Editor’s Note – Distorting the markets – that is what the Export/Import Bank really accomplishes, or should we say is a huge failure. This of course leads to political usefulness and it has been a tool used often. Obama’s selection of Fred P. Hochberg to run the bank is just another political pay back for support of crony capitalism.
This bank makes great crony deals that defy logic and reason and you the taxpayer are the one on the hook, especially when their investments go belly-up. Please read the following then watch the short video below. It explains an awful lot and we need to stop the bank and Hochberg from being re-confirmed.
Read more here, and more Ex/Im crony capitalism here. There are many other examples as well.
It’s time to close the doors of the Export-Import Bank
Amid a flurry of recent scandals, one management failure is consistently overlooked — the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The Ex-Im was created during the Great Depression to help spur economic growth through international trade.
Originally, the agency sought to facilitate trade by financing and insuring foreign purchases of American goods. The Ex-Im’s goal was to increase the competitiveness of domestic companies by placing them on even footing with their foreign competitors.
Unfortunately, this plan has been derailed and the bank has become a detriment to American employers. The Ex-Im now reigns as the king of corporate welfare doling out subsidies to some of America’s wealthiest corporations.
Boeing, a company that earned roughly $80 billion in revenue last year, is the largest benefactor of Ex-Im’s corporate welfare. In 2012 alone, Boeing received more than 82 percent of Ex-Im’s total loan guarantees or roughly $12.2 billion.
What is worse is that these loans allowed foreign airlines to purchase Boeing aircraft at below-market rates and with advantageous terms; meanwhile, American carriers are forced to bear higher costs and less favorable loan terms and thus placed at a competitive disadvantage to their foreign counterparts.
According to some estimates, the Ex-Im has caused the U.S. airline industry to lose up to 7,500 jobs and approximately $684 million.
In addition to financing foreign rivals and distorting global markets, the Ex-Im also perverts the domestic economy by guaranteeing loans to companies of questionable financial health. Perhaps the most prominent example is Solyndra, a now bankrupt company that was politically connected to the Obama administration, benefited from a generous $10.3 million Ex-Im loan guarantee.
Solyndra is not the only instance of Ex-Im’s dubious track record; it has also guaranteed loans to a number of bankrupt companies, including Enron, threatening the loss of millions of taxpayer dollars. Simply put, the federal government’s track record of picking winners and losers is abysmal, especially considering the monies are backed by the goodwill of Joe and Jane Public.
In 2012, Congress passed legislation that reauthorized Ex-Im’s charter as lawmakers were no longer able to turn a blind eye to the bank’s egregious actions. As a result, the reauthorization legislation included language that called for Ex-Im officials to rein in their lending practices.
Such language is critical because a reduction of loan guarantees helps control America’s exposure to risk, ultimately limiting taxpayers’ liability for a financial disaster, while also stemming policies that hurt employees and employers.
Further, the legislation was significant because it mandated that the Ex-Im analyze the impact of its financial transactions on American jobs. Yet, Ex-Im has thwarted congressional demands and refused to comply with the recent legislation.
Led by Ex-Im president Fred Hochberg (who’s currently up for Senate re-confirmation), the bank continues to authorize the subsidized sale of aircrafts at the expense of American carriers. In fact, the Ex-Im has been taken to court for failing to follow the law; specifically, for allegedly failing to comply with Congress’ mandate to consider the economic impact of its loans and make public any methodological guidelines for use in economic analyses.
In response to the risk posed by Ex-Im’s actions, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., recently introduced bills in their respective chambers to wind down the federal agency. The American Conservative Union has previously supported efforts to shut down this antiquated agency and stands with Lee and Amash in support of their recent legislation.
While it is important for America to increase exports, it is imperative that we do so in a fashion that does not promote cronyism by picking winners and losers, and put American jobs at risk. The American Conservative Union endorses the Lee-Amash legislation and an end to corporate welfare.
Al Cardenas is chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU).
Editor’s Note – The “Most transparent administration ever” is the mantra of the Obama Administration, and they laud the fact that the White House Visitor List is available – elsewhere, not so…
Ask the Citizens Commission on Benghazi with their myriad requests for information on Benghazi. Ask Karen and Billy Vaughn about ‘Extortion 17’. Ask the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, ask the House Ways and Means Committee.
Look at all the scandals – all of them still unsolved and/or not concluded from Fast & Furious, to the IRS, from the AP to Fox News reporters, it’s always opaque at best.
