Thu, March 17, 2011 | The Rubin Report | By Barry Rubin
U.S. Sec State Hillary Clinton Says Leaving Post At End of 2012
In a CNN interview, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she will not serve in a second- term administration of President Barack Obama. She added that she didn’t want any other high-level post and wasn’t planning to run for president in 2012.
Some will attribute this to exhaustion or “been there, done that.” But my assumption is that it isn’t any accident that she’s announcing this at the time of the biggest internal policy dispute of Obama’s term. In handling the Egypt crisis, it seems apparent that Obama didn’t listen to her, perhaps didn’t even consult her. On this internal conflict over foreign policymaking read here and here.
Moreover, it’s long been a joke that Hillary has been shoved into a lot of minor assignments. And her husband, Bill, has just criticized Obama’s energy policy. What do you want to bet that every night (you can put in a joke here because I’m not going to do so) they talk about how Obama is messing up and that she could have done a much better job.
And she’s right, too!
I wonder when Secretary of Defense Robert Gates makes a similar announcement. Oh, wait, he already said he’d leave by August 2011.
In my humble opinion, Clinton — who has given many hints at our disagreement with Obama’s approach — realizes that the White House’s foreign policy is disastrous. A major dispute broke out over how to handle Middle East upheavals. Clinton endorsed a traditional U.S. approach of supporting friends and opposing enemies, which seems revolutionary under the current president.
The way these things usually happen is that she’d make such an announcement in, say, August 2012, a few months before the event. Nobody wants to be in a high-ranking post for 20 months with everyone knowing their days are numbered. Perhaps she will be out well before the end of 2012.
Who will replace her? Well if she does wait until November 2012 we will only find out if Obama is reelected. But maybe Obama will have her leave sooner due to policy disputes or because he wants to have his own person in rather than a self-admitted lame duck.
And remember what I have warned: If the new secretary of state is Senator John Kerry then I recommend you buy a fallout shelter in New Zealand, lay in a supply of food, and hide there. Otherwise, disregard anyone else named as a candidate because nobody knows who it will be and when it will happen.
Let’s recognize that this is not just the result of Clinton being tired. A key element here is the heating up of the conflict between the liberal and radical wings of the Democratic Party.