Monday, January 15, 2007

Hillary Pays a Call

Hillary’s official imageHillary Rodham Clinton paid a brief visit to Pakistan yesterday and called on General Pervez Musharraf. Her chat with Mushy got scant coverage in the media, unfortunately, being overshadowed by her visit with Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan. All the news stories about her stop in Pakistan seemed to derive from a single Associated Press article, and had been cut to various lengths by the news organizations.

The longest account (probably the full text of the AP original) was to be found in two identically-worded articles in the Pakistani press. Here are some excerpts from the version in the Daily Times:

LAHORE: US Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton met President Pervez Musharraf at the Army House on Sunday, shortly after she arrived for a brief visit, an official said.


The two discussed a range of issues, including the situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East, he said, quoting Musharraf as telling Clinton that Pakistan was in favour of a “stable, strong and prosperous Afghanistan” and that Islamabad was extending full support to the world community in the fight against terrorism. Musharraf also informed Clinton about the steps his government had taken to curb militancy and secure the Pakistani border with Afghanistan to check militants’ activities, the official said.

The official said Clinton praised Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism. Musharraf stressed the need for enhancing trade and economic ties between the US and Pakistan, APP reported, and informed the delegation about the significance of better US market access for Pakistan. He discussed the proposal for Reconstruction Opportunity Zones and US assistance for the FATA Sustainable Development Plan.

The president said security along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border was the joint responsibility of both sides. He briefed the delegation on the Pakistan-India peace process and efforts for the resolution of all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, APP reported. He asked for US support for Pakistan’s efforts to promote durable peace, political stability and progress in the region.

General Musharraf was no doubt assuming that he was talking to the next president of the United States. I’m sure Hillary was assuming the same thing. So what’s the subtext here?
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Obviously, Hillary is setting herself up as a foreign policy heavyweight in anticipation of the campaign speeches and policy papers which will be in sound-bites and WaPo headlines starting this time next year. But what will be the substance of her Pakistan policy?

Whatever Ms. Rodham Clinton is up to, it’s got to be in opposition to the policies of the current administration. It can’t be, “I plan to continue the policies of President Bush, and stay the course, etc., etc.” It has to be something like, “I plan to break free of failed Republican strategies, and am proposing bold new initiatives…”

But what kind of initiatives?

There are two general tacks the future president can take with respect to Mushy:

1. She can chide General Musharraf for the lack of democracy in his country, for his tolerance (if not encouragement) of various terrorist groups within his borders, and for his continuing confrontational attitude towards India, thus implying a dangerous leniency by the Bush administration; or
2. She can chide President Bush for failing to do enough for Pakistan, our staunch ally in the War on Terror and a true friend of freedom, promising more aid, military hardware, strategic coordination, etc., etc.

Or maybe she can think of another approach, one that’s not obvious to me. But, whatever it is, it will have to be seen as a tough, no-nonsense, strong-on-national-security policy. It’s been obvious for the last five years that she’s going to hit the Republicans from that angle, and make sure that her lefty pacifist rivals are marginalized as a result.

Hillary is a shrewd and ruthless political strategist. We are in for some interesting times.

The photo of Hillary that I used at the for this post was taken from her official Senate website, in the banner at the top of the page. But in the process of my search I came across the original, a photo of Ms. Rodham Clinton giving a speech at Yale on Class Day in 2001. Just as a matter of interest, I’ll put the original next to the doctored photo below (Yale has © plastered all over the photo page, but since they let their esteemed alumna put it on her website, I think it’s within fair use to post it here):

Hillary’s yale image Hillary’s official image

One of my favorite activities is doctoring images, so I compared the two with a professional eye. What’s interesting is what was done to the photo, and what’s wasn’t done.

The microphone in front of Hillary was removed from the photo, but not very well, leaving a smudgy gray residue on her right shoulder.

The sunny green background was removed, leaving only a faint halo along the edge Hillary’s skin and hair (if they’d given me the doctoring job, even that would be gone, but never mind). The blurry blue-gray background was obviously designed to pick up the color of the Senator’s jacket.

The color-tone of her face and hair was warmed up to provide a nice contrast with the background.

