Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hillary Versus Kim Jong-Il

(image via foreignpolicy)

This blogger is seriously falling in love with Hillary Clinton all over again. The primaries were, to be sure, contentious. A raucous affair that cleft the Democratic party in twain. West Virginia, in particular, was goddam brutal. But Hillary -- sand Bill -- is fucking glorious on the international stage. The political seedlings that were planted as First lady have reached full flower in the global arena. After six months of surmounting the massive learning curve of international diplomacy, Secretary Clinton -- a born valedictorian -- pulled off an impressive piece of work with India (her former Senate mentor and the 11th US Ambassador to India Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have been proud).

But it is her exchange of "affronts" with North Korea that is fucking awesome. Says The Australian: "Pyongyangologists, and possibly North Korean Washington watchers, have a new conundrum to wrestle with: does this week's exchange of unusually personal sledging mean US-North Korea relations, such as they are, just got worse? Or is it just tactics?" Clinton started it by telling ABC News on Monday while in India: "What we've seen is this constant demand for attention .. maybe it's the mother in me, the experience I've had with small children and teen-agers and people who are demanding attention: Don't give it to them."

Oh, snap!

Then, the United States Secretary of State said North Korea is "without friends." Pyongyang just responded, comparing Clinton to "a primary schoolgirl." From the Financial Times:

"North Korea has rejected US suggestions that a wide-ranging package of incentives could entice it to dismantle its nuclear arms, with officials launching an extraordinary verbal attack on Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, calling her 'stupid' and 'a funny lady.'

".. 'The comprehensive package is nonsense,' said Ri Hung-sik, one of the relatively junior North Korean diplomats who are representing their country at the Asean Regional Forum conference in the Thai resort town of Phuket.

"'The US is telling us to take off all of our clothes,' he said."

Can you imagine the exasperation in Pyongyang? But it is brilliant. Without a shot being fired, Hillary's verbal humiliations are the perfect tonic to North Korea's increasingly bizarre tantrums. The loss of face. And in that region the loss of face is something significant.

This is the Hillary that astonished us on the campaign trail but now we all can love her because she's on our side. Obama/Hillary 2012?

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