The Threshold

The Chicago Tribune examines Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy credentials. (Here.) The article looks at the most important question–what thresholds has she actually crossed?–and provides a surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly) unimpressive answers.

But her involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process was primarily to encourage activism among women’s groups there, a contribution that the lead U.S. negotiator described as “helpful” but that an Irish historian who has written extensively about the conflict dismissed as “ancillary” to the peace process.

The Macedonian government opened its border to refugees the day before Clinton arrived to meet with government leaders. And her mission to Bosnia was a one-day visit in which she was accompanied by performers Sheryl Crow and Sinbad, as well as her daughter, Chelsea, according to the commanding general who hosted her.

Whatever her private conversations with the president may have been, key foreign policy officials say that a U.S. military intervention in Rwanda was never considered in the Clinton administration’s policy deliberations. Despite lengthy memoirs by both Clintons and former Secretary of State and UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright, any advice she gave on Rwanda had not been mentioned until her presidential campaign.

When you really look at the facts, Barack Obama, while he doesn’t have a tremendous amount of experience, is not really at such a disadvantage in the foreign policy realm. Furthermore, Obama has filled his foreign policy staff with intelligent people from outside of the typical Washington circles, such as Susan Rice and the unfortunately fallen Samantha Power.

And, as I’ve said before, and Andrew Sullivan articulated much better, I believe that Barack Obama with the sheer image of his presidency will drastically alter American relations with the world and reverse some of the negative impressions that are so widespread. Maybe Hillary would be able to do that, too. But I’m less confident.


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