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Hillarys Foreign Policy Experience Comes Down To A Speech?

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ariesgem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:13 AM
Original message
From: Baratunde Thurston, Good Crime Think


Hillary has been blasting Obama, claiming his foreign policy credentials come down to a speech he gave in 2002 in opposition to the Iraq war. In the process, she has elevated and allied herself with John McCain, an extraordinary move for someone who wants to be the Democratic nominee.

So what is Hillary Clintons foreign policy experience? The Chicago Tribune has written a story focusing on her primary claims of influence.

1. That she helped bring peace to Northern Ireland by involving womens groups.

Verdict: nah.

But her involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process was primarily to encourage activism among womens groups there, a contribution that the lead U.S. negotiator described as helpful but that an Irish historian who has written extensively about the conflict dismissed as ancillary to the peace process.

2. That she advocated for use of US military force in Rwanda

Verdict: nope.

Whatever her private conversations with the president may have been, key foreign policy officials say that a U.S. military intervention in Rwanda was never considered in the Clinton administrations policy deliberations. Despite lengthy memoirs by both Clintons and former Secretary of State and UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright, any advice she gave on Rwanda had not been mentioned until her presidential campaign.

3. That she negotiated with Macedonia to open up its border to refugees from Kosovo.

Verdict: uh uh.

The Macedonian government opened its border to refugees the day before Clinton arrived to meet with government leaders. And her mission to Bosnia was a one-day visit in which she was accompanied by performers Sheryl Crow and Sinbad, as well as her daughter, Chelsea, according to the commanding general who hosted her.

4. That she delivered a speech at the United Nations womens conference in Beijing with a strong demand for womens rights.

Verdict: yes

In the years since, I have met many women from many places who tell me they were at Beijing, or had friends who were, or who were inspired by the conference to launch initiatives, Albright wrote in her 2003 memoir.

The speech might never have happened if the first lady had not pressed for it, said one former Clinton administration official sympathetic to her candidacy who traveled with her and Albright to Beijing. The administration was conflicted about whether Hillary Clinton should go to Beijing at all because of the regimes record on human rights.

Yet she was determined to go and was convinced that her going would send a very strong signal of support for human rights, said the official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named. Everyone at the end of the process almost certainly would have said, How could we be so foolish to question the wisdom of the trip?

Still, Rice questioned whether that trip amounted to the kind of preparation for a global crisis that Clinton has claimed.

How does going to Beijing and giving a speech show crisis management? There was no crisis. And there was nothing to manage, Rice said.


So lets just review. Hillary has claimed she is vastly more prepared to lead America in a foreign crisis than Barack Obama, whose only legitimate claim is a speech. When asked, she cites four incidents. Three of these are unsubstantiated, which is my fancy, college-educated way of saying bullshit. The one remaining claim that may be valid is actually a speech? A speech that inspired people? Youve got to be kidding me.

So when Barack Obama speaks, its words without substance, but when Hillary Clinton speaks, its highly relevant foreign policy experience so valuable that it prepares her to manage an international crisis.

She needs to be consistent. Either words matter or they dont. I think they do. I think words matter when they are used to exaggerate the role you played in your husbands administration. I think words matter when they are used to fan the flames of racial and religious bigotry. I think words matter when they are used to undermine the likely nominee of what you claim is your political party.


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JimGinPA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:17 AM
Response to Original message
1. Kind Of Funny Huh?
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not_too_L8 Donating Member (757 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #1
11. Hillary has a speech
Edited on Sun Mar-09-08 08:22 AM by not_too_L8 winner:

Hillary Clinton's 'silly' Irish peace claims
By Toby Harnden in Washington
Last Updated: 9:30am GMT 08/03/2008Page 1 of 2

Hillary Clinton had no direct role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland and is a "wee bit silly" for exaggerating the part she played, according to Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former First Minister of the province.

