Even the Washington Post’s Chris Cilizza noticed. He designated Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as having “the worst week in Washington,” a week ago. This is something of a comedown among liberals, who have been fawning over Hillary. Cilizza noted it was an unusual slip. “She has traveled the world, winning kudos everywhere she goes for her grace and, um, diplomacy.”
He notes the damage done to Hillary’s image by the WikiLeaks revelations. Those leaked cables — those undiplomatic diplomatic documents — show what he calls “a chatty and at times petty State Department offering strikingly candid assessments of the relative strengths and weaknesses of various world leaders.”
That is putting it most diplomatically. These leaks are devastating.
As former Speaker Newt Gingrich says, they show an administration wholly incapable of protecting classified documents. Why, Newt asks, does a low-level Army private have access to a quarter million classified documents? Who gave this grunt a security clearance? Former UN Ambassador John Bolton chimes in: This WikiLeaks scandal shows an administration so weak, so disorganized, that it does not understand the first thing about national security.
Indeed. How can Hillary Clinton continue to get kudos from anyone? Grace? Diplomacy? The leaks show that she tried to find out if Argentina’s lady president was on drugs. Why do we need to know that? Argentina’s people deserve our respect. Their leaders don’t. And trying to find out such sensitive information is crazy. It could only lead — as it has led — to a huge embarrassment.
We have to recall Watergate. Why did Nixon’s people do it in the first place? And why did Nixon attempt to cover up?
Hillary’s traveling the world was a problem even before these leaks. Recall her horrible gaffe in Ottawa last spring. She visited our loyal ally and berated Prime Minister Harper’s Conservative Party government for not including abortion in its maternal care initiative for Africa. This from the woman who as First Lady said “abortion is wrong” (Newsweek, October 31, 1994).
It would have been just as undiplomatic if Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had gone to Canada and attacked the Liberal government in 2005 for its support of the forced abortion-condoning UNFPA. Of course, Sec. Rice should have objected to that Canadian policy, but if she had — and perhaps she did — it should have been done privately.
Hillary’s blunders are not confined to this hemisphere. She kicked off her “re-set” summit with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov by presenting the dour Russian with a big red “re-set” button — whose Cyrillic letters were spelled wrong! The whole idea of “re-set” with Russia comes down to this: Russia can help Iran’s nuclear program, Russia can meddle in Ukraine, Russia can invade the Republic of Georgia, and we’re going to overlook all of that.
Hillary’s leaks scandal reminds me of a joke recited by Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev, perhaps the only joke told in 70 years of Communist misrule. The party boss said a man was arrested outside the Kremlin for yelling: “Khrushchev is a fool.” Nikita Sergeyevich told Western reporters the unfortunate Soviet citizen got a “fiver” — one year for insulting the party chairman and four for revealing a state secret.
Now, Secretary Clinton says it’s America’s urgent priority to approve the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia. She wants this lame-duck Senate to ram the thing through.
Remember Ronald Reagan’s famous take on U.S.-Soviet relations. “Trust, but verify,” the Gipper always said. Dealing from a position of strength, Reagan was able to sign a treaty embodying the biggest reduction in nuclear arms in history.
Now, this administration ignores the Russian spies who were arrested on the eve of President Obama’s “hamburger summit” with President Medvedev. They booted the spies out of the country before having any chance to interrogate them, to learn what they learned, to determine who they talked to about U.S. national security. Attorney General Holder didn’t even have a chance to read them their Miranda rights or to provide them with one of his favorite lawyers from the Al Qaeda bar.
From Reagan’s “Trust, but verify,” we have gone under this administration to pumping for a treaty with the Russians that is all trust and no verification. No wonder the Russians show their contempt for this administration daily.
Let’s hope the newly strengthened Senate GOP caucus will call a quick STOP to this false START. Besides, Hillary needs to spend all her time smoothing diplomatic feathers ruffled by her most undiplomatic spying and prying.
Ken Blackwell is a visiting professor with Liberty University School of Law and senior fellow with the Family Research Council. He is the co-author of The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency.