Yes, the title of this piece is taken from Secretary Hillary Clinton’s response to Senator Ron Johnson at a January 23 a hearing on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya: “Was it because of a protest or is it because of guys out for a walk one night and they decide they go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?” We must ask, not only with respect to Benghazi but with respect to Clinton’s entire tenure as Secretary of State what difference she made. Why? Because, should she choose to run for president in 2016 – and there was no reason for her to issue a statement supporting same-sex marriage on March 18 unless she was considering running -- we can expect the media to experience chills down their legs and emote over her, as did President Obama in their joint interview on television on January 27, when he declared her to be “one of the finest secretaries of state we’ve had.”
Hillary Clinton: what difference did she make?
Besides the Benghazi Fiasco, Hillary Clinton leaves behind an entirely ambiguous legacy. But who is asking?
She left office with extraordinary approval ratings (69% vs 25% disapproval) When people are asked in 2016 for specifics about why they feel good about Clinton’s time as Secretary of State, they will not name any particular thing (just as they can’t now) and they will think that their failure to do so is simply a matter of not being able to recall them after a three years’ lapse. We must ask about specifics now. We must ask, like the character Marullus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, asked the crowd about its acclamation of Caesar: “Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?” (Act I, Scene 1)
How would you rate her compared to her immediate predecessors, Rice and Powell? Or some other predecessors such as Root, Stimson, Marshall, Baker, and Acheson? Was she one of our finest?
Can we say, for instance, that Clinton did anything during her tenure that commenced January 21, 2009, to justify the Nobel Peace Prize for Obama? The announcement of that award was made in October, 2009, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world free from nuclear weapons.” It is true, as former Senator Chuck Hagel said at his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense on January 31, that history will be the judge (in his case, of the surge in Iraq), but just as Senator McCain insisted at that hearing regarding Hagel, we must decide now as best we can how Secretary Clinton performed.
It is said that she had no signature achievement (as in the Marshall Plan) or “doctrine” (as in Monroe Doctrine or Powell Doctrine). Former ambassador James Dobbins in the Washington Post gave her the faintest praise by declaring that at least she left office without any “catastrophic failures.” Washington Post, Feb. 1, 2013, p. A4. Apparently, he didn’t think Benghazi was a catastrophic failure.
When asked at their joint interview about foreign policy successes, President Obama stated: “For us to be able to wind down one war, to be on the path of ending a second war, to do that in a way that honors the enormous sacrifices our troops have made, to sustain the pressure on al Qaeda and terrorist organizations so that not only did we avoid a significant terrorist attack on the homeland, but we’re able to dismantle the core leadership of al Qaeda. That’s all a consequence of the great work that Hillary did and her team did and the State Department did in conjunction with our national security team.” So, by Obama’s estimation, all of his Administration’s foreign policy successes were military – and this by a President who campaigned for office in 2008 highlighting his interest in diplomatic, especially multilateral diplomatic, initiatives as opposed to the supposed Bush Administration’s emphasis on military, especially unilateral, military initiatives. Cleary, Clinton could only have played a secondary role in President Obama’s successes as he described them.
We can all agree that Clinton worked hard and presented a good image abroad. She traveled nearly one million miles on 401 travel days to 112 countries. By itself, this merely means she was a great goodwill ambassador, like Dizzie Gillespie and Louis Armstrong were on their jazz tours on behalf of the United States in the 1950s. For her travels, Foreign Policy magazine dubbed her the “secretary of schlep.” Michael Kinsley wondered whether her travels achieved anything other than the sleep deprivation about which she complained just before leaving office.
It is worthwhile to take a step back and look at her major address on foreign policy during the 2008 presidential primary campaign on February 25, 2008, at George Washington University. She mentioned the burning of the embassy in Belgrade, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation (presumably referring to Iran and North Korea), global warming, Darfur, stateless criminal cartels, terrorism. Then she said:
Over the past seven years [with President George W. Bush], we’ve seen what happens when the president presents the American people with a series of false choices and then is indifferent about the consequences: force versus diplomacy, unilateralism versus multilateralism, hard power versus soft. We’ve seen the tragic result of having a president who had neither the experience nor the wisdom to manage our foreign policy and safeguard our national security. We can’t let that happen again. . .
