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2009-03-25 Home Front: Politix
The Insubordinate Ambassador
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Posted by Steve White 2009-03-25 00:00|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [782 views ]  Top

#1 There's no reason for Hill to be Ambassador to Iraq.

Steve, that's because you're assuming that Bambi's intent is to act in our nation's best interest and preserve the gains that were finally made in the last 1.5 years of GWB's Administration. But when you realize that his real objective is another helicopters-on-the-embassy-roof moment, it makes perfect sense.
Posted by Ricky bin Ricardo (Abu Babaloo) 2009-03-25 00:47||   2009-03-25 00:47|| Front Page Top

#2 Both of you are grossly misinformed about Chris Hill. He has worked with the military in the past both in Bosnia and Kosovo and he does understand counter insurgency. Also, previous U.S. ambassadors to Iraq including Negroponte did not speak Arabic. Opposing Chris Hill because you oppose Obama is assine. Hill is more than qualified for this job. He's run three other embassies during his career along with serious high level negoatations in Bosnia, Kosovo and North Korea. Basically people who oppose Chris Hill need to do some research on him before making foolish unfounded criticisms.
Posted by Nathan Reynolds 2009-03-25 02:30||   2009-03-25 02:30|| Front Page Top

#3 Three weeks later, Christopher Hill, a veteran of the Foreign Service, overruled the president. Then the government's chief negotiator on North Korea's nuclear program, now Barack Obama's nominee to serve as U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Hill didn't much care what the president wanted. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had given Hill permission to meet face-to-face with the North Koreans but only on the condition that diplomats from China were also in the room. Although the Chinese participated in the early moments of the discussions, they soon left. Hill did not leave with them.
Posted by Bobby 2009-03-25 06:20||   2009-03-25 06:20|| Front Page Top

#4 I don't know, Nathan. You're focusing on Steve's comments, and not the article its linked to.
Lying to Senators and ignoring the expressed wishes of the Secretary of State and POTUS seems pretty damming.
I smell an ego that probably needs a C-5 Galaxy to take it into theatre, which means he operates in what Hill thinks is his best interests and not the country's.
Posted by Mizzou Mafia 2009-03-25 06:22||   2009-03-25 06:22|| Front Page Top

#5 If it was true that Hill did "lie" to the Senate and ignore the President and Secretary of State why was he allowed to continue to led the negoatations? The answer is that he did not lie and did not ignore orders. If he had he would have been replaced. There is no credibility to the accusations against him.
Posted by Nathan Reynolds 2009-03-25 07:58||   2009-03-25 07:58|| Front Page Top

#6 Nathan Reynolds, I'm a little skeptical of Ambassador Hill's resume. Bosnia, Kosovo, and North Korea are not my definition of diplomacy successes, particularly in the sense of spreading democracy/freedom and making America safer.

Though the striped pants set would most likely disagree with me.
Posted by Seafarious 2009-03-25 08:19||   2009-03-25 08:19|| Front Page Top

#7 And why does Richard Holbrooke pop up in every frickin' story at Rantburg lately? Surely he's running out of fingers to stick in everyone's pies.
Posted by Seafarious 2009-03-25 08:21||   2009-03-25 08:21|| Front Page Top

#8 Seafarious

The purpose of the diplomatic efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo was not to spread democracy and freedom but to end the fighting that was destabilizing the region. This was ultimately successful in Bosnia and although Kosovo required military force to resolve it was not Chris Hill's fault. I'd like to know if anyone else could have convinced Slobodan Milosovitch to do the right thing and withdraw from Kosovo peacefully.

Moving on, the North Korean negotations were set up to try and halt and reverse their nuclear program. Frankly this was a near impossible task. North Korea is a extremely isolated, paranoid, and nationalistic country that absolutely has no regard for world opinion. The idea that they could be talked or pressured into surrendering their nuclear weapons was far fretched. However, Chris Hill did his absolute best to try and make that happen. Furthermore, he succeeded in getting them to stop producing weapons and to begin dismantling their nuclear facilities. I have also not heard any real alternatives to solve this issue.

