Hillary and the Foreign Policy Establishment

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hillary maliki.htm
American Prospect editor-at-large Michael Tomasky has written a brave critique on The Guardian‘s “Comment is Free” Blog of Hillary Clinton’s reasons for not saying “sorry” after her supportive votes of President Bush’s Middle East military adventure.
One aspect of this debate about Hillary and acknowledging past errors I had not read or considered before was the role of the “Foreign Policy Establishment” in Washington — and how this establishment has been cutting increasingly towards the right.
I slightly disagree with Tomasky on this point as I think “Right” and “Left” don’t get us very far in understanding the civil wars regarding foreign policy going on inside both parties. I think that the foreign policy establishment has been cutting increasingly towards a values-driven messianism that is dramatically at odds with traditional realism and with liberal internationalism.
Nonetheless, my difference is nuanced, and I like what he has written, including about the New America Foundation:

So why can’t Clinton just say it [sorry]? Two explanations are generally proffered. The first is that she wants to play to centrist voters, who care far less about any sort of apology and who will be important not in the primaries but in the general election.
The second is that if she does offer a mea culpa, she opens herself to the charge of being a flip-flopper, a particularly resonant fear among Democrats after the workout the phrase got from the Republican National Committee to describe John Kerry in 2004.
Both of these are true enough. But I’d like to posit a much less-discussed third reason, and it’s the most important one, because it tells us far more about how she might actually conduct foreign-policy as president. It has to do with what we know in Washington as the “Foreign-Policy Establishment”.
The FPE consists of intellectuals, analysts, and scholars, many of them former government officials, collected at the various think-tanks in Washington DC (and to some extent New York, home base of the Council on Foreign Relations). If you lived here and worked in politics, you would note quickly their ubiquity and influence. They’re forever holding panels and issuing papers, and the resident fellows and scholars advise many a candidate on both sides.
And the FPE, you see, is fairly conservative. There’s one house, the New America Foundation, that has admirably made itself the center of the foreign-policy opposition in Washington. But outside of New America, the FPE is dominated by conservatives, neo and otherwise in redoubts like the American Enterprise Institute, and centrist Democrats. This last category is typified by Kenneth Pollack, of the nominally liberal Brookings Institution, whose 2002 book, The Threatening Storm, made a case for the Iraq war which many liberals endorsed. In fact, it’s fair to say that most of the FPE was pro-war, and even today, many of its prominent members will admit only to botched execution on the administration’s part, not to any broader problems with the whole idea from the start.
This is a bunch whose views are well to the right of the Democratic primary electorate. And it is a bunch in whose good graces Hillary Clinton, a cautious and establishment politician at her core, is fervent to stay. And as was once said of love in the movies, so it must be said today that staying in the FPE’s good graces means never having to say you’re sorry.
And this is where a potential Clinton presidency becomes a concern. If she is elected, she will likely draw most of her foreign-policy brain trust from this world — not from the neoconservative wing, but from the pro-war neoliberal wing; in other words, from a group of people who got Iraq completely wrong.
Her secretary of state, for example, might be Richard Holbrooke, who was belligerently pro-war in the beginning. All this points in a certain direction, as to how she’d handle the Middle East, particularly (doubted by Jewish Israel hawks back in 2000, she has taken pains to become one of their darlings), but also for just about every major question the next president will face, including how she’d clean up the Iraq mess.

Interesting piece.
— Steve Clemons
P.S. — At the request of some of my readers, I have moved this picture below to the bottom of the post as they were able to find a good picture that expressed what I was trying to. Nonetheless, the picture of Hillary with Sharon also appealed to some who emailed me — and this pic actually came from Senator Clinton’s own website.
hillary sharon.jpg
— Steve Clemons

Comments

87 comments on “Hillary and the Foreign Policy Establishment

  1. Winnipeger says:

    Winnipeger calls Steve a liar, and accuses his blog of “virulent anti-jewish sentiment”, and Steve calls the comments “constructive”?
    Whatever.
    Posted by: Pissed Off American at February 18, 2007 01:27 PM
    POA comments on a written exchange between steve and i, instead of minding his own business.
    whatever.

    Reply

  2. Pissed Off American says:

    Hillary Clinton speaking to AIPAC….
    “U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons, she said, “In dealing with this threat … no option can be taken off the table.”
    MP, it seems that being “pretty sure” is code for “heres some horseshit”. Once again, please show us where and when Hillary has taken the positions you are “pretty sure” she has.
    You wouldn’t bullshit us, would you?

    Reply

  3. Pissed Off American says:

    “I’m pretty sure Hillary is being quite vocal in her OPPOSITION to any military action against Iran and is supporting the move in Congress to remove from any supplemental funding for such an action.”
    Really? Show us.

    Reply

  4. MP says:

    POA writes: “Is she hawking the same inflammatory and exaggerated rhetoric about Iran’s “threat” that can be seen daily on the AIPAC website? ”
    To be fair, I’m pretty sure Hillary is being quite vocal in her OPPOSITION to any military action against Iran and is supporting the move in Congress to remove from any supplemental funding for such an action.

    Reply

  5. Pissed Off American says:

    Winnipeger calls Steve a liar, and accuses his blog of “virulent anti-jewish sentiment”, and Steve calls the comments “constructive”?
    Whatever.

    Reply

  6. Steve Clemons says:

    Winnipeger, thanks for that correction. Very sorry to improperly attribute your entrepreneurship in finding the picture. It’s great. Had I seen it, I would have used it first, over the other.
    I may recruit you for other photo searches when I’m desperate…
    By the way, while I’ll probably have my head handed to me for saying this — I’m not as down on Sharon as others. He broke the Likud party in half and gave hope for a different set of dealmaking with Palestine that just wasn’t happening with status quo structures. He was publicly bent on “unilateral” withdrawal from the occupied territories — but I have a hunch that he was incrementally moving in a different direction.
    It’s hard for us to know without access to secret files — but I’m not prone to treating Ariel Sharon in the same manner that I might view former Prime Minister Netanyahu.
    Thanks again,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  7. Winnipeger says:

    you’re very welcome, steve. thank you for listening and for being open to constructive criticism.
    btw, i found the pic all by myself; i don’t work in tandem with mr. birnbaum.

    Reply

  8. Steve Clemons says:

    Larry — I have heard your and Winnipeger’s complaints and understand them. I think you have a legitimate case, but my posting the pic was not designed to focus on Israel again — but nor am I the sort to not post a pic that indicates Israel’s important in these discussions.
    Winnipeger — Thanks for finding that good pic. I did not see it when I looked, so kudos.
    I have put your pic at the top of the post and I have put the pic that I used from Senator Clinton’s website at the bottom of the post.
    Thanks for your constructive approach on this.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  9. Winnipeger says:

    rich:
    i can’t seem to find the link to the account i read of the real-time reaction of the assembled diplomats to putin’s speech. but in every account, it is made clear that the remarks were a surprise and took everyone off guard.
    read the text of his speech and just imagine what secretary gates felt like sitting there being called out by the likes of putin!
    must have been uncomfortable to say the least!

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  10. rich says:

    JoeCHI:
    I did no such thing–see my reply above your last post. It’s all spelled out. There’s no reason whatsoever to trust a poll. At this stage of the game–there IS NO “lead.” No votes have been cast. You’re extrapolating a lot that just does not hold at all, at this point.
    Again, see above. Polls are often manipulated.

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  11. Pissed Off American says:

    Larry — That is ridiculous. One week I’m accused of being sycophantic to HRC — the next undermining her with a picture.
    Steve. I think you misunderstand the true nature of Larry/Winnipeger’s concerns. His concern isn’t that you are undermining Hillary, his concern is that you are underscoring Israel’s power and influence it holds over our current crop of so-called “progressive” candidates. The American people are very much in the mood for change, and are getting angrier and angrier as each day passes, and such change is not forthcoming. Yet a very low percentage of the American public is aware that candidates such as Hillary do not offer true change, as they are beholding to the same corporate entities, foreign agents, and lobbies that the right is.
    Hillary is dispensable to “the lobby”. If they loose one candidate, they will simply buy another. They currently own almost every candidate on the left, with exception of Kucinich. But AIPAC’s influence IS not dispensable to Israel’s aims. It is AIPAC, and Israel, that Birnbaum/Winnipeger is seeking to protect here. Hillary is but a pawn.

