pm

    OT: Sorry, I saw this and I remembered something Stacy said during a discussion about whether the media was fair to Sarah Palin- something about during the election Palin not being able to even say what the job of the Fed was. But now she’s given her view on quantitative easing (in other words, one of her high paid advisers gave her her viewpoint on it):

    She couldn’t even get that right.

    Boy have we lowered the bar!

    • Thain permalink
      November 9, 2010 12:47 pm

      She’s an idiot. Sorry but its true.

      She apparently doesn’t write her own tweets or most of her facebook entries. Big surprise there. She pays someone to do it.

      She likes to play the victim by claiming that anyone who corrects her lack of understanding of almost every policy, is some sort of elitist snob. Is it really too much to ask that people running for office make an effort to learn about the policies they are giving their opinion on?

      No, apparently its much easier to talk about shit that’s not true like death panels, forced abortions, socialism and losing our second amendment rights. Again, she’s an idiot.

      • November 9, 2010 12:58 pm

        Sarah Palin is someone I would love to have coffee/tea with. Since 2008, she has gotten into so much trouble with her statements. But, unlike Obama before he became president, she was actually elected into a major governmental leadership role. And before she was chosen by McCain, I believe she was popular in Alaska.

        So I reserve judment on her, partly because I trust the mainstream press about as far as I can throw them when it comes to respecting women candidates. I do not believe she is “dumber” than any male candidate that has ever gotten as far as she has in the USA.

  6. Thain permalink
    November 9, 2010 1:26 pm

    @SA- well, I’m certainly not going to defend Obama.

    That’s great that sarah was popular in Alaska. That doesn’t change the fact that she has lowered the bar as have many Tea Party candidates in terms of what we kind of expect our national leaders to know – and by that I mean knowledge of the complex national and international issues. It’s clearly now enough to just avoid the press, take to Twitter, hide behind Fox and chant some catchy right wing slogans.

    And because I see where this conversation is going let me make this very clear- yes, she was treated unfairly at times by the media. Yes, there are many stupid male candidates out there. As I said above the Tea Party movement has ushered in candidates who have a lot of anger and neat-sounding talking points but they can’t seem to answer anything when pressed about their agenda. They are idiots too.

    The fact that she at times has been treated unfairly does not excuse her total lack of interest in learning anything about national/international policy and I’m not sure I personally want to just fall back on it all being the sexist media’s fault. She chose to be in the limelight and run for the second most powerful position on the planet- that she didn’t know much of anything except how to deliver a snarky, inspiring (to some) speech was no one’s fault but her own. Was the media unfair and sexist at times by focusing on some aspects of her personal life and her family? Yep, but she’s sort of taken that and run with it. No matter how much I disliked Obama and wanted Hillary to win the primary, I wasn’t going to join so many other Hillary fans at Hillbuzz and NQ who started drinking the “Sarah is just a victim” kool aid.

    Oh, and I loved how early in the campaign Sara told the press Hillary should essentially quit complaining about the unfair media/the sexism. But that all changed once she got a taste. So typical of the right – nothing matters until it happens to THEM.

    So sorry, I still think she’s an idiot and the fact that she’s a woman- well, that really has nothing to do with it. Her ideology also has nothing to do with it. If she were a liberal I’d be disgusted too.

    And since I”m probably already in trouble here for taking on St. Sarah the Victim- I’m wondering how much of a media and conservative icon she would be if she weighed, say, 220 pounds? Would she have her own TV show, be a Fox News host, be the poster girl for the right kind of like Ann Coulter used to be? There is such a double standard with regard to women’s looks and I can’t help but think that Ms. Palin’s popularity would not be so great were she not so, shall we say, photogenic and stereotypically attractive? And that’s a real tragedy because it just shows how much we seem to care as much if not more about what’s on the outside than what’s on the inside. If she were a man that probably wouldn’t matter so much.

    • Vcal permalink
      November 9, 2010 1:44 pm

      I agree 100% with you Thain; between Pailn and Obama the standard has declined so badly, Hillary is the only one who has risen the bar so high!

  7. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    November 9, 2010 2:03 pm

    Not to lower the bar of this conversation, but if I may make a gross generalization, Aussie guys (as a group) get my vote for most sexy men worldwide, with Israelis a close second.
    It just needed to be said.

    Now back to Hillary — she is simply adorable in this Hamish & Andy interview.

    • Thain permalink
      November 9, 2010 2:25 pm

      Yeah, Occupation IDF soldiers are a real turn-on. But then again, if I were gay (or a woman) I don’t think I’d go for the macho type. I think I’d go more for a Scandinavian dude. Or maybe Greek? I don’t know I haven’t given it a lot of thought.

