Category Archives: politics

Diplomacy, Democracy and an American Cry of Deception

Hillary Clinton was adept in the role of Secretary of State.

Before I go on and lose many of you who want to remind me about Bengazi,  I want you to know that I know;  Bengazi was horrifying.  We lost 4 American lives.  These people were doing what most of us would never do.  They took on a mission to improve our relationships in an often times hostile land for our government.  They died during that mission.  Her hollow commentary about the lives lost, left me cold.

“I often think about the families who lost loved ones serving our country… The truest way to honor them is to improve our ability to protect those who carry on their work and prevent future losses.”  H.C. (from her book Hard Choices)

It’s that lack of empathy that turns us away.  That “moving on” attitude without regard for our feelings that makes us want to scream.  But I do not believe she is guilty of culpable negligence for this loss.  She’s a part of the scheme, that web of responsibility, decision-making, and denial that we call American Government.  And the really sad thing in the Bengazi Tragedy, is that no one person is ultimately at fault.  There is NO one to hang or execute.  We must grieve without the benefit of vengeance.

When I state that she was “adept” in her role, I want you to know that I’m not just listening to smarmy television pundits or hate radio, I’m actually studying books, papers, and other materials both for and against her.  I approached it like a her job interview for her next job, President of the United States.  (Job description for the  U. S. Secretary of State).  I even pushed myself to include readings from the Drudge Report. (an aggregated news source)  The following is a sample of the distillation from my study of Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, 2009 – 2013.  It supports my opinion that as the executive in charge of US Diplomacy and an advisor to the President, she did a good job.

  • Instituted a concept of “Smart Power”, a combination of diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural “tools” to maintain US national and international power.
  • Worked well with her peers including:  Robert Gates, Leon Pannetta and David Petraeus
  • Reportedly initiated the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.  This comprehensive strategy for U.S. Diplomacy focuses on advancing America’s interests in global security, inclusive economic growth, climate change, accountable governance and freedom for all.QDDR. 
  • Improved the workings of the department, also referred to as “Foggy Bottom” including: Increasing the annual budget by 7%, (it was admittedly underfunded by both sides of the aisle) and  improving social media networking with Facebook and Twitter account increases
  • Initiated the Clinton Global Initiative to fight world hunger and create food security.  Clinton Global Initiative
  • Re-calibrated her relationship with her President, a campaign rival.
  • Initiated the T.P.P. as a means to balance China’s power and improve relationships and trading in a strategic international waters conflict. Trans Pacific Partnership
  • Participated in the decision-making to dismantle Al Qaeda by  killing the leader, Osama bin Laden. (Operation Neptune Spear)
  • Moved the issues of civilian power, women’s rights and the violence perpetrated against women to the forefront of global conversation.

Her participation and performance during these years is comprehensively documented.  I believe her speech in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, articulates one of the necessary tenets  for representing the United States in international negotiations.

“…democracy actually fosters stability.  It is true that clamping down on political expression and maintaining a tight grip on what people read or say or see can create the illusion of security, but illusions  fade, while people’s yearning for liberty does not.  By contrast, democracy provides critical safety valves for societies.  It allows people to select their leaders, gives those leaders legitimacy  to make difficult and necessary decisions for the national good, and lets minorities express their views.”  

She believes in these ideals.  She works towards them.  She adapts to extreme political landscapes and adjusts to them with tolerance.  She accepts modest gains but doesn’t give up on visionary goals.  Her experience as the Secretary of State could only benefit our country if she were to become President.

But often she is working from the shadows of her own mistakes and missteps.  And I continue to consider deception and it’s role in the works of the Clinton Family.  The journey to “find” Hillary continues.  Finding Hillary

 

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The Jungle of American Politics

It’s Wednesday and my mind is wandering deeper into a jungle of thoughts about Hillary Clinton.  And I’m feeling a lot like Jane looks here:  apprehensive, confused, vulnerable.  But I’m still on the road to Finding Hillary, and doing my damnedest to focus on becoming informed before I decide how I will vote.