The reason is always – NO TRANSPARENCY! All we see is redaction, lies, deflections, demagoguery, distractions, delays, finger pointing, the blame game, the fifth… and then there all those unbelievable statistics on jobs, GNP, the debt, ObamaCare, HHS, wage disparity, etc. – lies, damn lies, and those rascally statistics.
Good news: thanks to a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Monday, the “most transparent administration in history” is going to have to tell American citizens when it believes it’s legally entitled to kill them.
The lawsuit arose out of Freedom of Information Act requests by two New York Times reporters for Office of Legal Counsel memoranda exploring the circumstances under which it would be legal for U.S. personnel to target American citizens. The administration stonewalled, asserting that “the very fact of the existence or nonexistence of such documents is itself classified,” and a federal district judge upheld the refusal in January 2013.
A month later, however, someone leaked a Justice Department “white paper” on the subject to NBC News, forcing a re-examination of the question in light of changed circumstances. On Monday, the three-judge panel held “it is no longer either ‘logical’ or ‘plausible’ to maintain that disclosure of the legal analysis in the OLC-DOD Memorandum risks disclosing any aspect” of sensitive sources and methods.
In matters of transparency, the Obama Team can always be counted on to do the right thing — after exhausting all other legal options and being forced into it by the federal courts.
When “peals of laughter broke out in the briefing room” after then-press secretary Robert Gibbs floated the “most transparent administration” line at an April 2010 presser, the administration should have taken the hint. But it’s one soundbite they just can’t quit. Gibbs’ successor Jay Carneyrepeated it just last week, as did the president himself in a Google Hangout last year: “This is the most transparent administration in history …. I can document that this is the case.”
Actually, any number of journalists and open government advocates have documented that it’s not. As the Associated Press reported last month: “More often than ever, the [Obama] administration censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.”
Easier pledged than done, apparently. Earlier this year, in a case involving a Stanford graduate student erroneously placed on a no-fly list, we learned that the government had cried “state secrets” to cover up a paperwork error. Holder himself assured the court that assertion of the privilege was in keeping with the new policy of openness. When the presiding judge found out the truth, he said: “I feel that I have been had by the government.”
In fact, the Obama administration has driven state secrecy to new levels of absurdity. We’re not even allowed to know who we’re at war with, apparently, because letting that secret slip could cause “serious damage to national security.”
Over the last year, thanks in large part to illegal leaks, we’ve learned that we’re living in a [REDACTED] republic. In the president’s version of “transparency,” the Americans have no right to debate even the most basic public questions — like the legal standards for spying on or killing American citizens — unless, of course, that information leaks, at which point the administration “welcomes” the debate.
Editor’s Note – From the “Shake My Head” files, Obama and Kerry want Robert Malley to be the new Middle East man. However this is not really new, he appears to have been retained all along as their man, and this goes all the way back to the Clinton Administration.
Obama picked up that baton and is now twirling it. This goes back to the Rashid Khalidi/Bill Ayers Israel bashing party and the tape that has never surfaced even though the LA Times still has it. Look at the connections here as well.
Since he was first elected in 2008, and took the oath of office (twice the first time) at his inauguration in 2009, many have questioned Obama’s stance on Israel and attaining peace with the ‘Palestinians.’
At numerous points, much has pointed in the direction of his less than loyal stand towards Israel despite glowing, yet empty words of support for them.
There was the time early in his Presidency that showed open disdain for Israel and its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu.
This was followed up with massive pressure application on the Israelis for several years, especially regarding Iran and land arguments regarding the ‘Palestinians’.
In the most recent times, under John Kerry’s efforts as Secretary of State, the definition of insanity has been proven over and over.
Recent peace talks barely started before the predictable immediate implosion took place; John Kerry struck out again. Why? Because they simply do not have the best interests of the Israelis, our staunchest ally to date in the region at heart. Rather, this administration has been obviously behind all things ‘Palestinian’.
Now the proof is in! Who does Kerry and Obama want to be in charge of the Israeli/Palestinian peace process? They want Robert Malley. Who is Malley? Adam Kredo from the Washington Free Beacon writes the following:
An anti-Israel diplomat who was kicked off the 2008 Obama campaign after he was caught negotiating with the terror group Hamas is under consideration for a State Department advisory post, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.
Robert Malley, a longtime government insider who worked for former President Bill Clinton and advised then-Sen. Barack Obama, is said to be on Kerry’s shortlist for deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, according to reports and sources. He currently serves as the Middle East director of the International Crisis Group (ICG).
