Archive for February, 2010

Ohhh! So as Secretary Clinton prepares to take off for Montevideo and other parts south, THIS raises its ugly head once again. The blame, for now,   is being laid on Obama, but Hillary will be the one taking the flak to be sure.  This is certain to end up in her pretty hands.

In a February 25 blog post at CDR Salamander:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You can’t vote “present” to history ….

It can only be his personal antimosity towards the British that we have seen over an over that can explain this – especially when the British spent the better part of a decade backing our play.It was a headline I never expected to read: “US refuses to endorse British sovereignty in Falklands oil dispute.” Washington has declined to back Britain in its dispute with Argentina over drilling rights in the waters surrounding the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands. President Obama’s position is one of strict neutrality, refusing to take sides. According to the State Department:

We are aware not only of the current situation but also of the history, but our position remains one of neutrality. The US recognises de facto UK administration of the islands but takes no position on the sovereignty claims of either party.

Salamander goes on to quote Toby Young in this Telegraph article: Et tu, Barack? America betrays Britain in her hour of need

Her hour of need?  What is this?  The Battle of Britain? We have always been there in Britain’s hour of need. I actually was out of the country the last time this sovereignty issue exploded into battle. One Haitian radio station spent the entire war playing Argentine tangos, milongas, and the Wolfe Tones of Ireland singing their tribute to countryman Guillermo Brown, founder of the Argentine Navy. It just seemed natural for the Irish to back Argentina against Britain on this issue.   For anyone who does not remember this war, here is a concise history of the events: The Falklands War.

Now maybe the U.K. is still smarting from Obama ousting Churchill from the Oval Office, but this administration is hardly inimical to the U.K.  Secretary Clinton has gone so far out of her way to be cordial to P.M. Brown and the U.K. Foreign Minister David Miliband that there actually has been speculation of flirtation and crushing.

Now, based on our close friendship and history, the U.K. wants us on their side.  Well, here is how it went down the first time:  We did remain neutral in the beginning,  and the late Secretary of State Alexander Haig did his level best from a neutral position to negotiate between the parties, but the diplomatic approach failed.   Reagan agreed to provide limited military assistance to his dear friend Maggie Thatcher.  The British prevailed, and the Argentines rose up against the military junta, the president of Argentina resigned sounding the death knell of the junta and  opening the door to resumed democratic elections.

I suppose history could repeat itself.  I suppose our Homegirl-in-Chief could follow the Haig route and shuttle back and forth between BA and London.  Just guessing, but it is probable that her charm goes a little further with David and Gordon than with Cristina Kirchner who is somewhat pissed with us also for not taking their side.   But assistant Secretary Valenzuela was pretty terse and clear at the briefing: “We will not be discussing the Falklands issue with them. This is a matter for Argentina and for Britain. And it’s not a matter for the United States to make a judgment on.”

Personally, I agree with neutrality on this.  I do not think we should be taking sides in a dispute between our friends, and we badly need friends in The Cone.  Badly!

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So it is a snow day,  and I was using the time for pointless leisure activities rather than doing anything that really NEEDS to be done simply because I am tired,  and I really needed this break.  Idly checking on my news feeds I happened upon several linking to this Fox News story:

Gridlock in Congress Hurts Obama’s Global Image, Clinton Says

Since it is a snow day, I am able to surf over to CSPAN and watch as the Republicans vote in a solid NAY on an intelligence programs resolution.  That is a fact, not an opinion, and Secretary Clinton’s testimony regarding the overseas perception of such party-line intransigence is very probably accurate since she spends so much of her time either overseas or dealing with foreign governments from here.  It seems reasonable that her statements are accurate.  But that is not why we are here.  We are here because of this picture, which I saved and filed yesterday from her Senate testimony.

When I filed it, I did so as “02-24-10-5” under the file rubric “HRC/Secretary_of_State/2010.” (I have resolved to be far more organized and assiduous this year than I was last year.)  Running across the picture in the Fox News story, I right-clicked to “save as” and saw that I already had the picture, so did not need to save it again.  But then something caught my eye – Fox’s file name for the picture.  Get a load of this!


(Don’t just take my word for this.  Click on my picture and look at the URL in your navigation bar, then click on the fox news picture and look at that URL,  please do this before I ever hear or read another word about how harmless and OK they are – including their new,  female acquisition.)

WHAT?  What is that word after the date?   Ooooohhhhhh!!!!!!!  I get it!  With their all-American-girl mouthpiece now esconced over there along with Huckabee, Fox is the official channel of the GOP mid-term election (with a running start toward 2012), and we are back to empty name-calling.  Excuse me, “monster?”   What?

