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16 October 2007


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Martin K

This brings me the first ray of hope in a very very long time. Her willingness to convene a pan-arabic congress also indicates a abandonment of the politics of terror and conflict, and is highly recomendable. I can imagine Bill doing the Middle East.

Now if she would only do a clear and conscise statement on renditions, presidential warpowers, torture and the whole issue of the Patriot Act and its myriad of little brothers.

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

She seems to be taking up your idea of the Concert of the Middle East.

Shoud she become the next US President, I would expect you to be offered a position there.

I should hope that if that transpires you will not forget your bloggers: how about a bash for all of us who contributed to this weblog?

W. Patrick Lang


Nah. I am not well suited (never was really) for bureaucratic life. I am 67. pl


Let us be careful not to allow perfect be the enemy of good. Mrs. Clinton's plan is good.


The current economic situation with cascading defaults, bank runs in England and trouble at 'C' could quickly overshadow the present middle eastern situation.

The dollar amounts at risk dwarf the conceivable total spending on the war effort.

Next president? ... too soon to tell.

Old Bogus

My biggest complaint is her continuing to use the "War on Terrorism" phrase. IMO, until we treat terrorists as criminals and combatants as combatants, we are going to continue to be mired in an ambiguous situation.

Besides, why should we believe this is what she will really do? Does this proposal match her voting record in Congress?

Soonmyung Hong

I think her concept is decent, but It must be consistent with reality.
I think implementation of "viable plan to bring our troops home" need quite a long time.
IMHO, at least longer than one presidential term, Nixon timescale(6-7 years) practically.


Col. Lang,
I agree with Babak regarding the Concert of the Middle East. I look forward to finishing HRC's Foreign Affairs piece, thank you.

Sir, what is your opinion of the late Philip Habib?
He was pretty special in my book.


Hillary's "manifesto" is a lot of reassuring pablum trying to bring back the good old 1990s when America was loved and respected. It does nothing to address the central issue of our time--how to negotiate a reliable supply of oil and natural gas from an increasingly wary yet assertive group of energy giants (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, etc.)

Hint: continuing to villify these energy giants won't make them any more cooperative. Treating them as business partners is likely to prove more successful.


I'll start with "all the states bordering Iraq" and I'll ask a simple question:


Sounds nice enough. Looks to be what a car enthusiast might label; all show and no go.


I was not sure about H. Clinton, but I was impressed with this. As for Lesly being tired of neoliberal policies, I look forward to any kind of neo other than the one's we presently have. This administration has made a mess of everything they have attempted, and I feel bad that our next president has such a mess to clean up, but then again, they want the job.

Charles I

It reads as so reasonable I'm having to squint pretty hard to find anything to pick on. I, nitpicker-in-chief,can't find it. The proof is in the pudding though. Even with Herself as 44, how much currency and credibility will the U.S. have at such a table?

I can see a lot of people responding to this:

"Finally, we need to engage the world in a global humanitarian effort to confront the human costs of this war. We must address the plight of the two million Iraqis who have fled their country and the two million more who have been displaced internally. This will require a multibillion-dollar international effort."

with this:

"You broke it, you own, and as reasonable sef-interested peopkle we'll help you fix it - on your dime. You fools borrowed a trillion or more from your grandchildren to create this clusterf**k, you borrow a couple more to fix it."

And "incentives for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey to stay out of the civil war" will surely cost mucho dinero for the U.S. taxpayer, those recent arms packages could be just the start.

Assuming, with a nod to jCandlish's comment above, the greenback survives the collapse of the house of cards it currently rests on.

John Shreffler

I don't find anything to argue with here but for that don't trust her. No people sense, no vision. She is a corporate law firm senior partner by training and still thinks like one. I think that if things are as bad as I suspect that we're going to need someone a good bit bolder, also someone who can connect with the country. Still, compared to Bush or worse yet Giuliani...


It's got the two basic points right -- bring troops home and engage in conference diplomacy. Until we show that we don't intend to remain as neo-colonialist sin Iraq, we will have trouble getting much cooperation, esp. from the Iraqis. I like, but am skeptical about the aid and assisting the refugees-- at that late date it will be difficult. The consequences of the Bush admin's fiscal irresponsibility will land on the incoming admin, and under those circumstances public and Congressional support will likely be in short supply. At least Hil's plan is grounded in reality. She is not my first choice for president, and I hate the fact that one year out from the election she is being ordained. On the other hand, if she can use the coming year to get some momentum (and concrete steps) behind her plan, then I think I could handle Clinton II.


Sounds like she read your blog or maybe you are advising her on Middle East policy, either way smart move.

Will she be elected?

Way to early to tell, just remember Howard Dean.

Several parts of the concert will require a careful maestro to conduct such complicated melody.

Please, forward your CV , ASAP. lol


Hillary isn't the nominee, let alone the President yet. This time last cycle, weren't we all eager for Larry King to introduce us to our next first lady, Mrs. Howard Dean? Of course it is good to have policy statements...too bad more candidates don't...so we know, or think we know, what we are voting for. (A humble foreign policy and no nation building, anyone?)

W. Patrick Lang


97C. Hmm. Lucky you weren't around me. pl


HRC talks often of bringing the troops home but when asked explicitly if all US troops would be out of Iraq in 2013 under a Clinton administration, she said know.
The issue of residual troops (estimated on HRC's case at 60,000 or more) needs to be addressed.