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  12. Pissed Off American says:

    Care to show us some of this “virulent anti-jewish sentiment”? With exception of the VERY OCCASSIONAL poster that drops in from time to time, that exhibits true anti-semitism, I have seen NO “anti-jewish sentiment” here, “virulent”, or otherwise. Once again, you are spewing this “anti-semitic” CRAP to counter areas of argument that HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH ANTI-SEMITISM. And after a while, after enough people have told you to shove your accusations of “anti-semitism” right up your disingenuous and purposely inciteful lower orifice, you will start whining about how abused you are here. When will you get it through your diminutive and uncharactered brain that people do not like being accused of being bigots and racists merely because they espouse opinions that are contrary to your own? If ANYONE should be ashamed of themselves, it is YOU, for consistently and purposely employing the same kind of stale horseshit that you so recently, on more than one occassion, have assured the participants of this blog you would cease employing.

    Reply

  13. rich says:

    Got any links to the real-time reactions to Putin’s speech, share!

    Reply

  14. Pissed Off American says:

    Steve has ran items here on the EU, Austria, Russia, Japan, general foreign policy items, etc, and all the items he has posted have recieved their fair share of comments. To state that this blog has ignored, or doesn’t mention, areas of the globe other than the ME is disingenuous and clearly dishonest. Once again, an insincerely offered olive branch is exposed by the true nature of the dialogue issuing forth from our resident troll.
    And the true nature of the maligned photograph at the head of this thread is the picture it paints of Hillary’s duplicitous and questionable political posturing. Is she in AIPAC’s pockets? Unquestionably, and verifiably. Is she hawking the same inflammatory and exaggerated rhetoric about Iran’s “threat” that can be seen daily on the AIPAC website? Did she hawk the same kind of dishonest and exaggerated fearmongering in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq? Absolutely. IN FACT, the Hillary quote I provided above is almost VERBATIM of a public statement that Israel made about Iraq’s WMD capabilities and pursuits. So, what can be the motives behind seeking to deflect the debate away from the Middle East and Hillary’s obvious sympathies for the far right’s, (and the zionists), designs for a restructured Middle East? And why cast yet another veiled and shallow insinuation of “anti-semitism” at Steve merely because he uses a picture of Hillary in front of a flag that she herself has sworn allegience to, publically and regularly?
    Of course, draw your own conclusions. But it appears the irritating drivel and purposeful distraction is far from over. The Middle East is garnering the bulk of our discussion because it SHOULD garner the bulk of our discussion. And to imply that this is some kind of sinister intellectual plot against AIPAC and Israel is pure unadulterated horseshit.
    More of the same, from the same, despite the pretentious and insincere promises to the contrary.

    Reply

  15. MP says:

    Dan…you make an interesting point. I don’t have a compendium of her speeches, but my sense of her is that she moved to the right when she moved to NY AND decided to run (long before she announced, of course). I think it’s reasonable to supposed that when her constituency becomes much more than NY, she will move that way. Her model, IMO, is her husband. He moved this way and that, which made folks say that he stood for nothing. But my sense was that he was always a liberal and only tacked for tactical reasons. Any sailor knows that you can’t go DIRECTLY into the wind and go anywhere. All politicians who get anything done compromise. The only ones who don’t are the ones who either don’t go anywhere or those whose positions are aligned with a large swath of the public, e.g., FDR, JFK, LBJ, Reagan, and even THEY compromise and tack much more than is generally recognized. FDR and especially JFK compromised with the south over civil rights. Even Lincoln initially stood against only the spread of slavery, and didn’t attempt to eradicate it directly until war came and made it possible to do so.

    Reply

  16. Winnipeger says:

    btw, steve, in 30 seconds i found this picture (also on HRC’s website) which, in my opinion, makes much more contextual sense.
    http://tinyurl.com/2yqgo3

    Reply

  17. Winnipeger says:

    steve,
    you wrote:
    “Shame on you, my friend, for not just accepting the fact that this was a pic that said she was engaged in foreign policy — and ascribing to it the innuendo that you do.”
    shame on you for not recognizing the entrenched dynamic of your very own comment threads, where virulent anti-israel and anti-jewish sentiment is regularly expressed. you didn’t think this picture would detract from the point you are trying to make?!
    and to say that you couldn’t find another picture to use of HRC with another foreign leader, certainly stretches the bounds of incredulity.

    Reply

  18. Winnipeger says:

    i hate to say it, steve, but i agree with larry.
    how can you in good conscience visually equate the entirety of the AFPE with israel and ariel sharon alone?!
    you couldn’t find a picture of hillary with any other foreign leader?! c’mon. that sure sounds like a cop-out to me. and are you implying that we are reading too much into your choice of visuals? i hope that is the case, but i have some serious doubts.
    imo, this is a most unfortunate turn of events for TWN. this blog may have “jumped the shark,” from the waters of progressive, bi-partisan debate, which you continually hold forth as your modus operandi, to straight forward and unabashed advocacy.
    if this is the case, your blog has lost much of its appeal to me and all of its value as a forum for constructive debate.

    Reply

  19. Steve Clemons says:

    Larry — That is ridiculous. One week I’m accused of being sycophantic to HRC — the next undermining her with a picture.
    This picture came from Hillary Clinton’s own website — HER website. It makes the point that foreign policy is complicated. Israel and getting a new dynamic deployed in the Middle East is critical.
    Had there been a picture of Hillary with Abbas, or with any other recognizable Middle East leaders, I would have used those.
    Shame on you, my friend, for not just accepting the fact that this was a pic that said she was engaged in foreign policy — and ascribing to it the innuendo that you do.
    Listen….if you want to be constructive, you peruse Hillary’s websites — and if you have something that you can find that would help assuage your concerns, then I’ll use that one next time….
    But until then, I will make my own selections of pics. Again, this picture came from HRC’s own website.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  20. larry birnbaum says:

    Steve,
    “Mission Accomplished” in the sense of visual progapanda if nothing else.
    You should be ashamed of yourself.

    Reply

  21. Maude says:

    Iranians are not Arab. They are Persian.
    Russia will become involved if the US attacks Iran.
    The talk now about Iran comes on top of Cheney’s stupid remarks about Russia and Bush’s backing of the this cold war like position.
    The problem Clinton has is that she has not once showed the least concern for the human suffering that the Iraq war has cost both in Iraq and in the US.
    She miscalculated when she voted for the war.
    HRC figured that if she voted for the war, she wouldn’t be called weak on defence when she put her toe in the water for the presidential race.
    I think that as far as HRC is concerned, it always comes down to it’s always about her.
    It doesn’t seem to bother her that if the US bombs Iran, innocent people will be injured and killed.
    How much more dehumanization of the world do we need now? Hasn’t that gone far enough?

    Reply

  22. JoeCHI says:

    rich:
    You state that each and every polling organization listed below are all “liars” without speaking to their methodology or science. Such silliness would be dismissed in a junior-high debate and is beneath the conversation here.
    I suggest you review the methodology at the following websights: USA/Gallop National, American Research Group, Harris Interactive, Fox/Opinion Dynamics, Rasmussen, UNH Statewide, Quinnipiac NY, Zogby.
    As to Shrum’s honesty, I regret that I am unable to “look into his soul” like you and President Bush. I, instead, speak to his actual statements which are a matter of public record.

    Reply

  23. Winnipeger says:

    thanks, rich, i must have missed that post. i agree with you, however. i found that entire episode surreal. putin preaching to us… and preaching the truth!
    i would have loved to have been in that room to witness the body language of gates and the rest. from what i hear, putin’s speech caught everyone off guard.
    when vladimir putin lectures you correctly about right and wrong, you know you’re in big trouble!
    this is truly the worst administration ever…

    Reply

  24. rich says:

    “….”:
    “>>on the other hand there was a pretty concerted effort on the part of the western media and certain politicians to try to do a character assassination of putin over Litvinenkos poisoning.”<<
    Compare the media hoopla about Litvinenko’s poisoning (a real crime) to the complete silence surrounding the murders of the Greek & Italian telecom security experts–intel agents–that broke the CIAs rendition activities in those countries. The Italian’s work resulted in 22 indictments and exposed Italy’s coopertion with the CIA. Dead. Same for the Greek intel operative. Laura Rozen reported on this.
    Winnipeg: I posted on Putin right after his recent speech. Imagine, the U.S.’ stature has sunk so low that our unrestrained hyper-militarism can be scolded by the likes of Putin.
    And he was right. Fascinating also, that on day one, you could read significant quotes in the WashPost from his speech. Day two, the WashPost had removed the relevant hard-hitting quotes an put up harmless, offpoint phrases. Just the free press, doing us all a favor again.