Next came her famous comment about the “3 a.m. phone call [that] comes to the White House because an unforeseen crisis has erupted without warning.” (By the way, the call about Benghazi to the White House and State Department came in the afternoon, Washington time. Here is the Pentagon timeline.
She went on:
I propose a new American strategy to restore our moral authority, end the [American involvement in the] war in Iraq, and defend and protect our nation.
We need a president who understands there is a time for force, a time for diplomacy, and a time for both, who understands that we enhance our international reputation and strengthen our security if the world sees the human face of American democracy in the good works, the good deeds we do for people seeking freedom from poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, and oppression.
With me, this is not theoretical. This is very much who I am, what I have done, and what I will do. The American people don’t have to guess whether I understand the issues or whether I would need a foreign policy instruction manual to guide me through a crisis or whether I’d have to rely on advisers to introduce me to global affairs.
I’m lucky to have had a pretty good inside view, over eight years in the White House [as First Lady] and now over seven years in the Senate. . . Obviously the work that I have done on human rights, democracy, international development gives me a deep appreciation of the importance of winning the hearts and minds of those in societies whether or not they are for us today. I believe that we can seed democracy and create new strong alliances overseas.
And I also know from my years serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee that our military power is absolutely essential but it cannot be viewed as the solution to every international problem. Yes, we must use force when necessary but as a last resort, not a first resort. As one piece of a comprehensive strategy to defend our nation and promote our values.
On China, she said, among other things:
We play by the rules and they manipulate their currency...That will change when I am in the White House because I know we have got to take a consistent approach towards China. I’ve co-sponsored legislation to compel the Administration to take aggressive steps to stop China from manipulating its currency, to make our goods look more expensive.
She spoke a few words about fiscal irresponsibility:
Our fiscal irresponsibility over the last seven years [under President George W. Bush] has undermined our ability to be the leader we need to be in the world. You cannot talk about our military and our other objectives strategically and have mired ourselves in debt and dependent upon foreign countries to keep us afloat.
There’d been 11 drone attacks in Pakistan alone when she gave her speech at George Washington University, but she declared:
On my first day in office [as president], I will announce, as I have repeatedly in this campaign, that the era of cowboy diplomacy is over. That includes the doctrine of pre-emptive war.
If I am entrusted with the presidency, America will have the courage, once again, to meet with our adversaries. But I will not be penciling in the leaders of Iran or North Korea or Venezuela or Cuba on the presidential calendar without preconditions, until we have assessed through lower level diplomacy, the motivations and intentions of these dictators...
... The Pakistani people essentially repudiated the Bush administration’s policies and created a new dynamic that could lead to greater freedoms and democracy or to a greater crisis with implications for the war in Afghanistan.
One thing the American people can be sure of, I will not broadcast threats of unilateral military action against a country like Pakistan just to demonstrate that I am tough enough for the job. We have to change our tone and change our course.
She said, “Let’s close Guantanamo.” And it’s amazing now to read that she also declared: “We need to demonstrate our commitment to home-grown energy. We can’t do that, I know, until the two oil men leave the White House but as soon as they do, we have to be ready aggressively.” She criticized Bush the Younger and Senator McCain in these terms: “We all know that we have a lot of work to do to repair the damage that we will inherit...[I]n the calamitous wake of President Bush, Senator McCain can’t seem to budge from Bush approach that insists on using military force when diplomacy is needed.”
We won’t do a contrast and comparison study here, but clearly presidential candidates Obama and Clinton could have given the same speech except for the part about Clinton’s foreign policy experience. She had decidedly more exposure to foreign cultures and policy than Obama.
So, how’d she do in her four years in office?
