The Campaign Spot

Just What Has Obama Gotten Hillary Into?

Word is Hillary is saying yes.

President Obama could do a lot worse than a foreign policy team of National Security Adviser James Jones, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and CIA Director John Brennan.

Having said that, it’s easy to wonder if Hillary Clinton just accepted a poisoned chalice of a job. She’ll be sent to Europe, to persuade our allies to contribute more troops to Afghanistan; she’ll most likely hear every excuse under the sun in response. She, like Condi Rice, will be sent to Jerusalem to work out a Middle East peace deal; barring a miracle, she’ll be disappointed time and again. We’ll see if she gets dragged into setting up a policy of unconditional face-to-face meetings with Ahmadinejad, Assad, Chavez, Kim Jong-Il, and Castro. Biden predicted the Obama administration would be tested by a crisis right out of the gate; Hillary will probably be part of the folks who have to respond to that.

Tom Friedman talked about the lengthy frustration of the Clinton administration’s outreach to the Syrians, and how then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher was pretty much humiliated by the Assad regime like clockwork:

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Well, I think it’s time–this guy basically has been getting away with murder, our Secretary of State, at last check, has been there I think not twenty times, if you count two trips today, in the last three years. He has absolutely nothing, zero, to show for those twenty trips, not in terms of Israeli-Syrian peace, not in terms now of peace in Lebanon, not in terms of peace even in the environment, so at some point I think you have to snap the notebook shut, say thank you very much, Mr. Assad, we will leave you to the tender mercies of the Israeli air force, give us a call, 202-647-4000, ask for Chris, see you later.

Friedman later praised Christopher for his persistence in reaching agreements after those 20 or so snubs, but will Hillary be alright with headlines like ’Clinton Returns From Summit Empty-Handed’ every time she goes back to Foggy Bottom?

Every Secretary of State enters office as “a breath of fresh air” and with great vigor and enthusiasm, and year by year, we see that energy and enthusiasm beaten back by geopolitical realities and a massive bureaucracy. Maybe Hillary will break the trend.

Good luck, Hillary…

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