HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 15: THE ARAB SPRING: HILARY SAYS IT WAS COMING. The Arab Spring A Sword That Cuts Both Ways.
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For a long time prior to the events in Tunisia the United States had been advising the countries in North Africa and the Middle-East that even though we were allied with many of them that concessions should be made in recognition of civil rights and representative government. The dictatorships paid small heed.
The United States, hedging its bets, spent fifty million dollars to bring activists to Estonia for a boot camp in using the internet as a means to organize and communicate.
Prior to that in 2002 a comprehensive study by Arab Scholars and the United Nations Development Program called The Arab Human Development Report stated that the region was in decline. Notwithstanding the regions oil wealth and strategic trading location unemployment was double the Global average. Also unemployment was even higher for young people and women. A powder keg if there ever was one.
The number of Arabs living in slums without adequate water, electricity or sanitation was increasing. A small ruling class grew wealthier and more distant from the common people. Corruption was rampant. Yet despite warnings from the U.S the U.N. and others the powers in control tightened their grip on these countries and increased their repressive policies.
Arab women’s political and economic participation was the lowest in the world. (Hillary never forgets to mention the condition of woman because I suspect she sees them as her chief political base in the U.S.) However it was the disenfranchised young both men and woman seeing little hope in the future that led the revolutions across North Africa and into Syria. (Yemen seems to be a Shiite coup rather than part of the Arab Spring)
In Tunisia, Mohamed_Bouazizi, an underground economy, fruit vender protested a confiscatory license fee that went into the coffers of the corrupt Ben Ali family by immolating himself in front of local government offices in Tunisia. This event was broadcast throughout the Arab world and further protests occurred with the help of the communication and organizing aspects of social media.
Ben Ali a dictator was forced to abdicate and flee with his extended family to Saudi Arabia and the protests spread to Egypt and Libya. Kaddafi was killed by the protesters and Mubarak was forced to resign and later tried for civil rights crimes against the protesters in Egypt. He was mostly exonerated.
In Tunisia a moderate Islamic government now rules and anarchy reigns in Libya. The Army rules in Egypt and in Syria a civil war continues complicated by the rise of ISIS a successor organization to Al Qaeda, better organized and bent on establishing an Islamic Caliphate in the Middle-East by means of terrorism. It would rule ascribing an ultra conservative interpretation of the Koran as authority.
Hilary believes that history will show that the United States was on the side of human rights, freedom, free markets and economic empowerment during these turbulent times which continue. Little is said of the U.S support or non support of the dictators in Tunisia and Egypt.
However there were many communications’ for Mubarak to grant reforms and provide for a peaceful transition process. He never acceded to the suggestions until it was too late. In Libya the U.S and its European allies provided air support to the insurgents.
Democracy has not flowered in any of these areas and much like Iraq since we removed an unstable dictator, uncertainty and instability has ruled the day. Iran seems to have gained politically from the instability and it is a conservative Islamic state condemned for supporting terrorist activities.
The Arab Spring was a seismic event that probably would have happened no matter what the United States did except in Libya were western airpower helped the insurgents succeed. However it was too much to expect that these countries would somehow morph into full blown western style democracies.
She does not speak of the turmoil in Libya and the death of our ambassador there. That discussion is reserved for as later chapter. She doesn’t speak of what is likely to happen in terms of an Arab Spring in regard to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States or even Iran.
The Arab spring seems to be a sword that cuts both ways in terms of freedom, free markets and economic empowerment in these states culturally different to the western democracies.
HILLARY CALMING SUPPORTERS WHILE GIVING THE UNITY SPEECH FOR OBAMA
Hillary says that after the final primaries in Montana and South Dakota when Barack Obama won the popular vote and the delegates securing himself as the Democratic Presidential Candidate he said “let’s sit down when this makes sense for you.” Later she was invited to Dianne Feinstein’s house for a secret meeting with Obama. She says they met alone and he asked her for her support and the support of Bill in the coming campaign. This was June 5th 2008.
On May 31st 2008 the Washington Post opined Biden would be Obama’s choice for Vice President on the Democratic ticket. This was publically announced on August 23 and confirmed by the convention (August 25-28 2008) on the third night.
Hillary says she agreed to actively support his campaign and the day after the meeting, Bill in a telephone call also agreed to campaign
Hillary says nothing about the Vice Presidential position which was still open nor does she mention any other position with the administration. So this challenger who garnered 18 million votes in the primaries committed her support as well as facilitating the support of her husband, both formidable campaigners, without any understanding what her role would be in the administration if Obama won?
Hillary says when they met at Senator Feinstein’s house she, her husband and her staff were still sore and licking their wounds after losing in the primaries.
Particularly there was much rancor that Bill had been labeled a racist in South Carolina by the Obama people. Barack on the other hand was upset by being called a sexist by people on Hillary’s staff. However this was explained away as over exuberance by minor staff people on both sides and not the candidate’s personal views. Thus at the meeting and during the call with Bill the next day these wounds were healed and the union was made. Hillary made the announcement to her staff the next day amid grumbling by some of the diehards.
The Clinton’s campaigned long and hard for Obama and Biden. In August at the Convention she was asked to give the official nominating speech for Obama which she did and called for party unity behind the ticket. However at the roll call the next day she was asked to interrupt it to move for an immediate declaration for Barack Obama as the party’s candidate. By doing this she hoped to forestall some diehard delegates from casting their votes for her highlighting the fact that a woman had won 1009 delegates in the primaries. She did this to eliminate what could have been evidence of a split in the party on prime time television. (The facts are 1010.5 delegates voted for her in the final tally. This appears to be glossed over without explanation.)
Considering all the political power Hillary had and all the work she did during the campaign one wonders why she was not chosen as Vice President rather than Biden whose own candidacy for president had sputtered out after the past misstatements he had made and the inaccuracies in his biography came to light in the Media.
On August 29, 2008 the day after the Democratic Convention John McCain announced Sarah Palin would be his running mate. At the announcement in Dayton Ohio, Palin in her acceptance speech said, “Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But it turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all”.
It was a “Hail Mary” pass by McCain to reenergize his foundering campaign which could not draw a crowd to his speeches. He knew little about the inexperienced Palin other than she was Governor of Alaska and was regarded as a maverick just as he thought of himself.
Of course any thoughtful analysis would reveal that Hillary and Sarah were so much unalike that about the only thing they had in common was that they were both married woman with children. So Sarah’s chances of converting Hillary’s female constituency, just because she was a woman, were slim and none and we all know where slim was.
Despite their philosophical and political differences Hillary refused to attack Palin as an inexperienced woman candidate. However as later events revealed this would be unnecessary. (Say what you will about Palin she tied with Michelle Obama recently as the third most admired woman in the United States. Hillary is first and Oprah is number two. So she has a certain charisma too bad it’s not backed up by brains or she would be a serious political candidate.)
After the election Hillary says the president-elect offered her the Secretary of State post. “Reluctantly,” after consulting family and friends she accepted. On January 20, 2009 the new Secretary of State took office. Thus the “Team of Rivals” was in place.
Hillary received $10 million as an advance for this book and so far she seems to be glossing over reality for her expected wide audience consisting of the hoi polloi. I also detect the fine hand of Bill as an editor. I guess the recipe by these too cooks was for plain vanilla pudding topped with whipped facts for the masses.