If you had a chance to watch the Secretary of State before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee and the Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, you saw the prototypical HRC performance.  Flawless, speedy, thorough, delivery of facts and rationales/arguments for budgetary revisions for 2011, broad and deep knowledge of the issues, and, as usual, consistency with NO hemming and hawing.  Does THIS a “monster” make?

Performances like that on the Senate floor and on the campaign trail, those facts, so well organized in a steel-trap mind spitting out like machine-gun fire almost before the question was complete were what caused me to label HRC “scary-smart.”  But I did not mean “scary” in a negative way.  I meant that her mind accessed information faster than my computer can.  And,  God knows, after eight years of George W. Bush, I was (still am) very hungry for scary-smart that knows the answer without hesitation or prompting.  Let me say here, before I am called on it, it was not simply the delivery that won me, of course.  It was also the content of the answers.

I said all of the above in order to frame the purpose of this post: Fox News, the Homegirls are putting you on notice.  Mind your p’s and q’s.  We are watching.  Even if you bury your name-calling, we will find it! When we do, we will expose it.  We will not respond in kind, but as for the candidates you promote and your own personnel, we will not hesitate to label them truthfully, not with silly, indefinable names, but with accurate descriptors.

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***Last UPDATE ***

She dropped the challenge.

**Update** According to Reuters,  Tymoshenko very much intends to contest this election result.  Ukraine’s Tymoshenko girds to contest result.   Meanwhile, VOA News reports  New Ukrainian Leader Faces Weak Public Support.  You have to wonder how fair this election was.  How can he have been elected with “weak public support?”  So the Homegirls say, “Go Yulyia!  Go after him!”

Yuliya Tymoshenko is hanging tough in the Ukrainian election even while Foreign Policy Morning Brief hands off the victory to her opponent Viktor Yanukovych.
Nonetheless, while this may mean a loss of a woman leader on the global stage, the victory of Laura Chinchilla, elected the first woman president of Costa Rica, replacing Oscar Arias, serves to boost, perhaps, the spirits of those dismayed by Tymoshenko’s probable defeat.

I am not really one for keeping score cards. I do not find that there is necessarily justice in who gets to wear the title first. The first woman president was Isabel Peron in Argentina who acceded to the presidency from her office of Vice President upon the death of her husband, President Juan Peron. Isabel, in fact, was a devoted follower of Peron’s second wife, Evita, and was conscious that the title she held as Vice President was one Evita wanted and should have had, and that if anyone should have been the first woman president of Argentina, it should have been Evita.

So the international drama of women rising to national office in various countries continues even while Sarah Palin teases the Tea Partiers about maybe running in 2012 unless Barack Obama “plays the war card” as she put it, and goes to war against Iran, which would, in her opinion, salvage his approval ratings. Excuse me? WHAT is she saying? That declaring war is a political move? Taken to garner votes?

Well, I know that Hillary was hawkish on Iran during the 2008 campaign, and I cannot really say that her statements were not for political advantage, but saying what YOU would do, given the authority, in a hypothetical situation differs from labeling a hypothetical future move on the part of someone else. Palin has NOT said what SHE would do. She is predicting what Obama MIGHT do which is very different from Hillary Clinton’s 2007-2008 statements.  If I remember correctly, Hillary refused to predict what others might do stating that she could only answer for what SHE would try to do.

So why am I here today in the wake of two elections on two different sides of the globe and a splash by Palin that some have dubbed “spectacular?” Well, as we enter the second week of Black History Month and are reminded of Martin Luther King’s admonition to judge men not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, and in the run-up to Women’s History Month, for which this blog has received year-long traffic at this post from last March about the Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic, I guess I am here to remind myself of King’s teaching. Neither should we judge a woman by her sexuality alone.

While I believe it is good that women are rising to these positions world-wide – good for humanity, I am reminded  from Hillary Clinton’s celebratory remarks on Friday about another victory toward devolution of justice in Northern Ireland, an objective she has long worked toward, that another woman, Maggie Thatcher, did nothing reach out to the hunger strikers in Long Kesh Prison in 1981. Content of character – very important.

I know some of my friends and readers wish Hillary would espouse these principles more universally, and I see their point, but in contrast to what I have seen from Thatcher and expect from Palin (neither of whose images I will insert here), my faith is in my Homegirl.  We can ALL do better, and that includes Hillary (and me and probably you, too), but we could also be doing so much worse!  Glass half full.  No score card.

(Congratulations to Saints fans and to the city of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana!  You SO deserve this!  Party on!)

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