But her eye-pouches were not smoothed out, nor were her jowl lines reduced or muted. As far as I could tell the details of Hillary’s face and neck (execept for the color tone) were not altered.

No Katie Couric job on the future president’s photo. It seems that Hillary Rodham Clinton does not number personal vanity among her vices.

She’s an intriguing woman. I look forward to an entertaining political season as the campaign heats up.


Flanders Fields said...

Hillary's handlers will keep her on a series of staccato one-liners, not because she isn't intelligent, but because they know she is vulnerable to attack from many sides, especially from the American side. She is a classic marxist in the style of Stalin and is gaining her reward for years of faithful, tireless service.

We had better watch closely as the philosophy has followers from the Republican side. A weak candidate, such as her hubby had in Dole, can intentionally occur. The press following will be fawning, but not obviously so, with "HARD" questions and brillant answers given with full Madison Avenue fanfare.

These people have no values or morals and consider themselves indestructible. They care for the country only as extentions for their power base and laugh at the ignorant people supporting them and how they were able to manage them. They hate America and doing business with someone who is an enemy of Americans will make it seem almost like doing business amoung themselves.

They are willing to barter dhimmitude for extention of their power, but they will make sure it is someone else's, not theirs. They feel in control as they have always been in control, with a deep (but no longer silent) network behind them. They feel assured that China is waiting to assist if Islamists become too much threat (to them). All energy of these leftist anti-Americans will assist her as she is their monoleftist world star.

Zerosumgame said...

Baron said:

General Musharraf was no doubt assuming that he was talking to the next president of the United States.

All I can say is that if that happens, I hope that Harper and the Tories are still in power so I don't have to go all the way to Australia for exile.

scrilla said...

General Musharraf was no doubt assuming that he was talking to the next president of the United States
he was.

Hillary/Soros (it's hard to tell which is in control) is the greatest politician of all time. she makes Hitler, Lenin, and Stalin look like toddlers, because despite universal hatred she will coast to victory in '08. Hillary is truly untouchable.

-== mist ==- said...

My best guess for a Senator Clinton foreign strategy will be one along the lines of the second option.

Ironically, I think her campaign will include a 'strong against terror' subtext. The primary reason I think this comes from the number of people in the last 2 elections who admitted that they didn't support President Bush on any issue except national security. This stance would also help separate her from the other democratic runners and what is sure to be a pacifist 110th congress that will not be popular in a large portion of America. Finally, it will be her attempt to retain the libertarian / moderate votes that swung democratic starting in 2006.

Senator Clinton has a major advantage in name recognition, so she won't have to pander to the base the way all the other runners will. She already knows the nutroots element is not large enough to get her elected and that she didn't need them to get her other offices. So, while the rest of the dems move left to get those votes just so they get nominated, I think she will stay center leaning to avoid that complication in the actual campaign.

And, depending on how bad the next 2 years go, there could be a lot of 'borderline' republicans ready for change and she will seek to tap into that. If she really takes this approach, she will need to have a strong message, but one that is radically different from the current administration.

She will say that losing international unity on terror issues was a key failure that has made the world less safe for US interests. She will say that the money and time wasted in Iraq should have been spent helping to strengthen our islamic allies (like pakistan), and hunting down OBL, the 'true' terror threat.

She will point out that while the US was busy 'nation building', the dangers posed to our country grew (policital ad: queue quote of the President saying he wouldn't do that to the sound of evil drums while images of Iraq occupation flicker across the screen). She will say the DHS (A republican created office) is a total failure and has not had any positive impact. She will say that our misguided foreign policy created more terrorists (which I sadly think has a strong element of truth), and she will say that instead of doing things the wrong way, we need to get back to the old days, when great nations worked together to affect change, and the US didn't act alone or against the interests of the world community.

I think her sudden interest in visiting world leaders is a pretty clear indication of things to come. I harbor no good opinion of her or her past policies, but I do respect that she is one of the more shrewd politicians in the US today. And given the partisan nature of the US as it stands post 911, shrewd politicians are in the best position to take power. I just hope there is an opposition candidate who is not weak to challenge her.

Captain USpace said...

She sure got a purty mouth...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
Hillary can fight a war