If tapped for the job, Malley would be in charge of the Israel-Palestinian peace process, according to Al Monitor.
Yes, that Robert Malley! Why not just come out and say it openly, Obama and Kerry simple deplore Netanyahu and the peace loving Israelis. In a quick summary, Robert Malley is:
In his capacity with ICG, Malley directs a number of analysts based in Amman, Cairo, Beirut, Tel Aviv, and Baghdad. These analysts report periodically on the political, social and economic factors which they believe have the potential to spark conflict in those regions, and they make policy recommendations in an effort to defuse such threats. Covering events from from Iran to Morocco, Malley’s team focuses most heavily on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the political and military developments in Iraq, and Islamist movements across the Middle East.
Prior to joining ICG, Malley served as President Bill Clinton’s Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli Affairs (1998-2001); National Security Advisor Sandy Berger’s Executive Assistant (1996-1998); and the National Security Council’s Director for Democracy, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Affairs (1994-1996).
In a July 2001 op-ed (titled “Fictions About the Failure at Camp David”) which was published in the New York Times, Robert Malley (whose family, as noted above, had close ties to Yasser Arafat) alleged that Israeli — not Palestinian — inflexibility had caused the previous year’s Camp David peace talks (brokered by Bill Clinton) to fail. This was one of several controversial articles Malley has written — some he co-wrote with Hussein Agha, a former adviser to Arafat — blaming Israel and exonerating Arafat for that failure.
In their August 9, 2001 piece, “Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors,” Malley and Agha again dismissed claims that the Camp David talks had failed when “Ehud Barak’s unprecedented offer” was met with “Yasser Arafat’s uncompromising no.” They wrote that Barak had taken an unnecessarily hard-line approach in negotiating with Arafat. According to Malley and Agha, Arafat believed that Barak was intent on “either forcing him to swallow an unconscionable deal or mobilizing the world to isolate and weaken the Palestinians if they refused to yield.”
Malley’s identification of Israel as the cause of the Camp David failure has been widely embraced by Palestinian and Arab activists around the world, by Holocaust deniers like Norman Finkelstein, and by anti-Israel publications such as Counterpunch. According toAmerican Thinker news editor Ed Lasky, Malley “was also believed to be the chief source for an article [dated July 26, 2001] by Deborah Sontag that whitewashed Arafat’s role in the collapse of the peace process, an article that has been widely criticized as riddled with errors and bias.”
Malley’s account of the Camp David negotiations is entirely inconsistent with the recollections of the key figures who participated in those talks, most notably then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, U.S. President Bill Clinton, and U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross (Clinton’s Middle East envoy).
According to Ross, the peace efforts failed for one reason only: because Arafat wanted them to fail. “[F]undamentally,” said Ross, “I do not believe he [Arafat] can end the conflict. We had one critical clause in this agreement, and that clause was, this is the end of the conflict. Arafat’s whole life has been governed by struggle and a cause … [F]or him to end the conflict is to end himself…. Barak was able to reposition Israel internationally. Israel was seen as having demonstrated unmistakably it wanted peace, and the reason it [peace] wasn’t … achievable was because Arafat wouldn’t accept.”
Over the years, Malley has penned numerous op-eds condemning Israel, exonerating Palestinians, urging the U.S. to disengage from Israel to some degree, and recommending that America reach out to negotiate with its traditional Arab enemies such as Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Muqtada al-Sadr. Ed Lasky enumerates and summarizes some of these Malley writings as follows:
“Playing Into Sharon’s Hands”: In this January 2002 piece, says Lasky, Malley “absolves Arafat of the responsibility to restrain terrorists and blames Israel for terrorism. He defends Arafat and hails him as ‘… the first Palestinian leader to recognize Israel, relinquish the objective of regaining all of historic Palestine and negotiate for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 boundaries.’”
“Rebuilding a Damaged Palestine”: This May 2002 article accuses Israel’s security operations of deliberately weakening Palestinian security forces (which themselves are replete with terrorists and thus make little or no effort to prevent terrorism), and calls for international forces to keep Israel in check.