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Kittycat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:36 AM
Response to Original message
2. Once again, projecting her shortfalls on to her opponent in order to
build herself up.
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1776Forever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:03 AM
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3. Thank you for posting - Let's get real people! Stop the lying Hillary!

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Brundle_Fly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:04 AM
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4. Do you mean to imply that Hillary is Lying?!?!

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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:06 AM
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5. I'd say Hillary is a pathetic joke but her bullshit is tearing our nominee down.
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Unbowed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:10 AM
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6. And a mundane one at that.
Perhaps her animosity toward Obama stems from the fact that she gives a speech that sounds more like the raspy growls and strains of a tractor pull, than it does a symphony in inspiration.
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ariesgem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:01 PM
Response to Original message
7. Kick!
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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:10 PM
Response to Original message
8. Wait just a cotton-pickin' minute. Here's a pic of Hillary leading a group of elite diplomats...
in song. Cheryl Crow, Sindbad in the House! What do you think they're singing? "Walking on Sunshine"?

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not_too_L8 Donating Member (757 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 07:36 AM
Response to Original message
9. nice k&r
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 07:52 AM
Response to Original message
10. And, her advocacy abroad STILL trumps Obama's ONE speech
. . . that he's used as his defense against the experience question. Apparently, he wants us to credit him for his 'judgment' in giving a speech with absolutely no responsibility or consequences attached.

Hillary Clinton is the first New York senator to sit on the Armed Services Committee, where she has focused on improving pay and benefits for troops, both active and reserve. New York has the fourth-largest number of servicemen and women deployed in Iraq. Clinton visited Iraq in February in a much-publicized trip with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

She introduced legislation last month to boost the Army by 80,000 soldiers over the next four years.

She has co-sponsored bills to improve military health benefits with GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jim Talent of Missouri. "I think that generally her work on the (Armed Services) committee has been very strong," Talent says.

She was nominated by the Pentagon with which her husband often had contentious relations, particularly on gays in the military to serve on a blue-ribbon panel studying how to foster better cooperation among the military services.

Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, named Clinton to the "Transformation Advisory Group." Clinton returned the favor last month by introducing him at the Armed Services hearing on his nomination to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Clinton says a combination of factors prompted her to make national security a key focus in the Senate: a long-standing interest in military and foreign policy issues, the fact that New York City was attacked on Sept. 11.

As first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton . . .

. . . jaw-boned the authoritarian president of Uzbekistan to leave his car and shake hands with people. She argued with the Czech prime minister about democracy. She cajoled Roman Catholic and Protestant women to talk to one another in Northern Ireland. She traveled to 79 countries in total, little of it leisure; one meeting with mutilated Rwandan refugees so unsettled her that she threw up afterward . . .

Her role mostly involved what diplomats call soft power converting cold war foes into friends, supporting nonprofit work and good-will endeavors, and pressing her agenda on womens rights, human trafficking and the expanded use of microcredits, tiny loans to help individuals in poor countries start small businesses.

Asked to name three major foreign policy decisions where she played a decisive role as first lady, Mrs. Clinton responded in generalities more than specifics, describing her strategic roles on trips to Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, India, Africa and Latin America.

Asked to cite a significant foreign policy object lesson from the 1990s, Mrs. Clinton also replied with broad observations. There are a lot of them, she said. The whole unfortunate experience weve had with the Bush administration, where they havent done what weve needed to do to reach out to the rest of the world, reinforces my experience in the 1990s that public diplomacy, showing respect and understanding of peoples different perspectives its more likely to at least create the conditions where we can exercise our values and pursue our interests.


. . .this is just what's been described by Sen. Clinton and her supporters. Not a major role in foreign policy as First Lady, but not the lack of significant experience her critics claim either. Certainly more foreign policy experience than Obama.

Couple that behind-the-scenes-of-the-Clinton-presidency experience with her present seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and her term as Senator and you have a pretty healthy resume. (Not to mention those contacts she made overseas during that period and beyond)
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