Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton’s big criticism of Barack Obama is that he didn’t go to war against Syria

Back in June, Cato Institute Vice President Gene Healy shed some light on Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy record. No, we’re not talking about her cataclysmic failure in Benghazi or any of her other mistakes during her time in Foggy Bottom.

Healy’s warning was that Clinton — throughout the course of her national profile as first lady, U.S. senator, Secretary of State, and, now, Democratic presidential nominee in waiting — has never met a war she didn’t like. She helped present the case for the Iraq war and the ties between Saddam Hussein’s regime and terrorist elements — ties, by the way, that didn’t exist.

More recently, Healy notes, Clinton urged President Obama to intervene in Libya. And, of course, the Obama administration joined the NATO campaign in 2011 to depose the North African country’s dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. The intervention in Libya — which is, basically, in the midst of an internal conflict so violent that both the U.N. and the U.S. have evacuated staffers from their embassies — is generally thought to be one of this administration’s foreign policy blunders.

Clinton was also supportive of U.S. intervention against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. President Obama, however, didn’t take that step, largely due to congressional and public opposition to yet another war.

But Clinton is now criticizing President Obama’s approach to foreign policy, an approach she helped craft during in four years as his secretary of state. In an interview with The Atlantic, Clinton criticized the White House for not throwing its full weight behind the Syrian rebels fighting Assad’s regime:

Hillary Clinton cites Benghazi as “biggest regret”

During a discussion at the National Automobile Dealers Association conference in New Orleans on Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack is her “biggest regret” during her time serving as the United States’ top diplomat.

“You make these choices based on imperfect information and you make them to, as we say, the best of your ability,” said Clinton. “But that doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be unforeseen consequences, unpredictable twists and turns.”

“My biggest, you know, regret is what happened in Benghazi,” she said. “It was a terrible tragedy, losing four Americans two diplomats and — now it’s public, so I can say — two CIA operatives, losing an ambassador like Chris Stevens, who was one of our very best and had served in Libya and across the Middle East.”

Clinton was eventually asked about her plans to 2016, to which she responded with laughter and played coy.

Senate Confirmations: An Opportunity Squandered

President Obama’s foreign policy team is undergoing a makeover, with the nominations of Senator John Kerry as Secretary of State, former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, and the Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan as CIA Director.  All three gentlemen are expected to be confirmed; Kerry already has, Hagel will likely be confirmed (following an abysmal hearing) later this week, and Brennan faces his confirmation hearing this Thursday, which will essentially be the GOP’s final chance to hold Obama accountable for broken national security policies.

The GOP squandered two opportunities to ask proper questions of Kerry and Hagel.  The Kerry confirmation hearing was a jovial affair for one of the first advocates on intervention in the Libyan civil war in 2011, which, by the way, received no congressional authorization.  When Kerry was questioned about congressional authorization, he essentially bragged about his history of support for unilateral Executive action in Grenada, Panama, Kosovo, Bosnia, and yes, Libya.

Wikileaks: Criminal Enterprise or Useful Check On Government?

With the recent release of information likely to embarrass ambassadors and diplomats, Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange, have become targets for the government’s latest arrows in the “War on Terror.” Even the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Pete King (R-NY), has called for the Justice Department to aggressively investigate and prosecute the site and its founder, an Australian, for the releases that many government officials have cited as “putting lives at risk.”

While I haven’t read every word released by Wikileaks, I find it hard to believe that leaked information about the American government and their actions will endanger lives. In fact, I like the “new normal” in terms of government transparency. I hardly think that accepting and publishing information given qualifies one, as King asserts that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should declare, as “a foreign terrorist organization.”

The investigation into Assange’s involvement in a suspected rape in Sweden aside, the work being done by his organization opened many eyes about the Federal Government’s actions in the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their publication of government information on the Iraq War in October provided a valuable release of information to the public with statistics, documentation, and accounts of war activities that the U.S. Government feels is too dangerous for us to know. In fact, Time Magazine stated that Wikileaks “Could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.”

Hillary Clinton’s new book is a flop: Sales decline by nearly 44 percent in its second week on the shelves

Despite the huge media blitz both before and after its release, The New York Times reports that sales of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s new book, Hard Choices, declined significantly in its second week on the shelves (emphasis added):

Sales of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new memoir, “Hard Choices,” declined 43.5 percent to 48,000 copies in its second week on the shelves, according to Nielsen BookScan.
[…]
About 85,000 copies were sold in the week after the book’s June 10 release, according to BookScan, a subscription service that tracks sales at over 80 percent of book vendors in the United States. Those figures do not include e-books, which increased sales by about 15 percent, to roughly 100,000 electronic and hardcover copies.

First-week sales typically account for about 30 percent of the total, thanks to the publicity blitzes that accompany publishers’ biggest releases. That means “Hard Choices” could fall far short of the one million copies that Simon & Schuster shipped to bookstores, industry executives said. (Publishers sell books on consignment and must take back copies that do not sell in the stores.)

The second-week figures also increase the likelihood that Simon & Schuster will not sell enough books to make up for Mrs. Clinton’s advance, said a publishing executive who did not want to speak on the record about a competitor’s book.

Americans just aren’t than into her: Hillary Clinton’s book is falling short of her publisher’s expectations

Hillary Clinton’s new book, Hard Choices, in which she discusses her four years as the United States’ 67th Secretary of State, isn’t doing as well as her publisher had hoped, according to The Weekly Standard:

In an email this evening, a veteran publishing source calls the latest Hillary Clinton book, Hard Choices, a memoir of her State Department years, a “bomb.” The source is referring to the early but underwhelming sales figures.

“Between us, they are nervous at S&S [Simon & Schuster],” says the source, who gave permission for his email to be published. “Sales were well below expectations and the media was a disaster.”

According to this source, a Simon & Schuster insider, “They sold 60,000 hard covers first week and 24,000 ebooks.” The publishing house was “hoping and praying for 150,000 print first week.”

“The 60k represents a less than 10% sell thru based on what they shipped,” says the source.

And here’s video of Hillary Clinton dodging a shoe

When she’s not avoiding questions about the 2012 attack on the American outpost in Benghazi, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is dodging shoes, apparently. Or at least that’s what the ex-diplomat did yesterday during a speech in Las Vegas:

The woman who threw the shoe rushed past security to get into the conference and was arrested. Clinton managed to get out of the way. This is at least the second time she has had to avoid projectiles. During a 2011 trip to Egypt, protesters threw tomatoes and other objects at Clinton’s motorcade.

SC Senate: Primary challenger ties Lindsey Graham to Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton and Lindsey Graham

A conservative primary challenger has rolled out an ad that ties Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a likely contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The ad — a product of Bill Connor’s campaign — calls Graham’s purported conservative credentials into question with clips of the South Carolina senator saying that Clinton is “dedicated to her job” and “one of the most effective secretary of states, greatest ambassadors for the United States” that he’s ever seen:

“I was at the TEA Party debate when I first saw this footage of Graham praising and hugging Hillary. I thought it represented what’s most frustrating to South Carolina conservatives about Lindsey Graham–the inherent hypocrisy of calling himself a conservative when he campaigns, but acting like and voting like a moderate or liberal the rest of the time,” Connor said in a statement from his campaign. “My plan was always to get on TV first and to stay there.”

Deal reached to slow Iran’s nuclear program

Obama's Iran statement

News broke late Saturday evening that a historic deal had been reached between Iran and six countries — including the United States, Russia, and China — that would limit the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons.

The “historic” deal would require the regime in Teheran to destroy its 20 percent uranium and freeze the 3.5 percent stock the country has currently produced for its nuclear energy program.

The Washington Post explains that 20 percent uranium is “needed for research reactors that produce isotopes for cancer treatment and other applications, such as agricultural to enhance fertilizers.” The paper notes that this level of enrichment is “only several steps away from being boosted to weapons-grade levels at more than 90 percent.”

In return, there would be no further sanctions against Iran for at least six months, provided that the regime allows daily inspections and follows through on the destruction of the higher levels of enriched uranium.

“These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb,” said President Barack Obama in a televised statement late Saturday evening. “Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program. And because of this agreement, Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its program.”

Kerry will sign U.N. Arms Trade Treaty

Despite bipartisan opposition in the United States Senate, Secretary of State John Kerry has signed the United Nations’ controversial Arms Trade Treaty, which gun rights supporters fear is a backdoor way to advance strict gun control measures:

Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday signed a controversial U.N. treaty on arms regulation, riling U.S. lawmakers who vow the Senate will not ratify the agreement.

As he signed the document, Kerry called the treaty a “significant step” in addressing illegal gun sales, while claiming it would also protect gun rights.

“This is about keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue actors. This is about reducing the risk of international transfers of conventional arms that will be used to carry out the world’s worst crimes. This is about keeping Americans safe and keeping America strong,” he said. “This treaty will not diminish anyone’s freedom. In fact, the treaty recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess, and use arms for legitimate purposes.”

Many gun rights supporters believe that the treaty will serve as a backdoor for more strenuous gun control measures than what is currently being pushed by the White House. In particular, there is a requirement for countries to track gun ownership of small arms to the “end user” (gun registration).


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