Can Hillary Clinton help President Obama out of his Middle East mess?

Can Hillary Clinton help President Obama out of his Middle East mess?
Can Hillary Clinton help President Obama out of his Middle East mess?

Washington – The Friday cover story in POLITICO offers a very interesting insight into how bad President’s Barack Obama foreign policy direction has been of late. Many democrats are angry and feel that it might take former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to rescue Obama from damaging things worse.

As someone who has been following this issue it is very clear that Clinton has not been a big fan of the “Obama Foreign Policy Plan,” going all the way back to when  she headed the State Department. She and the president battled over a number of issues from the Israel – Hamas conflict the handling of Syria. MORE..

Clinton in her interview with  The Atlantic earlier this summer took dead aim at Obama not once but twice on two of the big issues they have clashed on recently.

In Syria it was Clinton who questioned the administration’s willingness to set on the sidelines.

“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton said. More here..

Meanwhile, she also was firmly behind Israeli PM Benjamin  Netanyahu.  Again from her interview with The Atlantic, she made it clear where she stood on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“I think Israel did what it had to do to respond to the rockets,” she told me. “Israel has a right to defend itself. The steps Hamas has taken to embed rockets and command-and-control facilities and tunnel entrances in civilian areas, this makes a response by Israel difficult.”

I asked her if she believed that Israel had done enough to prevent the deaths of children and other innocent people.

“Just as we try to do in the United States and be as careful as possible in going after targets to avoid civilians,” mistakes are made, she said. “We’ve made them. I don’t know a nation, no matter what its values are—and I think that democratic nations have demonstrably better values in a conflict position—that hasn’t made errors, but ultimately the responsibility rests with Hamas.”

In an opinion editorial for Haaretz, titled “Israel’s New Lawyer: Hillary Clinton,” Peter Beinart – an academic who is outspoken against some aspects of Israel’s dealings with Palestine – writes that Clinton has become “the Israeli government’s best spokesperson.”

Noting that during The Atlantic interview Clinton said “you’re damn right I would expect to have security [control over the West Bank]” if she were prime minister of Israel, Beinart writes “Why does Clinton again and again endorse Netanyahu’s view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict even when it contradicts long-standing American positions? Because she’s so willing to see the world through his eyes.” MORE..

I have covered the Clinton’s (Bill and Hillary)  since 1992 and they have not always been best friends with  Netanyahu. But now in 2014 it is Hillary Clinton who might be one of the few democrats who can bail President Obama out of this mess and she know that Netanyahu remains a key player in the region.

She is also looking at a possible run presidential run in 2016 and she wants a good and solid relationship with Netanyahu. They are both political “survivors,” and understand that supporting each other might be not only in their both political interests but in the long term interest of both the U.S. and Israel.

While many Israeli and Middle East political pundits have looked at the missteps made by President Obama and feel that in 2016 a new GOP President might do better, however a field that includes the likes of  Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush all lack any foreign policy experience.

Furthermore, all of them have backed the Congressman Paul Ryan budget plan that vastly cuts spending in the area foreign aid programs. So lets be very clear — To say that the Middle East Policy under  a new republican administration would be better than what President Obama is doing, is 100 percent speculation.

The U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East Policy is even further clouded by an ever changing demographic in the country. A much larger Hispanic population and Millennials have a number of domestic issues that they want to have fixed first and any kind of foreign policy is far down on their radar screen.

There is an old Washington saying”Those who know aren’t talking and those who are talking don’t know.” When it comes to the future that is where we are right now.

We don’t know if foreign policy in 2016 and beyond will get better or worse with either a GOP president or if Hillary Clinton wins, should she chose to run.  There are just way too many moving parts to give a proper answer to that question.

For now the best course to see how  things play out in 2 014 and 2015 because what to expect in 2016 is way too fluid a thing to predict.


Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.