Foreign relations

Oct 152012

This is not how one takes responsibility. Clinton is saying she doesn’t know what happened, but she takes responsibility. In other words, nobody is responsible.

“I take responsibility” for the protection of U.S. diplomats, Clinton said during a visit to Peru. But she said an investigation now under way will ultimately determine what happened in the attack that left four Americans dead.

via Clinton: I’m responsible for diplomats’ security – CNN Security Clearance – Blogs.

One way to actually take responsibility would have been to say something like this:  “It’s my fault that security was inadequate.  It was my office that denied the requests for additional security. I am seeing to it that the persons who made those decisions will no longer be employed by the government.  Those that misled the White House will be dealt with more harshly yet.”

Or if she personally made the decisions to deny security and to mislead the White House, then she should resign. That, too, would be a way of taking responsibility.

If she really and truly is waiting the results of the investigation, she could say she will take responsibility to punish those who were unlucky enough to make wrong decisions, once those people are identified.

But she didn’t say there would be any consequences for bad decisions.

And it doesn’t take a fact-finding commission to find out who fed the White House with bad information. Low-level functionaries don’t get to do that.

I hate to say it, but it was my hero, Saint Ronald, who started this business of “taking responsibility” in a way that made nobody responsible. In 1983, after the bombing of Marine quarters in Lebanon, President Reagan said, “I was responsible and no one else for our policy and our people being there. I’m not going to deliver somebody’s head up on a platter, which seems to be the request of so many when things like this happen.”

If memory serves, at least a few conservative pundits called this for what it was – a way to abdicate responsibility.  Reagan didn’t take responsibility for managing his personnel, and we are still dealing with the consequences of that failure.

Tuesday addendum: Before I lose it, here is a link to a 1983 news article about Reagan’s “taking responsibility” for the Beirut bombing.

Oct 132012

To deal with Iran, Biden says we’ll use the same intelligence community that let Obama down in Libya.

“Well, we weren’t told they wanted more security again,” said Mr. Biden, contradicting the testimony of State Department officials. He also blamed “the intelligence community” for the Administration’s initial and false assertions that Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American colleagues were killed in a “spontaneous” protest against an anti-Islam video on YouTube. This is the same “intelligence community” he is sure can tell us with certainty when Iran has a bomb and the Taliban is defeated.

via Review & Outlook: Biden’s Intelligence –

Oct 122012

The buck stops there. Way, far, over there. Nobody in the administration was responsible, so there is nobody to be fired for this.

Vice President Joseph Biden speaks only for himself and President Barack Obama, and neither man was aware that U.S. officials in Libya had asked the State Department for more security before the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, a top White House official told The Cable.

via White House: Obama and Biden were never aware of requests for more Benghazi security | The Cable.

Of course, if President Obama and Vice President Biden don’t want to be responsible for what the executive branch does, that can be easily arranged.

May 202011

Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek asks whether, instead of finding another Strauss-Kahn to run the IMF, we shouldn’t just end the organization.  Or at least end our contributions to it.    I agree.  Giving money and power to these people certainly did no favors for anyone involved.

Ever since the rapist-in-chief  got into the news, I’ve been wondering what the folks who posted these signs in Dublin have been thinking about that topic.   (The photo was taken March 30.)   Do they take it as a sign of the hopelessness of reform that he’s out on bail?

I have no idea how many people went to that demonstration on April 6.

Nov 102010

Remember all of those articles from the early-mid Bush administration days asking, “Why do they hate us?” Now we’re beginning to understand:

(Reuters) – Germany’s undiplomatic outbursts against U.S. policy, calling it “clueless” before a G20 summit, show growing estrangement on economics as America’s focus shifts away from transatlantic ties to domestic challenges and Asia.

“The Atlantic is getting wider,” said Anton Boerner, head of Germany’s Foreign Trade Association, who spoke of a “creeping alienation” between America and Europe, which has been exacerbated by the global financial crisis. [URL]

And there’s a related headline on the same page:

Obama returns fire after China slams Fed’s move

Nov 252009

Someone finally points out that Barak Obama’s decision-making re Afghanistan is coming to resemble Lyndon Johnson’s in Vietnam. Ben Shapiro mentions it in passing. Good. Saves me the trouble of saying the words “gradual escalation.”

(I’m not saying nobody else has pointed it out. I’d think it would be obvious to anyone who lived through the 1960s. But Shapiro’s is the first mention that I’ve seen.)

Sep 302009

Question:  When Barak Obama goes to Copenhagen to use political clout (as opposed to the merits of the case) to get the Olympics for Chicago, would that be an example of unilateralism in foreign policy?   Isn’t this something that should instead be left up to the United Nations?   (Or united nations without uppercase capital letters?)