Hillary's Foreign Policy Experience Comes Down To... A Speech?


cross posted to Jack & Jill Politics

Oh this is good. This is so very good. I may be the first to catch this one. Check it.

Hillary has been blasting Obama, claiming his foreign policy credentials come down to a speech he gave in 2002 in opposition to the Iraq war. In the process, she has elevated and allied herself with John McCain, an extraordinary move for someone who wants to be the Democratic nominee.

So what is Hillary Clinton's foreign policy experience? The Chicago Tribune has written a story focusing on her primary claims of influence.

1. That she helped bring peace to Northern Ireland by involving women's groups.

Verdict: nah.
But her involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process was primarily to encourage activism among women's groups there, a contribution that the lead U.S. negotiator described as "helpful" but that an Irish historian who has written extensively about the conflict dismissed as "ancillary" to the peace process.

2. That she advocated for use of US military force in Rwanda

Verdict: nope.
Whatever her private conversations with the president may have been, key foreign policy officials say that a U.S. military intervention in Rwanda was never considered in the Clinton administration's policy deliberations. Despite lengthy memoirs by both Clintons and former Secretary of State and UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright, any advice she gave on Rwanda had not been mentioned until her presidential campaign.

3. That she negotiated with Macedonia to open up its border to refugees from Kosovo.

Verdict: uh uh.
The Macedonian government opened its border to refugees the day before Clinton arrived to meet with government leaders. And her mission to Bosnia was a one-day visit in which she was accompanied by performers Sheryl Crow and Sinbad, as well as her daughter, Chelsea, according to the commanding general who hosted her.

4. That she delivered a speech at the United Nations' women's conference in Beijing with a strong demand for women's rights.

Verdict: yes
"In the years since, I have met many women from many places who tell me they were at Beijing, or had friends who were, or who were inspired by the conference to launch initiatives," [Former Secretary of State] Albright wrote in her 2003 memoir.

The speech might never have happened if the first lady had not pressed for it, said one former Clinton administration official sympathetic to her candidacy who traveled with her and Albright to Beijing. The administration was conflicted about whether Hillary Clinton should go to Beijing at all because of the regime's record on human rights.

"Yet she was determined to go and was convinced that her going would send a very strong signal of support for human rights," said the official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named. "Everyone at the end of the process almost certainly would have said, 'How could we be so foolish to question the wisdom of the trip?'"

Still, [Former Assistant Secretary of State Susan] Rice questioned whether that trip amounted to the kind of preparation for a global crisis that Clinton has claimed.

"How does going to Beijing and giving a speech show crisis management? There was no crisis. And there was nothing to manage," Rice said.

So let's just review. Hillary has claimed she is vastly more prepared to lead America in a foreign crisis than Barack Obama, whose only legitimate claim is a speech. When asked, she cites four incidents. Three of these are unsubstantiated, which is my fancy, college-educated way of saying "bullshit." The one remaining claim that may be valid is actually a speech? A speech that inspired people? You've got to be kidding me.

So when Barack Obama speaks, it's words without substance, but when Hillary Clinton speaks, it's highly relevant foreign policy experience so valuable that it prepares her to manage an international crisis.

She needs to be consistent. Either words matter or they don't. I think they do. I think words matter when they are used to exaggerate the role you played in your husband's administration. I think words matter when they are used to fan the flames of racial and religious bigotry. I think words matter when they are used to undermine the likely nominee of what you claim is your political party.

Hillary Clinton is a fraud. Her campaign is increasingly based on false logic and false information. She is becoming so absurd, that it's absurd to even point out the absurdity. Hillary was rated as one of the top women lawyers in the U.S. some years ago. Any lawyer will tell you words matter. She knows better. We really need to put an end to this.