CLINTON CONFIRMATION: What About Preconditions?
“Perception becomes reality so appearance is everything,” says Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), reminding everyone of the Clinton Foundation controversy. That wasn’t passive-aggressive at all, no.
Back to the campaign controversy of last year: should the United States negotiate with its adversaries without preconditions, as President-elect Barack Obama stated last year?
Clinton replies by splitting the difference — as Obama did in the fall debates — between “preconditions” and “preliminary discussions.” She says that Obama’s “commitment to vigorous diplomacy” depends on the recognition that “there are different ways to engage.” She mentions Hamas as an example of how there’s nothing to talk about until they agree to recognize Israel. “There are usually conditions that leads to the preliminary discussion of” particular issues. Obama “fully appreciates the preliminary work that needs to be done,” she adds. “I think we’re in vigorous agreement, Senator.”
Are we? It’s less than clear what either Clinton, Obama and Isaakson now mean. Luckily, Isaakson provides a distraction by reluctantly comparing the humanitarian efforts of the U.S. military’s Africa Command to “Hamas and Hezbollah.”