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Friday, June 04, 2010

Clintontonian Age: Hilary Clinton - Madam Secretary Extraordinaire

Feedback on this blog was more about Isreal than Secretary Clinton. Thanks to all responses! Caroline from Virginia responded to the subject so I've attached her comments below this commentary. Reader responses about how Isreal is handling the Gaza blockade are attached. John and Kait have excellent comments.

While President Obama is figuratively immersed in the Louisiana oil spill tragedy, the rest of the world is literally fending off wars at historic hot spots.

Korea, Gaza, Israel and the Japanese anger about the US military base in Okinawa, are several serious global problem spots where the local people could care less about our US oil leak and British Petroleum's (BP) stock prices.

Rather, these countries are among a host of other unstable areas where conflagrations are taking up America's foreign policy energy, absorbing our international diplomacy efforts like giant sink holes. Our BP oil spill issues are tragically soaking the environment in the Gulf of Mexico while the rest of the world is permeated by conflicts.

Thankfully, the most timely and competent decision President Obama made when he was elected US President was to ask his political competitor to be the Secretary of State. In my opinion, Hilary Rodham Clinton has grown from First Lady of the Nation to Madam Secretary: First Lady to the World.

Secretary Clinton is a diplomatic God send to our nation. Her important role as US spokesperson to other nations is enhanced by her competent, and professional expertise and sensitive ability to understand diplomatic communications.

Americans are exceptionally fortunate to have her steering the nation's foreign policy, especially while President Obama is otherwise doused in dealing with domestic, economic and environmental problems caused by policies promulgated by the Bush administration.

Some examples where Secretary Clinton's expertise is vital:

1. North and South Korea share the world's most incendiary relationship. While I'm certainly no expert on foreign relations, when we visited Seoul and Pusan Korea in the 1970's, I saw a South Korea always on alert for war. I'm reasonably sure little about South Korea's preparedness has changed much since my husband and I visited. Politically, South Korea is a functioning democratic government, but the nation is still at war with the North. Obviously, North Korea's attack on a South Korean Navy ship recently was a startling reminder about how this war of the 1950s is still unresolved. It probably doesn't matter why the South Korean ship was maneuvering so close to North Korea. The attack was an act of war. Secretary Clinton is working the issue, which gives me confidence in South Korea's ability to practice restraint against the overt North Korean attack on their Navy, for the time being.

2. Japan is again voicing its pent up anger about the US base in Okinawa - they want it gone. This is probably not the time for the US to give up a military base so close to the Korean conflagration. Okinawa doesn't want the US in their island state, but I'm reasonably sure the economy of the region is heavily dependent on the base being there. It's a dicey diplomatic problem for Japanese and US international security. It's also another important reason for Secretary Clinton to be communicating with the Japanese at this time.

3. Israel - and all the issues about protecting the Israli nation and its people. "Oy vey!", is one expletive that comes to mind. Thankfully, Israel is a country where the US doesn't need to engage in nation building, because the Israeli men and women take military care of themselves. But, Moslem's and Palestinians seem intent on pulling Israel into one conflagration after another. Secretary Clinton is a calm voice for all the players in the Middle East. Let's pray for her success to maintain peaceful relations for Israel and its threatening neighbors.

Dozens of other world nations welcome Secretary Clinton. Nations like Russia, the Balkans, Asia, India, the nations of Africa and South America, seem to be on her 24/7 itinerary. Secretary Clinton is a welcomed ambassador in nations throughout our politically fragile world because she projects impeccable timing. Her nuanced tone will express frustration, when it's called for, but peace whenever possible.

Secretary Clinton might be an indispensable foreign diplomat. Although her motivations are noble, her political ambitions run deep and long - and hopefully, she will carry her enormous international appeal into another try for the White House.

In diplomatic years, Secretary Clinton is only middle age. Maybe her political old age will be enjoyed as Madam President.

In a tribute to both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, regardless of where their personal futures might lead, historians might one day identify these days as the Clintontonian age.

Hi Julie,

I enjoyed reading your comments about Hillary Clinton. She is a diplomat like no other. One must think about her incredible talent which has grown over the years as she went from wife of a governor of Arkansas to Secretary of State. Few people are able to be accepted on the world stage as she has.

She has not only been accepted, but embraced, by people of the world wherever she has gone. She prepared herself so well, from her academic years to the present, to understand and accept divergent views. Women and men alike listen to what she has to say and share their nations' views even if they disagree. She has the charisma of a respected diplomat.

Hillary has proved herself through so many trials. It is obvious to me that if she wants to run the gamut of slurs and hatred again to vie for the Presidency, which would surely be mounted with a vengeance, she will need a strong Democratic Party.

An aside: let's hope that the pleasure commentators take in commenting continually on her hair and clothes will be tamed. I only see the incredible energy and fortitude she has to work so diligently for the American people.




Blogger Juliana Maine Writer said...

Dear Julie,
I agree with you that Secretary of State Clinton has done an excellent job. She has the intelligence and the gravitas to implement a policy of international cooperation, while holding many rogue states to accountability.
However, I don't agree with you about Israel and its relations with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors. Israel has a right to protect itself and to exist. It does not have a right to reduce its Palestinian citizens to second-class citizenship, nor to deny the citizens of Gaza sanitation, medical supplies, job possibilities, and proper nutrition. The Israeli invasion of Gaza was rightly condemned as disproportionate in its attack on civilians and infrastructure. The Goldstone Report was an objective report and was accepted as such by much of the liberal Israeli media, though Judge Goldstone, a distinguished South African jurist and a practicing Jew was demonized by the government of Israel. The increasing malnutrition in Gaza and the inability to get supplies to rebuild infrastructure is all Israeli government policy.
Former President Carter was right in his criticism of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. In my discussions with Jesuits and other religious who have spent time in Israel and Jordan, I have yet to find one who feels that Israeli policy is not demeaning toward the average Palestinian. Those in the Israeli peace movement agree with the Biblical injunction that you are called to treat the stranger with the same justice that you treat your own. The Israeli government also fosters a policy to drive Christian Palestinians out of Israel so that there will be less sympathy for Palestinians. The security wall, which was mostly built on Palestinian, not Israeli territory, often separated the olive groves and farms of Palestinians from the villages where they lived. The hope seems to be that if only Muslems are left, the West could care less what happens to them. Christian Palestinians are also the ones who most try to mediate between Jews and Muslems.
It is more than ten years ago that the Vatican recognized Israel and exchanged ambassadors. As part of the discussion, Israel was supposed to write up an agreement about visas for Catholic priests, brothers and sisters who work in the Holy Land. The Israeli government has continued to drag its feet on the issue and has time and again postponed talks and dragged its feet on visas. It simply did not bargain in good faith.
I hope that one day the Israeli public will again elect a government that is willing to negotiate with the Palestinians so that there can be two viable neighboring nations. I am happy that the Obama administration is more willing to pressure Israel to do the right thing than was true under the Bush and Clinton administrations.
Peace in the Lord Jesus,
John, SJ
P.S. What I am saying can mostly be found in the liberal Jewish magazine, "Tikkun", and on the web-site of Rabbi Michael Lerner. It can also be found on the web-site of Christians for Middle Eastern Peace.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Kait said...

wow. I agree with John. :-) I feel strongly that Israel has overstepped its bounds and that the extreme Zionist views of the present Israeli administration is damaging to the Middle East, and especially frustrating for those who believe strongly, (as I do) in a Jewish state, but not in one to the exclusion of those who have shared that particular piece of the desert (albeit poorly) with the Israelites from the beginning of their histories. Isaac and Ishmael and their descendents have never lived in Peace, but they were close once, and if the present President of Israel would stop acting like G.W. Bush they could be again. The Jews with whom I have been fortunate enough to speak seem aghast at the latest attack by the Israeli Military (and Administration) on a peaceful protest and are frustrated they are not being heard by those in power there. You are right though, that Secretary Clinton is the right person for this job, especially in this moment. Thanks for speaking about this most remarkable woman.

1:50 PM  

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