by Barry Rubin
In a December 10 al-Jazira interview, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explains
A lot of what she said revealed the administration’s almost pathological desire to avoid conflict:
“What we have tried to do is engage in diplomacy in a very vigorous way in order to reassure the international community, including all states, that
This is a rather shocking formulation and though I know it isn’t as bad as it sounds, after all
It is a bit late in the game to take
But really isn’t this coyness out of date? Al-Jazira’s audience, millions of Arabs, is likely to interpret this as meaning the
“President Obama made it absolutely clear [despite] lots of political opposition that if he reached out his hand and if
The implication here is that if not for all this disruption,
When it comes to covering for the Iranian regime,
“They had first agreed in principle, and then I think because of internal disputes, they backed off from that, raising a lot of questions about what their true intentions are.”
This makes it sound like they came really close but then got sidetracked by internal bickering. Perhaps, an observer might think, they'll change their mind after a few more internal debates. This also gives credence to
It’s not that
“Obviously, the secret facility at
Here we get a bit more of a sense of the heat being turned up on
The problem here is not that
Here’s another point made by
“We want to work with others. There’s not a problem in the world that the
There’s a key element missing here: the concept of leadership. Here’s an example involving another Bush.
That was not unilateralism but a coalition created by saying: Here's what we're doing, follow us! But it was a coalition created by leadership and direction, not waiting until everyone agrees. Many other examples can be offered.
“For example, at the Board of Governors at the IAEA, the vote...condemning
The last sentence might hint that the Administration’s policy is shifting. But this is a bit misleading perhaps. After all, if the international community speaks with one voice, doesn't that voice have to reflect a Russian or Chinese accent?
What happens if the
To be fair, the EU did issue a statement saying that
This interview will not build support for
And what of the Gulf and other Arab leaders who are scared of
One can understand that Clinton and colleagues don’t want to sound like a George Bush, but why do they always try to act like a weak reed?
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.