• It’s Us: Hillary Clinton’s Legacy

    January 7, 2013

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Iran, Iraq, Libya

    With the start of a new year, it seems pretty common to sort of reflect forward, especially if you’re still drinking and on the sofa a week into 2013. I can’t help but come to the conclusion that the problem seems to be, well, us.

    This blog has documented concerns about Hillary Clinton as a leader. Highlights include her glee over the death of a world leader (Qaddafi) overthrown without real point by the U.S. (a decision that coupled with the lack of leadership within her State Department led directly to the unnecessary deaths of Americans), that lack of leadership thing within her State Department led directly to the unnecessary deaths of Americans, her often trite and casual traveling about as if miles logged had some greater meaning and so forth. Most recently, her serial health problems (flu –> dehydration –> concussion –> head clot), real or not, have had the direct result of her not speaking a public word about a significant event on her watch, Benghazi. She is fully absent on critical issues, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, either hiding from bad PR or, more likely, sidelined by a White House that prefers her on the sidelines as it makes its own foreign policy around her happy-talk travels.

    On the plus side of the slate, her accomplishments after four years as Secretary of State are… Well, let’s let others catalog her accomplishments.

    TIME

    Time magazine (Slogan: Yes, we’re still publishing) writes from a favorable perch:

    Eight months before her self-imposed retirement, Clinton is piling up awards and accolades faster than clear-cut achievements. She hasn’t done anything as momentous as opening the door to China like Henry Kissinger or assembling the first Gulf War coalition like James Baker. Still, the liberation of Libya, establishment of diplomatic ties with Burma and the assembly of a coalition against Iran bear her imprimatur.


    Kinda thin, huh? I think I’ve said what needs to be said about Libya. Opening relations with Burma is not a bad thing, but it isn’t much of a thing. Not sure what that coalition against Iran is all about, and there is a lot more history to be written about the U.S. and Iran before anyone can claim anything like credit (or blame. The U.S. has declared war on Iran conducting diplomacy.)

    Time keeps trying, however, to find something Hillary has accomplished. To wit:

    Clinton’s endurance is legendary. She maintained a punishing 18-plus-hour-a-day schedule on her weeklong swing from Libya to Central and South Asia. At the end of her day in New York City last September, with its endless one-on-one meetings, public appearances and forums, Clinton sat down in a closed session with the 27 E.U. Foreign Ministers and listened as each aired opinions on U.S. foreign policy. Even as glazed looks settled over her staff, Clinton retained an easy and relaxed demeanor, speaking off the cuff and calmly responding to bitter criticism of the U.S.’s veto threat against a vote on Palestinian statehood.


    To wit, OK, she’s a hard worker, again, not a bad thing but so what? And of course buried in the goofy praise above is the note that the U.S. stands in a tiny minority blocking Palestinian statehood at the UN as if that was an accomplishment.

    USA Today

    USA Today digs deep and finds only:

    Clinton convinced Chinese leaders to free blind dissident Chen Guangcheng.


    A) About a third of you are Googling to find out who Chen Guang Cheng is and B) The other two-thirds are wondering so what? Chen has been living in New York City for most of the year and nothing has changed anywhere in China, America or New York.

    USA Today continues:

    If there’s a signature moment, I suppose it might be this: Mrs. Clinton got her first taste of high-wire negotiating last October in Zurich when she headed off a last-minute dispute that nearly scuttled an agreement between Turkey and Armenia on normalizing diplomatic relations. Sitting in a black BMW limousine, she juggled two cellphones, slowly nudging two ancient enemies together, if only temporarily.


    Sure, we all heard about that and it is being taught now in schools. Huh? What was resolved? What problem was fixed where?

    The Horse’s Mouth

    Let’s go to the horse’s mouth, so to speak, and quote Hillary Herself, from a speech summing up her own version of accomplishments:

    …hosting town halls with global youth, raising awareness for religious minorities, protecting Internet freedom and advancing rights for women and the LGBT community around the world.


    OK, I guess, kinda hard to quantify, kinda hard to see as much more than self-promotion, but then again, here’s that travel thing again:

    “Somebody said to me the other day, ‘I look at your travel schedule. Why Togo? Why the Cook Islands?’ No secretary of state had ever been to Togo before. Togo happens to be on the U.N. Security Council. Going there, making the personal investment, has a real strategic purpose.”