      But hey, different strokes for different folks, right?

      • November 9, 2010 2:53 pm

        Ummm…Thain. I don’t want to sound like your mother, but the IDF comment was unnecessary in my opinion. I’m just saying.

      • Thain permalink
        November 9, 2010 3:58 pm

        You are right, I’m sorry. It was uncalled for.

        I’m just so f*cking disgusted with Israel and everything to do with it right now. I don’t give a damn what their guys look like. Did you see Bibi’s latest insult today? Lashing out at the admin. again HERE in THIS country? No other world leader would come to the US and criticize the POTUS- diplomatically that’s a big breach in protocol. But gee, when Israel does it, it’s a-ok. And he’s doing it speaking at some Jewish pow-wow and they don’t seem to mind their POTUS being shit on by Israeli leaders! And no, i don’t hate Israel and I don’t dislike Israelis. I dislike arrogant leaders who get billions of dollars of my tax money to be a bully and occupy a people that have no state and no military.

      • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
        November 9, 2010 4:14 pm

        S’ok, stacy! I’m a big girl. I knew the Israeli comment would draw some fire from this crowd.

        @Thain – I don’t think you have to be gay or switch genders to appreciate beauty in all its forms, but you’re right, eye of the beholder. Actually, the appeal of Israelis for me has nothing to do with uniforms or “macho-ness” whatever that means (I prefer muscles on a woman). It has to do with a certain Middle Eastern look — dark wavy hair, pronounced dark eyebrows, with just a touch of the Occidental in those green-blue eyes.

        But enough about my fantasy life!

      • rachel permalink
        November 9, 2010 6:59 pm

        Thain you are right Bibi is beign arrogant, but we should have expected it, especially after big republican pick up, but to be fair I do remember the Mexican president coming over here trashing Arizona and half of congress standing up and applauding. There were a few protesters(not sure how many outside where Bibi spoke. I am not sure anything will change until there is new leadership in the Israeli government.

  8. Steve permalink
    November 9, 2010 3:16 pm

    That Hamish and Andy video/transcript is now all over the net. I can’t help but notice that Stacy had the info. up on this blog yesterday, like 24 hours before others picked up on it- good job Stacy!

    I agree with Thain re: Palin. She’s an idiot. Of course, so is Rand Paul, Texas Governor Perry etc. The Tea Party really has lowered the bar with respect to what is acceptable dialogue and about what the knowledge level/abilities of candidates should be. Sharron Angle spent a year running from the press. Can you imagine? That pretty much just screams “I’m too f*cking stupid and/or crazy to speak out publicly because then I won’t get elected!.” None of this would be possible without Fox News, who tries to provide some legitimacy to their campaigns by bringing them on their network.

  9. November 9, 2010 8:59 pm

    I’ve been reading this fabulous blog for some time now – and had the pleasure of seeing Hillary all over the media in Melbourne (Australia) – my home – all weekend. She certainly made a wonderful impression here. There is a full podcast of the very humorous radio interview with Hamish and Andy here:, although I expect thats old news by now.

  10. Thain permalink
    November 9, 2010 9:08 pm

    @Rachel- good point I totally forgot about Mexico’s President and it was totally inappropriate for him to come here and say those things. But if I remember correctly there was a lot if vocal opposition to what he said/did including from members of Congress who were pissed off. The difference with israel’s leaders is NO members of Congress or really anyone else will condemn Bibi. In fact, the MSM doesn’t make an issue of it at all.

    I find it interesting that dems don’t mind having the leader of their party and the country, made an ass of.

    Maybe we need to stop being Israel’s ATM? We fund their military, have to constantly hold their hand over every little diplomatic thing, they are trying to undermine our attempts to improve relations with Syria, Turkey and Lebanon and on and on. What do we get in return? If this were a relationship any rational person would call it abusive and demand a divorce. But we just seem to love being used and abused by our little problem-child client state Israel. It kills me how some people romanticize Israel and just ignore what it has become.

    Of course thats easy to do since American media refuses to cover the ugly reality of the Occupation(which isn’t sexy at all) *cough*

  11. Thain permalink
    November 10, 2010 8:22 am

    Carolyn said:

    I don’t think you have to be gay or switch genders to appreciate beauty in all its forms, but you’re right, eye of the beholder.

    Uh, yeah, I know. I guess I was taking it a step further and thinking about sexual attraction, but whatever. It really doesn’t matter.

    S’ok, stacy! I’m a big girl. I knew the Israeli comment would draw some fire from this crowd.