There’s no question she was loyal to Obama despite their fierce primary contest. Furthermore, there were no leaks of any public disagreements between her and Obama or her and the Defense Secretary.
On the issue of foreigners’ perception of the United States, however, this supposed “team of rivals” was a “team of losers.” According to a Pew poll, the perception fell during her and Obama’s time in office. A questioner at her January 31 farewell to the Council of Foreign Relations made this same point: “[S]ome of the successes have been attributed to you in mending or fixing United States relations with the Arab and Muslim world. Yet the statistics contradict that.” For example, what friends in the Muslim -- or Catholic or Orthodox -- worlds did the United States make in having Clinton promote abortion and homosexual behavior?
Well, without any signature achievement(s) to evaluate, let’s begin with a geographical review, brief in this space to be sure, in somewhat alphabetical order.
Afghanistan/Iraq/Pakistan – In the 2012 campaign, the Democrats spoke of a Republican “war against women.” However, a real war on girls and women is being waged by the Taliban in Afghanistan. I addressed this issue at Speroforum.com In his joint interview and on countless other occasions, President Obama referred to “ending a second war” after ending the Iraq war. In fact, he means ending American involvement in a war that will continue after American and NATO troops leave Afghanistan. Aside from declarations from this Administration and from the Afghan government, it remains to be seen whether the girls and women of Afghanistan will survive and remain free following our departure. For all Clinton’s talk about women’s freedoms and rights, we do not know if she did everything she could to ensure it in Afghanistan. As just one example, did she advise the President to keep more American troops longer?
In Iraq, there are some 30,000 translators and contractors who have not yet been able to relocate to the United States as they await visas or refugee status. Afghanis who helped the United States will be facing the same problem. Visas and refugee status were within the jurisdiction of Clinton’s State Department. What did she do or not do?
In Pakistan, one issue susceptible to good diplomacy is the continuing imprisonment of Dr. Shakil Afridi, whose vaccination program helped confirm the location of bin Laden, and the related issues of the relocation of his family within Pakistan, and the denial of employment to more than a dozen health workers who assisted him. In her efforts on this issue, Clinton failed.
Canada – The most salient issue with Canada was, and remains, the Keystone XL Pipeline. Because the pipeline would cross our border, a presidential permit is required. An executive order by Bush the Younger delegated such decisions to the Secretary of State. The State Department’s website maintains a large collection of associated documents. President Obama issued a denial on January 18, 2012. Subsequently, the permit application was revised to reflect a route around the Sand Hills. It is under review by the Department. It does not seem that Clinton had any role that can be assessed notwithstanding the delegation to her. With a route around the Sand Hills, the matter has now been teed up for the President in a more pure form. He will grant or deny the permit purely on the issue of climate change, namely, whether the removal of oil from tar sands in Canada, or the refining of the crude oil in the United States, or the use of the oil products in American engines, will increase global warming when compared to the refinement of the oil and use of the oil products in the oil’s alternative destination, China.
China, Japan, Southeast Asia – One issue with China is the value of the Chinese currency relative to other currencies, including the American dollar. This issue falls under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department. Other issues with China fall under the jurisdiction of the Defense Department, such as the construction of aircraft carriers and the development of shore-to-ship missiles capable of hitting U.S. ships. Neither of these issues fell under Clinton’s domain.
A couple of issues were candidates for State Department diplomacy: Chinese responses to the Japanese purchase of the Senkaku (in China: Diayu) Islands and the Chinese dispute with the Philippines and Vietnam over the oil-rich Spratly Islands. The American response has been to augment our relations with Southeast Asia countries. Thus, on July 29, 2009, Clinton signed the “Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.” In the Fall of 2011, the Obama Administration made a series of announcements subsequently denoted a “pivot” toward Asia/Pacific. According to the Congressional Research Service, it built on the earlier efforts of the Bush the Younger Administration. The Administration “expanded and deepened its bilateral relations with most Southeast Asian nations, particularly Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia.”But do we have the resources to accomplish this pivot? Have our words outpaced our capabilities? If so, did Clinton tell Obama that?