    Reply

  25. Steve Clemons says:

    Eatbees — Don’t know if I’m a ‘self-appointed’ foreign policy expert or not. I have worked on foreign policy/national security issues for decades — so with that comes some facility for thinking about these topics. But you are right that there are institutionalized cartels that have blocked significant public participation in foreign policy debates — and I’ve been trying to knock the walls down on some of those cartels.
    But your question is interesting — and I think that there is much a problem on the “demand” side of this as on the access to power question. Americans, at best, are only episodically interested in foreign policy. But despite the cartels on oped pages and in think tanks, etc, this is a place where folks with ideas can quickly get access, get engaged, make contributions, if they are willing to fight for and organize in such a way to give their ideas momentum.
    But Washington will never lean over backwards to give any players a hand in getting engaged on some egalitarian basis.
    best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  26. Winnipeger says:

    oh, what’s the point? excuse me for trying.

    Reply

  27. JohnH says:

    We have a foreign policy in asia, russia, and central and south america? It’s news to me. That would mean that Condi has actually been doing something over there at Foggy Bottom. Who could have guessed?
    In fact, I’m not sure we have a foreign policy, period. BuSh and Dick did away with foreign policy when they declared the ME a diplomacy free zone as of January, 2001. Testosterone driven bullying of oil rich Muslim countries does not a policy make. If anything it’s a pathological condition caught from their mentors, Sharon and Likud.

    Reply

  28. Winnipeger says:

    how kind of you, poa. thanks.
    regardless of the fact that we are currently at war in the ME, there are other equally important foreign policy portfolios. unfortunately, iraq won’t be our last war. china is about to tip our economic apple cart! do you think we’re going to react kindly to that?! putin’s busy insuring that russia will be destabilized for years. chechenya?! conservative estimates at 250,000 dead… but not on our t.v’s massive fuel-air bombs droped on grozny?! not a word of mention in our press.
    unfortunately, america doesn’t have the luxury of focusing on one problem to the exclusion of others. do we?
    you don’t think that what’s happening in russia or china is as important to the future of this country as what is happening in the ME?!?!
    if not, maybe you should change your name to “Pissed Off Foolish American.”
    i just think it’s interesting that i’ve NEVER seen a reference to russian or chinese policy. the same goes for venezuela, north korea(aside from a quick mention), india, pakistan, cuba, etc.

    Reply

  29. ... says:

    eatbees- thanks for the comments..
    regarding winnipegger question and poa response…
    on the other hand there was a pretty concerted effort on the part of the western media and certain politicians to try to do a character assassination of putin over Litvinenkos poisoning.. one has to wonder when these same sickos will try to go after russia on a grander scale similiar to what we have seen unfold in iraq. that was the most obvious shoot across the bow from what were probably american and once again israel? interests to destabilize russia. it seems when lukos oil execs, all jewish coincidentially) got the boot, there has been a huge problem with russia and lots of unsubtle undercurrents in the media trying to paint russia in a very negative light.. coincidence? i think not.. the orange revolution seemed to me to be another example of american foreign policy at work as well.. any other event that might help destabilize russia, seems to be eagerly pursued and their presentation in the western media is pretty loathsome.

    Reply

  30. Pissed Off American says:

    Well, perhaps the fact that we are AT WAR in the Middle East has something to do with it. And AIPAC and its Israeli masters had more than a little to do with the original LIES that embroiled us in this mess.
    We haven’t killed 600,000 russians in the last 4 years. Our soldiers are not dying on Russian soil. These God damned maniacs like Ohlmert and Bush are rattling their swords at Iran, not Russia. We aren’t squandering hundreds of billions of dollars in Russia.
    There, your question has been answered. Happy? Now, if you want to tell us what to talk about, perhaps you’ve landed on the wrong blog. I suggest you go over and commune with those slimey far right pukes on the “Conservative Voice”. You’ll fit right in, and they LIKE liars.

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  31. Winnipeger says:

    Does anyone have ANY comment on this country’s foreign policy as it relates to say, russia or china???
    all that is ever discussed here is american foreign policy in the middle east, what about the rest of the world??
    does AIPAC have a stranglehold on american foreign policy in asia, russia, or central and south america??

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  32. Pissed Off American says:

    “Hillary would disagree with the way Bush went about deposing Saddam.”
    Oh bullshit. The quote I provided PROVES she was 100% on board with Bush’s grand deception. She is as culpable for this mess in Iraq as the far right is. She sold us the same lies Bush did.

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  33. bAkho says:

    Hillary isn’t apologizing because she still believes that Saddam had to go sooner or later. Even Bill Clinton has said as much. Hillary would disagree with the way Bush went about deposing Saddam. Unilateral military force, didn’t ask neighbors and other to help, did not offer a diplomatic way out or a buyout or exile of Saddam, etc. Saddam and Iraq were a headache for several administrations, especially Clinton who maintained a no-fly-zone to keep Saddam honest. That was not a permanent solution and sooner or later something would have to be done. Perhaps Hillary would have preferred the Idi Amin style of exile rather than military invasion.
    The apology is an issue for those who are anti-Iraq war. The next president will likely have a foreign policy very different than the Bush unilateral diplomacy=appeasement policy. There are a lot of shades of policy. On Israel, Bill Clinton pushed for a land for peace deal with Israel and Palestine and did not give Israel carte blanche the way Bush has. It will take some very experienced foreign policy folks to get us back on track after the Bush-Cheney-Rice disaster.

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  34. rich says:

    JoeCHI:
    >>”You may suspect what you will regarding Shrum. I, however,”>>
    Does it not occur to you that Shrum was being less than honest? “Moving to the left” need not require moving towards the Dem base, & surely not going on the attack. Bad advice.
    >>”We hear daily from the mainstream media that her position is somehow hurting her campaign. Not only is this conventional wisdom undermined by every single available poll, but the fact remains that her lead is increasing over her opponents.”>”You may also suspect that my polls are wrong.”>”that there has been no credible refutation regarding the soundness of the science of said polls.”<<
    Never let a pollster tell you how “scientific” their polls are. People lie. Including pollsters. Polls are constantly manipulated. They’re used as a setup to shape public opinion–including teh popularity polls you genuflect to.
    Case in point: After 9-11, NewsReaders kept repeating “73% of American citizens said they’d give up some of their civil liberties for greater security.” Completely neglecting the legal & factual reality that NO one has the right or power to give up their liberties (under the law), and NO ONE is CAPABLE of giving up what are intrinsic rights “endowed by our Creator” to “ALL Men.” And that majorities aren’t often legally or morally correct.
    Polls are only as scientific as the goon picking which census tracts get called and how questions are loaded.

    Reply

  35. Carroll says:

    “but I think a bigger problem is that a large and very influential group of her biggest supporters continue to support the decision to go to war in Iraq, and continue to support aggressive confrontational policies in the Middle East, and she can’s afford to alienate them.
    Posted by Dan Kervick at February 16, 2007 07:36 PM
    >>>>>>>>>
    I entirely agree. Hillary “thinks” she is smart enough to finess Iraq and Iran with the public.
    She is a totally “for hire” “politican” in the worse sense of the word and her ambition will keep her in the neo pocket whether that is her ideology or not.

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  36. Pissed Off American says:

    Hmmmm, speaking about foreign policy….
    Reid and McConnell are apparently bipartisan in choosing whose interests they are willing to represent. And, whose checks they will cash in return.
    http://www.aipac.org/
    House Speaker Pelosi to Address AIPAC Conference!
    Other confirmed speakers include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Republican Leader John Boehner, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey and many, many others.

    Reply

  37. rich says:

    Dan Kervick: Yes, only one point was meant for you, the rest wasn’t well-said. I agree with much of your response; ‘cept Hil isn’t quite that close to the extreme neocons–just so close it doesn’t matter.
    Tomasky gives Hil an assist in helping differentiate her from neocon zealots. Thing is, “getting in” with FPE isn’t a matter of earning their approval, it’s a matter of how much she’ll cede to those she already agrees with.
    MP: Yes, voted for Bill C. twice and didn’t regret it. You’ll note his approval ratings shot up when he STOOD UP to Newt Gingrich’s bully tactics & attack rhetoric. The only question was, why didn’t Clinton do that all the time? Note also that Russ Feingold’s approval ratings (nationally) went from 22% to 52% in under a week.
    There’s a BIG difference between whimperingly saying you believe in things -> admit to what you’ve been accused–and standing up for what what you believe in, staunchly, asserting it’s a shared value, and going after the twisted demagogues forking over the Constitution, etc.
    MP: Compare how long Kucinich lasted in 2004 to Lieberman’s early exit. He went longer and performed better than acknowledged. It’s the voice, head, height, not what he’s sayin: imagine that acuity & message fused into Obama.

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  38. Pissed Off American says:

    Somebody, upthread, made the comment that “Hillary has nothing to apologize for”.
    Bullshit. She has a LOT to apologize for, including over 600,000 dead Iraqis, and every dead or maimed American serviceman….
    “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.”-Hillary Clinton.
    (I suggest we put her in the same cell we put Lindy England in.)