I’ve started reading, Hard Choices, Hillary’s book about fulfilling the role of Secretary of State.  And the writing is brilliant.  What’s sharp is the attention to details that help flesh out the complexity of negotiating U.S. Foreign Affairs. I mean,  interacting with people that represent the full spectrum of agreement and/or disagreement to an American ideal of leadership, democracy, minorities, liberty, sovereignty, and freedom (just to mention a few cultural conceptions) is no cake walk.  At any given moment you could be seated at a table with anyone from , Suu Kyi the 1991 Noble Peace Prize Winner from Myanmar (Burma)  to Hamid Karzi, President of Afghanistan.  And at this table, if you are truly intending to further the causes of peace and democracy for as many countries as possible around the world, then there is no room for grudges, revenge, or thin-skinned reactions.  An open mind and steely resolve are mandatory.

The Secretary of State is appointed by the President.  Makes sense, if the Secretary of State is his principal advisor on U.S. foreign policy.  They better damn well have a level of decent communication right?  What’s interesting in Hillary’s and Pres. Obama’s case is that they campaigned against one another and he won.  Then he asked her to serve as the Senior Executive of the Senior Executive Department of the U.S. Government.  Considering campaigns are never love fests, (a campaign message against Hillary), she hardly flinched before saying, “Yes”.  But then she hardly flinched when she stood in a room in the DMZ between North and South Korea with an armed North Korean soldier glaring her down.  She’s ballsy.  Hillary at the DMZ

Hillary’s stories are well written and demonstrate a command of foreign policy.  Even  Peggy Noonan  (Hillary/Clinton Hater), admits that she has “an above average intellect.”  But her stories are often “me”oriented.  Kinda’ like watching a Martha Stewart Segment where, “me”, “my”, and “I”are favored pronouns to the point of nausea. But it is a memoir so maybe it works that way. And I can’t help but wonder why the heck a photographer was brought along to the DMZ in what appears to be a very tense situation.

I admit that recurring doubts overtake my thinking and tangle with the pleasure of this reading.  Many advance, like  Seth Rich and many  recede like, FileGate, TravelGate.   But they do persist.

Are these accusations the machinations of a duopoly?  Can’t say.  But sometimes, you wonder just the lengths people in power, like the GOP, D.N.C. the Bush’s and the Clinton’s might go to maintain their status quo.

So I wade deeper into the jungle of American Politics and the study of a woman who would be president.

 

Finding Hillary

The quest to find the woman who would be President of the United States.

I decided last week to find Hillary.  Prompted by a couple of my friend’s entreaties to vote for someone to keep someone else out of the Oval Office, I have decided to challenge myself.  Because frankly I just could not come up with a concrete reason that wasn’t informed by the media.  I have never read any of her books.  And I haven’t read any books written about her.  I have seen her on the news but I know very little about her life and career.  I never listen to radio talk jocks and I rarely watch television shows with hosts who interview “celebrities”.  It’s all too boring.

But there are two things I can confidently say that I think about Hillary Clinton.

  1. I admired the way she handled her husband’s public philandering.
  2. Her voice annoys me.

So, for me this is a quest.  I am going in search of a leader.  I believe a person’s truths are echoed in their writings, so my goal is to read at least two of her books, probably  Hard Choices  and “It Takes a Village”.  Because enemies help define all of us, I will read two books from among those who find fault with her, “The Case Against Hillary Clinton”, by Peggy Noonan “The Final Days” by Barbara Olson.  (All of these books have been chosen because they are available at local libraries)  I’ll interview a couple of my friends and family who will not vote for her and I’ll also continue to listen to two of my friends who are ardent supporters.  I’ve read some articles in the N.Y. Times but I usually prefer the Washington Post, so those will contribute in my search to find the reality behind this iconic woman.   And maybe I can catch a video or two, including  Clinton Cash.

During this journey I would like to find the answers to the following questions? 

Do I agree with her ideologically?

How was her job performance as  the Secretary of State?

What part does corruption play in her leadership?

What role does misogyny play in my perceptions of her?

I am prepared to accept that I might not find the leader that I would like to find.  But I am also prepared to find a leader that I have neglected to give a chance.  My journey begins…join me.
Expect a new post every week, probably Tuesday or Wednesday.  And I invite appropriate and respectful referrals and comments.

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