Why Is Hillary Clinton Secretary Of State?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on November 5, 2009

The question is a pressing one:

On her most ambitious and contentious overseas trip as secretary of state, Clinton had to resort to damage control after she appeared to mangle the Obama administration’s message on frozen Mideast peace talks.

And while she scored points back home by standing up to angry Pakistanis who confronted her about drone-launched U.S. missile strikes, her blunt questioning of the resolve of Pakistan’s government exposed American impatience with the country’s incremental steps against terrorists.

[. . .]

In Jerusalem, trying to mollify Israeli reluctance to agree to halt all future settlements as a pretext to renewed peace talks with Palestinians, Clinton floated an Israeli proposal that would restrain — but not stop — more West Bank housing.

Palestinian and Arab diplomats reacted with outrage, and the Clinton who had been tough in Pakistan was forced to backpedal. Arab officials questioned whether the U.S. had tilted toward Israel and abandoned its position that continued Israel settlements are illegitimate and must be brought to a full stop.

Theodore Roosevelt famously said that it was best to talk softly, but carry a big stick. Hillary Clinton yells and screams, and carries a crayon.

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