This time over the Falkland Islands. Daniel Larison at AmCon Magazine’s Eunomia blog writes:
One thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that Hillary Clinton should not speak on contentious issues, as she seems to have no knack for handling them without creating a larger problem than the one she found. We saw this with her clumsy handling of administration policy on Israeli settlements. Granted, she had to balance a half-hearted policy the administration never really believed in with the need not to offend her Israeli hosts, but that’s why it is important to have a Secretary of State capable of striking the right balance. We don’t have one.
We saw another mistake in her handling of Honduras’ provisional government and the desperate, failed bid to restore Zelaya, and we saw it yet again in her ridiculous threat that China would face “diplomatic isolation” if it did not get on board with Iran sanctions. One or two blunders might be overlooked and forgiven, but we are seeing a pattern of mistakes, the latest of which is this Falklands gaffe. Instead of simply remaining non-commital and restating U.S. neutrality, which is a perfectly legitimate and defensible position to take, Clinton felt the need to say this:
We would like to see Argentina and the United Kingdom sit down and resolve the issues between them across the table in a peaceful, productive way.
This might be a way to settle the dispute, but if it is none of our business whose islands they are it is also none of our business how they handle their dispute over the islands. Non-interference and neutrality mean that the U.S. does not involve itself in the issue. Unless both parties specifically asked for U.S. mediation, we should say nothing. Some people in Britain were already angry about U.S. neutrality, and that’s their prerogative, but until now the administration could defend its position and point out that U.S. neutrality works in favor of the status quo power. Once Clinton starts urging both parties to negotiate over something one party regards as non-negotiable, that defense is no longer credible. At that point Washington has begun to align itself with Argentinian objectives and against British claims.
Argentine “leaders” and the Argentine media view this to be a “diplomatic coup” for their country.
Nile Gardiner, who calls Clinton’s remarks a “slap in the face” to the UK, has the relevant part of the transcript of her comments, which were made during a press conference in Buenos Aires alongside Argentine President Kristina Kirchner. Neptunus Lex blasts the shift in US position on this issue as well.
UK PM Gordon Brown‘s spokesman on La Clinton’s suggestion: “We don’t think that’s necessary.”
Think Team O is regretting the decision to placate disgruntled Hillary supporters by asking her to be SOS, yet? Don’t bank on it. Team O seems pretty much hell-bent on resetting US policy abroad on just about everything – including acting as apologists to Muslim countries, rubbing elbows with America-haters at international “summits”, and taking policy positions it has no business doing.
Dunno about you, but when it comes to this administration, I’m ready to find a “reset” button to push – and one that actually works.