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  39. JoeCHI says:

    rich:
    You may suspect what you will regarding Shrum. I, however, refer to the public record where he does indeed advise Senator Clinton to move left. See Harball transcripts 2-13-07.
    You may also suspect that my polls are wrong. If I did have my own polls they most surely would be wrong. As such, I refer to the following polls which are, also, a matter of the public record: USA/Gallop National, American Research Group, Harris Interactive, Fox/Opinion Dynamics, Rasmussen, UNH Statewide, Quinnipiac NY, Zogby. In every poll, Senator Clinton leads.
    Again, you may suspect that they are ALL wrong, and that you are right. Perhaps. I merely refer to them to butress my original point that Senator Clinton’s lead has indeed increased despite her Iraq postion, and that there has been no credible refutation regarding the soundness of the science of said polls.

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  40. Dan Kervick says:

    MP,
    Who knows what HRC really thinks. Clinton is a power-seeking political animal. But if you read the text of speeches such as the one she gave at the street rally near the UN last July, in support of the Israeli incursion into Lebanon, it is pretty clear that she has entirely thrown in her lot with the hardest core of uncompromisingly pro-Israel politicians. Now maybe that’s just par for the course for a New York politician, and maybe her motives are entirely mercenary, but thatt’s where she is. As voters, we have to make our judgments about a politician’s likely future actions on the basis of that politician’s actual words and deeds, and based on what appear to be her closest allies and commitments. I don’t doubt she is also worried about the flip-flopper label, but I think a bigger problem is that a large and very influential group of her biggest supporters continue to support the decision to go to war in Iraq, and continue to support aggressive confrontational policies in the Middle East, and she can’s afford to alienate them.

    Reply

  41. MP says:

    Rich: “I’ve voted for EVERY losing Democratic Przntl nominee–no matter how much they displayed the ‘battered-wife’ syndrome. They lost because Americans across the board respect pols who stand up for what they believe in, rather than temper their principles. BUT I won’t vote for Hillary if she’s the nominee. NOT THIS TIME.”
    Except for, of course, Mr. Clinton who seemed to thread the needle quite well–and got elected for it. But perhaps, you could argue, that Bill won on pure political talent. I think that sells him short.
    I tend to think that it’s not just standing up for one’s principles that count. Surely, the Dakotan stood up for his principles. So did the Georgian. And as for telling the American people the truth, surely the Minnesotan did that when he promised to raise taxes. The other Minnesotan before him did that, too. Hey, and Dennis Kucinich is laying it on the line, too, isn’t he? Let’s see how much support he garners.
    Perhaps we ARE in a different time and place where people have finally seen the folly of “politics as usual.” I hope so. But I also doubt it.
    Dan: “She is more precisely very close to its extreme neoconservative wing.” She may hobnob with them, but it’s not the way she actually thinks. Not likely. She’s trying to thread the needle the way her husband did. Tomasky is wrong on this: She’s mostly afraid of the flip-flopper label.

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    Riche,
    I think you misunderstood me. I am not out to defend the FPE from critics of its miserable pre-war failures, its intellectual dishonesty, its slavery to special interests and its anti-democratic interventionist impulses. The people at Brookings, AEI, the Council of Foreign Relations, the Wilson School, the Heritage Foundation et al. lord over US foreign policy like a damn College of Cardinals. Their members move in and out of government, and make the policies of our successive governments mainly in panels and discussions among other members of their own set. While there are some significant differences among different portions of the community, they tend to flock together on major issues. There is little accountability, and the broader US public has pathetically little influence over the directions they take.
    Where Tomasky goes wrong is in his attempt to explain HRC’s failure to repudiate her Iraq War vote in terms of her membership in the FPE. The problem with that explanation is that it just doesn’t cut it. The reason it doesn’t cut it is that there are some members of the FPE who are now willing to say they were wrong about Iraq. And there are even some of them – Iraq war hawk Ken Pollack included – who are arguing vigorously against military confrontation with Iran.
    But not Hillary. Why not? I submit it is because Hillary not just a member of the generic FPE. She is more precisely very close to its extreme neoconservative wing. Thus she assciates with a particularly hard line segment of FPE thinking. I would submit that the only difference beteen Clinton, on the one hand, and Lieberman/McCain on the other, is that Clinton is trying to get the Democratic nomination, and thus has to do a certain amount of pandering to Democratic primary voters. This she is finding it very hard to do, since despite her feeble attempts at mollification, her views are in fact way more hawkish than those of most Democrats. If she were not running for President, she would probably be yammering away with her friends at AEI neocon lovefests.
    In a sense, Tomasky is giving Clinton a free pass. He is suggesting that the problem with Clinton is no different than the problems of any candidate who is part of the FPE, and who reflects their general attitudes. But Clinton’s deficiencies are of a more serious order altogether.

    Reply

  43. eatbees says:

    Note to “…”, you are asking a philosophical question. What is “the establishment”? Is it “people trying to masquerade as a machine”? Apparently so, and mafias function in the same way. If you’re in the good graces of a powerful mafia, you don’t have to say you’re sorry either. The FPE seems to be like that.
    To me, it looks like the entire FPE should be saying it’s sorry. As a note to our elected officials, maybe you should be listening to the voters who put you there instead of these unelected, self-appointed experts.
    (Sorry about that, Steve. You’re kind of a “self-appointed expert” yourself, but I see you more as a citizen who is trying to open this elitist world to the rest of us. We should be asking, though, why foreign policy isn’t subject to the same democratic supervision as tax policy or health care policy or environmental policy?)

    Reply

  44. CheckingIn says:

    Carroll: As you say the pro-AIPAC coalition in Congress (predominately within the Democratic party) is ratcheting up their power now they are in the majority. The hold on Palestinian Aid via Lowry looks to be the first step in flexing that power.
    As an aside, interesting that the Saudis (allies of WH?) reportedly put $1b into the Mecca agreement. Also, Palestinians said they received a letter after the unity agreement from an “american official” basically saying:
    “Palestinian ministers face blanket US ban”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2014380,00.html
    …and then Condi goes on record and denies all knowledge of this letter?
    Rice denies decision not to deal with unity government
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3366034,00.html
    Who is advocating our foreign policy?
    Something to watch: the Israeli conservative press openly revealed their plan of action after the elections:- That they were going to hit hard on their supporters in congress, the one’s they helped in their election campaigns, and in return they want them to support Israel’s position.
    “…The largest number of Jews ever to hold seats in the newly elected United States Congress was announced in a report released by the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) on Wednesday…”
    More Jews in Congress than ever before
    By ADINAH GREENE –Nov. 8, 2006 (The Jerusalem Post)
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1162378355581&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
    “…Democratic victories in the House of Representatives will shift control of that chamber next year, but major shifts in US policy on Middle East hot spots are less certain.
    Supporters of Israel are expected to lean heavily on the party’s incoming House Democratic leadership to vocally counterbalance any negative comments about Israel that might come from some within their caucus. Concerns have been raised in recent weeks about some senior liberal House Democrats, including some likely incoming committee chairmen, who are seen as problematic on support for Israel…”
    Are Democrats’ gains in House good for Israel?
    By MATTHEW E. BERGER — WASHINGTON — Nov. 8, 2006 (The Jerusalem Post)
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=1&cid=1162378355572&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Reply

  45. Steve Clemons says:

    Den — I looked at Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign website….and I look for a section on Senator Clinton and foreign policy. This picture was there — along with some others, but this was the best. I took it because I thought it was poignant — but also revealed that none of the choices we have to make in the future are going to be easy. But this is a picture that her people seem to be proud of — so that was cool with me.
    best, Steve

    Reply

  46. CheckingIn says:

    Carroll: As you say the pro-AIPAC coalition in Congress (predominately within the Democratic party) is ratcheting up their power now they are in the majority. The hold on Palestinian Aid via Lowry looks to be the first step in flexing their power.
    As an aside, interesting that the Saudis (allies of WH?) reportedly put $1b into the Mecca agreement. Also, Palestinians said they received a letter from an “american official” after the unity agreement basically saying:
    “Palestinian ministers face blanket US ban”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2014380,00.html
    …and then Condi goes on record and denies all knowledge of this letter?
    Rice denies decision not to deal with unity government
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3366034,00.html
    Who is advocating our foreign policy?
    Something to watch: the Israeli conservative press openly revealed their plan of action after the elections:- They were going to hit hard on their supporters in congress, the one’s they helped in their election campaigns, and in return they want them to support Israel’s position.
    “…The largest number of Jews ever to hold seats in the newly elected United States Congress was announced in a report released by the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) on Wednesday…”
    More Jews in Congress than ever before
    By ADINAH GREENE –Nov. 8, 2006 (The Jerusalem Post)
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1162378355581&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
    “…Democratic victories in the House of Representatives will shift control of that chamber next year, but major shifts in US policy on Middle East hot spots are less certain.
    Supporters of Israel are expected to lean heavily on the party’s incoming House Democratic leadership to vocally counterbalance any negative comments about Israel that might come from some within their caucus. Concerns have been raised in recent weeks about some senior liberal House Democrats, including some likely incoming committee chairmen, who are seen as problematic on support for Israel…”
    Are Democrats’ gains in House good for Israel?
    By MATTHEW E. BERGER — WASHINGTON — Nov. 8, 2006 (The Jerusalem Post)
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=1&cid=1162378355572&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Reply

  47. ... says:

    i see steve still hasn’t commented on den valdrons question….. i too would like to know.
    >>staying in the FPE’s good graces means never having to say you’re sorry.<<
    clearly whoever this group is, they need to be put to rest if that is the case… if they were a machine i could understand it, but they are supposed to be people right?? or are they people trying to masquerade as a machine??

