Hillary Clinton Middle Name
November 25, 2009 by USA Post
WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demonstrated exceptional diplomatic skill, political leadership, and vision for the future when she traveled to Morocco Nov. 2-3 to address the 6th annual Forum for the Future meeting of Middle East, North African and G8 industrialized nations.
She presented a remarkable plan to translate President Barack Obama’s historic “New Beginning” speech in Cairo into concrete actions that improve relations among nations and bring meaningful change to people’s everyday lives.
Clinton unveiled a wide range of policy initiatives and appealed for leaders to unite in shaping a future “based on empowering individuals rather than promoting ideologies.” A key to progress, she urged, was “a constructive spirit” to overcome conflicts and recriminations of the past.
To that end, Clinton reiterated the U.S. commitment to facilitating an Israeli-Palestinian peace, and also singled out the Western Sahara dispute, reaffirming longstanding U.S. policy that supports autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty as the only realistic solution to end the 34-year-old conflict.
She gave a masterful presentation, yet it quickly became clear that old ideologies and recriminations die hard. Even before her departure from Morocco, Clinton was sharply criticized for restating what has been U.S. policy for three successive administrations.
The Algerian press charged that she wasn’t speaking for the Obama administration and questioned her relationship with the president. The Algerian-backed rebel group Polisario Front accused Clinton of misstating U.S. policy on the Sahara and over-praising Morocco for its unarguably impressive record of political reforms, social progress and economic growth over the last decade.
So much for working in a constructive spirit to overcome past conflicts and recriminations.
Clinton has proven her mettle before in handling tough critics — and likely will again. The misrepresentations of fact and venomous tone of these attacks do a disservice to her, but the larger casualty is the public debate on the Western Sahara. The erroneous claims also undermine the efforts of U.N. Special Envoy for the Western Sahara Christopher Ross to resume earnest negotiations, which he has been trying to jump-start for almost a year.
I was U.S. ambassador in Morocco at the time the present U.S. position on the Western Sahara was adopted, and I can confirm Clinton has her facts straight because I participated in the review process in late 1998-early 1999 that launched the policy during the presidency of Bill Clinton. Current U.S. policy on Western Sahara is that “autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty is the only feasible solution to the Western Sahara dispute” and should be negotiated “within the U.N.-led framework.”
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