Burma (Myanmar) – Secretary Clinton received kudos for orchestrating the reintegration of this country with the rest of the world.
Czech Republic/Poland – It was in Prague on April 5, 2009, that Obama announced that “As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system [located in the Czech Republic and Poland] that is cost-effective and proven.” The Czechs and Poles had agreed to base this anti-missile defense that was not directed toward Russia despite threats from Russia about the Czech Republic’s and Poland’s decision. Alas, on September 17, the White House cancelled the project. Not only the decision, but the date of the decision, being the date Poland was invaded by the Soviet Union, smacked the Poles and the Czechs hard. Obama argued that the termination of the agreement was not because he wanted to placate Russia. Vice President Biden, not Secretary Clinton, visited Warsaw the next month with a new plan that was sea-based instead of land-based. How is that plan coming along three years later? Poland is uncertain that the United States is reliable and is looking at developing its own missile defense.
Egypt/Libya/Syria (the Arab Spring) – Things got off to a great start, depending on your point of view, with the President’s June 4, 2009 speech in Cairo, during his “apology tour.” The White House was, and is, so proud of it that the White House website has the transcript in 15 languages.
Some readers will no doubt believe that the United States acted prematurely in withdrawing support from President Mubarak of Egypt. Others will believe we acted late in doing so. And others will think that Clinton acted like Goldilocks, just right. But regardless, the entire West looked helpless in the aftermath of his fall from power, as the secular democrats failed to unite, their supporters’ votes were split, and the Muslim Brotherhood won the presidency and, with it, control over writing a constitution.
As to Syria, you will have your own view as to whether the Administration’s statements withdrawing support from Assad were correct or timely, and whether the decisions about American aid, military or not, have been correct. For her part, Clinton lambasted Russia and Iran in undiplomatic language for supporting the Syrian government with money and arms. Clinton addressed the Syrian situation, obviously unresolved, on her last full day in office, Thursday, January 31. In the first week of February, it was disclosed during testimony by Secretary of Defense Panetta during a hearing on the Benghazi attack that Clinton, Panetta, General Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs, and then-CIA head Petraeus all sought U.S. military aid to Syrian rebels. Obama overruled them.
As to Libya, the United States, under Bush the Younger, ended sanctions in 2004 after Libya terminated its nuclear weapons program. Two years later, again under Bush, another set of sanctions were lifted when Libya was deemed to be no longer a state sponsor of terrorism. In the same year, the U.S. opened an embassy. But just five years later, in 2011, the Gaddafi regime violently suppressed dissent. The U.S., “leading from behind” in President Obama’s words, withdrew support from Gaddafi, installed a no-fly zone, and then handed over responsibility for the zone to NATO.
The attack on the consulate in Benghazi on September 11 (9/11/12) occurred in the wake of the dispersion of heavy weapons among Islamists in Libya. Clinton testified before a Senate and then a House committee on Wednesday, January 23, 2013, about Benghazi. In her prepared statement, she stated, “I directed our response from the State Department and stayed in close contact with officials from across our government and the Libyan government. So I saw firsthand what Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen called ‘timely’ and ‘exceptional’ coordination. No delays in decision-making. No denials of support from Washington or from the military.”
By the last sentence, she did not mean that there was military support, but that there was no denial of a request for support. In additional testimony, she said that she was aware, before the attack, of the consulate’s situation becoming increasingly insecure, but she had not read any specific requests and assumed that they were being handled in the ordinary course. She said she chose not to appear on the five Sunday, September 16, morning talk shows (upon which UN Ambassador Susan Rice did so), because “Going on the Sunday shows is not my favorite thing to do.”
This answer came from a Cabinet Secretary who prided herself on traveling the entire world to talk about the United States, her job and the interests of the United States, yet declined to explain the assassination of men who reported to her, not to UN Ambassador Rice. She said she told the American people on the day following the attack, September 12, that the attackers had used heavy weapons. While she argued that the details of the attack were still not known as of the date of her January 23 testimony but were under investigation, columnist Thomas Sowell has asked (and obviously wishes a Senator or Representative had asked her) whether there was any evidence to support American officials’ Tall Tale (my phrase) of a video causing the Benghazi attack – statements that thereafter incited demonstrations and violence against American installations throughout the Islamic world.
Honduras – It was in 2009, early in her tenure, that she joined an initiative, a multilateral one. During the 2008 primary campaign (and later the general election campaign), both Clinton and Obama so often spoke in favor of multilateral diplomacy to contrast their presidential ambitions with Bush the Younger’s deeds. The problem with this one concerning Honduras was that other members of the coalition included Venezuela and Cuba and the aim of the coalition was to ignore the ruling of the highest court of Honduras and oust that country’s constitutional regime. I wrote about this scandal here.
Iran/North Korea – During the 2008 campaign, Obama and Clinton wanted unconditional negotiations with Iran. After taking office, Iran unconditionally rejected the idea.
While it is true that during the Obama/Clinton Administration, the United States imposed unilateral sanctions and helped obtain multilateral sanctions against Iran, and while it is true that these sanctions have hurt the Iranian people and economy, there is little evidence that they have accomplished their goal of changing the nuclear program of the Iranian regime. See here and here and here. Ditto North Korea.
Here’s William Tobey’s opening in an article posted February 14, 2013:
When asked, ‘would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?’ then-candidate for President Barack Obama replied, ‘I would.’
That answer is little noted, nor long remembered. Yet the challenges posed by North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs have only grown. Since President Obama took office, North Korea has conducted two more nuclear tests, the latest on the eve of the State of the Union speech, after having admitted a long-suspected clandestine uranium enrichment program in 2010. Meanwhile, Iran has more than quintupled its stocks of enriched uranium, more than doubled its enrichment capacity, and enriched to levels much closer to weapons grade. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently rejected direct talks with the United States, again slapping the hand the President offered in his first inaugural speech.
Israel – Several items here. First there’s the testiness between Obama and Netanyahu, a testiness based on real concerns by Netanyahu that Israel’s existence (the word “existential threat” is used to describe it) over Iran’s nuclear program. (Contrast this with the American March 15, 2013, announcement reversing Obama’s 2009 policy on anti-missile defense to install defense systems in Alaska and California in response to recent North Korean nuclear tests and declarations. We perceive there to be an existential threat to South Korea, Japan, and ourselves.) Clinton was a party to the relationship between the two men (and how could she not be?), she failed to maintain a good, healthy relationship with the sole American ally in the region.
Second, on Thursday, November 22, 2012, a cease fire took effect between Hamas and Israel. Clinton supported the efforts of President Morsi of Egypt in brokering this cease-fire after eight days of warfare. Of course, not all cease fires or peace treaties are to be praised. Was this cease fire to be praised? Since Egypt has a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, had just undergone a revolution, and has ties to Hamas, it was a delicate task for the President Morsi to undertake. A Reuters report at the time stated, “Hamas lost its top military commander to an Israeli strike in the conflict and suffered serious hits to its infrastructure and weaponry, but has emerged with its reputation both in the Arab world and at home stronger. Israel can take comfort from the fact it dealt painful blows to its enemy, which will take many months to recover, and showed that it can defend itself from a barrage of missiles.” (my emphasis).
Third, on November 29, 2012, the Palestinian Authority obtained UN observer status on a vote of 138-9-41. The United States was one of the nine objectors. This vote came after nearly four years of Obama and Clinton in office. Failure.
Mali – France said it had waited, way too long, for a multilateral decision and action before France sent troops January 13, 2013.
Mexico – In 1979, First Lady of Arkansas Clinton visited the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe outside Mexico City. (A new shrine to replace the old one had been built in 1976.) She returned during an official visit to Mexico on March 26, 2009. The encased tilma (cloak) upon which the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appears was brought down from its altar for her close inspection.
She asked her guide, a monsignor, “Who painted it?”
Despite eight years as First Lady in which she visited 80 countries, as she hyped during her 2008 presidential primary campaign, many of them in Latin America, and traveled throughout the United States which has large Hispanic Catholic communities, and despite having State Department advisers, she was ignorant of the origination of this iconic image. Unashamed by her ignorance and insensitivity, she flew the next day to Houston to receive an award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
On May 19, 2010, both Obama and Mexican President Calderón, in a joint news conference, attacked Arizona’s law on immigration for alleged racial profiling. Clinton had lunch with President Calderón. The next day, Calderón continued the attack at a joint session of Congress. Having a foreign head of state attack one of the sovereign states of the United States of America while on U.S. territory before a joint session of Congress is an enormous failure of diplomacy. (Compare it to deGaulle’s 1967 visit to Montreal in which he pronounced in favor of Quebec separatism, “Long live Free Quebec!”)
Russia – The Obama Administration sought to “reset” the relationship with Russia. On December 22, 2010, the Senate ratified the “new START” treaty to reduce nuclear weapons.
But Clinton spoke so harshly to Russia about Syria and Iran and human rights that Putin argued she was trying to foment a revolution in Russia. And there was the tit-for-tat of the Magnitsky Act, signed by Obama on December 14, 2012, and the Russian response of a ban on American adoptions of Russian children.
United Kingdom – Should Clinton, or her State Department staff, get any (bad) credit for Obama’s Top Ten Gaffes with the UK? There’s nothing like working on a relationship that makes it worse rather than repairs it – if indeed it needed repairs. Hey, at least the President didn’t bow to the Queen or the Prime Minister like he did with deep bows in China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. Well, maybe he did bow to the Queen.
TREATIES AND OTHER AGREEMENTS
How did the Obama-Clinton foreign policy team fare on negotiating or ratifying treaties or other agreements? Keep in mind that the Obama-Clinton team had, in some cases, four years to win ratification. The following list does not include treaties that have been signed by the United States but not even submitted for ratification.
Climate Change – The June 2012 UN Conference in Rio de Janeiro (known as Rio+20 in a reference to the 1992 Earth Summit), called by the UN in December, 2009, was a bust.
Law of the Sea (LOTS) -- On July 16, 2012, 34 Republican Senators indicated their intention to vote against ratification. Therefore, consideration of the treaty was deferred – again.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – The December 4, 2012, vote on this Convention obtained public attention because former U.S. Senator/presidential candidate (1996) appeared on the Senate floor. The treaty was rejected.
Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. In October 2011, the House and Senate approved these free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.
On January 31, 2013, Secretary Clinton spoke for an hour to the Council on Foreign Relations. I will put in outline form the words she used to praise her work as Secretary of State:
• elevated the G-20 during the financial crisis;
• created the Climate and Clean Air Coalition;
• worked with regional organizations: the African Union in Somalia; the Arab League in Libya; the Lower Mekong Initiative;
• sought to change public opinion abroad by holding town halls, reaching out directly to citizens, civil society organizations, women's groups, business communities;
• the State Department now has Twitter feeds in 11 languages;
• sought to implemented “21st-century statecraft” by launching an interagency Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, by hiring expert, tech-savvy specialists from across our government fluent in Urdu, Arabic, Punjabi; helping Somalis use social media to expose al-Qaida’s contradictions and abuses, including its continuing brutal attacks on Muslim civilians; leading the effort also to defend Internet freedom;
• created the Nuclear Security Summit, to keep dangerous materials out of the hands of terrorists;
• in Afghanistan, supported an economic transition that boosts the private sector and increases regional economic integration, a vision of transit and trade connections called the “New Silk Road”;
• created a new bureau at the State Department focused on energy diplomacy as well as new partnerships like the U.S.-EU Energy Council;
• encouraged India’s “Look East” policy as a way to weave another big democracy into the fabric of the Asia- Pacific;
• used trade negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership to find common ground with Vietnam, a former adversary;
• conducted intensive diplomacy with major powers to impose crippling sanctions against Iran and North Korea. . . to enforce those sanctions, enlisted banks, insurance companies and high-tech international financial institutions;
• the Chinese agree that we are trying to write a new answer to the age-old question of what happens when an established power and a rising power meet; and
• on public diplomacy/soft power/”smart power”: “The reservoirs of good will we built around the world during the 20th century will not last forever. In fact, in some places they are already dangerously depleted. New generations of young people do not remember GIs liberating their countries, or Americans saving millions of lives from hunger and disease. We need to introduce ourselves to them anew, and one of the ways we do that is by looking at and focusing on and working on those issues that matter most to their lives and futures.”
Some of the activities in which she was engaged as Secretary that were omitted from her January 31 retrospective were:
• a first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, modeled after the quadrennial review in the Defense Department, initiated in July 2009 and issued in late 2010;
• in September, 2009, she began the Global Hunger and Food Initiative; and
• in October, 2009, she helped Turkey and Armenia sign an accord.
Space does not permit us to evaluate Clinton on each item in this itemization.
THE “HILLARY DOCTRINE”
In September, 1995, Clinton, then First Lady, gave a major address at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing promoting women’s rights. After she became Secretary, in a way not done by her female predecessors, Madeline Albright and Condoleeza Rice, she continued to promote women’s rights. Some writers referred to her campaign for women’s rights as the “Hillary Doctrine.” Clinton said:
If women and girls everywhere were treated as equal to men in rights, dignity and opportunity, we would see political and economic progress everywhere.
So this is not only a moral issue -- which of course it is -- it is an economic issue and a security issue, and it is the unfinished business of the 21st century. It therefore must be central to U.S. foreign policy. One of the first things I did as secretary was to elevate the Office of Global Women’s Issues under the first ambassador at large, Melanne Verveer. And I’m very pleased that yesterday the president signed a memorandum making that office permanent.
Favoring women’s rights is like motherhood and apple pie to Americans. Clinton’s devil was in the details. If she had confined herself to areas such as the right of women to hold public office, to vote, to work, to an education, and women’s freedom from violence (rape, honor killings, genital mutilation), forced marriages (especially to the rapist), and underage marriages, there would be no argument among Americans. But she polluted her campaign by promoting birth control, including sterilization, and unlimited abortion. In Clinton’s worldview there is no need to discuss even the limits on abortion that have been enacted in various U.S. states, such as parental consent, waiting periods, sex selection/gendercide (the abortion of female fetal human beings), and the abortion of fetal human beings with abnormalities such as Down syndrome.
In August 2011, Vice President Biden (in)famously spoke in China and told his Chinese audience that he “understood” the Chinese “one-child” policy, a policy that results in numerous coerced abortions. As Reggie Littlejohn wrote in the National Review at the time :
If the Obama administration “strongly opposes” forced abortion in China, then why did they restore funding to UNFPA (United Nations Family Planning Fund), an operative “abortion provider” in China? In 2001, the U.S. cut funding to UNFPA because an investigation, headed by then Secretary of State Colin Powell, found that UNFPA was complicit in the coercive implementation of China’s One Child Policy. In 2008, the U.S. State Department reaffirmed that determination, and yet the Obama administration resumed funding in 2009. President Obama’s FY 2012 budget requests $47 million for UNFPA.
The current administration also funds the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The IPPF works hand in hand with the coercive Chinese Communist population control machine. Their website declares, “The China Family Planning Association (CFPA) plays a very important role in China’s family planning programme. It supports the present family planning policy of the government . . ”
Remember: there is no space between Clinton and Obama. And Clinton personally favored ending Reagan’s “Mexico City policy.” (See her July 2011 statement.
So, in the end, the one claim to fame by Clinton, promoting women’s rights around the world, encompassed so-called rights to kill unborn children. That is no claim to fame at all.
Spero columnist James M. Thunder is an attorney who practices in the Washington DC area.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.
Newly discovered wooden structure reveals the beginning of Buddhism.
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