    Reply

  48. rich says:

    JoeCHI–
    I strongly suspect Bob Shrum (& his ilk) would pressure Hillary to move to the right. He means nothing to this debate; he likely agrees with Hillary. He’s lost campaigns (Dukakis, Gore, Kerry) because they would NOT fight hard ENOUGH for core values held by the base. The skeery liberal base hews to a conservative view of the American Constitution, and have much common ground with conservative ‘values voters.’ Gore only gained ground when he championed those values strongly. Had Gore stood up for the 2nd Amendment–he’d’ve won Tennessee and West Virginia–and the Presidency.
    I’ve voted for EVERY losing Democratic Przntl nominee–no matter how much they displayed the ‘battered-wife’ syndrome. They lost because Americans across the board respect pols who stand up for what they believe in, rather than temper their principles. BUT I won’t vote for Hillary if she’s the nominee. NOT THIS TIME.
    It shouldn’t be so damn hard to stand up for the Constitution, and against lies.
    When you say Hillary has nothing to apologize for, you are dead wrong. It’s like you didn’t read the other posts on this thread. Or the newspapers. Or the Constitution. Had Hillary DONE HER JOB as a Senator, she’d be a viable candidate. But she didn’t. She’s a lawyer–she knows how to read newspaper and the Constitution–yet she didn’t do her job.
    She’s a lightning rod for the venom of the right-wing. She has no record of accomplishments. She’s unelectable. And on top of that, she preferred to play the game–completely alienating her supposed base: the (hardly)extreme liberals.
    Your polls are wrong. The DLC will deliver another losing nominee, afraid to stand for anything- let along the Constitution, afraid to offend, and afraid to fight.

    Reply

  49. JoeCHI says:

    I am a lifelong democrat who was anti-Iraq war from the start. Still, I don’t believe that Senator Clinton owes anybody an apology. Further, I don’t think that she should apologize.
    We hear daily from the mainstream media that her position is somehow hurting her campaign. Not only is this conventional wisdom undermined by every single available poll, but the fact remains that her lead is increasing over her opponents.
    Bob Shrum, and other democratic strategists readily opine as to how much trouble Senator Clinton’s campaign is in. Considering her numbers, and Mr. Shrum’s renown for being behind every losing Democratic presidential campaign since the early eighties, I, and the plurality of voting democrats, beg to differ.
    Senator Clinton clearly knows what she’s doing. And, because of that, she has my vote!

    Reply

  50. rich says:

    MP:
    >>”I don’t know myself–but I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen during Viet Nam or in ANY conflict since.
    Moreover, is it the case that US troops can ONLY be legally committed if and when war is formally declared? That’s a question, not a statement.”<<
    That it once happened does NOT mean it had a legal basis or was Constitutionally valid, THEN. A bad precedent is in no way binding, nor does it open an ‘anything goes’ arena.
    There is nothing in the facts you cite that argues AGAINST the necessity of having a formal Congressional Declaration of War in this case.
    In fact, those that deploy those points are actually arguing that a Congressional Declaration of War should NEVER be used. Their argument insists that Section 8 of the Constitution is wholly invalid.
    Look, nothing about a Congressional Declaration infringes on the Exec’s Power to DEFEND against attack, nor to maneuver US forces wisely in the field. Nothing.
    But the very basis of this country rests on the hard-won recognition that a single ruler can NEVER have the option to unilaterally take the country to war, based on nothing but his own arbitrary whim. Mad King George (George III, not George V (i.e., W. Bush)) couldn’t be trusted. It takes sound counsel from the people’s Reps, and many voices, to separate bloody nationalism & high-handed sophistry from a politically-sound just cause.
    Vietnam’s ONLY real lesson is that the Constitution matters–that our soldiers will be put in the already untenable position of fighting against a people rather than an army, of fighting an unjust war, UNLESS Congress GENUINELY exercises the Power to CHOOSE war. See the Toledo Blade’s Pulitzer-Prize winning series on what the elite Tiger Force unit was forced to do in Vietnam.
    Vietnam’s debacle proved a) that overwhelming military power can’t defeat a determined foe fighting a politically sound cause (for their own country); b) the Best & the Brightest cannot substitute for a just cause; and c) Congress is obligated to live up to the Constitution it swore to uphold. Because if it doesn’t, the US Exec / military will harrass countries–like it did to N.Vietnam–and INVENT pretexts such as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which never happened.
    Re your second question: of course not. The Prznt can REPEL an attack. He can maneuver forces in the field. He can intervene in dire situations. But 9/11 proved that sudden emergencies aren’t special enough to demand special Przntl action that precludes Congressional consultation. If Bush couldn’t act quickly enough then, what emergency is SO sudden that it requires him to act TOO quickly to involve Congress in the future?
    But there’s an immense domain of action, currently an untouchable topic by cowards in DC, that clearly occupies–by any measure–illegal-unConstitutional terrain. Death squads & other forces intended to provoke via sabotage or murder ARE essentially Acts of War. They either cause us to be attacked, or are used as pretexts so that WE can attack, AND are Acts of War in and of themselves, by definition. Such actions constitute the second-greatest failure of the American nation, after the illegal capitulation by Congress of its Constitutionally mandated Power to Declare War (Iraq (& Vietnam). (And yes, for the lawyers out there, I’m aware of the justifications used to fraudulently evade this requirement.)

    Reply

  51. Winnipeger says:

    Carroll:
    what do you think about our country’s foreign policy with russia and china?
    we all know what you think about our ME policy.

    Reply

  52. Carroll says:

    Posted by John at February 16, 2007 02:51 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Haw!…Ditto.

    Reply

  53. Carroll says:

    Since my call to Miz Lowey’s office was met with “stunned” silence and I doubt seriously her aide will relay my message exactly as I said it we can always go above her head to the:
    House Subcommittee on State Foreign Opeartions and Related Programs
    Contact Information
    Majority (Democrats) Minority (Republicans)
    Committee Office: The Capitol H-218 Longworth House Office Building 1016
    Committee Phone: 202-225-2771 202-225-2041
    Committee FAX: 202-225-9476 202-226-7922
    Committee Email: Not Currently Available (Entire Committee)
    Committee WWW Homepage: http://appropriations.house.gov/Subcommittees/sub_sfo.shtml (Entire Committee)
    Parent Committee: House Committee on Appropriations
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I will fax my post here to the committee with the heading…ANOTHER REASON I WON’T BE VOTING FOR THE ISRAELI DEMOCRATS IN THE NEXT ELECTION.

