Hillary Clinton parties with the locals

on her recent visit to South Africa.



Hillary Clinton Discredits American Foreign Policy (An Nahar, Lebanon)


"The image of Hillary Clinton in South Africa dancing enthusiastically exposed the ethical tone deafness of the head of American diplomacy. That picture tells residents of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo all they need to know about the cruelty of American foreign policy. ... But we need to give Obama and Clinton credit: they have done about as good a job as possible presiding over diminished American influence. That has been no small accomplishment."


By Fouad Ajami



Translated By Amel Ben Aissa


August 23, 2012


Lebanon - An Nahar - Original Article (Arabic)

Graphoc showing Syria flashpoints and the location of Aleppo in relation to Damascus.


INTERNET VIDEO: UAE cleric denies that angels have descended to aid Syrian rebels, Aug. 13, 00:02:16RealVideo

This text represents a critical point of view of American foreign policy that is closest to the Republican Party narrative, which accuses the Obama-Clinton duo of “discrediting” it.


After Clinton has spent nearly a million miles in the air, American influence continues to diminish.


The image of Hillary Clinton in South Africa dancing enthusiastically exposed the ethical tone deafness of the head of American Diplomacy. That picture tells residents of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo all they need to know about the cruelty of American foreign policy.


The real power of foreign affairs rests in the hands of the White House, and more specifically the Obama campaign. All major foreign policy decisions - in Iraq, Afghanistan, the battle raging in Syria and the challenge posed by the Iranian regime, have been made at the behest of the needs of the campaign. All that remains for Mrs. Clinton is hoopla and a hectic travel schedule.


Much has been made of the amount of time she has spent in the air. She is now, officially, the most traveled secretary of state in American history. According to a recent statistic, she has travelled 843,485 miles and visited 102 countries. (this was before her latest African dance. No doubt those keeping count will update the figures). On one of her tours, she had breakfast in Vietnam, lunch in Laos, and dinner in Cambodia. It's official, she is always fun, lively, and drawing everyone's attention.

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This discredits U.S. foreign policy. If it is written of Truman’s secretary of state, Dean Acheson, that “he was present at the creation" of the post war global system at the end of WWII, then historians who bother writing about Mrs. Clinton will consider it a waste of time, testifying to the erosion of American power within the international system. 


After she took up her post in 2009, she announced that the so-called “Freedom Agenda” put in place by the previous administration would be done away with. In April of last year, she didn’t hesitate calling it an "ideology of a bygone era.” This is what her president wanted from the beginning. Carrying the banner of change in international affairs, the man who captivated crowds in Paris, Berlin and Cairo was in his heart unsettled in his attitudes, and apprehensive about projecting American power beyond its borders.

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When they work together, presidents and secretaries of state can alter the course of history. Take, for example, Truman and Acheson and their response to the demands of history when Britons were no longer able to fulfill their imperial role. Similarly, Ronald Reagan and George Shultz drove Soviet Communism to the grave, restoring confidence to the American people after the diplomatic setbacks of the 1970s and the humiliations suffered by American power in the era of Jimmy Carter. But we need to give Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton credit: they have done about as good a job as possible presiding over diminished American influence. That has been no small accomplishment. They wagered that Americans not only wouldn't notice - but that they would be altogether disinterested in the decline of American power abroad. And they were right..


However, the ineffectual nature of the current secretary of state is not unprecedented. Mrs. Clinton had no say in the decision to withdraw from Iraq. In fact, it was Vice President Joe Biden who was the president’s key adviser. And we haven't heard much from her regarding Afghanistan, except for a statement last month that it is a "key non-NATO ally." She also misread the Arab Spring, saying that Hosni Mubarak was “a close family friend” and that his regime was stable. For a long time to come, she will be remembered for holding on to a political sophistry that is, of course, the administration's current approach to the Syrian revolution.


Not having anything invested in the Syria situation except talk, she never tires of raising the specter of jihadists joining the fight: “Those working to exploit the misery of the Syrian people, either by sending in proxies or by sending in terrorist fighters, must recognize that that will not be tolerated, first and foremost by the Syrian people.”


Take Aleppo, the ancient city and former booming economic and commercial capital of the country that is now being barbarically showered with shells as if it were a foreign city. All Mrs. Clinton can say is: “we must very clearly define expectations and avoid a sectarian war.”


Syria has slipped - as was inevitable - into an interminable dispute, and a comprehensive civil and sectarian war between the majority Sunnis and Alawites who hold the reins of power. But Mrs. Clinton has nothing better to offer than the trivial and nonsensical observation that: “we need to find faster ways to stop this bloodbath and start the political transition. And we should ensure the safety and security of state institutions [translated quote].”



