The Campaign Spot

Ten Questions Raised By Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Essay

Not much reaction to Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Affairs essay yet, so let me throw out a few questions.

1) You say, “the war [in Iraq] is sapping our military strength, absorbing our strategic assets, diverting attention and resources from Afghanistan, and dividing our people.” That last line suggests that policies that “divide our people” are ipso facto bad. As President, will you only pursue foreign policies that unite our people? Would you reject a policy you felt was right if it would divide the American people? What percentage in a poll must a proposed policy get before it is enacted by the Hillary Clinton Administration?#more#
2) “I will focus U.S. aid on helping Iraqis, not propping up the Iraqi government. Financial resources will go only where they will be used properly, rather than to government ministries or ministers that hoard, steal, or waste them.” What determines “proper” use in a tribal society such as Iraq’s? Which ministers are currently hoarding, stealing, or wasting U.S. aid? I’ll recognize that you may not have this information at your fingertips; whose judgment do you trust in evaluating effective ministers and ministries?
3) “I will order specialized units to engage in targeted operations against al-Qaeda in Iraq and other terrorist organizations in the region.” Ballpark estimate, Senator, how many troops? Any particular units in mind?
4) In Afghanistan, you write, “In addition to engaging in counternarcotics efforts, we must seek to dry up recruiting opportunities for the Taliban by funding crop substitution programs.” Which crops pay as well as heroin? And does statement mean you reject the criticism that fighting the war on drugs in Afghanistan has hurt our efforts to fight the Taliban?
5) You say “redoubling our efforts with Pakistan would not only root out terrorist elements there; it would also signal to our NATO partners that the war in Afghanistan and the broader fight against extremism in South Asia are battles that we can and must win.” Two questions: What constitutes ‘redoubling our efforts,’ and are your speechwriters paid by the cliché?
6) You write, “If Iran is in fact willing to end its nuclear weapons program, renounce sponsorship of terrorism, support Middle East peace, and play a constructive role in Iraq, the United States should be prepared to offer Iran a carefully calibrated package of incentives.” What on God’s green earth makes you think they’re willing to meet one of those four conditions, never mind all four?
7) “Neither North Korea nor Iran will change course as a result of what we do with our own nuclear weapons.” Senator, I applaud your honesty. Now, which countries will change course as a result of what we do?
8) “Establishing an international fuel bank that guaranteed secure access to nuclear fuel at reasonable prices would help limit the number of countries that pose proliferation risks.” Let me get this straight – we now sell nuclear fuel to any countries that want it?
9) “The United States should undertake a joint program with China and Japan to develop new clean energy sources, promote greater energy efficiency, and combat climate change.” What brought you to the conclusion that China and Japan want to help each other? Their long history of harmonious friendship?
10) Regarding women’s rights, you write, “Yet progress in key areas has lagged, as evidenced by the continuing spread of trafficking in women, the ongoing use of rape as an instrument of war, the political marginalization of women, and persistent gender gaps in employment and economic opportunity.” Do you see anything wrong with putting “political marginalization” and “gender gaps in employment” in the same sentence as “rape” and “trafficking”? Do you feel that perhaps two of these are egregious crimes, and two are comparably nebulous social phenomenon?

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