    Reply

  54. MP says:

    Rich writes: “Further,
    It’s plain that a ‘resolution’ (i.e., an IRResoution) is nothing more than a capitulation of Congress’s sworn oath to uphold the Constitution–and exercise their mandated obligation to examine the cause for war, and Declare War. (NO, sophistry doesn’t relieve them of that charge.) If you don’t need a formal Congressional Declaration for a pre-emptive, unprovoked, offensive war in which the ‘evidence’ is highly suspect at best–then when will America live up to the basis for its self-assigned ‘exceptionalism’? It was good enough for FDR.
    So, third question:
    4. Can a Senator who so poorly understands and/or exercises their Constitutional Powers–which they swore to uphold–really be fit to exercise the greater Powers of the Executive?”
    My question is…when was the last time Congress insisted on its Constitutionally mandated powers over declaring war? That is, when was the last time US troops were committed to military action based on a declaration of war?
    I don’t know myself–but I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen during Viet Nam or in ANY conflict since.
    Moreover, is it the case that US troops can ONLY be legally committed if and when war is formally declared? That’s a question, not a statement.
    On another point…I completely agree with you on the spectacle of these recycled experts. I couldn’t believe it when Diane Rehm, a thoughtful person, had on Ken “Cake Walk” Adelman on her show some months back. Didn’t his status as someone with expertise get impeached in the aftermath of the war?
    But look, there ARE second acts in America. Not only second acts, but third, fourth, and fifth ones. Look at Ollie North. Look at all those “plumbers” with radio shows? Colson is walking around like a real Christian saint. In America, these folks get rehabilitated FAST. Chris Matthews always throws a few good-natured Watergate jibes at “Bride of Nixon” Buchanan, but he’s always on the show. And sometimes, these old jailbirds are right, as Den pointed out about dear old Pat a few threads back.
    I like and endorse what Carroll has to say about political appointees vs. career bureaucrats. But, of course, sometimes, the entrenched bureaucracy can be as abdurant as…
    Calling Hillary a neocon is silly. She isn’t. She’s a politician. She also doesn’t look too happy standing next to Sharon, I must say. Back when she cast that vote, a HUGE majority of Americans supported the Iraq war (unfortunately). Call them deluded (they were). Call them lied to (they were). But that’s the political reality she was responding to then.
    Kucinich apparently told Kerry in 2004 that if he, Kerry, came out against the war, he’d win the election. No one can know for sure, of course, but I’m pretty sure Kucinich was wrong about this.

    Reply

  55. Carroll says:

    And furthermore this just pisses the hell out of me.
    NO ONE, not any non biased foreign policy expert or ordinary observer can deny that the US congress has done everything they can to impede any chance of forming any kind of Palestine goverment and ending this mess.
    NOR can they deny that letting this Isr-Pal conflict fester is not harming the US.
    This is pure corrupt, putrid AIPAC/Israeli influence on display in congress.
    Every step the Palestines take is immediately shot down. I don’t care what it is, have an election, Isrmerica doesn’t like the outcome, form a unity goverment, no that isn’t acceptable either..this is absolute evidence of the absolute corruption of our congress and I for one am sick of it. I shall be calling this Israeli bitch’s office the moment after I hit this post button.
    She and every one like her in this goverment that keep damaging our country for their own personal political interest and higher loyalty to a foreign country have to go. It’s high time they got called what they are and I have no problem in doing that. If anyone else wants to have their say here is her contact info.
    Phone: (202) 225-6506
    Fax: (202) 225-0546
    Time to show this scum there are more Americans in this country than there are AIPAC’er. Until they get that message or are run out of office this Isr-Pal US financed crapola will continue on indefinitely.
    Congress mood shifts against Abbas
    There is growing sentiment in Congress against allowing $86 million in funding for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, sources said.
    “There is a growing mood that the package shouldn’t move,” a senior staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives told JTA.
    “Now it’s not clear what he represents.”
    U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wants the money to bolster Abbas’ relatively moderate Fatah Party against the terrorist group Hamas, but sentiment has shifted in recent days as Fatah and Hamas have come together to establish a national unity government.
    At least one Jewish group, the Israel Policy Forum, expressed dismay about the hold, placed by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee.
    IPF President Seymour Reich told JTA the hold sent the wrong message ahead of Rice’s Feb. 19 summit with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
    Abbas might announce a compromise that could make him vulnerable to Hamas, Reich suggested.
    “We think Abbas should be strengthened,” he said.
    “It’s quite possible that something could come out of that meeting that would reflect the need for the aid for Abbas.”

    Reply

  56. John says:

    Carroll–
    To recruit for cabinet offices in general and the FPE in particular, why don’t we just randomly select people from the population at large? Of course, we’d want to screen out psychopaths and sociopaths, which by itself would greatly enhance the caliber of public service. Plus those selected would not be burdened with hidden agendas and consequently see no need to create false pretenses. Unbeholden and unencumbered, they might actually implement real solutions to real problems. Terrifying thought, isn’t it?

    Reply

  57. rich says:

    Dan Kervick–
    SUUUURE–many in the FPE called it a mistake. So What? Where THE HELL were they in the run-up to war?
    EVERYBODY who had eyes n ears knew Bush wanted war.
    And anyone who could read a newspaper knew the ‘evidence’ — aluminum tubes, yellowcake, links to al Quaeda– had all been widely discredit and/or disproven.
    WHERE WERE THESE SO-CALLED EXPERTS THEN? These experts did not raise their voices. Some came forward (Kwiatkowski, Theilmann, Houghton Woods)–but few made a real stink. Their colleagues kept their mouths shut–even though they likely knew too.
    So I say Tomasky’s point stands.
    The FPE’s wholly irresponsible members are like the undead: they STILL are presented AS EXPERTS on the Newshour & like programs. Yet they’re just as naive and ineffectual and foolish the second time around.
    WE EVEN HAVE Don Kagan presented to us as some sort of ‘expert,’ even though he’s got nothing at all of substance to offer. THAT, my friend, SAYS IT ALL.

    Reply

  58. Winnipeger says:

    again, carroll, american foreign policy encompasses SO MUCH MORE than middle east policy alone!
    when is the last time anyone of us mentioned, chavez, putin, singh, etc.
    are you saying that this country’s policies towards the countries which these men lead, as well as others, are unimportant and unworthy of vigorous debate?? further, are you saying that AIPAC plays a big part in shaping these as well as many other foreign policies.
    does the ME deserve our attention and does our policy there warrant vigorous debate? certainly. but, we ignore the rest of the world at our peril

    Reply

  59. rich says:

    Tomasky is right on. This is what’s been missing from ANY discussion of Hillary’s refusal to call it a mistake–and I’ve been waiting to see who raises the issue (& how she responds).
    However, Tomasky DOES MISS THREE closely related REALITIES.
    1. Hillary Clinton may BE part of the “Foreign Policy Establishment”; and may be perfectly willing to draw Cabinet members and advisors from its ranks–because that’s what she wants.
    Many Democrats strongly believe that–and will insist on hearing an explicit rejection of that stance before they’ll vote for Hillary.
    2. The FPE includes the news media in general. Take Jim Lehrer’s Newshour: despite the utterly discredited judgment of the war cheerleaders, they’re STILL inviting guests from the AEI. And not lifting a finger to expand the range of views. Hillary has to persuade Lehrer, Gigot, Hiatt, Keller, & Cokie.
    3. The issue of Hillary’s pro-Iraq war vote is poorly understood. The question is NOT ‘did she make a mistake.’
    Rather, it’s “Why was she fooled?” Anyone with eyes and ears OR who read a newspaper knew: a) Bush wanted to go to war; b) the ‘evidence’ had been discredited and disproven.
    The upshot is this:
    1. Can someone so easily fooled be a functional President?
    2. Can someone who isn’t fooled, but votes for the resolution anyway, ever be responsible enough to handle the office of the Presidency?
    My take: No and no.
    Further,
    It’s plain that a ‘resolution’ (i.e., an IRResoution) is nothing more than a capitulation of Congress’s sworn oath to uphold the Constitution–and exercise their mandated obligation to examine the cause for war, and Declare War. (NO, sophistry doesn’t relieve them of that charge.) If you don’t need a formal Congressional Declaration for a pre-emptive, unprovoked, offensive war in which the ‘evidence’ is highly suspect at best–then when will America live up to the basis for its self-assigned ‘exceptionalism’? It was good enough for FDR.
    So, third question:
    4. Can a Senator who so poorly understands and/or exercises their Constitutional Powers–which they swore to uphold–really be fit to exercise the greater Powers of the Executive?
    Again, plainly, No.
    So, yes, Tomasky’s right–as far as he goes. The game doesn’t play out along a left/right axis–but rather along an INSIDER/OUTSIDER AXIS (homonymically punning with ‘ACCESS’).
    I gather Steve knows this, else he’d invite Russ Feingold to share his literally CONSERVATIVE views on preserving our traditions, governance structures, and conserving the Constitution as a relevant and applicable document as the three branches make, enforce, and interpret the laws.

    Reply

  60. Carroll says:

    Let me add a word about the FPE also.
    WHY DO WE NEED A STATE DEPARTMENT AND THE HUNDREDS OF GOVERMENT PAID CAREER PROFESSIONALS IN IT IF WE HAVE THE FPE?
    And a word about Think Tanks.
    WHY DO WE NEED THE DEPT OF COMMERCE, THE DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION, THE FDA, THE FAA, THE HEALTH AND HUMAN RESOURCES, THE BANKING COMMISSION, THE SECURITY EXCHANGE COMMISSION, THE FOREIGN TRADE OFFICE, ETC,ETC,ETC.
    Since congress and the WH rely on them instead of the taxpayer financied agencies whose job it is to report to and get the facts to congress.
    And furthermore I am for taking away the presidential privilage of appointing new heads to goverment agencies with every election. They should be agency heads who are hired and approved by congress as pure career GOVERMENT EMPLOYEES and they should stay there and be removable by congress for incompetence or corruption.

