March 3, 2010

I guess Hillary wasn't ready for that 3 am phone call either.

Yes, this is indeed Bizarro world, where North is South and up is down. Hot Air has the story that Hillary Clinton has demanded that the U.K. negotiate with Argentina over the Falkland Islands - a dispute everyone assumed settled back in 1982 in Britain's favor. But things change. 1982 was 28 years ago. Argentina has changed, Britain has changed and America has changed and not all for the better.

The news item reveals a lot of things. Firstly the Bizzarro world fact that allies don't seem to matter to America anymore. In a glaring failure to see the big picture the administration made this not so subtle point to the British. Never mind that Great Britian was there for the U.S. like no other in Iraq. Never mind that they are there in Afghanistan alongside the United States, in a desperately needed role. It doesn't matter if the Obama administration dislikes the Bush policy on Iraq or Afghanistan - the fact is the Britian stood up to be counted on the side of the U.S. when many countries were reluctant to do so. This is your number one ally, who went to battle, literally, for you. And to slap them in the face in return is shocking, and insulting.

Secondly, the amount of naiveté displayed by either the White House and/or the Secretary of State herself. The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon met with Argentinian representatives in late February and was smart enough not to be drawn into the fray, unlike Clinton;
Previously, it was said that a resolution is also set to be tabled in the UN General Assembly condemning Britain for allowing the Ocean Guardian oil rig to begin drilling 100 kilometres north of the Islands

Meanwhile the UN website said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today took note of Argentina’s concerns regarding the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) during a meeting at United Nations Headquarters with the country’s Foreign Minister, Jorge E. Taiana.

“Mr. Ban expressed satisfaction at Argentina’s commitment to resolving its dispute with the United Kingdom over the Islands in a peaceful manner”, according to information provided by a UN spokesperson.

In addition, the Secretary-General reiterated that his good offices are available when requested by all parties in a dispute.

The dispute between the two countries – which fought a war over the islands in 1982 – is back in the spotlight owing to reported oil drilling by the UK off the Falkland Islands.
According to media reports, Argentina says that the UK has broken a UN resolution forbidding unilateral development in disputed waters, while the British Government says the Islands have a ‘legitimate right’ to develop an oil industry within their waters.

Desire Petroleum Company, which is operating the rig, has said that the drilling will take about a month. Further exploration for other companies will follow.

Argentine president Cristina Kirchner said in Mexico that in spite of the British attitude ignoring Argentine legislation, “we’re not going to adopt any measure outside the framework of international law: we don’t believe in such things as blockades”. She added that in this Argentina will act strictly “because the only thing you can’t do with a cannibal is eat him”.
He praised Argentina's plan to seek peaceful resolution, and he left it at that, offering further only to help negotiate if requested. If Ban Ki-Moon knows when to shut up, why doesn't Hilary?
Thirdly the question has to be asked: Was this a Clinton faux pas or an Obama administration decision? Clinton displayed a stunning lack of wisdom, proving that she is not ready for that 3 am phone call. It's not the first gaffe she has made as Secretary of State. There was the Obama-esque level of a disappearing act during the brutal Iranian clamp down on protesters after a sham of an election. That was made especially dubious after her bold declaration during her own Presidential run, that Iran would not be permitted to develop or use nuclear weapons. Oops - again.

She has been strangely silent on the arms deal with Taiwan - especially curious considering her husband's coziness with China during his Presidency.
The arms package was doubly infuriating to Beijing coming so soon after the Bush administration announced a similar arms package for Taiwan in 2008, and right as tensions were easing somewhat in Beijing and Taipei’s own relations. China’s immediate, and outraged, reaction — cancellation of some military exchanges and announcement of punitive sanctions against American companies — demonstrates, China experts said, that Beijing is feeling a little burned, particularly because the Taiwan arms announcement came on the same day that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton publicly berated China for not taking a stronger position on holding Iran accountable for its nuclear program.
There's a misdirection play if ever there was one. Was she out of line with the overall White House message to China on Taiwan or trying to stay out of that discussion entirely. At best it's out of step with the message on that day.

Again during her run for President she flip-flopped badly on the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants in New York. Since then, in a role the State Department should play a key role in, illegal immigration, nary a word.

Now to be fair, how can we expect Hillary Clinton to respect history when she can't remember a landing in Bonsia where she came under phantom fire?

For Clinton there is no way out of the impression she continues to leave us with. She is no more ready for the Presidency than was/is President Obama. The only possible excuse she can dredge up is that she was following marching orders from President Obama. If that's the best defence, it doesn't speak much for character or integrity or standing up for what you believe. And either Clinton believes that the U.K. has a legitimate claim on the islands and refused to stand up to Obama or even worse, a Spanish press corps, or else she believes Argentina does have a claim and/or that Soft Power is a goal unto itself. In either case it is a betrayal of a centuries old friendship that the British are not likely to forget until 2012. Especially if things in the Falklands start to get worse. And they quite possibly will.

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