by MainStreet, Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 05:24:00 AM EST
A few days ago, Robert Dreyfuss in The Nation magazine provided a summary of the state of Barak Obama's Middle East policy, as delivered in his world changing Cairo speech, which promised a new era of peace. The center-piece of Obama's policy was Palestinian statehood (the two state solution) for a people held intolerably in bondage (military occupation) for over four decades, while their lands were being colonized (through various illegal means) by Israel.
The announcement by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he will not run for reelection is the exclamation point on the utter collapse of the Obama adminstration's Middle East policy. Launched to great expectations -- the appointment of George Mitchell, Obama's Cairo declaration that the plight of the Palestinians is intolerable -- it is now in complete disarray. It is, without doubt, the first major defeat for Obama's hope-and-change foreign policy.
As the second largest economy in the world and one of the U.S.'s most important allies, Japan has graditionally been treated with utmost respect diplomatically. Almost every U.S. ambassador to Japan in the last few decades has been a real political heavyweight, including influential politicians (e.g., Walter Mondale) or prominent international relations scholars (e.g., Michael Armacost).
It is finally time that I eat some crow. I supported Barack Obama in the primaries because I believed that he would win the general election and bring in lots of new Democratic Congresspeople into office with him. I thought he had the ability to be a transformational President, much like FDR and Ronald Reagan. I didnt support Hillary because I thought she would be another Bill Clinton, who would simply accomadate the nation's rightward drift.
No one's talking about what exactly went on in yesterday's Oval Office meetings with the Clintons, but Administration officials are thinking about how to use the former First Couple on the subject they know so much about: health care.
In the wake of President Clinton's passionate pitch to the "Netroots" convention last week, officials are debating whether to deploy Hillary too. No one may have more credibility than her in convincing Democrats that failure to compromise for the sake of getting something done has real consequences. But will weighing in detract from her current responsibilities as Secretary of State?
I came away from the '08 campaign impressed with how aggressively then-Senator Clinton pushed back on right-wing spin about domestic policy. And while I'm sure no one at the White House would want to stories about the ghost of Hillarycare, we know she has the chops.
This interview Clinton did with Bill-O last year is particularly impressive...she cedes no ground on tax policy: