Monday, August 17, 2009
Personal Asides: Thoughts While ShavingHillary Obamas Boxed in with Afghanistan is Ironic Justice `Cause Its His Own Doing.
The Downgrading of Hillary Clinton.
Its now apparent to Hillary Clinton as it was to me early (if I may say so) that her becoming secretary of state was a blunder big-time. Last week showed the consequences and her exasperation with her being in a dead-end job with no upside. She thought taking the first-ranking cabinet job would add to her credentials for a future presidential run (future age means nothing to a presidential-seeking addict). Wrongo. It has diminished her credentials. Here at a very momentous time for foreign policy you have Obama giving speeches in major world capitals i.e. Cairo, Richard Holbrooke topmost on Afghanistan and Pakistan which are the source of our troubles in Asia. George Mitchell is in charge of the Middle East, David Patraeus running Afghanistan and Raymond Odierno running Iraq. And where is Hillary, the secretary of state?
She was supposed to become the female Metternich. And where does she end up? In the Congo! Very low on the priority of issues affecting the United States. But shes there: dancing with the natives and hating it. Chasing around seven countries in Africa in eleven days. Very little consequent press. Sure, her ratings are higher than Obamas now but thats because she hasnt done anythingand she knows it.
Not only that, who got Super-bowl press for getting the two journalists out of North Korea? Her husband. Then who went to Las Vegas to celebrate his birthday? Her husband! Will he be a Buddhist monk in that environment? To top it off, shes at a public forum with the cameras on and a kid asks her what her husband thinks on a foreign policy issue. Can you blame her for blowing her top? A large part of it is her feminism. Whos running things? Men! Including her husband (whose negotiation with North Korea was a disaster but whos astute enough to know that by sending an ex-president to confer with the president of North Korea, he got a major concession for the paltry release of two women journalists who worked for that good-for-nothing Al Gores TV outfit).
She should have stayed in the Senate where she could have continued playing an important broker role not getting too close to Obama who now is courting disaster but still once in a while rallying his aid. Obamas going to go down and no one not Hillary or anyone else will survive having been a cabinet officer on his ship. Big mistake.
Obamas Campaign Stunt Bites Him Now.
In the campaign, Obama called Iraq a mistake and was so intransigent about it that he resisted calling the Surge a success, even after other liberals grudgingly did so. That goes with that Koran-stricture that you never concede a thing to your enemy. But he had to show some resolve somewhere and none other than David Axelrod urged him to exert toughness on Afghanistan and say that in contrast to the Iraq debacle, Afghanistan is where we should hold firm. Sounded good in the 2008 campaign because it showed that he was in fact a hard-liner somewhere instead of just a wimp on everything.
But that decision has come back to bite him now that he is president. Why? Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U. S. commander, wants many more troops there than he has hinted at but has been throttled into silence. Now hes preparing a report of the situation on the ground there which will tell Obama how many troops are going to be needed to achieve the victory Obama forecast in his speech last March. One of McChrystals advisers, Anthony Cortisman from Georgetown has said that we need between 15,000 and 45.000 more to add to the 21,000 additional that Obama has called for.
Obamas dilemma: in 2008, he said Afghanistan was the good war and it is vital to U. S. interests for us to succeed there and if hes not willing to escalate the number of troops his military people are calling for, it looks like hes willing to lose there. Hes already fumbled by seeming to rule out victory in his words. Nothing like sending a kid of yours to fight for the U.S. in Afghanistan and have the commander-in-chief say victory is not an option.
And thats what I thought while shaving this morning.