    Not sure exactly what you meant by “this crowd”- you mean the pro-human rights w/o exception crowd? You mean the speak out against all oppression even when the victims are politically unpopular crowd? Yeah, I’m a proud member of that crowd.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      November 10, 2010 9:27 am

      By “this crowd,” I was not referring to the pro-human-rights-w/out exception-speak-out-against-all-oppression bloggers who visit this site. I was referring to a subgroup who consider themselves pro-human-rights-w/out-exception-speaking-out-against-all-oppression, but who can be nevertheless quite fascistic, i.e. so intolerant of othet points of view that the mere mention of the word “Israeli” (and in a context that had nothing to do with illegal settlements, or blockades, or broader geopolitical conflicts) sends them into paroxysms of hatred.

      I oppose fascism in all its forms, subtle and overt. God knows I heard enough of
      it in 2008 — from the supposedly liberal progressive blogosphere.

      • Thain permalink
        November 10, 2010 10:14 am

        If you are inferring I am a fascist or filled with hatred, well, sorry, not true. If you are talking about some 0ther phantom people out there who you have been victimized by in the “liberal blogosphere” well, I can’t speak to that. If I’ve been too strident or come across as intolerant then I apologize but that’s not the same as fascism or hatred. But next time, when you mention anything having to do with Israel I’ll know better than to take your bait, which is what it was since you seemed to be fishing for the sort of response you got. Sorry I fell for it.

        And as for the “supposedly liberal blogosphere”- you are always tossing out little subtle daggers at the liberal blogosphere and you are constantly trying to refer back to 2008 – I guess to justify YOUR OWN intolerance of liberals, whom you seem to hold a real grudge against. I’ve personally come across some intolerant Obama supporters in both the liberal and conservative blogosphere- and yes, even liberal AND conservative Hillary supporters can be intolerant and refuse to accept any criticism of anything with the word “Clinton” in it while at the same time calling OTHER people names (“Obot”) for not tolerating criticism of Obama. There is intolerance everywhere, Carolyn, not just in the “supposedly liberal blogosphere.” You really come across a bit holier-than-thou. But what do I know, I’m just a stupid college student and you are a big important doctor.

      • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
        November 10, 2010 1:37 pm


        If anything I wrote gave you the impression I think you’re stupid, then I apologize — because that’s not at all where I’m coming from. Actually, I have found your posts on the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict intelligent, lucid, informative, and enlightening. When I joined the conversation about it on this blog, which was right around the time of the whole Gaza flotilla disaster, I had a decidedly UNenlightened, largely pro-Israel, stance and stroongly supported Israel’s right to defend itself against “terrorist” attacks by Hamas, even if that meant resorting to illegal blockades. Posts by you, stacy, and others over the ensuing months have slowly persuaded me otherwise, and at this point I share your dismay and anger about many of Israel’s recent actions and pronouncements. So, stupid, no, you are far from stupid.
        Passionate, yes. Occasionally prone to leaping to wrong conclusions about who’s with you and who’s against you? Maybe.

        As for my unhappiness with the liberal blogosphere during the 2008 Democraticprimaries, all I can say is that I got called every name in the book (including stupid) for, say, defending Hillary’s right to stay in the campain, or protesting some of the wild accusations and mischaracterizations that were hurled her way. Hillary was (still is) a widely respected and admired woman with a long and distinguished career in public service who fought a historic campaign, was supported by 18 million voters, and came within a hair’s breadth of being the Democratic nominee — but you wouldn’t have known it from the venomous rhetoric spewed out by “progressives.” It struck me as deeply intolerant and hypocritical.

        But let’s bury the hatchet! I enjoy your posts (with one or two exceptions) 😉

  12. HillaryFan permalink
    November 10, 2010 12:15 pm

    I’m not going to get in the middle of this family argument ;). I will say that during the 2008 primary there was a lot of bad rhetoric coming from all sides. I believe I saw it more from Obama supporters but maybe that’s my bias. I think Thain is right there there is intolerance on all sides in the blogosphere, liberal and conservative and we have a tendency to be more aware of the intolerance we don’t agree with. There still are a lot of divisions among dems between liberals and moderates and conservatives that has been left over from the primaries and that’s not good, particularly if Hillary were to run again.

    I don’t really consider myself a liberal, more of a moderate, but I get the feeling that some liberals get defensive because they seem to be kicked around by all sides. During the primaries candidates try to appeal to the base and then as soon as they get in office the liberals are suddenly persona non grata. I guess that would annoy me. And of course everything having to do with Israel is controversial and brings up strong emotions. I look at the situation differently than I did 20 years ago. At this point, it’s not even a fair fight and I think some more vocal supporters of Palestinian rights are frustrated and getting desperate thinking nothing will ever change. It’s a hard situation.

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