    Reply

  61. Passing by says:

    See also:
    “Letters: Walt and Mearsheimer Respond,” LRB, Vol. 28, No. 9, 11 May 2006.
    [ http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n09/letters.html ]

    Reply

  62. Passing by says:

    Old Hillary v. New Hillary a.k.a. quid pro quo Hil, also Hostage Hillary, Walt and Measheimer, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” Middle East Policy 13.3 (September 2006): 29-87.:
    Other U.S. politicians who have felt AIPAC’s wrath include [former Senator
    Charles Percy (D-Il)], former representatives Paul Findley (R-IL), Pete McCloskey (R-CA), Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), and James Moran (DVA), just to name a few. One could also include Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), whose support for Palestinian statehood and public embrace of Suha Arafat (wife of Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat) provoked strong criticism from groups in the lobby. Not surprisingly, Clinton became an ardent defender of Israel once she began running for office herself. AIPAC prizes its reputation as a formidable adversary, of course, because this discourages anyone from questioning its agenda.

    Reply

  63. Carroll says:

    …and all of this begs the question: why lead this post about the AFPE with a picture of hillary standing next to ariel sharon?!?!
    steve??
    Posted by winnipeger at February 16, 2007 01:01 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    So what would have been more appropiate to symbolize Hillary’s foreign policy position while she hawks the exact same line on the ME as AIPAC, Israel and the neos do…?
    …a picture of her kissing Queen Noor?

    Reply

  64. Marcia says:

    Clinton wants to win and will do nothing to endanger filling her war chest that is already overflowing. If she gets past the primairies, while hiding her position on the ME it looks as though the strategy will be to purchase the votes.
    Enough of dynasties. No more Bushes or Clintons.

    Reply

  65. selise says:

    “There is a big gap showing between elite and popular discourse on foreign policy. The “FPE” is not used to the people caring much about foreign policy. They don’t have channels in place to communicate with the public.”
    Ben Rosengart –
    well, what you say is true for me. 9-12-01 was a big wake up call for me. i hadn’t really given much thought to our foreign policy before then… i but could see it was screwed up by the reaction to 9/11 (primarily the bloodlust and bigotry – even here is MA). so, at 41 i decided i need to take a crash course… spent more money on books than i had during my undergrad days… even went to israel and occupied westbank. now i’m ashamed that it took me so long to pay attention…. but, i don’t think i’m the only one who’s had a wake up call during the last few years. and the availability of audio/video postings of foreign policy conferences and forums has been a great help (also many universities are posting public seminars and sometimes even classes on-line. it’s never been so easy for the non-FPE to get info… nor, perhaps so critical to do so.

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  66. marky says:

    ExBrit, Your comment raises a question about how Clinton’s remarks parse. I know that she has said that had she known today what she knows now, she would not have voted for the AUMF. However, as we both know, she has been a strong supporter of the war—or at least she was one til quite recently. So.. has Senator Clinton made the stronger statement that we should not have invaded Iraq at all, or is she hedging?

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  67. ExBrit says:

    I don’t think I can add anything to Carroll’s measured post other than to say I agree with it completely. It encapsulates precisely the uneasy feelings I have about a Hillary candidacy. I think she is a neocon, or at least, has strong tendencies in that direction. Nothing she has said so far dissuades me. She won’t apologize for her vote because the only criticism she has is HOW the Iraq war has been waged, not the war itself.

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  68. pt says:

    The article is a bit unfair given that Hillary doesn’t need the good graces of the FPE, she is aligned with them because she agrees with them. Also, in any case, the FPE is also advising the Obama campaign. Edwards probably not so much. By the way, before you all dump all over the FPE, wasn’t one of the main complaints against the Bush administration that it ignored them. What do you now want a Dem to make the same mistake

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  69. Zathras says:

    To MP’s post upthread I’d respond that Sen. Clinton certainly knows her mind with respect to anything related to campaigning and fundraising, her specialties, as well as to some domestic policy issues. Much the same could have been said, and said truthfully, of George Bush in 2000.
    Those who make the the assumption that demonstrated passion and interest in the mechanics of campaign politics implies deep thought and sound judgment in foreign and national security affairs were wrong about Bush and they are wrong about Clinton. For good measure they were wrong about Clinton’s husband as well, which is relevant at least because Sen. Clinton’s main argument for why she deserves to be President is that she is Bill Clinton’s wife.
    The “foreign policy establishment” Steve speaks of will inevitably have the greatest potential influence over a new President who has not thought independently about foreign policy him or herself. There’s no evidence Sen. Clinton ever has.

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  70. winnipeger says:

    carroll,
    of course AIPAC’s views weigh heavily on the detrminations of the AFPE, but certainly they don’t speak to the overwhelming policy development of the AFPE. the world is immense and the middle east is only one region among many. AIPAC isn’t greatly influencing policy development in asia, south asia, south america, latin america, africa or the FSU.
    …and all of this begs the question: why lead this post about the AFPE with a picture of hillary standing next to ariel sharon?!?!
    steve??

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  71. JohnH says:

    I’m afraid we’re overthinking Clinton’s motivations. Simply put, she spent the last six years representing the nation’s largest constituency of Zionist zealots. When she takes office, she will need to prove that she has balls. Most presidents feel a need to demonstrate their testosterone, and the pressure would be particularly intense on the first female president.
    What else do you need to know about her future foreign policy inclinations?

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  72. marky says:

    Carroll,
    I’m sure that Hillary was referring to the recent Iranian statement that they would retaliate against any US invasion by attacks against US assets worldwide. How dare those ARABS dispute our age-old right to the “mineral rights” of Kuzestan!!!

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  73. Carroll says:

    The rationale for posting a picture of Hillary and Sharon you ask?….well get real, the AIPAC slant of our presidential candidates is an issue in our ME problems and policy. Therefore it is appropiate to point out Hillary’s very obvious championing of the AIPAC position on Iran and Israel. I guess he could have quoted from the worrisom speeches she has made about Iran to AIPAC and jewish organizations but used the picture as a symbol of the US-Isr-Iran issue instead.
    I heard Hillary speaking yesterday and was blown away at a point blank lie she told….”that Iran has threatened to attack to the United States”…which she said right after she said the usual Iran wants to wipe out Israel. Now correct me if I am wrong but in daily reading of many sources I have never seen where Iran, the goverment, has threatened to attack the US proper.
    This sort of thing is the same fear mongering we have had from the neos for the past 5 years.
    Not to be indelicate but Hillary is a big disappointment, she has become a whore with a capital W ….and the price for her services is the desk in the Oval office.
    There is no difference in her domestic platforms and those of Obama and Edwards and other dems so the only difference we are talking about in the dem campaigns is her overly hawkish stand on Iran and Israel.
    And I may be all wrong, but as a moderate, sorta liberal, half dem and mainly independent type voter I think she has already lost the left and will scare off the twice burned majority as they realize she is more and more like what they just voted against in 2006.

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  74. marky says:

    I have to admit that I’m not a regular guest at FPE meetings, nor do I know the identity of more than a handful of the members of this shadowy group. Still, I’d like to offer an alternative, Marxist explanation.
    Let me preface by asking what are the business connections of the FPE members? My impression is that they are pro-market in the extreme. For instance, I suspect that most of them favor without question opening up Iraq’s oil industry to foreign investment.
    I wonder how many of them agreed with Bremer that instituting a flat tax in Iraq was a significant milestone. I don’t know, but I’m sure some readers here will have some answers.
    Actually I’m not a Marxist, nor have I read Marx, but it seems to me that the idea that a major motivation for invading Iraq was to open up new markets is not without merit, given the course of events after the invasion. So I ask, what are the business connections and interests of the conservative FPE? May I expect that the typical FPE member exhibits the transparency and lack of conflict of interst of a James Woolsey or Richard Perle?

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  75. MP says:

    Ben writes: “What the FPE needs to realize is that the people will be looking for simple answers until and unless the FPE demonstrates that it has cleaned house. Accepting complex answers requires a certain amount of trust, but the Iraq war has depleted our trust in the foreign policy community. Let’s see some war supporters replaced by war opposers in the think tanks, in the Presidential candidates’ inner circles, and on TV, and let’s see the Congress follow through on their promise to constrain Pres. Bush’s war-making abilities.”
    Very perceptive. My fear is that the simple answers will be as wrong as the complicated ones. In an important sense, the invasion of Iraq was a “simple” answer…or a simple-minded answer…that spawned many complicated consequences.

