Hillary Clinton has been in Europe for a few days, conducting diplomacy. In my view, her performance has been less than impressive. Reuters, a friendly source, described her as “tongue-tied,” but that was the least of it. Before getting to the diplomatic gaffes, however, let’s note this:
Clinton told young Europeans at the European Parliament that global economic turmoil provided a fresh opening. “Never waste a good crisis … Don’t waste it when it can have a very positive impact on climate change and energy security,” she said.
When Rahm Emanuel made his notorious “never let a crisis go to waste” comment, I assumed it was one of those occasions when a politician inadvertently told the truth, and that Emanuel would be taken to the woodshed by his boss. But no! The Obama administration proudly proclaims that it is exploiting the fear caused by the current economic crisis to advance its partisan agenda. Many others have made this point, but it is worth repeating: the Democrats accused the Bush administration, falsely, of doing exactly that after 9/11. And now they gleefully tell us that this is precisely their own strategy.
Now on to Clinton’s performance as a diplomat. In the same speech where she vowed to manipulate the nation’s economic problems for partisan ends, Clinton groveled on the subject of “climate change:”
“Certainly the United States has been negligent in living up to its responsibilities,” said Clinton, on her first visit to Europe as secretary of state.
This “admission” is false on several counts. First, the anthropogenic global warming theory, from a scientific perspective, is a bad joke. Most people have figured out that it is politicians, not scientists, who push the AGW theory not because it is good science, but because it is a means to an end–a government power grab. Second, to the extent that anyone cares about carbon dioxide emissions, the record of the United States is no worse than Europe’s, maybe better.
But more fundamentally: what is the purpose of this kind of apology? What good can it possibly do–for the United States, not for Hillary Clinton? When is the last time a European official came to the U.S. and groveled in a similar fashion, accusing his or her own country’s prior administration of “negligence?” Our Secretary of State is supposed to represent us, not sell us out.
More of the same followed when Clinton gave an interview to the BBC:
QUESTION: I’m not sure where your open hand policy leads. Clearly, listening impresses people, people like being consulted, but does it lead to a different sort of American foreign policy?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it already has. I think that the reaction that I have received here in Europe is wiping away a lot of the both misunderstandings and very difficult discussions that we had with our European friends.
QUESTION: There’s already a different relationship.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Very different. There’s an openness. Nobody’s editing their words or worrying about the impact that saying, “Well, I don’t agree with that” might have. I have invited that kind of debate. I don’t think that you get the best out of friends and partners by trying to direct the debate and saying this is what we believe and you’d better believe it. That’s not going to work.
This is a pitifully stupid version of the Bush administration’s foreign policy, but beyond that, what’s the point? How is it in America’s interest for our current Secretary of State to trash her predecessor? Isn’t this an absurdly ineffective way to conduct diplomacy? The interview continues:
QUESTION: But the aim of American foreign policy remains the same, doesn’t it? You’re talking about different methods rather than —
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I don’t think so. Take what we were just speaking about. I think there was a rather confrontational approach toward Russia in the prior administration. How much that contributed to Russian behavior, I think, is a legitimate question to ask.
This is simply outrageous. Hillary Clinton is suggesting that it is the Bush administration’s fault that–for example–Russia invaded Georgia. This is false; worse, it is dumb. With such ill-considered “admissions,” Clinton takes Russia off the hook. The logical implication of her remarks is that the United States should make concessions, to make up for our prior “confrontational approach” that “contributed to Russian behavior,” in order to cultivate Russia’s good will. From the point of view of American interests, this seems obviously counterproductive.
Based on the evidence so far, it appears that Hillary Clinton is more concerned with her own popularity among European officials than she is about advancing American interests. So far, she’s achieving her personal goal quite nicely:
Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering was effusive in his praise, saying that with the new administration, the United States and Europe once again “share the same values.”
“What you said mostly could have been said by a European,” he told Clinton….
But if Clinton continues to put her own popularity abroad over her country’s interests, she will be a lousy Secretary of State.
PAUL adds: Watch the video below and see if you agree with me that the most fundamentally embarrassing part of Hillary Clinton’s imfamous photo op with the Russian foreign minister occurs at the beginning, when she pulls out the gizmo as a cutesy way of begging the Russians to forgive us, not at the end when the translation error is revealed.
To comment on this post, go here.