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Archive for the ‘Cabinet’ Category

Having studied Russian at Moscow State University and having been a Ford Foundation Fellow in Soviet Studies, Condoleeza Rice was George W. Bush’s Russia expert. No one, Republican or Democrat, questioned her qualifications in that realm.

It is, therefore, stunning that she has chosen to side with Vladimir Putin against her successor at the State Department, Hillary Clinton.

dailycaller.com

Rice Blames Hillary For Russian Election Meddling

Benny JohnsonReporter At Large

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put some of the blame for Russian election on Hillary Clinton in a wide-ranging MSNBC interview on Thursady

Rice, who has considerable experience with Vladimir Putin, did not hold back on her assessment of the motivations behind Russian election meddling.

She said that then-Secretary of State Clinton criticizing Putin for Russia’s 2012 elections encouraged the foreign leader to seek revenge. Rice said that Putin is an “eye for an eye” kind of person and that he was out to hurt Clinton in order to prove that America could also have flawed elections.

“With Vladimir Putin, this was an eye for an eye. He’s an eye for an eye kind of person, and Hillary Clinton criticized his election. Now he wants to show that he can sow chaos in ours.”

 

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Condi is wrong on several counts.

1. Hillary commented (no she did not “meddle” – that is something different but back to that later) on the 2010 Russian parliamentary elections not Putin’s 2012 presidential election.

In her memoir of her State Department years, Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton portrays Putin’s worldview as “shaped by his admiration of the powerful czars of Russian history” and his view of geopolitics as a zero-sum game. Following the December 2010 parliamentary elections in Russia, widespread reports of fraud brought tens of thousands of protestors out into the frigid Russian streets. Hillary recalls stating, “The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted…. That means they deserve fair, free, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.” She goes on to describe Putin blaming her for “setting the tone” for the widespread demonstrations that followed the elections. Nothing in Hillary’s memoir nor elsewhere  provides any account of Hillary speaking out against Putin’s 2012 reelection or any protests, for that matter.

2.  Hillary Clinton was not “meddling” when she made her comments. This is meddling. As secretary of state, Hillary was well within her “paygrade” to make a comment regarding elections and unrest in another country.

3. Victim-blaming is always a cheap shot and always wrong! It is especially disturbing coming from a former secretary of state about her successor. I have this quote in the right sidebar here. It bears repetition. “What I have always found is that when it comes to foreign policy, it is important to remember that politics stops at the water’s edge.” -HRC 11-04-10. Had Condi remained at the State Department in December 2010, she, too, would have been expected to comment on the elections and protests in Russia – especially given her academic background. Would her remarks have been so different?

The cyber attacks against independent election observers that Hillary describes in Chapter 11 of Hard Choices foreshadow some of what we saw happen here in 2016. Some. But not all. Not the worst. We also deserve fair, free, transparent elections and commentary about a foreign country from a candidate never justifies elements from that country interfering in our elections in any way.

Reuters Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with President-elect Barack Obama’s Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton at the State Department.

 

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The State Department press corps had boarded and had been logged in – both by the crew and on their social nets – when the secretary of state’s motorcade drove up. Hillary Clinton was about to board for her first official tour in Africa as secretary of state.  It was very exciting, but her press corps, all logged into Twitter, were disconcerted.  There was another motorcade on the tarmac. Another plane was preparing for takeoff.  The State Department press corps did not like it, and they said so on Twitter and other social nets.

What’s he doing, they queried. He’s stealing her light! There was a tweetstorm of monumental proportions.

The “he” in this case was the secretary of state’s husband and the former president who was off on a mission to rescue two journalists captured and imprisoned in North Korea.


They were employed by his former vice president, and the former POTUS went at his behest with the approval of the new president and his secretary of state, about to be bound to Africa. She knew all about it, of course. For the sake of convenience and perhaps to some degree for the sake of last minute preps and briefings, they had left their Georgetown residence together and arrived at Andrews for their separate missions. It was well-coordinated as such events go.