“Making the Best of Hamas’s Victory”: In this March 2006 piece, Malley recommends that nations worldwide establish relationships with, and send financial aid to, the Palestinians’ newly elected, Hamas-led government. Malley also alleges that Hamas’ policies and Israeli policies are essentially mirror images of one another. Writes Malley: “The Islamists (Hamas) ran on a campaign of effective government and promised to improve Palestinians’ lives; they cannot do that if the international community turns its back.” In Malley’s calculus, the Hamas victory was a manifestation of Palestinian “anger at years of humiliation and loss of self-respect because of Israeli settlement expansion, Arafat’s imprisonment, Israel’s incursions, Western lecturing and, most recently and tellingly, the threat of an aid cut off in the event of an Islamist success.” In addition, Malley counsels the U.S. not to “discourage third-party unofficial contacts with [Hamas] in an attempt to moderate it.”
“Avoiding Failure with Hamas”: This April 2006 article not only advocates international aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government, but also suggests that a failure to extend such aid could trigger an environmental or public health crisis for Palestinians.
“How to Curb the Tension in Gaza” (July 2006): Here, Malley and co-writer Gareth Evans condemn Israel for its military’s efforts (in 2006) to recover Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who had been kidnapped and held hostage by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. The authors classify Israel’s retaliatory actions as “collective punishment” that stands in “violation of international law.”
“Forget Pelosi: What About Syria?”: In this April 2007 piece, Malley advocates U.S. and Israeli outreach to Syria, notwithstanding the latter’s close affiliations with Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaeda in Iraq. He further contends that it is both unreasonable and unrealistic for Israel or Western nations to demand that Syria sever its ties with the aforementioned organizations or with Iran. He suggests, moreover, that if Israel were to return the Golan Heights (which it captured in the 1967 Six Day War, and again in the 1973 Yom Kippur War — two conflicts sparked by Arab aggression) to Syrian control, Damascus would, as Lasky puts it, “somehow miraculously” pursue peace — “after they get all they want.”
“Containing a Shiite Symbol of Hope”: This October 2006 article advocates U.S. engagement with the fiercely anti-American Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite leader of the Mahdi Army in Iraq.
“Middle East Triangle”: Co-written with Hussein Agha, this January 2008 piece calls for Hamas and Fatah to end their bitter disputes and to join forces in an effort to derail what the authors view as Israel’s attempt to “perpetuate Palestinian geographic and political division.” Malley and Agha predict that such a strategy would prompt Hamas to: (a) abandon its longstanding quest to destroy Israel; and (b) encourage Palestinian AuthorityPresident Mahmoud Abbas (a leading member of Fatah) to negotiate for a lasting peace with Israel.
“The U.S. Must Look to its Own Mideast Interests”: Co-written with Aaron David Miller, this September 2006 article urges the U.S. to engage with Syria and Hamas, rather than to “follow Israel’s lead.” Malley and Miller add: “A national unity government between Fatah and Hamas appears within reach, and the Europeans seem prepared to resume assistance to such a government once it takes shape. Should this happen, America shouldn’t stand in the way — regardless of whether Hamas recognizes Israel or formally renounces violence. Instead, the United States should see this as an opportunity to achieve what is achievable: a Palestinian cease-fire involving all armed organizations, a halt to all Israeli offensive military actions, and the resumption of normal economic life for the Palestinian government and people.”
“A New Middle East”: In this September 2006 article, Malley contends that Hezbollah’s infamous attacks and kidnappings targeting Israelis (two months earlier) were motivated partly by that organization’s desire to liberate Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails, and partly by pressure from Hezbollah’s close allies, Syria and Iran.
In July 2006 Malley criticized the U.S. for allegedly remaining “on the sidelines” and being a “no-show” in the overall effort to bring peace to the nations of the Middle East. Exhorting the Bush administration to change its policy of refusing to engage diplomatically with terrorists and their sponsoring states, Malley stated: “Today the U.S. does not talk to Iran, Syria, Hamas, the elected Palestinian government or Hizballah…. The result has been a policy with all the appeal of a moral principle and all the effectiveness of a tired harangue.”
In February 2004 Malley testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and recommended that the Arab-Israeli “Road Map for Peace” be abandoned because neither side had confidence that the other was bargaining in good faith. As Ed Lasky writes, “[Malley] advocated that a comprehensive settlement plan be imposed on the parties with the backing of the international community, including Arab and Moslem states. He anticipated that Israel would object with ‘cries of unfair treatment’ but counseled the plan be put in place regardless of such objections; he also suggested that waiting for a ‘reliable Palestinian partner’ was unnecessary.”
According to Lasky, Malley’s overarching political objectives include “a radical reshaping of decades of American foreign policy and a shredding of the role of morality in the formulation of American policy.” “These policies,” says Lasky, “would strengthen our enemies, empower dictatorships, and harm our allies.
