The normally sensible Forbes magazine recently named Hillary Clinton the second-most-powerful woman in the world. That’s absurd. She’s clearly not even the second-most-powerful woman in the Obama administration. For influence on this president, she clearly walks behind Michelle Obama, Valerie Jarrett and Kathleen Sebelius.
Mrs. Clinton has even been derided in liberal blogs as Barack Obama’s “Saudi wife.” Newsweek’s feminist editor, Tina Brown, went so far as to say she’s been put in a “foreign policy burqa.” We don’t have to follow The Washington Post’s annual in/out listings. Fashions come and go in the Style Section, even burqas.
What we should focus on in examining Secretary of State Clinton’s influence are the policies coming from this administration, and the impression so far is that Clinton is following, not leading. The current Obama policies toward the Middle East are alarming. When Iranians demonstrated in the streets following clearly fraudulent national elections in 2009, Secretary Clinton toed the administration’s line. The Obama administration did not want to be seen as “interfering” with Iran’s internal affairs. That Iran interferes with the internal affairs of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and a host of other Middle Eastern trouble spots should have been obvious.
In contrast, the Obama administration greeted the “Arab Spring” in Egypt. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton hailed the ouster of the 30-year autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Now Mubarak is facing a death sentence in a Cairo courtroom and Egyptians have stormed the Israeli embassy. Thirty years of a cold peace between these two neighbors has been overthrown. Will we see another Arab-Israeli war?
In Libya, Obama and Clinton have thrown the weight of the United States and NATO behind the rebels. These would-be democrats now tell us they will not give up Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the convicted mass murderer of hundreds of Americans on Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. Our putative peace partners in the “Arab Spring” movement in Tripoli say Gaddafi was wrong to give up the Libyan bomber for trial in the United Kingdom in the first case.
Perhaps most offensive of all is Hillary Clinton’s assignment of counting Jews in Jerusalem. Old Washington hands may remember that President Richard Nixon bitterly ordered one of his aides to count the Jews in the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The good man who took on that odious assignment has long since apologized and done penance. And the world has heard on the White House tapes Nixon’s foul-mouthed rants and lashings out against the Jews.
Yet, when Israel’s life hung in the balance during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, President Nixon raced to re-supply the Jewish state. For all his anti-Semitic statements in private, his policy was pro-Israel when it counted.
Now, when it counts, the Obama administration’s private comments are all friendly toward the Jewish state. Only its policies are dangerously anti-Israel.
Never before have Israelis been told that Jews cannot build new apartment houses in their own capital city. Not since the collapse of the Soviet Union have the Jews been more in need of a refuge. Columnist Mark Steyn has eloquently pointed to the endangered state of European Jewry. Jewish cemeteries in once-peaceful, always-neutral Sweden are being desecrated by Islamists.
If the Jews cannot live in Malmő, where are they to go but Jerusalem?
Madame Secretary has obediently supported every Mideast initiative of this administration. She has signed off on billions in aid to Fatah, the so-called Palestinian Authority. This outfit, better known as the avowedly terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization, suppressed state TV coverage of West Bank Arabs on 9/11. Residents cheered as the Twin Towers came down and fired off their rifles in the air that terrible day to celebrate their fellow terrorists’ attack on America.
The reason the PLO leaders ordered those cameras to go dark on September 11, 2001 was not that they did not approve of the anti-American scenes being acted out by their fellow denizens. No, it was because the PLO big shots did not want to jeopardize the generous U.S. foreign aid with which they line their pockets and pad their Geneva bank accounts.
If she does not regret it already, Secretary Clinton will come to bitterly rue her association with the shameful Mideast policies of this administration. You don’t have to embrace evangelical theology to know that the United States has had a historic relationship with Israel. Christians the world over are called upon to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. But if that is too religious for secular-minded diplomats, they might recall Winston Churchill’s advice: Let the Jews have Jerusalem. It is they who made it famous.
Ken Blackwell is a co-author of the newly released book Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America, published by Simon and Schuster (Threshold Editions).