hillary clinton twn 2001I have to admit from what I see going on at the State Department I was wrong to think Hillary Clinton was the best choice as SOS. OK to let myself off the hook a bit I did support her as the #1 candidate with one caveat. I did say she at the time that she needed to bring in a very competent manager to handle running the department at the time because she is not a good manager. Obviously she did not choose a good manager.   Still I thought her interpersonal skills and acquaintances with many world leaders made her a good fit for the job.  So far her performance shows me President Obama should have picked Bill Richardson or John Kerry.

The Good

The best part about appointing Hillary Clinton as SOS is that Obama got a worlds worth of experience with all the Clinton era special envoys he has been able to appoint to deal with hot spots around the world. Every indication is that the special envoys are doing their jobs very well.

George Mitchell who is having initial success dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict starting with the Israeli settlements issue.

Richard Holbrooke has done a great job getting Pakistan involved in fighting the Taliban, getting Russia to reopen it’s airspace and renegotiating to use the Kyrgyz air base.

Stephen Bosworth special envoy to North Korea has even been invited to disarmament talks with North Korea just recently.

President Obama and secretary Clinton have made constructive use of former presidents like Former President Clinton’s visit to free two American journalist from North Korea.

The Bad

I am furious that the State Department has extended the contract to Xe (formally known as Blackwater) for flying around embassy officials via the cynically named “Presidential Airways”.  Yes it was the company Dyncorp International who asked the State Department to retain Xe but this seems like a total lack of foresight with State Department management.  You would think almost seven months after the State Department said they would no longer use Blackwater (Xe) was long enough for the transition.

Another blunder on the Clinton watch was her childish behavior with the North Korean government I had pointed out in a previous article.

The Bluto

A scandal is brewing at the American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan that may be the first major scandal of the Obama presidency if allegations are sustained and we find out that allot of the bad behavior occurred under President Obama’s watch. Previous reports described what was going on at the American embassy in Kabul as being “Animal House” type behavior.

“Security assigned to watch guards at Kabul embassy

KABUL – The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan has banned alcohol and assigned American personnel to watch the embassy’s security guards following allegations of lewd behavior and sexual misconduct at their living quarters.”

We will have to wait for details about the embassy scandal after the official investigation is over.  We all know that Condoleezza Rice was a massive disappointment as SOS before SOS Clinton like she was as National Security Adviser.   So to give SOS Clinton a little leeway much of what we are learning could be lingering problems from Rice’s watch.

Ultimately, the buck stops at President Obama’s desk for making the controversial selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in the first place.  I am not a Clinton hater induced by the group think promoted by Huffington Post and anybody but Clinton progressives though I do think she ran a GOP campaign.   SOS Clinton needs to straighten up her operation real quick to gain credibility.

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AdLib
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KQ, thanks as always for your honest and fearless POV!

I don’t agree completely in this case, I think the problems in the military and their behavior are endemic. We can all agree that Hillary hasn’t done anything to encourage such behavior.

It is instead consistent with the abuses in Iraq within the military, of course including Abu Ghraib.

It is an ugly part of the current military culture which still hasn’t changed substantially since Bush left office.

You have religious dogma merged with our military training them that non-Christians are inferior, there is a lot of chauvinism and even rapes of female soldiers that goes unspoken.

The military has bred the troops to be who they are. Yes, strict oversight by the SOS’ office could help to limit such behavior but we need a huge reform in the way the military operates.

There are many soldiers who are compassionate, principled human beings and would never participate in such things. Still, far too many are led or allowed to walk down this nasty path and that needs to come to an end.

BTW, I am not a huge Hillary fan. She, Bill and the rest of the DLC are happy to be just a small step away from most Republican views, remember Bill Clinton’s phrase “triangulation” to describe how he co-opted Republican issues from them?

I felt that Hillary and Bill really crossed the line during the primary period. However, when they came together to support Obama at the Convention and they campaigned for him, I put aside my resentment as they had about Obama.

I do think John Kerry would have made a stronger SoS, he is more of a diplomat. However, as you say, much of the team she has brought in appear to be making positive impacts.

Again, this behavior in Afghanistan is reflective of the Bush years, a huge ocean liner takes a long time to turn around, it’s going to take time to correct course on how our military has been brought along.

I hope this incident impresses on Hillary and Obama the importance of reforming the military.

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nellie
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I have to stick up for HIllary as SOS. I like the direction we’re taking with the rest of the world. I can’t think of a place we’re stumbling except Afghanistan. And I’m just a peacenik. I want us home. I like her stance on nation building in that country and increasing foreign aid. The problems I see stem primarily from the use of contractors in military functions, and the Dept of Defense has to share some of the blame for that decision.

I think she’s a doing a great job. Her only slip, imho, was yelling at that college student. She could have cut him a little slack. But it just shows how tough she is. I still think it was a good pick.

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Kalima
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I really never once thought that HRC was a good choice for SOS, she had been defeated in the primaries and brought a lot of baggage to her new position. Ultimately as witnessed on several occasions in the past, she has cast aside diplomacy to become defensive, not a very good image to post around the world.

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VegasBabe
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That was my take too!

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sharonh
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sharonh

Oh really, so much huff and fluff. Your implication is that Madame Secretary has wisely had installed special envoys because she sucks at interpersonal skills, and they are responsible for her success in those specific areas, yet at Bagram she is to blame and she alone!! The truth is that the Red Cross has made repeated visits to that prison and we are convention compliant. You don’t even recognize her voice for human rights worldwide, especially the feminist voice. Balderdash. As far as NK, she has treated them exactly as they deserve, no more, no less. Do you think the north-south reconciliation was done without her input? Why does she scare you guys so much?

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VegasBabe
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Well which is it Kquark? It’s Obama’s fault because it occurred on his watch or HRC’s because she needs to “straighten up her operation”? Yet she is to be given “leeway” because of potential “lingering problems from Rice’s watch”? Wern’t these thugs hired under Bush’s watch? If there is anything to be done, it should have begun with HRC who is now SOS, seems to me.

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