One U.S. security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, states that Robert Malley “has expressed sympathy to Hamas and Hezbollah and [has] offered accounts of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that don’t jibe with the facts.”
On May 9, 2008, the Barack Obama presidential campaign was forced to sever its ties with Malley after the latter told the Times of London that he had been in regular contact with Hamas as part of his work for ICG.
On November 5, 2008, Middle East Newsline reported that Obama “had sent senior foreign policy adviser Robert Malley to Egypt and Syria over the last few weeks to outline the Democratic candidate’s policy on the Middle East.” The report added that Malley had “relayed a pledge from Obama that the United States would seek to enhance relations with Cairo as well as reconcile with Damascus.” “The tenor of the messages was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests,” said an aide to Malley.
On February 18, 2014, it was announced that Malley was formally returning to the White House to serve as a senior director at the National Security Council, where he would be in charge of managing relations between the United States and its allies in the Persian Gulf.
In the last month, many Clinton administration documents were being released as were required by law. To date, we have seen documents that relate to enemies lists and how to stage and rebuke scandals, all of which lead to the just how they think and their hidden missions.
Just this week included in the most recent round of documents, we find that Bill Clinton wrote a personal note to the Dar al Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia asking to work together in proposed suggestions from the mosque. After 9/11, the FBI visited this mosque and at least two of the hijackers on that terrible day had worshiped there.
Additionally, Mohammed al Hanooti was the Iman at the mosque for four years and he was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
After the decision to kill al Awlaki by drone, Barack Obama and his staff had sought to keep the document trail regarding Awlaki classified, but a judge ruled today that those documents are to be released.
The Clinton’s have a long history of being on the wrong side, with particular emphasis placed on campaign money, aborting operations to kill Usama bin Ladin and approving pardons for corrupt placeholders, criminals, bombers, and jihadis.
In case you are seeking additional proof on the Clintons and need something more on Hillary as she seeks to win the Democrat nominee to be president in 2016, we cannot overlook her complicity in Benghazi. Their closets are full of skeletons, dancing in the dark and they need to brought out into the sunshine again, and often.
Then there is the movie entitled ‘Hillary: the Movie’ so you can revisit this lying, corrupt, elite couple produced by the one and only Citizens United. This is not to confused with e CNN documentary/mini-series that is still up in the air. This movie exposing Hillary Rodhan Clinton was actually prevented from normal theater distribution aided by the likes of Harry Reid and other supporters of Hillary.
The movie can be viewed however here and includes appearances by Newt Gingrich, Frank Gaffney, Bay Buchannan, Dick Morris, Ann Coulter and many others who can help inform you:
Oh yeah, one more thing, remember Sandy Berger, you know the guy who stole documents from the National Archives? Well those documents turned out to be about the aborted mission to kill Usama bin Ladin under the Clinton administration, along with papers on the Sudan and the Millennium Plot. The FBI file is here.
Editor’s Note – It amazes us at SUA that people across the land still consider Hillary Rodham Clinton as a viable Presidential candidate anymore. The reasons must follow that too many people are still ill-informed, have willingly suspended disbelief, have a cognitive estrangement with the truth, and/or are so deeply ideological, even her failures do not count.
In fact, even she cannot cite any successes for which she is responsible in her years as Secretary of State or as a Senator from New York. When the New York Times points these issues out, it surely is time for America to take notice, peel the scales from their eyes, and come back to reality.
Today’s abysmal results of her foreign policy efforts on behalf of her boss, Barrack Obama, are telling to say the least. When we look at the current state of Ukraine, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, China, Myanmar, Venezuela, Cuba, and many more corners of the Earth; each display daily a cause of major concern. It is not a good time to be an ally of the United States – we are no longer to be trusted; we are less than a paper tiger.
Failure is the only consistent thing in her resume, going all the way back to the Whitewater scandal when her husband was Attorney General and then Governor of Arkansas and into his first campaign for the Presidency, then through the Travel Office Scandal when he took office, to Benghazi and beyond. Let’s not forget her allegiance and sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood through her assistant Huma Abedin and the Clinton Global Initiative that is supported by these types.
“At this point, what difference does it make?”
Remember, she was the one who chose Christopher Stevens as Ambassador to Libya and watched idly as he and three others died horribly, as well as leaving over 30 other people at risk that day. We must point out one nefarious fact, her only success there was the jailing of a man who made a silly video.
