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Mini News Round-Up. Let It Snow…

December 27, 2010

I raced the blizzard back here to Boston and made it in the nick of time. It’s a mess out there and I am procrastinating going and shoveling the cars and the porch/walkway out. I hate shoveling but for some reason I always get shoveling duty. And so it goes.

There’s not a lot of Hillary news so this is sort of a Secretary of State/foreign policy news round-up. Feel free to drop links in the comments of any interesting news stories. It’s the end of the year so naturally it’s time for the beltway chattering classes to start their “Year in Review” news stories. I hope they include in their reviews how wrong they were about the role that Secretary of State Clinton would play in shaping Obama’s foreign policy. Remember the whole “Hillary in the Shadows” nonsense started by the Politico and Daily Beast crowd? So much for that. But being a pundit journalist means never having to say you’re sorry. Or that you were wrong.

So, some things in the news today:

~South Korea gets the award for the most patient ally ever. After being provoked almost non-stop by the Paranoid Kingdom (N. Korea) they refuse to be baited into responding in kind and starting another Korean War. No thanks to our great ally China. [/snark]

~I think this is really important- in the comment section of this blog a while back a conversation took place regarding whether the US media (read: NY Times, WaPo) was cherry picking WikiLeaks stories for political reasons. Mainly, some people, including myself, took issue with the obsessive focus on Iran despite the fact that it really isn’t all that surprising that many Arab states want the US to do the heavy lifting in the region because Iranian hegemony is contrary to their own interests. Noticeably absent from the coverage of WikiLeaks was the effect Israel’s intransigence and the ongoing Mideast peace impasse was having on the US’ image abroad and in the Arab world. Well, guess what? It turns out, according to Julian Assange, he has a bunch of documents on Israel which he tried to get published but the US and western media were not interesting in publishing them. Let me say that again: the US media was more than willing to publish dirt on their own government, but not that of Israel. If this is true, and this info. comes directly from Assange during an interview he gave, can we finally put to rest the ridiculous notion that the US media isn’t totally biased when it comes to reporting on anything having to do with Israel, to the detriment of US citizens? We have a right to be informed, we don’t need a Fifth Column pretending to be objective while spewing the usual one-sided propaganda. I’m not saying the media should be critical of Israel. That’s not their job. Their job is to report objectively on all aspects of Mideast politics and it simply isn’t happening.

~In other Israel news, Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman gave a speech where he mocked Bibi Netanyahu’s peace plan, called Turkey’s leaders “liars” and called the Palestinian Authority an “illegitimate” government. Merry Christmas! If Israel wonders why more and more allies are starting to question it’s policies and it’s behavior, perhaps it should look inward at leaders like Lieberman who do more to harm Israel’s image than any critic of Israel ever could. All this talk of “delegitimization” misses the point and is just a lame attempt at placing blame elsewhere. Israel’s own words and actions of late threaten to delegitimize it more than any vocal criticism could. It’s time for Israel to man up and take some responsibility for itself.

~Some Korean paper is saying Bill Richardson is likely to be the next Secretary of State should Hillary choose to leave the position. Their sourcing is non-existent so this could just be circumstantial rumor. I personally think it would be a stupid choice. It helps to have someone with some gravitas and I’m sorry, Richardson just doesn’t have that. Even John Kerry would be better and I’m not a huge Kerry fan.

~Robert Gibbs says no big changes in Obama’s Cabinet in the new year. Here’s my advice- he needs to shake up his political team because they clearly live inside an Obama-worshipping bubble and their messaging just sucks. George Bush made the mistake of surrounding himself with like-minded loyalists and Obama seems to be doing the exact same thing.

~In a move I feared was coming, the Madame Secretary blog over at the wonderful site is closing. That’s a bummer because that site as a whole gets tons of traffic. It’s a must read for any foreign policy wonk. Thanks to Preeti for keeping it going while she did and also thanks for the shout out she gave this site.

~Right before the holiday the UN passed a U.S.-sponsored measure condemning the extrajudicial killing/execution of LGBT persons. Ironically, the U.S. abstained from voting on its own measure, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me but which apparently have nothing to do with the LGBT issue.

~Why is the U.S. government harassing U.S. citizens who visit Palestine/the Occupied Territories?Afraid they might see the truth?

View from my window:

I can’t put it off any longer, I have to go shovel out.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. HillaryFan permalink
    December 27, 2010 2:06 pm

    Welcome back! Glad you got back to Boston safely. That’s too bad about Preeti’s blog but honestly, she hadn’t really been keeping up with it. I don’t mean to be critical because I know she’s an editor over there but I’m not at all surprised the blog is closing down.

  2. Thain permalink
    December 27, 2010 2:24 pm

    Woo hoo, Stacy’s back! Hope you had a good holiday!

    As for your link to the Assange/Israel story- wow! As if that isn’t bad enough, the MSM is also making sure they don’t cover what he said in the interview to AJ- of course they wouldn’t cover it because it would reveal their own bias. It was totally obvious that the media was pursuing its own agenda with the coverage of the WikiLeaks cables we just didn’t have proof that they were playing the role of Israel’s poodle until now. No wonder about 90% of Americans think the Palestinian Authority won’t recognize Israel and no wonder they don’t know that the whole Arab League agreed to sign peace treaties with Israel and totally normalize relations if Israel would withdraw to the 1967 borders as recognized by international law. But hey, we can’t let the American taxpayer know that or else they/we may start to think maybe Israel prefers land grabs to peace. We also might start to think that all the tough talk about Iran is a tad disingenuous given that if Israel really wants peace and security, they could abide by international law, go back to the 1967 borders and isolate Iran by signing treaties with the nations in the Arab League. But no, they’d rather play the victim, get billions in guilt money from the US, have the US bomb Iran for them, continue to grab land and blame everyone else for all of their problems. And God forbid anyone points that out because then Abe Foxman gets very, very mad!

