In a panel discussion on today’s BBC foriegn policy forum came forward the following statement: “Obama succeeded in making America irrelevant in Middle East politics.” I noted last summer, Hillary Clinton took the initiative when she praised Netanyahu for his bold moves on Israeli settlements “freeze”.
My earlier diary: Dennis Ross Moves to NSC A Hawk Within?
Clinton’s planned speech is clearly meant to raise her own profile as well. In her first six months as Barack Obama’s top diplomat, the secretary has faced something of an underappreciated challenge: proving that she is a loyal lieutenant to her former presidential primary rival while projecting that she owns the Obama administration’s diplomatic portfolio.
Perhaps more than any other member in Obama’s “team of rivals,” Clinton has had to walk a fine line …
So far, Clinton has arguably succeeded in proving her team-player bona fides. Several initially somewhat wary Obama aides and holdover State Department officials who have traveled with her abroad have confided genuine admiration for Clinton’s professionalism and decency — citing her preparedness for meetings with foreign leaders and her thank-yous to bureau staff who worked on her trips. Clinton loyalists and White House aides, moreover, vigorously insist that the secretary is a critical and indispensable voice in Obama’s national security team.
Late last month, White House aides quietly nixed plans to bring on journalist and longtime Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal as a State Department consultant and speechwriter, an aide confirmed, after the planned appointment was reported. Blumenthal, said by one friend to be one of Clinton’s best speechwriters, is an ardent Clinton loyalist who is identified with some of the more intense antagonisms of the Democratic Party primaries.