The DOS press corps, however did not see it that way that particular morning. They circled their wagons around the secretary of state, whose coverage was their job, and expressed their disgruntlement on Twitter where I was following several of the younger members of the corps.

Their loyalty to and protectiveness of Hillary was plain to see. No one should be stealing her steam, not even her husband, a two-term former POTUS.  This was her big trip.  They were there to make it visible to the world.

Apparently the current SOS, Rex Tillerson, missed class that day and in the days following Hillary Clinton’s flu and subsequent fainting spell and concussion, or even her bouts with spring allergies, or he would know the fealty and concern with which the DOS press corps treats coverage of the secretary of state.

Instead of giving them a fair chance to get to know him, bond, and explain and defend him in the press, he has opted to treat them as the enemy and barred them from the plane on his first official excursion to Asia. N.B. Asia was also Hillary’s first official trip as SOS.

This decision is not only folly but also speaks to the general attitude of this administration toward the press.  Without giving them the chance to get to know him and perhaps develop a sympathy toward him and his work, he has chosen to banish them as inimical – the general stance of the administration – and a dangerous and foolhardy one.

The State Department press corps tends to be very open, supportive, and defensive of the secretary of state. Tillerson, on his first official journey, has chosen to erect a wall, another symbol of this new administration, between him and those whose function is to cover his tenure.

He has decided to pare down. He will not be using the Big Blue Bird – so familiar via Condi, Hillary, and John Kerry.  He will use a smaller plane. N.B. that this does not necessarily represent any reduction of expenses since the news bureaus pay for the press transportation.  It represents, instead, a slap in the face to the free press.

The Trump administration and Tillerson as part of it have chosen to treat the press as the enemy.  They could have caught more flies with honey, but never mind. As Roseanne Rosannadanna might have said, Mr. Tillerson, you sound like a real attractive guy.  Truth is, when you have a name that sounds like it came out of an “Archie” comic book, you really needed all the help you could have gotten, and beggars cannot be choosers.

 

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After morning props from former C.I.A. Director Michael J. Morrell and an appearance before Black and Hispanic journalists, Hillary headed off to a fundraiser in Washington, DC today.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves as she leaves a Hillary Victory Fund finance event at the Whittemore House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Hillary Victory Fund is a joint fundraising committee that benefits both her campaign and an array of downticket Democrats.

Clinton_Kaine-DONATE

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When President Obama first asked Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state, she not only declined, she immediately suggested that Richard Holbrooke would be a much better choice.  Like Bill Clinton, who had to propose three times before she would accept marriage, Barack Obama had to ask several times before she accepted the cabinet position.  But she had conditions.  One was that at-risk regions required special attention and needed special advisers.  Holbrooke was brought into the administration as special adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Holbrooke died during Hillary’s tenure at DOS, and his son, David, has made a documentary about his father’s remarkable life and career called The Diplomat.  It premiered tonight on HBO and is excellent.  Both Bill and Hillary Clinton were interviewed extensively along with many who worked with Holbrooke.  I give it five stars. Don’t miss it!  It is a must see!

Read more about this award-winning documentary here at the website >>>>

One of the diplomatic tragedies of Bill Clinton’s administration depicted in this documentary occurred when Holbrooke was attempting to broker peace in the in the Balkans.  A vehicle carrying three members  of our negotiation team rolled off a very dangerous road on the way to Sarajevo.  It tumbled down a mountain, hit a land mine, caught fire, and killed the occupants.

Hillary was asked a question this week in Iowa about our ordinance left over in Laos.

A candidate who knows exactly what’s going on in Laos.

At a campaign stop in Iowa, Hillary got asked an unexpected foreign policy question about unexploded bombs in Laos—leftovers from the Vietnam War.

Hillary’s answer shows exactly what it would mean to have a former secretary of state in the Oval Office.

