If there was one constant through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s appearances before congressional committees Wednesday it was lawmakers falling over themselves to heap praise on her for the job she has done. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., was typical, saying: “Madame secretary you have represented us with tremendous strength and poise. You have won us friends.”
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., similarly thanked Clinton “for your extraordinary service to our country … I believe the world is safer today because America is better understood.”
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., said he wanted to express “what I think is a widely-shared sentiment today of gratitude and commendation for your work. We don’t have time to give a full listing of the achievements you deserve credit for.” Sadly, there just wasn’t time for Casey to fully explain Hillary Clinton’s awesomeness.
It was bipartisan praise too. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., made sure to begin his remarks by saying that he shares the “tremendous respect” of his colleagues for the job she has done.
Simple question: What the hell are they referring to? American foreign policy under Secretary Clinton has been one disaster after another. Even if you don’t think she deserves blame for all of them — or even most of them — it defies common sense that her tenure can be called a success.
In Egypt, we lost a reliable ally, Hosni Mubarak, and gained a new president, Mohammed Morsi, backed by the radical Muslim Brotherhood after the White House belatedly supported the Tahir Square uprisings. Morsi is a fundamentalist who believes the Egyptian should “nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred” towards Israel and is now acting to consolidate power. Even Obama has conceded Egypt is not really an ally anymore. We’re still giving them arms though.
Relations between the US and Israel have deteriorated, with the bad blood between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu being pretty public. The administration hasn’t even tried to revive the stalled Israel-Palestine peace negotiations.
Regarding the “Arab Spring” Clinton said: “The Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region.” This was her explanation for the turmoil in the region. Left unstated was the fact that the administration had praised the Arab Spring, helping to upset those very same dynamics.
And of course there was the Libya fiasco, which left four Americans, including an ambassador, dead. “I take responsibility” for this, Clinton said yesterday. This is the type of failure that usually ends a career. Only in Washington does it add luster instead.
Meanwhile we have made no progress in stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions or brought any kind of resolution to Bashar Al-Assad’s brutal crackdown in Syria. An estimated 60,000 have died there.
Outside of the Middle East, relations with Russia — Syria’s main benefactor — have deteriorated as well despite Hillary Clinton’s much-hyped “restart” of relations. How bad? Putin has just banned the American adoption of Russian babies.
Clinton last visit to China was met with open hostility by Beijing and there has been little progress in relations with them either.
Obama said in his inaugural speech that addressing global climate change will be a major goal. Meanwhile his administration has presided over the stalling of those international talks.
A Pew Research Center study of global attitudes towards the US out last June found that feelings towards the US have worsened in pretty much every country except Japan and approval of the administration’s polices have dropped by double-digit margins everywhere in the world since 2009.
So could somebody please explain why Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state shouldn’t be judged a failure?