The Hillary-Boeing-Russia triangle

We will, I suspect, be reading other stories about Hillary Clinton like this one, if the mainstream media is willing to pursue them. From today’s Washington Post, under the headline “For Clinton and Boeing, a beneficial relationship”:

On a trip to Moscow early in her tenure as secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton played the role of international saleswoman, pressing Russian government officials to sign a multibillion-dollar deal to buy dozens of aircraft from Boeing.

A month later, Clinton was in China, where she jubilantly announced that the aerospace giant would be writing a generous check to help resuscitate floundering U.S. efforts to host a pavilion at the upcoming World’s Fair.

Boeing, she said, “has just agreed to double its contribution to $2 million.”

Clinton did not point out that, to secure the donation, the State Department had set aside ethics guidelines that first prohibited solicitations of Boeing and then later permitted only a $1 million gift from the company. Boeing had been included on a list of firms to be avoided because of its frequent reliance on the government for help negotiating overseas business and concern that a donation could be seen as an attempt to curry favor with U.S. officials.

The Post’s Rosalind Helderman doesn’t pull her punches. She writes: “Clinton functioned as a powerful ally for Boeing’s business interests at home and abroad, while Boeing has invested resources in causes beneficial to Clinton’s public and political image.” How so?

Boeing’s largesse on behalf of the U.S. pavilion at the Shanghai expo was helpful to Clinton at a critical moment as she made it her priority to woo support from corporations to revive the American presence at the event.

She was widely credited with orchestrating a turnaround, and the can-do image she cultivated as secretary of state has contributed to her status as a Democratic front-runner ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign.

In addition:

In 2010, two months after Boeing won its $3.7 billion Russia deal, the company announced a $900,000 contribution to the William J. Clinton Foundation intended to rebuild schools in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. The foundation, which Hillary Clinton now helps lead with her husband and daughter, has become a popular charity for major corporations.

And, inevitably:

The company’s ties came into play again this month when its in-house lobbyist, former Bill Clinton aide Tim Keating, co-hosted a fundraiser for Ready for Hillary, the super PAC backing her potential presidential run.

The Post doesn’t speculate about the concessions, if any, Clinton made to Russia on behalf of the United States in exchange for the Boeing purchase. However, given the one-sided Obama-Clinton “reset” of relations with Russia, such speculation may not be untoward. Ed Morrissey writes:

The jet deal took place in November 2009. Notably, this was several months after the “reset button” fiasco with Sergei Lavrov that all but shrugged off efforts by the previous administration to get tough with Moscow after the invasion of Georgia in the summer of 2008. The Post’s Rosalind Helderman mentions this deal as the Obama administration’s “enticing symbol” of their diplomatic “reset.”

What isn’t mentioned in this piece was the cancellation of the US missile shield program with Poland and the Czech Republic two months earlier than the Boeing sale. Russia had long opposed the missile-shield program in eastern Europe, pushed by the Bush administration as a response to Iranian development of both its missile and nuclear-weapons programs. At the time, no one could quite figure out what we got in trade for this retreat. Now it appears all we got was a sale of some commercial airliners to Aeroflot.

That’s not a beneficial trade for the United States. But it’s a pretty good deal for Hillary Clinton.

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