We can cite one major accomplishment, she ranks at the top of the most traveled Secretaries of State ever – all with no positive result. If numbers of countries visited, miles traveled, or fuel burned, were what counted, at least those she is compared against at those levels had a major impact in keeping America’s reputation and influence at a continued high level, most unlike our standing today.
Hillary Clinton Struggles to Define a Legacy in Progress
WASHINGTON — It was a simple question to someone accustomed to much tougher ones: What was her proudest achievement as secretary of state? But for a moment, Hillary Rodham Clinton, appearing recently before a friendly audience at a women’s forum in Manhattan, seemed flustered.
Mrs. Clinton played an energetic role in virtually every foreign policy issue of President Obama’s first term, advocating generally hawkish views internally while using her celebrity to try to restore America’s global standing after the hit it took during the George W. Bush administration.
But her halting answer suggests a problem that Mrs. Clinton could confront as she recounts her record in Mr. Obama’s cabinet before a possible run for president in 2016: Much of what she labored over so conscientiously is either unfinished business or has gone awry in his second term.
From Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the grinding civil war in Syria to the latest impasse in the Middle East peace process, the turbulent world has frustrated Mr. Obama, and is now defying Mrs. Clinton’s attempts to articulate a tangible diplomatic legacy.
“I really see my role as secretary, and, in fact, leadership in general in a democracy, as a relay race,” Mrs. Clinton finally said at the Women in the World meeting, promising to offer specific examples in a memoir she is writing that is scheduled to be released in June. “I mean, you run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton.”
The relay metaphor has become a recurring theme for Mrs. Clinton during this year of speculation about her future. She did her part, it suggests, but the outcome was out of her hands. And so Mrs. Clinton is striking a delicate balance when discussing a job that would be a critical credential in a presidential race.
On the one hand, she wants credit for the parts of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy that have worked, like the pressure campaign against Iran over its nuclear program, which she helped orchestrate and which has pulled Iran to the bargaining table.
On the other, she is subtly distancing herself from the things that have not worked out, like Mr. Obama’s “reset” of relations with Russia. She recently likened President Vladimir V. Putin’s annexation of Crimea to actions by Hitler in the 1930s, and posted on Twitter a photograph of herself with members of Pussy Riot, the protest group that is Mr. Putin’s nemesis.
Mrs. Clinton’s Republican opponents, losing no time in trying to define her, note that she gave Russia’s foreign minister the infamous mistranslated red plastic button to reset relations. It said “overcharge,” not “reset.” They have been tireless in raising questions about the deadly attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
While Republicans are likely to make her part of a broad critique of the Obama administration’s approach to national security, Mrs. Clinton’s hawkish views could also be a problem in ensuring the support of liberals in her own party, who are weary of foreign entanglements.
In one sense, though, the cascade of foreign crises that now bedevil Mr. Obama could play to Mrs. Clinton’s advantage. By presenting herself in her book and in any possible campaign as the toughest voice in the room during the great debates over war and peace, she could set herself apart from a president who critics charge has forsworn America’s leadership role in the world.
Mrs. Clinton has scrupulously avoided publicly criticizing Mr. Obama; White House aides said he still called her for advice. And much of the administration’s foreign policy still bears her imprint, like the Iran sanctions and a more confrontational stance toward China, which she pioneered and Mr. Obama has embraced.
But in recent interviews, two dozen current and former administration officials, foreign diplomats, friends and outside analysts described Mrs. Clinton as almost always the advocate of the most aggressive actions considered by Mr. Obama’s national security team — and not just in well-documented cases, like the debate over how many additional American troops to send to Afghanistan or the NATO airstrikes in Libya.
Mrs. Clinton’s advocates — a swelling number in Washington, where people are already looking to the next administration — are quick to cite other cases in which she took more hawkish positions than the White House: arguing for funneling weapons to Syrian rebels and for leaving more troops behind in postwar Iraq, and criticizing the results of a 2011 parliamentary election in Russia.
The criticism of the Russian election led Mr. Putin to accuse her of fomenting unrest, and left some senior Obama aides unhappy. “Some at the White House thought she overstepped,” said Michael A. McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia, who supported her view.
At the same time, Mrs. Clinton’s instincts were curbed by her innate caution, her determination to show loyalty to a rival-turned-boss and her growing pains in the job. Still, dissecting her record yields tantalizing clues about what kind of foreign policy she might pursue as president. “Hillary unbound,” people who worked with her say, would be instinctively less reluctant than Mr. Obama to commit the military to foreign conflicts.
