What Hillary Hasn't Done in Foreign Policy
During the eight years Hillary was First Lady, she didn't deal with terrorism, Osama bin Laden, or Al Qaeda.
She wasn't a decision-maker on any of the other big foreign policy issues of her husband's presidency: whether to send troops to Bosnia or Kosovo, whether to bomb terrorist bases in Afghanistan or suspected terrorist sites in the Sudan.
She didn't deal with the problems in the CIA and other intelligence agencies. She didn't work on nuclear proliferation. She did not deal with genocide in Rwanda.
When Bill Clinton brought Israelis and Palestinians to negotiations at Camp David in 2000, Hillary wasn't there.
These are the conclusions reached by New York Times reporter Patrik Healy, who reported on Dec. 26 on his conversations with 35 Clinton administration officials and his interview with Hillary herself.
"Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance," Healy wrote. "She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president's daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda."
Most important: Hillary did not do "the hard part of foreign policy" - "making tough decisions, responding to crises." That's what Susan Rice told the New York Times - she was a National Security Council senior aide and a State Department official during the Clinton administration. She's now supporting Obama.
Readers may recall that Hillary has claimed to be the most experienced Democratic candidate not just on domestic issues, but also on international, because of her eight years in the White House. She often says she visited 79 countries as first lady. She often talks about meeting with the president of Uzbekistan and the prime minister of Czechoslovakia.
But when the New York Times reporter asked her to name three major foreign policy decisions in which she played a decisive role as first lady, she "responded in generalities" rather than specifics.
When the Times asked her to cite a significant foreign policy lesson she learned from the 1990s, she replied "There are a lot of them," and went on to talk about "the whole unfortunate experience we've had with the Bush administration."
What did she do on those trips to 79 countries? These were mostly "good-will endeavors" where she supported nonprofit work. She acted as "a spokeswoman for American interests." She often spoke out for women's rights -- especially at the 1995 UN conference on women in Beijing. She brought Catholic and Protestant women together at a meeting in Northern Ireland. And, Healy reported, she often advocated "the expanded use of microcredits, tiny loans to help individuals in poor countries start small businesses."
© 2007 The Nation