Kayhan, Iran: American Media Come Clean on U.S. Support for Terrorists in Syria
Okaz, Saudi Arabia: Global ‘Passivity’ Over Syria will End in Disaster
Izvestia, Russia: Why the Kremlin Opposes Assad’s Immediate Ouster
The Telegraph, U.K.: U.S. Refuses to Help Syrian Rebels Until after Elections
Ma'ariv, Israel: Why Syria is Lebanon All Over Again
Debka File, Israel: 'Big' Russian Fleet Nears Syria
Guardian, U.K.: Why U.S. and Russia Want a Backroom Deal Over Syria
Kommersant, Russia: Israelis and Russians Bound Again by Battle Against Nazis
La Stampa, Italy: Obama Offers Putin End Game Commitment on Syria
MK, Russia: Obama's ‘Hope’ Keeps Putin from ‘Window on Paradise’
Ma’ariv, Israel: Russia’s ‘Sadomasochistic’ Foreign Policy Success
Ma'ariv, Israel: Why Syria is Lebanon All Over Again
Debka, Israel: Russia, China, Iran Plan 'Biggest-Ever' Middle East Maneuvers
Debka, Israel: U.S. and Russia Deploy to Syria; 'Double Prey' for al-Qaeda
NZZ, Switzerland: Houla Massacre is No ‘Turning Point’ for Syria
An Nahar, Lebanon: Syria is Another Iraq, with Israel Thrown In
FARS News Agency, Iran: U.S. and Allies ‘Revive’ al-Qaeda for Use in Syria
NZZ, Switzerland: Houla Massacre is No ‘Turning Point’ for Syria
Al-Baath, Syria: America and the ‘Global War Against Syria’
Global Times, China: U.S., West ‘Morally Accountable’ for Syria Massacre
Daily Star, Lebanon: Daylight Massacre in Syria
Telegraph, U.K.: The Real Dilemma on Syria: Can the West Go it Alone?
BBC, U.K.: Scars of Iraq War Haunt American Policy in Syria
Global Times, China: Syria Crisis China's Moment to Show it Can't Be Hemmed In
Global Times, China: Beijing Shows 'Courage' By Vetoing Syria Resolution at U.N.
Guardian, U.K.: Before Syria Crisis Expands, Obama and NATO Should Act
The Independent, U.K. : West will Soon Forget Horror Over Childrens' Slaughter
Daily Mail, U.K.: Yes, Syria is Tragic, British Intervention Would be Madness
The Daily Star, Lebanon: Daylight Massacre in Syria
The Daily Star, Lebanon: Tide Turning Against the Syria Regime
Le Quotidien d’Oran, Algeria: The 'Brutality of the World', According to Putin
Moskovskiye Novosti, Russia: 'Russia's in a Changing World,' By Vladimir Putin
Al-Seyassah, Kuwait: Russia 'Bloodthirsty', China 'Misguided', for Syria Veto
Kochi Shimbun, Japan: In Syria, the U.N. Security Council Fails the World
Hoy, Ecuador: 'Cynical Imperialists' of East and West Clash Over Syria
Estadao, Brazil: Moscow Rescues Assad: Not a 'Travesty,' a 'Humiliation'
People's Daily, China: Give 'Peace a Chance' in Syria
Mehr News Agency, Iran: Supreme Leader Says U.S. Takes Revenge on Syria
Jerusalem Post, Israel: Obama's 'Rhetorical Storm'
Debka File, Israel: First Foreign Troops in Syria Back the Rebels
Zaman, Turkey: U.S. May Be Hiding Behind Russia's U.N. Veto


These are comments by someone wasting time at the expense of the Syrians, and trying to buy time for a president who handed her the job knowing that there would be someone like him at the State Department, and not someone who would practice the type of diplomacy that believes in weilding American influence and the burden the United States must shoulder in the world.


One need not be overly sarcastic to understand the thinking of the secretary of state and her closest political strategist, her husband Bill Clinton. They've adapted well to the defeat Obama inflicted on them in 2008. The role Bill Clinton has been assigned at the Democratic Convention, as the person best suited to reassure centrists and independents that Barack Obama is fully within the party's political center, constitutes an investment in the future. And on the morning following the presidential election, the Clintons will be ready. They will await Obama’s victory and then gradually climb back to power.


In the case that Obama is defeated, they will come to the traumatized party's rescue. Mrs. Clinton will point to a rich and far-ranging professional career. With all those air miles to her credit, she won't need to repeat the fictional story about having to land under fire in Bosnia in 1996. She will never mention the hopes she initially held for Syrian President Bashar Assad, who she saw as a reformer, or the massacres he has committed against his own people. Her supporters will argue that all is well at the Department of State, and that Hillary completed her mission through what she likes to call “People-to-People Diplomacy.”


*Fouad Ajami is author of the newly-published book The Syrian Rebellion



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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Aug. 23, 9:29pm]




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