Colonel Lang,

This may be a pointless aside and if so please ignore. Couldn't find the post from John you're referring to. Is there a 97 Charlie in the house?


Hmmm...I didn't plow through all eight pages of it, so I'm responding to your summary mostly.

First off, why should we believe her? What is the compelling proof she's telling the truth?

"Financial resources will go only where they will be used properly, rather than to government ministries or ministers that hoard, steal, or waste them."

What about private contractors? Haven't they wasted, embezzled and stolen lots of money from the taxpayers? Why no accountability for the corporations that have lost DOZENS OF BILLIONS down a black rabbit-hole?

I'm thinking the ministers in Iraq aren't who we should be worrying about here.

I still don't trust that if AIPAC says bomb Iran, she will have the fortitude to disobey them. So far, she's kowtowed down to them on everything that matters.

"As president, I will convene a regional stabilization group composed of key allies, other global powers, and all the states bordering Iraq."

A group to do what? Sign away the oil profits to the Big Four? Set up a client-state?

Yes, she's better than Rudy G-man.

But she still has al ot of 'splaining to do as far as I'm concerned.

What, for example, is she doing to block an invasion of Iran? What's she doing to stop the President and Vice President from doing anything?
What's she doing to bring to light and hold them responsible for past violations of international and domestic law? What's she doing to restore our constitutional rights and freedoms, or to restore habeas corpus, or stop torture?

Nothing. Except vote Yes to whatever Bush and Cheney send out to the floor.

That has to change before she'll get my ear.

Say one thing, do another.

She makes big promises, but that's easy to do when you know all along you aren't going to keep them.

You say it's a statement of her intent. As far as I can tell, the intent is to say whatever she must to get elected.

Sorry to sound jaded, but if she does win, we will need to really hold her feet to the fire to make sure she does even a fraction of all this great stuff she's promising.


Two families running our country for 25-30 years?!!

Am I alone in thinking that it is inherently dangerous to our democracy to be led by two dynasties for an entire generation?


From the first eight paragraphs:

1.restore our leadership
2.To lead, a great nation must command the respect of others
3.Our world leadership was widely accepted and respected
4.Our nation has paid a heavy price for rejecting a long-standing bipartisan tradition of global leadership
5.The world still looks to the United States for leadership
6.The next president will have a moment of opportunity to restore America's global standing and convince the world that America can lead once again.
7.We should aim to lead our friends and allies in building a world
8.We need more than vision, however, to achieve the world we want..

Ah, ok, I get it. America will lead once again. Look, I'm all for Hillary, or, whoever else the Dems nominate short of a Libereman type. And I will put my money and my time where my mouth is. But this manifesto is exhibit number 1 of a later half of the 20th century mind.

Now, perhaps whoever wrote this, as well as who reviewed it, thinks 'this is what we have to give the yahoos to get them to vote for us'. Fine, whatever. But I suspect that not only are the times a changin', they done changed. Lets get our own house in order...and worry about running for 'leader of the world' at another time. We will always be a big player...but its not 1949 anymore. The plan worked. Europe and Asia are, relatively speaking, back on their feet. Its time we understood this. This manifesto is evidence some don't.

Doran Williams

As campaign promises go, this is remarkably straight-forward. The question is, as someone above has stated: Will HC keep her promise? We don't know, but at this point, her plan for peace in the middle east should be compared to those of others striving for the White House. And as to some of the others, we should fervently hope that they do not keep their promises, if elected.

Look at it this way, if during his first campaign George Bush had laid out a manifesto for the Middle East, in which he said that he would, upon the first available excuse/opportunity, launch an agressive war against Iraq, followed by a decades long occupation and further wars against other nations in the regions, we would have been much better off.

HC has now challenged all the Republican and Democratic contenders. She offers timetables, alternatives to violence, and a suggestion of a way to peace in the middle east. She has dared them to put their own plans to the public in a way which can be understood as having some reasonable chance of success in the real world.

Whether of not she will, or can, as President, apply her plan is going to depend to a great extent on conditions over which neither she nor any other future president will have contol. We have to accept that problem, there is no other way to proceed than to acknowledge that the US is not in control. Even so, HC is now way out in front on how to bring peace, rather than war, to the Middle East. That goal could become a defining issue of the campaign in the next few weeks, rather than the side show it has been till now.

W. Patrick Lang


I deleted the post but wanted to communicate to him. pl


i guess it looks good. i keep wondering how much clintonian parsing to look for in the statement.

troops will leave 'starting the first 60 days'.

doesn't mean much. you could do it like warner wants us to and bring 5000 or so home by christmas and not be any different from where we are now.


"AS we leave iraq militarily" we will replace force with diplomacy. alright, but how long is it going to take to really leave iraq militarily. if it is going to take a long time, why tie diplomacy to the withdrawal?

id be much more comfortable with her pledging to start the intensive regional diplomacy within 60 days of assuming office than making an empty pledge to reduce troops.

then, what is the goal of regional diplomacy? resolution of outstanding issues with all players present at the table? no. a new security framework for the middle east underwritten by the U.S. and understood by both Iran and Israel that can provide us with reliable access to energy while giving the inhabitants of the area a better than even chance of a stable life? no. It is 'to keep the neighbors out of the civil war'. not very ambitious, and probably damn near impossible to enforce.

i guess im not convinced. maybe i'm just being another 'typical oily' with a suspicious mind.

im not hearing what i want to hear from clinton. not yet.

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