Saturday, March 26, 2011

Libya, Hillary, and Obama: Living History, Pt. II


If the Politico is to be believed, Secretary of State Clinton is "whimsically looking forward" to leaving public life, and writing another book, among other things. She is also portrayed as pushing hard for a "no-fly zone" in Libya, against the administration's "insiders." I don't know how she'll recount this period in her book, but right now the reality is unflattering for her boss. Her statement, "I’m not here forever" was called "Shermanesque" by the Politico, but what does it mean?


It looks like she's accepting "has-been" status, but that doesn't fit the mold of a person with such a great drive to "change the world." One of the great things about American politics is the resurgence of a candidate that was thought "politically dead." Has her "hawkish" position on Libya been political, or principled? I assume the former, and am interested in how this situation is unfolding.


President Obama has been non-committal, by all accounts, notwithstanding his "tightening the noose" statement, which was bizzarely in contradiction to the reality reported on the ground at the time. Secretary Clinton has existing relationships with many foreign leaders, and may have convinced them (or vice-versa) to lead Obama into committing to use force to help the Libyan rebellion.


The Daily thinks it's too little, too late, and it's driving Clinton "over the edge": "Clinton is said to be especially peeved with the president’s waffling over how to encourage the kinds of Arab uprisings that have recently toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, and in particular his refusal to back a no-fly zone over Libya." She made an appearance in Tunisia, as well, promising jobs, and more: "So we want to know what Tunisia wants. We don't want to come in and say here's what the United States believes... Then we want to work on plans... a plan for health, we want to help do what we can to have a plan for jobs," she said. Will she visit Libya before she leaves office? Only if Khadafy and his family are gone.


Will they meet the same fate as Saddam Hussein, or Mubarak and Ben-Ali (& families)? Saddam's legal proceedings were turned over to "national" authorities, and he was executed. Will the no-fly zone be enough to get Daffy to take the "international" legal process? Who knows? The "no boots on the ground" policy suggests we wouldn't mind a Caucescu-type end to this dictator.


Sec. Clinton again shows why she would've been a better president than Obama. First, it was the health care debate. She had been through it before, and could've used the lessons of her husband's compromise on Welfare reform to do something that might have worked, instead of the divisive Obamacare law. Her foreign policy experience and instincts in a "crisis" are better-honed than the President's, beyond a doubt. Her biggest problem is if Obama's been too "centrist" for the "left-wing base," what chance does she have in a rerun of the last Democratic primary race? It's no wonder she's looking forward to "retirement" from public life, but one more "war" could put Obama in LBJ territory, with that same "left-wing" base that she is too "centrist" for.


I actually wrote this last week, but I think it stands up as commentary of an ongoing situation. She also has a new interview on ABC, with Diane Sawyer. She addresses a few issues mentioned here, so I'll post an update sooner or later. Basically lots of backtracking from the stories referenced here.




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