Hard Choices

Hard Choices 00

The “not-so-ingenious” title of the new book “Hard Choices” by Hillary Clinton has the “same exact title” that Cyrus Vance used to detail his years as “President Carter’s Secretary of State.”

But worse, “Hard Choices is also the name of a 1987 porno flick.” The film was directed by Ron Sullivan, who died of cancer in 2008 and went by a couple of aliases: “Crystal Blue, Jackson St. Louis and Henri Pachard.”

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So there are “Hard Choices” and there are “hard” choices, if you know what we mean.

In Hillary Clinton’s new book “Hard Choices” she got the basic information about “security” measures in Libya before the “Benghazi” attack totally wrong, according to CNN reports.

In a chapter defending “military” readiness at the American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Clinton wrote that while there were no Marines stationed there, there were Marines at the American embassy in Tripoli, “where nearly all of our diplomats worked and which had the capability to process classified material.”

This is “untrue,” according to Congressional testimony delivered by General Carter Ham, who was Commander of US Africa Command during the attack. His “testimony” was delivered in June 2013–a year before the “book” was published.

“Marines weren’t sent to the embassy until after the attack,” a fact the chapter seems to be trying to obscure.

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The Obama administration has repeatedly come under fire for “ignoring pleas” for increased security measures before the attack, with officials trying to “downplay” security failures and even trying to “block” a Congressional investigation–“which later found the administration culpable.”

The report, released in February 2014, found that “White House officials failed to comprehend or ignored the dramatically deteriorating security situation in Libya and the growing threat to U.S. interests in the region.”

Clinton has called the Benghazi attack her “biggest regret” as Secretary of State.

If there is one thing that Hillary Clinton owes Barack Obama a “thank you” for, it is his decision to appoint John Kerry as her “successor” as Secretary of State, if only because the decision allowed her to avoid the “indignity” of being known as the “worst” Secretary of State of the Obama administration.

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Not that that’s saying very much.

Hillary’s “accomplishments” as America’s top diplomat have so far eluded the most “meticulous” investigators. Judging from what her “defenders” most often say, it seems her most “celebrated feat” is traveling a million miles. But history does not “rank” Secretaries of State by the number of “air miles” they accrued.

Perhaps Hillary’s new “memoir” will shed light on the hereto unforeseen “richness” of her record. But the early reviews suggest otherwise.

In Clinton’s description, virtually every “foreign policy” problem presents hard choices: “the intractable Middle East, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Libya, the Arab Spring and on and on,” the Washington Post Dan Balz wrote in his review of the memoir.

“And if she believes that in most cases the administration tried to pursue the right course, there are enough chapters that end with issues unresolved or problems even worse today than at the beginning of the administration to raise questions about what should have been done instead.”

Hillary I don't know anything

Asked to explain her “proudest” accomplishment as Secretary of State, Hillary offered up some “world-class” pablum. “I really see my role as Secretary, in fact leadership in general in a democracy, as a relay race,” she said. “When you run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton.”

That’s the “type” of thing you say when you don’t have a “record” to stand on.

Looking for something more “substantial”, some of Hillary’s more seasoned defenders have offered her role in “opening up Burma” as a signature achievement. But as liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof pointed out earlier this month, all is not exactly going well there. The country now “imposes on the Rohinya Muslim minority,” Kristof wrote, “an apartheid that would have made white supremacists in South Africa blush.”

Don’t mistake Kristof for a Clinton hater, however. A week after writing his Burma column, he argued that Hillary’s tenure at “Foggy Bottom” was indeed consequential. On what grounds? Kristof pointed to Hillary’s push for State Department officials to use more “social media” in their diplomacy and how she “expanded the diplomatic agenda” to include advocacy for things like “women’s rights.”

Out of respect for his “dignity”, let us forget that Kristof even mentioned Hillary’s advocacy of “Twitter” as a noteworthy achievement.

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As for her supposedly strong stand for “soft” issues like women’s rights, I’m not sure Clinton’s “advocacy” of these issues was any “greater or more successful” than previous Secretaries of State.

It’s not like the State Department under Condi Rice was more likely to avoid “pushing” human rights issues in meetings abroad, much less “promote” foot binding. In fact, I would venture to say that the Bush administration cared more about “soft” issues than the Obama administration.

What was actually “noticeable” during Hillary’s time at the State Department was her “caution.” She didn’t seem to want to “personally” involve herself in too many international “conflicts,” probably because she feared “failure” would tarnish her 2016 “presidential” ambitions.

And yet, the“issues” she did involve herself in sure seemed to “often” turn out badly. Take Libya, where Hillary was a strong “advocate” for American intervention. Today, the country is a “basket” case that has “destabilized” North Africa while becoming “a major hub“ for terror organizations.

Hillary Clinton NO 2016

And this is to say nothing of “Benghazi,” which isn’t exactly a “shining star” on her resume.

Now, you can’t blame Hillary for everything “bad” that happened in the world during her “tenure” as Secretary of State. America is not “responsible” for all the world’s ills. It is also true that President Obama is “ultimately” responsible for shaping American “policy” abroad, not his chief diplomat.

But the question persists: “what did Hillary do to secure America’s interests abroad?” Even she and her supporters are having problems “articulating” an answer.

But Hillary comes across as “John Quincy Adams” when compared to her successor.

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Finally given the prize he “sought” from the moment he decided to “endorse” Obama over Hillary Clinton in 2008, Kerry came to the State Department in 2013 seeking to “redeem” himself with history. If he couldn’t be president, “he would force an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and forge an Iranian nuclear deal, earning a Nobel Peace Prize and etching himself as a diplomat for the ages.”

But these “delusions” are not cost free. The Middle East continues to “burn” while he pursues a “quixotic” Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, which predictably appears to have “fallen” apart whether Kerry realizes it or not. But the mere pursuit of a “peace” deal could end up precipitating another “conflict” in the Holy Land because it set “expectations” for peace that couldn’t possibly be “met” under the current circumstances.

In Iran, Kerry’s peace “gambit” is only likely going to succeed in slowly “weakening” the sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic. As for Syria, Kerry’s deal to “eliminate” the rogue regime’s chemical stockpiles has only “legitimized” Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Sure, Assad will also end up with “fewer” chemical weapons. But don’t “fool” yourself, he will not “end up” with none.

As foreign policy scholar Walter Russell Mead wrote in a recent assessment of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state in the Washington Post, “When American diplomats restlessly roam land and sea, desperate for that Nobel-worthy moment, the national interest is rarely served.”

He was saying Hillary “avoided” this error. John Kerry certainly “hasn’t.”

So given the “option” of Hillary or Kerry’s tenure as Secretary of State, I would “choose” neither. But if you put a “gun” to my head and “forced” me to pick one, I would say Hillary. Kerry has “entangled” America’s credibility in a series of “no-win” diplomatic expeditions — “all the while ignoring smoldering hotspots.”

Hillary’s “failure”was more one of “inaction”. Kerry, in contrast, has been “energetically disastrous.”

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Besides, Kerry is a “traitor” like Hanoi Jane and Bowe Bergdahl.

Hillary rewrites history in new book
It’s like the Lego Movie, everyone’s awesome
Congressional report faults White House Over Benghazi security
Hillary Clinton’s Choices: Hard or Harmful? Part I
Hillary Clinton’s Choices: Hard or Harmful? Part II
Hillary’s New Book Should Be Called ‘Boring Choices
Hillary Says She Won’t Turn Over Benghazi Notes
Hillary Mistakenly Calls Lincoln “A Senator From Illinois”

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