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  76. MP says:

    Zathras…”We have seen recently fairly dramatic evidence of what can happen when a new President content to rely on others to make American foreign policy finds himself in a situation of stress and complexity. Personally I’d prefer that we did not choose another such President, Democrat or Republican. That’s a bar Sen. Clinton does not clear.”
    Not entirely sure of your meaning here. Hillary certainly knows her own mind on most things, so I think it’s unlikely that she will be “content to rely on others” on ANY issue, let alone foreign policy. But maybe I mistake your feeling.
    Den…my thoughts precisely. I really had to stare at the picture a while to believe what I was seeing.

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  77. Winnipeger says:

    i share den’s curiosity, steve?
    what gives???
    do you believe that the american foreign policy establishment is synonomous with sharon or the right-wing israeli, political leadership?
    what was your rationale for choosing this picture to lead this post??

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  78. Ben Rosengart says:

    There is a big gap showing between elite and popular discourse on foreign policy. The “FPE” is not used to the people caring much about foreign policy. They don’t have channels in place to communicate with the public.
    But the nation’s attention is on foreign policy now. We want to know what went wrong, and how to get back on track. We’re willing to listen to the FPE, but there’s a sense that these people got us into the current mess. It’s not entirely fair — some worked hard to keep us out — but there is some truth to it.
    Inside the Beltway, there doesn’t seem to be any personal consequence attached to getting these big questions wrong. Sometimes it seems that the wronger you are, the better your chances of getting invited to appear on TV.
    What the FPE needs to realize is that the people will be looking for simple answers until and unless the FPE demonstrates that it has cleaned house. Accepting complex answers requires a certain amount of trust, but the Iraq war has depleted our trust in the foreign policy community. Let’s see some war supporters replaced by war opposers in the think tanks, in the Presidential candidates’ inner circles, and on TV, and let’s see the Congress follow through on their promise to constrain Pres. Bush’s war-making abilities. Then, I think, space will open up for the Dem candidates to make the martial noises they need to make, without drawing the ire of the left. I think they’d be wise to try to make that happen. The left here is more in tune with the public mood than the so-called center.
    Just my two cents.

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  79. Den Valdron says:

    Give the recent and furious arguments about the density and depth of Israeli influence over American foreign policy.
    I HAVE TO WONDER WHY STEVE CHOSE TO ACCOMPANY A BLOG POST ARGUING THAT HILLARY IS A BEHOLDEN TO AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY ESTABLISHMENT WITH A PHOTOGRAPH OF HILARY STANDING BY SOME KINDLY OLD JEWISH GENTLEMAN IN FRONT OF A GREAT BIG ISRAELI FLAG.
    What’s up with that, Steve? Seriously.
    Was this just a freudian slip? Some tacit subliminal message that the American Foreign Policy Establishment is controlled/influenced by the Israeli lobby?
    One thing I will discount is coincidence. There is no possibility of coincidence on a blog where these issues have provoked such long threads of angry and violent argument.
    Sometimes, Freud wrote, a cigar is just a cigar. But somehow, I don’t think that’s the case this time.
    Barring coincidence, its either a conscious signal or an unconscious acknowledgement. I’d ask ‘which is it,’ but this is the sort of question that people won’t answer.
    Still, if it is conscious, then it says something interesting that this is an issue so charged that Steve can articulate his concern only through second or third order communication, juxtaposing dissonant or subversive images with more neutral text.
    Ah well. As entertaining or disheartening as the fireworks will be, I won’t be around for them. See you all next week.

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  80. Zathras says:

    The comment upthread about Sen. Clinton herself is apt. Typical of politically prominent Democrats, Sen. Clinton has devoted most of her time — the time not spent on campaign politics and fundraising, that is — on domestic issues. This is a function of the organized interest groups that dominate Democratic Party politics, all of which (with two exceptions) have policy agendas that are exclusively domestic in nature (the exceptions are partisans of Israel, and labor and entertainment industry groups interested in trade. Uncomfortably for Sen. Clinton and other Democrats the last two disagree with one another). In Sen. Clinton’s case, personal inclination probably contributes to her preference for domestic policy issues as well.
    It’s not wrong to talk about a “foreign policy community,” since members of that community will inevitably fill many important posts in any administration. We’d make a serious mistake, though, if we overlooked the importance of the thought Presidential candidates themselves have (or have not) given to foreign policy and national security affairs. In the American system, a President who knows his own mind can overwhelm bureaucratic opposition and make his own foreign and national security policies; one who doesn’t will be driven by events, and to some extent by his own appointees.
    We have seen recently fairly dramatic evidence of what can happen when a new President content to rely on others to make American foreign policy finds himself in a situation of stress and complexity. Personally I’d prefer that we did not choose another such President, Democrat or Republican. That’s a bar Sen. Clinton does not clear.

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  81. Frank says:

    Hillary deserves kudos for raising her misguided Iraq war powers vote, to the level deserving of MSM attention. It is about time.
    It was always a “badge of courage” symbol to have voted no, and if 26 democratic senators could do it, why not the “darling” of the money people.

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  82. Dan Kervick says:

    Tomasky’s analysis misses the mark. While it is true that the foreign policy establishment centered in Washington and New York has more interventionist tendencies than the US population as a whole, there are in fact many people who are part of that foreign policy establishment who have called the Iraq war a mistake – a mistake in conception, not just execution – and several who have forthrightly reversed their earlier support for the war.
    The fact is that Hillary is not just some generic member of the “foreign policy establishment”. She is extremely close to the neoconservative wing of that foreign policy establishment. On the issues centered on Middle East foreign policy, and the overall interpretation of events in the region, there is simply no difference of substance between Clinton and neoconservatives. Their political approaches differ only on the score of the intended political audiences. Since Clinton’s target audience is Democrats, she is required to frame her political positions with a greater degree of tactical finesse than Republican neoconservatives who aim their words at a friendlier and more enthusiastically hawkish audience. But at bottom, she is with them.
    Clinton spoke about Iran at a recent AIPAC conference, and then again on the floor of the Senate this week. In both cases, she called for talks with Iran. But in each case she indicated that the purpose of talks was essentially to probe the Iranians for weaknesses, and establish political cover for future military action. In the words of the Senate speech, we should talk to Iran to acquire “information and leverage to hold over Iran”, and to “make clear to the rest of the world that we have exhausted all alternatives”. Neither speech offered anything that could be interpreted as even so much as a coded hint that the US should talk with Iran with an eye toward a negotiated diplomatic solution to whatever issues the US has with Tehran. Hillary has sent very clear signals that she supports military action against Iran, and only wishes now to dot the appropriate diplomatic i’s and cross the diplomatic t’s.
    Hillary decided in 2000 that the path to power was to move to New York, become its senator and make herself into AIPAC’s best girl. As long as the Middle East intervention program was on track, that might have looked like good politics, but now it’s an increasing burden for her. She must lie in the bed she made.

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  83. profmarcus says:

    more reason, as if i needed any, why i will never support hillary for the democratic presidential nomination, and why i would have a very difficult time voting for her if she indeed wins it…
    http://takeitpersonally.blogspot.com/

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  84. muddy paws says:

    Excellent piece.
    Small speculation: Clinton’s policy focus is domestic. So she’d pick people whose careers hinge on being brought in to State or the NSC. These are people who didnt go to academia. They’re just sitting out there, waiting.

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  85. Pissed Off American says:

    Upon rereading Hillary’s public statements in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, it becomes painfully obvious that she harped the same exact KNOWN deceptions that the Bush Administration did. And the excuse that she was shown bad intelligence simply does not cut the mustard. There were many lay people, as well as government insiders, and international leaders, that knew the intelligence was bogus, and said as much. The simple truth is that she lied as brazenly and as traitorously as the monkey boy and his minions did. And since launching that deception, she has doneb ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to hold the Bush Administration accountable for the lies and the constitutional abuses. She is NOT part of the solution. In fact, she EPITOMIZES the political opportunism and deceit that is the PROBLEM.

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  86. selise says:

    steve –
    your post (and the tomasky quote) bring up what, i think, is my greatest concern going forward – that, in general, our FPE has utterly failed us (the american people) and apparently refuses to accept that and try to learn what went wrong so that past errors are not repeated. in fact, they (collectively) continue to lie to us (and possibly themselves). in these days of internet communication the veil is getting moved aside…. more and more each day.
    senator clinton is just an symptom of the problem.
    thanks for the illumination – and the attempt at a corrective.
    p.s. looking forward to listening to the iran conference. hope the audio will be posted soon.

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