    With a lovely sense of irony, Hillary’s own “I Love Me” pages at the State Department’s own website list no heading for “accomplishments” or the like.

    PolicyMic

    PolicyMic lists the Top Five Clinton Accomplishments as People-to-People Diplomacy, The Importance of Economics, Restoring American Credibility, Diplomacy is National Security and, somewhat amazingly, “Texts From Hillary,” which the site tell us “Her star power and ability to capture the imagination of individuals around the world is one noteworthy aspect of her success.”

    That same web site, which no doubt must also feature Twilight fan fiction somewhere, also reports this from an alternate universe:

    Surely, the cornerstone of her legacy is the Arab Spring. Here, Clinton’s handling of the immense challenges associated with the revolutions across the Arab world was mixed. On one hand, she has done a good job at letting protesters do their work. Initially, the United States remained on the side lines, and allowed those on the street to take the reins in demanding their basic rights and dignity. Though, of course, the U.S. eventually stepped in later (most forcefully in Libya), it’s admirable that she was able to sympathize with the aspirations of protesters, rather than upholding the status quo and supporting the authoritarian regimes that the U.S. had previously defended .


    Foreign Policy

    Foreign Policy’s Stephen Walt starts somewhat ironically with a quote from the New York Times Magazine referring to Hillary as a “rock star diplomat,” and quotes Google chairman Eric Schmidt calling her “the most significant Secretary of State since Dean Acheson.” Walt then goes on to damn with faint praise Hillary’s legacy accomplishments as:

    There’s no question that Clinton has been terrifically energetic, as well as a loyal team player… She’s also proved to be relatively gaffe-free. Insiders with whom I’ve spoken say she is an excellent boss who elicits considerable loyalty from those around her. And as the Times piece notes, she’s helped restore the somewhat battered morale of the foreign service, and used her celebrity to raise public awareness on a number of signature issues.


    But We Love Her

    I just can’t find anything that Hillary Clinton did in four years as Secretary of State that stands out as a legacy, an accomplishment, like say a Marshall Plan, or ending a war we didn’t start, or saving something or advancing peace in the Middle East or opening relations with China to forever change the balance of power in the Cold War.

    Anything? This blog is open to a guest post citing Hillary’s accomplishments, or you may post links in the Comments. This shall be an ongoing, open invitation between now and election day 2016. Instead, Hillary chose to conduct herself as a figurehead, a minor celebrity, traveling around championing feel-good causes and goofy social media hijinks like a chunky Angelia Jolie. She should not look for legacy now.

    But… but… we love Hillary. She has this year set a record in Gallup’s annual most-admired survey. Gallup has run its most-admired man and woman survey since World War II, and in the 2012 edition, Clinton kept her top positions among those asked a simple question: “What man that you have heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most? And who is your second choice?” Clinton was named as most-admired woman for the 17th time since she became a national figure in 1992. Eleanor Roosevelt held the previous record when she was named 13 times as the most-admired woman. The only two women to finish ahead of Clinton in that 20-year period were Mother Teresa (twice) and Laura Bush (once). This year Clinton had 21 percent of the vote, followed by Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Condoleezza Rice. Clinton dominates polling for the democratic nomination for 2016.

    America, it is us. We elevate to heights mediocre people pretending to be leaders who actually accomplish little or nothing. We allow them to use high office for self-promotion, and we swill like ignorant pigs the empty praise of dimwitted media. For example, Petraeus– history shows he failed in Iraq, yet absent a sex scandal he’d be in line for the presidency. Hillary isn’t a leader in any stretch of imagination. She possesses no substance. She is a reality show many Americans seem to enjoy, projecting their own ideas about women’s empowerment and modern social media onto her willing shell. We deserve all that we get– and are going to get– enroute to 2016.



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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      On her watch State got rid of that pain-in-the-ass Van Buren, sending a clear message to the munchins the Flying Monkeys will strike fear if they dare utter the truth.

      01/7/13 3:42 PM | Comment Link

    • Mr. Shea Brown said...

      2

      Something tells me we have not heard the last of Hillary.

      01/7/13 4:46 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      3

      Something tells me we have not heard the truth from Hillary.

      There…fixed it.