As for Senator Brownback being upset that human rights issues were not included in the negoatations I fully understand why they weren't. First the point of the talks was to deal with the nuclear program and bringing up human rights would have been a distraction that would have likely set back any progress being made on the key issue. Human rights should be dealt with in a completely separate set of talks with the North Koreans and Senator Brownback would have known this if he had any experience in foreign affairs.

All these objections to Chris Hill are purely political and have nothing to do with the facts or his actual record. Also the idea floated around some circles that Chris Hill is some kind of liberal Obama flunkie is absolutely untrue. He has served in the State Department for more than thirty years and has held three different ambassadorships (Macedonia, Poland, and South Korea) two of which were under President Bush.
Posted by Nathan Reynolds 2009-03-25 09:05||   2009-03-25 09:05|| Front Page Top

#9 Appears the Rantburg is read by current or retired FSO's. I think you should invite us over to State and a luncheon in the executive dining room to further discuss Hill's work and merits. Seafarious, please start working on the Rantburg table flags and guest list.
Posted by Besoeker 2009-03-25 09:27||   2009-03-25 09:27|| Front Page Top

#10 I'll grant you that the inability to speak Arabic doesn't, in and of itself, disqualify him. Point taken.

As to Mr. Hill's ethics, they're damning. Just the incident with Karadzic should disqualify him.

Mr. Hill did a very poor job on North Korea. He continued a system that allowed the Norks to snow us on the nuclear reactor program. He pushed a system that said, essentially, that we should trust the Norks when the Norks had previously demonstrated that they couldn't be trusted. Please note that the Norks have NOT stopped producing weapons, and they have NOT dismantled (yet) the essential parts of their production facilities.

Brownback has the right idea on human rights on North Korea. If you focus on that the other problems begin to solve themselves. if you don't Kimmie and his people continue to lie to you.

Hill is a 'realist' -- always focusing on short-term issues when what is needed is a long-term understanding of how to solve problems. That's just as critical for Iraq as for North Korea.

Indeed the success we had in Kosovo and Bosnia was precisely because we, unlike the other European nations, did NOT focus on the short-term: we demanded not only an end to the shooting, but also demanded a round-up of the war criminals (the ones that Hill wanted to protect) and the implementation of, for want of a better term, 'nation-building'. The results are clear: Kosovo is now an independent state because WE (excluding Mr. Hill, who was obstructing) focused long-term -- what does it take to help these people? Bosnia now is healing because WE (excluding Mr. Hill) focused long-term -- how do we get the Croats and Bosniacs to work together?

That's enlightened diplomacy, and Hill doesn't strike me as that enlightened.

If Mr. Hill had been thinking long-term on North Korea back when, he would have focused on verification and compliance, he would have focused on finding ways to get food to the people without it going through Kimmie's thugs, and he would have focused on getting China to curb their dog. He did none of these things, and as a result the can has been kicked down the road to 2009.

What's needed in Iraq is long-term thinking. The short-term thinking, for example that of Obama and most Democrats, is "how do we get American troops home?" Whereas the real question is, "how do we ensure that Iraq remains stable and democratic?" To focus on the latter question is to ensure we get the payoff for our blood and sacrifice. That's the long-term plan, and that's what our next ambassador has to achieve. Anything less is failure.

Mr. Hill does not inspire me with confidence.
Posted by Steve White 2009-03-25 09:45||   2009-03-25 09:45|| Front Page Top

#11 Nathan Reynolds, I appreciate your input. I hope you continue to contribute here. We probably have a lot to learn from each other, and I'll have to go read more on Chris Hill.
Posted by Seafarious 2009-03-25 09:47||   2009-03-25 09:47|| Front Page Top

#12 That Bush didn't fire Hill was demonstrative of one of Bush's worst flaws. There were several times that CIA and State people actively worked against his policies or just plain failed. I don't know if it's that Bush was just too nice or what.

Hill's long history in State tells me that he is definitely one who has gone native and puts himself above any elected official.
Posted by AlanC 2009-03-25 09:48||   2009-03-25 09:48|| Front Page Top

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