Anyone who has not heard that Senator Hillary Clinton is being considered for Secretary of State is definitely living under a rock. Every media station and pundit is weighing in on this decision. They say it is "restorative." It is a "gesture" from the Obama camp "healing" campaign wounds. "Everybody" agrees she should be chosen. I say if Obama wants to mend scars he should send her flowers.
As a professor of global affairs and an international security advisor to both the U.S. military and President of Afghanistan, I do not agree with the masses - again. Appointing Senator Clinton is a bad idea. If the President-elect is truly for change he needs someone who supports that and so far Clinton has held true to business as usual.
This is not a discussion about Clinton's experience. She has plenty. It is about the differences between these two individuals, the differences between their stated foreign policy and Obama's promise for change.
Clinton is a member of the establishment. She has transformed herself into one of the best politicians in recent memory. The result was a very formidable bid for the Presidency, but let's face it: she did not win. America elected Obama and change.
The repeated debates between these two candidates clearly showed one area where she and Obama differed tremendously. That area is foreign policy.
She supported the Iraq war, he is against it. Clinton was unapologetic about voting for the war despite pleas from her own constituency to admit it was a mistake. Alternatively, she took a hard stance and further disagreed with Obama's idea of withdrawal.
Under no circumstances does Clinton want to speak with Iran. Obama, on the other hand, stated that he felt speaking to Iran was a requirement for getting them past their nuclear weapons ambitions. Her policy ironically is to use ours on them if they did not submit to US demands.
Further, Clinton has said nothing of changing policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, two issues that were central to Obama's foreign policy platform. Nor has she commented on how to move beyond either war toward a more sustainable peace.
She has shown through her own statements that she is definitely more hawkish than he is. I wonder if she can stand down when he says so.
Appointing Clinton Secretary of State is not what the US needs especially when it is trying to repair its relationships in the world, end two wars and get the Middle East peace process back on track.
With Clinton America will be back to implementing the same international policies we see today. A policy that is pentagon heavy and diplomatically light. A policy that is internally fractured and divisive instead of comprehensive and cohesive. A policy that has not learned to look beyond dominance and war.
If Obama is serious about turning America around, he should not be considering another Clintonite at all. He should be considering others. Someone like Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel would be my pick and a much wiser choice.
Hagel has spoken out against the war, supported many of Obama's initiatives in the Senate, as well as during his campaign, and, as a Republican, would help bridge between party lines.
Hagel also understands that the US is in danger of putting too much focus on the pentagon and losing America's prided civilian leadership in the foreign policy. Moreover, he understands our self-interest is tied to the rest of the world and the US can no longer afford to ignore this. Hagel will work to improve the reputation of this country throughout the world. He would represent the change that Obama has promised.
The New York Times said Clinton is unsure about taking the job of Secretary of State because she "likes being her own boss." As a New Yorker, I would have to agree. Clinton would serve everyone better by staying in the Senate. More importantly, if Obama is really serious about change, he too would be much better off if he left her there.