      01/7/13 5:41 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      4

      In regards to Hillary’s accomplishments..I’d submit she has really carried the ball forward from 1961, given her outstanding diplomatic skills and the USG attempt to set exemplary example to successfully sustain the momentum of our mission goal. Yesereeebob..50 years of saying..see..we walk the talk.

      http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ERC/arms/freedom_war.html

      not.
      dang. Shoulda bought a 15 cent Mcdonald’s hamburger instead. sheeeze..that pesky hindsight is so annoying.

      01/7/13 5:54 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      5

      Rich said…quote:”On her watch State got rid of that pain-in-the-ass Van Buren,” … yet gained the benefit of Hillary’s exponentially.

      There..fixed that one too. hey,
      I’m gonna have to start charging pretty quick.

      :)

      01/7/13 6:09 PM | Comment Link

    • Lafcadio said...

      6

      She does have one significant accomplishment.

      She is not Condoleeza Rice.

      Anybody who succeeded that dumb fuck/non-entity would look good.

      Actually, you could say the same for the whole Obama administration.

      01/8/13 1:01 AM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...

      7

      Yes, Peter — mediocrity is us, and our pandering media encourages us to project our egos ever absurdly outward; no holds barred.

      I’m with Lafcadio — Clinton is a zip, but she is not Rice. HOW could people choose these as the most excellent women? (Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Condoleezza Rice.) If this is all the distaff side has to offer, then we haven’t come a long way, baby.

      01/8/13 3:18 AM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...

      8

      p.s. —

      love the hagiographical image of Clinton … as good as anything @ the obamamessiah blog.

      01/8/13 3:20 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      9

      Accomplishment: Lower White House fees for carpet cleaning since she’s licked so many?

      01/8/13 5:19 AM | Comment Link

    • Lafcadio said...

      10

      One more thing: under the Bush/Obama administrations, the position itself has become even less important than it was in previous administrations. SecDef has been doing as much diplomacy as SecState.

      And Congress/thinktanks/ngo’s/mnc’s have also taken their share from a series of weak secretaries.

      01/8/13 10:41 AM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...

      11

      @ meloveconsul,

      Ah, but I love my non-p.c. straight up :)

      [We in the South refer to the "funny ladies" as "carpet crunchers", but I s'pose licking or munching will do, and I'm sure the art form employs many modalities.]

      Thinking of Burma and Hillary’s meet up with Aung San Suu Kyi, a remember feeling the crackle leap from off the wire photos, as Clinton stood in admiration, her hair pulled back in a copy-cat pony tail, Nehru shirt, ditto. And then some short time thereafter, it seemed Hillary wanted to be her own opposition-type leader, but she realized she was really a company person of the strictest sort.

      Hillary stopped wearing much makeup, which is what a feminist leader of her day might have done. But if she looked closely, she would realize that even the feminists do touch up (unless you’re Andrea Dworkin, and it worked for her agenda.)

      *sigh*. I’m not sexist, but I will finger when Affirmative Action fails. Using unqualified women as shills is a fail.

      01/8/13 5:14 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      12

      We might be in for some entertaining moments in a few weeks . Repubs have said they’ll make it hard for Obama to get some cabinet confirmations until Hillary speaks to them about Benghazi. Deals are being made right now to not have anything damning come out regarding our Libyan regime change folly. Get some party wine and cheese stored. It should be astoundingly bizarre.

      01/8/13 8:55 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      13

      January 22nd! Let’s see- over four months after the event. Not bad. PVB should do a live stream for all of us on his forums. “I came, I saw, I spun!” is my prediction.

      01/8/13 11:44 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      14

      01/9/13 7:10 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      15

      quote:” It should be astoundingly bizarre.” unquote

      Should? On a scale of 1 to 10, I do believe the last 2 months of USG REALITY-R-US is redlining the FUCKING BIZARRE-O-METER. Any thing else is pure icing on the Bizarre cake. Take a gander at Manning’s trial Judge’s ruling today. It redefines the word Bizarre.

      http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/01/08/judge-bradley-manning-punished-unlawfully-but-not-enough-to-warrant-more-than-weak-relief/#respond

      She read it for an hour and a half. NO written copy of the ruling was issued. Welcome to Amerika..land of the corrupt, home of the debased.

      01/9/13 4:52 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...

      16

      @meloveconsul,

      “The music of H. R. Haldeman and the Buck Passers” — oh, our merry band of pranksters, we.

      01/10/13 4:28 AM | Comment Link

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