This story, White House changing policy on Sudan; new incentives to be unveiled Monday by Clinton is flying around the interwebs today, and I must say that, if this is the transparent administration, I see right through it. The White House is changing the policy and the Secretary of State will do the unveiling. Well actually The Secretary of State along with our ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, and special envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration. And the reason for the triumvirate? (Can you still use that word when two members are women? I don’t know.) The reason is here in this paragraph of the story:
The announcement is planned to show unity within the Obama administration. Rice and Gration have notoriously clashed over engaging with the Sudanese government of President Omar al-Bashir, who has been charged by the International Criminal Court with crimes against humanity and war crimes for allegedly masterminding deadly attacks throughout Darfur.
Well, by all means let’s not let any daylight show between the White House and the cabinet.
Of course we all have to wait until Monday to hear exactly how our Homegirl will explain the rationale behind this policy reversal. It just seems to be so opposed to everything I have seen Hillary stand for. In every interview, Hillary mentions the unity issue within this administration, and now I am beginning to wonder whether the only policy is unity for unity’s sake to the extent that whomever we are reaching out to or whomever we are isolating, the most important issue is not what behavior we may see or have seen from that entity, no that is not the issue. Who is killing, raping, starving, throwing acid at whom is not the issue. That the administration remains in lock step, that the image projected is one of unity, that is the most important issue.
Here’s another cute little trick:
However, the officials said the new policy will not make major concessions to Bashir, whose government is designated a “state sponsor of terrorism” by the State Department.
Instead, the new policy is designed to bring Khartoum into the fold by offering incentives for improved relations for improvements in the situation in Darfur as well as in southern Sudan, which will hold a referendum on succession scheduled to take place in 2011, they said.
So it’s not Bashir to whom we are reaching out, it’s Khartoum. I don’t think so, though. It is Bashir, and playing with the words will not change that. After all of Hillary’s explanations of smart power, it seems the real foreign policy of this administration is image over substance and Hillary has allowed herself to get sucked into the smoke and mirrors. It saddens me because I can see right through it. I hope Hillary’s explanation of this on Monday makes sense. Convince me, Hillary, please, that being Obama’s conjoined twin - or anyone else’s – has not become your mission in life.
Thanks to stacyx of Secretary Clinton blog for passing along this WaPo article: A Cold War Man, a Hot War and a Legal Gray Area. The subject, Robert McFarlane, gained notoriety during the Iran-Contra hearings, and he is a wheeler-dealer who has insinuated himself into this process of reassessing our policy toward Sudan. MY particular concern here is where Hillary stands (really – as Hillary – not as part of this administration) on this issue. We know that Susan Rice opposed Scott Gration and his “incentives” plan. Well the WaPo article states the following:
His involvement, however, presents another serious complication for the Obama administration, which is struggling to formulate a coherent policy on Sudan amid disputes between the State Department and Sudan envoy J. Scott Gration, who has signaled support for easing sanctions against the Khartoum regime.
Whew! *Sigh of relief * Our Hillary is still our Hillary, and there is unity Between Hillary and Susan Rice evidently, but we still do not know what the new policy will be. Here is what I found in Wikipedia on Gration:
In 2006, he traveled to Africa on a five-nation, fifteen-day, fact-finding tour, accompanying Senator Barack Obama as an “African expert“. He later endorsed Obama’s presidential campaign, citing that Obama had the “judgment, wisdom, courage, experience, and leadership capability that we desperately need”.
In light of this, I have to wonder whose expertise will have the strong impact on Obama, Hillary’s and Susan’s or Scott’s – the “Africa expert” who has met with McFarlane.
McFarlane met with Gration and national security adviser James L. Jones earlier this year about the Sudan conflict, but White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said neither official approved of McFarlane’s consulting plans.
We will learn tomorrow at 9 EDT when Hillary unveils the new policy accompanied by Ambassador Rice and Special Envoy Gration. When I first encountered the story that triggered this post, I wondered who chose Gration for this position. It appears to me he was Obama’s pick and not Hillary’s. This joint announcement with all three players present will do nothing to fool me into believing there is unity on this issue. It does seem that I am right – it is all about the appearance of unity.
*UPDATE* 10-18-09 8 p.m.EDT
This just came up on a news feed from the UK Sunday Mail:
HILLARY CLINTON has promised a new relationship with Sudan if the Khartoum regime end violence and humanitarian abuses in Darfur.
The US secretary of state will tomorrow unveil her proposals to stop the six-year war in the region.
The conflict began in February 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in Khartoum.
United Nations officials say the war has claimed at least 300,000 lives. Some 2.7million people were driven from their homes and, from 2003 to2005, it was called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
They are calling the policy hers.