“It’s not that she’s quick to use force, but her basic instincts are governed more by the uses of hard power,” said Dennis B. Ross, a former White House aide who played a behind-the-scenes role in opening secret direct talks with Iran about its nuclear program.
Leon E. Panetta, who forged close ties to Mrs. Clinton as defense secretary and C.I.A. director, said she was a stalwart supporter of the C.I.A.’s activities in Pakistan — read, drone strikes — and an influential voice in advising Mr. Obama to order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
“The president has made some tough decisions,” Mr. Panetta said. “But it’s been a mixed record, and the concern is, the president defining what America’s role in the world is in the 21st century hasn’t happened.”
“Hopefully, he’ll do it,” Mr. Panetta said, “and certainly, she would.”
The Mideast Peace Process
Mrs. Clinton’s hawkish inclinations were well established in her bitter 2008 Democratic primary campaign against Mr. Obama, when she famously criticized as naïve his willingness to talk to America’s adversaries without preconditions. But when he persuaded her to join his “team of rivals,” she submerged her views and worked hard to establish her loyalty — all of which has added to her problems in promoting her record.
A case in point is the Middle East peace process, in which secretaries of state from Henry A. Kissinger to John Kerry have tried to make their mark. “There’s core-course curriculum, and then there’s extra credit,” said Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff. “This is always seen as a core requirement for a secretary of state.”
Mrs. Clinton’s marching orders from the White House were to demand that Israel cease the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank as a way to lure the Palestinians into talks, and she did so with a fervor that surprised Mr. Obama’s advisers. But they had conceived the strategy, and Mrs. Clinton privately had qualms with it, which proved well founded.
“We did not make it sufficiently clear that this was not a precondition but part of an effort to create an overall atmosphere in which negotiations could succeed,” said George J. Mitchell, the former Middle East envoy who left in 2011 after failing to break the logjam.
Mr. Kerry has tried a different approach to peacemaking, with little to show for it so far. But he seems determined to keep trying, while some veterans of Middle East diplomacy say Mrs. Clinton gave up too easily. In a recent interview with Time magazine, former President Jimmy Carter said that “she took very little action to bring about peace.”
Today, when Mrs. Clinton’s aides talk about the Middle East, they barely mention the Israeli-Palestinian talks, preferring to discuss the cease-fire she brokered in November 2012 between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, where she twisted arms to avoid escalating violence.
Building Pressure on Iran
Mrs. Clinton was more successful in dealing with Iran. As with the Middle East, she was skeptical that Mr. Obama’s initial strategy — reaching out to Iran’s leaders — would work. So when he shifted to sanctions, she was eager to build pressure on what she called a “military dictatorship.”
It was a tough job against long odds, said Tom Donilon, the former national security adviser, because it meant pressing allies in Europe and Asia, huge trading partners of Iran, to agree to steps “that had a real cost.”
Mrs. Clinton delivered her stern message with a smile. In June 2010, the day before the United Nations voted on strict new sanctions against Iran, Mrs. Clinton invited China’s ambassador to Washington, Zhang Yesui, to a hotel bar in Lima, Peru, where both were at a conference.
Drinking pisco sours, the potent local cocktail, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Zhang went over an annex to the Security Council resolution line by line as she tried to clinch Beijing’s agreement to withdraw investments in Iran by Chinese banks and state-owned enterprises.
The sanctions, Mrs. Clinton likes to remind audiences, crippled Iran’s oil exports and currency, setting the stage for the election of Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, as president and for Iran’s renewed interest in diplomacy.
Mr. Obama had first proposed direct talks in a letter to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in 2009. Mrs. Clinton authorized Mr. Ross, then her special adviser, to explore a back channel to the Iranians through the Arab sultanate of Oman.
In January 2011, Mrs. Clinton stopped in Oman on a tour of the Persian Gulf that was notable because she gave a speech, on the eve of the Arab Spring, warning leaders that they risked “sinking in the sand” if they did not reform their societies. Less noticed was her meeting with the sultan, in which he offered to facilitate a meeting with the Iranians.
After some exploratory meetings with a delegation from Tehran, Mrs. Clinton sent two of her top lieutenants, William J. Burns and Jake Sullivan, to Oman for more intensive negotiations. That opened the door to the nuclear talks now underway in Vienna. But what her colleagues remember most is her steadfast conviction that Iran would deal only under duress.
