Undisclosed Hillary Bundler at CNN: She 'Revived America's Reputation'

August 18th, 2015 3:43 PM

Yesterday, CNN.com published an attempted defense of Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State by Eleni Kounalakis. An "Editor's Note" before the piece begins describes Ms. Kounalakis as the "United States ambassador to Hungary from 2010 to 2013," the author of a book on her time there, and "a senior adviser to the Albright Stonebridge Group" (as in "Madeline Albright").

The "editor" at CNN "forgot" to mention one "little" thing, noted by John Hinderaker at Powerline: "... she was one of Hillary’s top (2008) fundraisers, a fundraiser who was paid off with an ambassadorship, and therefore hardly an objective observer of Hillary’s successes (or lack thereof) as Secretary of State."

Kounalakis's column was an attempt to counteract the myriad videos which have shown so many people, including partisan Democrats, drawing complete blanks when asked to identify even one tangible accomplishment achieved by Mrs. Clinton during her time at State. It fails miserably, starting with its title (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

Hillary Clinton revived America's reputation in world

In a recent opinion piece posted on CNN, Carly Fiorina launched a deeply unfair and profoundly inaccurate attack on Hillary Clinton's record as secretary of state. Fiorina went so far as to insinuate that Hillary Clinton did not have even one single accomplishment in that role. [1] She could not be more wrong. I should know; I served with her as U.S. ambassador to Hungary and watched her fight for the American people every day.

Her record of achievement is as diverse as it is historic. Clinton pushed hard for the United States to "pivot" to Asia. [2] She established the tough sanctions against Iran that led to the recently signed nuclear agreement. [3] She shined a light on the plight of Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, helping to orchestrate her release. [4]

These are all historic achievements. But to name any one, single event of Clinton's tenure is to overlook her most important contribution: rebuilding America's relationships with friends, allies and partners around the world. [5]

... As a diplomat, she wielded the star power [6] of one of the world's most well-known female leaders. And finally, she had the right kind of work ethic, the right brand of wonkiness, to be embraced quickly by her 70,000 new employees at the State Department.

... For three and a half years at my post in Budapest, I started my mornings reading Clinton's daily schedule. Hillary Clinton traveled to more countries than any other secretary in the history of the department, logging nearly a million miles and visiting 112 nations. [7] She visited countries that hadn't had a U.S. secretary of state visit for up to five decades (Laos) or ever (Togo). After all, America can never have enough friends.

... In short, here is my answer to Fiorina's question:

Diplomatically, without bluster or bullying, without stealing headlines or focusing on her own legacy, Hillary Clinton rebuilt the network of American relationships around the globe. This is certainly her most important legacy and fundamental to the future of American leadership in the world.


[1] — Fiorina, who made a "no accomplishment" claim last week and has made several similar recent assertions elsewhere, is not alone, as items seen here, here and here demonstrate. They're not alone. The attempt to identify a single accomplishment stumped the State Department and Hillary Clinton herself in April of last year.

[2] — It looks like Kounalakis consulted Correct The Record, the Clinton-funded web site dedicated to "rapid response team designed to defend Hillary Clinton from baseless attacks." CTR's "evidence" supporting this supposedly historic move includes "Sec. Clinton showed Asia was a priority by being a presence there. Literally." This is the "she traveled the globe" defense. As Fiorina has quite accurately noted, "Traveling is an activity, not an accomplishment."

Things are going so well with China that they're hacking federal government computer systems with impunity.

Things are going to well with the rest of the continent that its nations are on the verge of torpedoing the Trans Pacific Partnership, which the Obama administration thought would be in the bag once it got Congress to approve it.

[3] — As has been the case in so many areas, Mrs. Clinton's posture on Iranian sanctions has depended on which way the wind is blowing. She also hasn't hesitated to accept money from Clinton Foundation donors who have violated those sanctions.

[4] — BBC's coverage of Suu Kyl's release indicated that "... it is unlikely the ruling generals would have freed Ms Suu Kyi unless they felt confident she no longer represented a threat to them or their plans for the country." In other words, there's no evidence of the "orchestration" Kounalakis claims occurred.

[5] — How is that "Russian reset" working out? How has that that withdrawal from Iraq, to which Mrs. Clinton lodged no objection, worked out? Did that "red line" in Syria have any effect? Most importantly, is Libya better off today than it was before Mrs. Clinton and President Obama conducted that war of choice to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi? (The answers are, "not well," "poorly," "no," and "heck no."

[6] — It's as if the world's diplomats are groupies impressed by "star power." That's so ridiculous it's embarrassing.

[7] — Again, activity is not accomplishment.

I've identified countries, including China above, with billions of citizens with whom relations are clearly worse or certainly not better. Hillary Clinton's "most important contribution" of "rebuilding America's relationships" is a figment of Kounalakis's imagination only a blind partisan — which she clearly is — could possibly believe.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.