Mini News Round-Up. Let It Snow…
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 ForeignPolicy.com 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.