“She was skeptical that it would produce anything, or at least anything quickly, and in a way she was right because it took several years to get to that point,” said Mr. Burns, a deputy secretary of state.
With China, too, Mrs. Clinton set the stage for a more confrontational approach, though that was not the policy she followed at the outset. When she made her first trip as secretary of state to Beijing, she stumbled by suggesting that the United States would not offer lectures on human rights as much as it had in the past.
By 2010, however, she sounded more like the woman who had cut her teeth on the global stage in 1995 with a defiant speech on women’s rights at a United Nations conference in Beijing. Attending a summit meeting in Vietnam, she thrust the United States into a tangled dispute between China and its neighbors over the South China Sea.
The Chinese government was enraged by her meddling, but her actions set a new context for the relationship. By insisting that China adhere to international norms and by shoring up American alliances with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, Mrs. Clinton moved Washington away from the China-centric model favored by previous presidents.
“Secretary Clinton strongly pushed for a 21st-century conversation with China and resisted occasional Chinese efforts to engage in a secretive, 19th-century diplomacy,” said Kurt M. Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs.
When the State Department proposed sending 2,500 Marines to Australia to underline America’s commitment to Southeast Asia, the Pentagon, Mr. Panetta said, latched on to the idea, because “it fit the new defense strategy we were developing.”
Mrs. Clinton became the most visible and energetic exponent of the president’s “Asia rebalance” — so much so, in fact, that her aides complained to Mr. Donilon at one point that she was not getting enough credit for it. In a lingering sign of Mrs. Clinton’s influence, Mr. Obama will visit the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea next week.
Kim Beazley, Australia’s ambassador to Washington, credits her with reversing a laissez-faire approach to the Pacific Rim that dated from the Nixon administration. “She was metronome perfect,” he said.
A Different Standard
As Mrs. Clinton’s aides shape her legacy, one of their biggest frustrations has been explaining that the most publicized work of her tenure — her emphasis on the rights of women and girls — was not a safe or soft issue, but part of a broader strategy that strengthens national security. Mrs. Clinton may be the only diplomat, they say, who is criticized for being simultaneously too dovish and too hawkish.
“You can’t have it both ways,” said Thomas R. Nides, a former deputy secretary of state who is now a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley. “You can’t say that she’s about soft power, women and girls, and hospitals and ribbon cuttings, and simultaneously maintain that all she cares about is drones, missiles, going to war.”
Because of her celebrity and her potential political future, Mrs. Clinton’s advocates say, she is held to a different standard than other secretaries of state. More than ever, they say, the job is defined not by clear victories but by a dogged commitment to the process.
“We have sort of a heroic vision of diplomacy,” said James B. Steinberg, who served as deputy secretary of state. “But it’s really easy to overwrite the traditional role of leader-to-leader diplomacy.”
Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning at the State Department, said, “I think of her as being extraordinarily resourceful within a set of constraints.” She noted, for example, that Mrs. Clinton had to spend three months apologizing for the undiplomatic remarks in the secret cables disclosed by WikiLeaks.
Mrs. Clinton’s memoir will allow her to give her view of WikiLeaks, Benghazi and smaller missteps like the Russia reset button — a stunt she nevertheless liked enough that she later gave one to Mr. McDonough to smooth over friction with the White House over personnel issues.
Mrs. Clinton’s vision of 21st-century diplomacy mirrors what her allies say is a vision of a more engaged America. The question is whether that vision will be appealing to a nation that, after 12 years of war, is weary of foreign adventures. Liberal critics may have no other choice for a candidate.
“Although there will be a good number of folks in the Democratic Party who are uncomfortable with her hawkishness, they will ask themselves, ‘Where else can we go?’ ” said Paul R. Pillar, a former C.I.A. analyst who now teaches at Georgetown University and supports Mr. Obama’s more cautious view of the American role abroad.
Mr. McDonough, one of Mr. Obama’s closest foreign policy advisers, declares himself a great admirer of Mrs. Clinton. But he was on the other side of the internal debate over providing weapons to the Syrian rebels, and, like his boss, is cautious about the use of American force. However harrowing the conflict, he said, “you have to be disciplined about where you invest this country’s power.”
“We’re leaving an era where the country gave the president a lot of leeway, in terms of resources, in terms of time,” Mr. McDonough said. “It will be a long time before a president has the kind of leeway in this space that President Bush had.”
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