    • Steve permalink
      December 27, 2010 2:46 pm

      Hey Stacy, thanks for the links. I usually check over at Mondoweiss but totally missed that info. about the Assange interview saying he couldn’t find any takers for his Israel info. Is anyone really surprised?

      Here’s another example:

      There was some Israel-Palestinian info. in the cables that was ignored by the media. That was sort of the point of what some of us were saying regarding Iran- not that the info. on Iran didn’t matter but that it seemed to be hyped up a bit while info. about Israel is always played down, at least if its unflattering.

      Given that the NYT went to the administration to vet which info it could safely publish you have to wonder if the NYT is serving more as a propaganda pusher, kind of like they were during the run up to the Iraq War. Clearly the info. about Iran helps the administration and how convenient that it’s that information that received the most coverage. Again, it’s not that its not important but out of hundreds of thousands of documents you’d think they could maybe cover more than a couple of topics.

  3. December 27, 2010 4:33 pm

    Nothing the NY Times does surprises me when it comes to their biases. But I was surprised that other non-US media that received data from WikiLeaks, like the Guardian and der Spiegel, must have been colluding. That is eye-opening to hear, especially about the Guardian.

    And welcome back!

  4. PYW permalink
    December 27, 2010 4:42 pm

    stacy, I agree totally that Richardson would be a poor choice as SoS.

  5. Rick Evans permalink
    December 27, 2010 4:55 pm

    I disagree with your assessment of Richardson. I’m no fan of Richardson, but he is without a doubt the most logical choice for Secretary of State after the passing of Holbrooke. Richardson has the gravitas within the diplomatic community. It’s not like he is some random bloke plucked out because of his political loyalties. Richardson is an established and skilled negotiator and has demonstrated his skills with our adversaries. I think Richardson is a great choice if Clinton chooses to leave (BTW, this is a ridiculous rumor).

    • December 27, 2010 5:04 pm

      Yes, it is a ridiculous rumor and I pointed out in my post that there was no sourcing and it was totally circumstantial. The rumor is likely fueled by his recent trip to North Korea. But, given rumors about Cabinet posts are something of a parlor game in Washington, I thought it was worth mentioning, if for no other reason than to see what people thought of Richardson as a choice.

      I know Richardson has some diplomatic experience given his role in the UN during the Clinton years but I’m not really sure that that alone makes him necessarily the best choice. I guess it doesn’t make him the worst choice either. I guess I’m just not sure what makes you think he has so much gravitas among the diplomatic community or internationally? I think the position of SOS is one of the most important Cabinet positions because that person becomes the public face of US foreign policy and when I think of that I just don’t think of Bill Richardson.

      • Rick Evans permalink
        December 28, 2010 3:42 pm

        Whether or not Richardson is a good choice for SoS, it would be very difficult getting him through the Senate.

  6. ads permalink
    December 27, 2010 5:16 pm

    Sorry to intervene but according to CNN: White House Laughs Off Rumors Of Hillary Clinton Being Replaced..

    • December 27, 2010 5:21 pm


      I think the speculation revolves around the fact that she said a while ago that she might not serve out a second term as SOS and Richardson just got back from N. Korea. There were also rumors not long ago that she might replace Secy Gates when he left. I don’t put much stock in those rumors either. I think all this talk is to be expected as we enter a new year but I certainly hope she isn’t planning on leaving the State Dept. any time soon because I think she is a fantastic Secy of State. I think if Obama gets a second term (a big if at this point) and she wanted to stay on I am sure Obama would be thrilled because I think he realizes what an asset she is.

  7. mimit permalink
    December 29, 2010 1:36 pm

    Welcome home Stacy! I am glad to know you are well enough to shovel too.

    I think Richardson is seeking the post of SOS as soon as it is available. That had been the cabinet position he though Obama would offer him, after Richardson not so subtly switched his support to Obama’s candidacy. This is a show of not so subtle manipulation and pressure on the WH. I also think he would be a very poor choice to take over what Hillary has worked so hard to build. I do not see him as competent or qualified.

    • December 29, 2010 2:24 pm

      Thank you! Good to be back. I’m a bit bummed about the lack of State Dept. news but am glad Hillary may be able to do her work from NY instead of Washington. She travels to Brazil the 31st or 1st.

      I’m just not a Richardson fan. Also, I don’t think she’s stepping down from her position as SOS any time soon.

  8. December 29, 2010 2:00 pm

    Wasn’t Richardson an early candidate for the presidency himself in ’08? I had expected him to be a competent, strong candidate. I don’t recall specifics, but I remember he really struggled and didn’t come across well. It was surprising to me considering all the positive press he used to get.

    So I don’t assume Richardson would be a strong SOS. Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn’t. I presume the SOS job is Hillary’s if she wants to keep it.

  9. GeorgeS permalink
    December 31, 2010 1:24 pm

    Thanks for covering the stuff no one else does stacy- that assange information answers a lot of questions I’ ve had about why the pro-Israel media here in the US has been yapping on about Iran but not saying a word about Israel in any of these cables. So it turns out the hasbara NYT didnt want to publish embarrassing things about Israel. Or was it that the state dept. didn’t want the Hasbara Times publishing embarrassing things about Israel.

    Who the f*ck is the super power here? When is the US going to remind Israel that they are our client state? Enough already. I hate to say it but it’s time for Hillary to remember she’s not the junior Senator from NY and start standing up for US interests and telling Israel if they don’t get their act together she’ll make sure we abstain on the next few UN resolutions rightfully condemning Israel.

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