Saturday, March 07, 2009

Whirlwind

Appearing on a popular Turkish television chat show, Hadi Gel Bizimle (Come and Join Us), Clinton tackled a few diplomatic questions but the main focus was on her personal life, such as when she "last" fell in love.

"It was so long ago, with my husband," she told the studio audience, adding that she first met former President Bill Clinton in the spring of 1971 when they were at law school.

"We have been talking to each other and enjoying our life together ever since," she said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/vcCandid … nnel=1045


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton raised eyebrows on her first visit to Europe as secretary of state when she mispronounced her EU counterparts' names and claimed U.S. democracy was older than Europe's.

Clinton has set herself a grueling pace on visits to Egypt, Israel and Brussels soon after touring the Far East, attending dozens of meetings and giving speech after speech, with little time worked into her schedule for sleep.

Tiredness appeared to show Friday when she answered questions in front of 500 young Europeans at the European Parliament, where she was the highest-ranking U.S. visitor since the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

A veteran politician, Clinton compared the complex European political environment to that of the two-party U.S. system, before adding:

"I have never understood multiparty democracy.

"It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy."

The remark provoked much headshaking in the parliament of a bloc that likes to trace back its democratic tradition thousands of years to the days of classical Greece.

One working lunch later with EU leaders, Clinton raised more eyebrows when she referred to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who stood beside her, as "High Representative Solano."

She also dubbed European Commission External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner as "Benito."

Still, Clinton has been well received in Brussels, where the Obama administration has been viewed as a breath of fresh air after the unpopular leadership of George W. Bush. His secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, often drew protests on her travels.

Fellow foreign ministers stood and applauded Clinton's presentation at a meeting with NATO counterparts Thursday and extra space had to be set aside for a spillover audience of 800 at the European Parliament.

Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering was effusive in his praise, saying that with the new administration, the United States and Europe once again "share the same values."

"What you said mostly could have been said by a European," he told Clinton after she fielded questions ranging from climate change to energy security and aid to Africa and one on gay rights from a participant wearing an "I love Hillary" t-shirt.

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNew … 06?sp=true



GENEVA—After promising to “push the reset button” on relations with Moscow, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton planned to present Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a light-hearted gift at their talks here Friday night to symbolize the Obama administration’s desire for a new beginning in the relationship.

It didn’t quite work out as she planned.

She handed him a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift—a red plastic button on a black base with a Russian word “peregruzka” printed on top.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton said as reporters, allowed in to observe the first few minutes of the meeting, watched.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said, to Clinton’s clear surprise. Instead of "reset," he said the word on the box meant “overcharge.”

Clinton and Lavrov guffawed. “We won’t let you do that to us,” she said.

Despite the shoddy translation work on the U.S. side, Clinton and Lavrov emerged from their meeting a few hours later saying they had accomplished their initial goal—reducing the frostiness in U.S.-Russia relations that had taken hold by the end of the Bush administration.

At a joint press conference afterward Clinton and Lavrov called each other by their first names and said they had conducted wide-ranging discussions on Iran, missile defense, Afghanistan, and nuclear arms reduction. They agreed to intensify preparations for opening a new round of nuclear arms negotiations to replace the one that expires at the end of this year.

They each emphasized that major disagreements and disputes remain on matters such as U.S. support for Georgia, the former Soviet republic invaded by Moscow last year, and on an announced sale by Moscow of advanced air defense missiles to Iran. The improvement in tone was unmistakable compared to the icy encounters that Lavrov used to hold with Clinton’s predecessor.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/19719.html


BEIJING, China (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broached the issue of human rights with Chinese leaders on Saturday, but emphasized that the global financial slump and other international crises were more pressing and immediate priorities.


U.S. Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton meets Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing.

The United States will continue to press China on issues such as Tibet, Taiwan and human rights, she told reporters accompanying her.

"Successive administrations and Chinese governments have been poised back and forth on these issues, and we have to continue to press them. But our pressing on those issues can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis," she told reporters in Seoul, South Korea.

Clinton made China the last and most crucial stopover in her Asia trip, signaling the new administration's first attempts to lay a foundation toward a China policy. It is Clinton's first trip to China as secretary of state. Watch Clinton talk to CNN about Asian tour »

She met with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday and discussed the framework for further high-level and mid-level discussions.

"It is essential that the United States and China have a positive, cooperative relationship," Clinton told a group of reporters.

Earlier Saturday, Clinton met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing, where they discussed what they regard as the new defining Sino-U.S. strategic goals: the world economic crisis, regional security and the environment.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/21/clinton.china.asia/


I cannot recall a more craven, pathetic, thoughtless foriegn policy from the United States in my lifetime. Since Hillary may just be expertly articulating what her boss tells her to say, perhaps that doesn't make her a bad Secretary of State. Her boss may just be a very bad President.

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