See the video and hear her response >>>>

The documentary emphasizes Holbrooke’s belief in the lessons of history.  We should remember these going forward.  There is much unfinished business from our engagement in Southeast Asia.  We may call it the Viet Nam War, but it was larger.  Incursions into Cambodia, which Richard Nixon announced saying it was “not an invasion,”and carpet-bombing in Laos are witness to the breadth of the conflict and damage left behind.  Hillary Clinton knows and respects the lessons of Viet Nam.

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When I saw that schedule this morning I was pretty sure we would not get a glimpse of our girl today, but fortunately White House media was obliging and shared these pics from the cabinet meeting.  Always so pretty,  she has that sweet, sort of worn-out look on her face.  Hope she gets a nice restful weekend for once.

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During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sarah Palin was asked to articulate the Bush Doctrine. She was unable to.  If Hillary Rodham Clinton is ever in a similar situation, she will have no problem citing intricacies of doctrines established by the Obama administration because they will be her own.

In 2009 she rolled out her “smart power” plan as resting on the tripod of the “3 Ds,” defense, diplomacy, and development.  Her excellent relationship with then Secretary of  Defense Robert Gates permitted her to include defense as part of a plan that  prefers the  use of soft power – diplomacy and development – whenever possible,  to drive U.S. leadership in the 21st century global village.  When she initially introduced the 3 Ds they were called the “Obama-Clinton Doctrine” but soon Obama was dropped, and it has become signature Clinton Doctrine.

Taking a page from her colleague and friend Gates, she also established, early in her tenure as  SOS,  her Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) aimed at assessing services across DOS, USAID and other departments and agencies in order to reduce replication of services and integrate services provided among the agencies.   The amazing  aspect of this seemingly herculean task was that when the QDDR was unveiled in December 2010 the most difficult task, the actual integration of agencies and departments had already been effected as Anne-Marie Slaughter announced in an almost off-handed response to a question from a staffer.   Secretary Clinton  had, for all practical purposes, commandeered agencies within other departments and was CEO of a new State Department – one that had tentacles throughout the cabinet.  Even more amazingly, nobody was crying “foul” or complaining that she had stepped on any toes!  On the contrary, this overhaul was apparently simply accepted.

This past Spring, she made several speeches on the economy.  In every one she referred somewhat cryptically to a “bigger speech on the economy” that she would be making in the Fall.  There has been a great deal of speculation about this upcoming speech.  When would she make it?  And where?  UNGA has come and gone, and it was not there.  Finally, today, a breakthrough.  Laura Rozen for The Envoy  gets credit for the scoop as we get a glimpse of what is in the offing.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Sept. 26, 2011. (David Karp/AP)

As a practical matter, the complex work of managing American relations with China–the leading creditor of the United States–falls only in part to America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Witness Senate Democrats’ vow to take up legislation this week that could sanction China for allegedly undervaluing the yuan–at the cost, according to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), of American jobs. But if Clinton has her way, she’d have more of a say.

If the fight against terrorism dominated American foreign policy in the decade after 9/11, the decade ahead could well be defined by efforts to manage the U.S. role in the global economy.

And in many ways, Hillary Clinton’s diplomatic portfolio is increasingly dominated by global economic challenges. Trade issues obviously have a direct impact on America’s efforts to emerge from the present economic downturn–from the battles over the national debt to the need to stimulate job growth. But economic issues also shape other less-noted features of the American foreign-policy agenda, be it the effort to contain fallout from Europe’s debt crisis, to managing the rise of G20 economic powers such as Brazil, Turkey and India—all of whom come bearing their own foreign policy ambitions. As a result, diplomats say, economic and foreign policy are growing ever more intertwined.

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So there is to be yet another doctrine established within this administration and by the same member.  At the end of the day, it seems,  the only doctrine of this administration that will still have Obama’s name on it is “Leadership from Behind” … from behind this woman.

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