Political Hay

Hillary’s Saari Tour of India

Obama and Clinton are pursuing a diplomacy of apology while giving America things to really be sorry about.

By 7.21.09

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Last week's controversy had Hillary in a burqa -- with liberal blogress Tina Brown claiming that President Obama was treating his Secretary of State like a "Saudi wife." But this week, Mrs. Clinton is in India. She is the latest of administration officials to go abroad looking for things to apologize about. You might call this her "Saari Tour" of India. The administration is in danger of becoming, quite literally, the sorriest one in our history.

Mrs. Clinton spoke to the Indians about climate change. She apologized for past U.S. failures and said she hoped India would be able to avoid our mistakes. "No one wants to stop or undermine the economic growth that is necessary to lift millions out of poverty," she said. But the Obama administration's Cap and Trade (and Tax) legislation arguably does exactly that.

"The challenge is to create a global framework that recognizes the different needs and responsibilities of developed and developing countries alike," she said. We need to examine that phrase carefully. There's an assumption in those words that cannot go unchallenged. Hillary seems to think that U.S. is developed, that we have reached some advanced stage and that we are in a position to negotiate world agreements on how far and how fast other nations progress.

This shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how nations interact and how economies work. If we Americans are not still developing, we are decaying. It's that simple. If we think we can negotiate with other nations how far they shall go, what makes us think that they should listen to us? Especially when we approach them with our tail between our legs?

When I served as a U.S. Ambassador, I never found it productive at the UN or in any other international venues to go around apologizing for U.S. conduct. It should be clear that all Americans can think of things in our history we regret. I hate to think, for example, that Americans were ever involved in the slave trade. But I hardly think it's helpful to go to Africa or the Caribbean nations and bring that issue up now. In fact, when President Jefferson in 1806 called upon Congress to act quickly to eradicate the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, he called it a violation of the "human rights" of innocent Africans. He used the strongest anti-slavery language of any president prior to Abraham Lincoln. If only President Jefferson had coupled his ban on the Trans-Atlantic slave trade with a congressional ban on the interstate commerce in human beings, we might have been able to avoid the horrors of civil war.

While I do not recommend apologies to other nations as a tool of diplomacy, there is certainly one deeply flawed aspect of U.S.-Indian relations we here at home should all acknowledge -- forced sterilizations in that continental nation. While some American liberals like best-selling author Paul Ehrlich demanded concerted action against what he called "the Population Bomb," India bore the brunt of international demands for population control to be linked to development aid.

The New York Times reported what happened in India:

''The police literally dragged people in from the fields to the vasectomy table,'' he said.

As a result there were more than six million sterilizations that year, three times the number of any previous year.

Another result was that the public outrage generated by the program was so great as to become a factor in Mrs. Gandhi's electoral defeat in 1977.

Even teenage boys, it was reported, were being pressured into getting vasectomies.

Has the U.S. apologized for what its representatives did then? Or for what the UN did with U.S. financial aid? Well, yes and no.

President Ronald Reagan's Mexico City doctrine turned the United States away from the idea that the world should contain fewer but better quality people. The inherent racism in that notion was rejected by Reagan. He cut off all funding to organizations that promoted or performed abortions as a part of family planning. He de-funded outfits like the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and International Planned Parenthood.

Reagan was not about apologizing for past U.S. conduct. That is never a good international negotiating posture. But his Mexico City policy implied that past administration's were wrong -- and grievously wrong -- in what they did and in what they allowed to be done in our name.

Secretary of State Clinton is defending Obama policy in India and around the world. One of the first things President Obama did is to open up the spigots of taxpayer funding for UNFPA and Planned Parenthood. Abortion is now a leading U.S. export.

Mrs. Clinton comes to this position naturally. Her husband President Bill Clinton once transmitted the notorious Red Cable -- instructions to every U.S. Embassy in the world ordering our diplomats to become lobbyists for abortion-on-demand in hundreds of host countries, including the Vatican, including Ireland and Poland, including China -- where abortions were forced on desperate and unwilling women.

It is not those anti-natal, anti-human policies that Hillary is sorry for. The Indians have given Mrs. Clinton's public appeals short shrift. Their public rebuke of our Secretary of State is almost unprecedented. They're not going along with her appeal that they submit their nation's independence and development to a UN-guided program.

When she returns from her "Saari Tour," she will doubtless be hailed by the liberal press. President Obama may even welcome her home. But she will have little to show for her efforts. And for that, the rest of America may be glad.

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About the Author
Ken Blackwell, the former mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio is Vice Chairman of the Republican National Committee's Platform Committee. He also serves on the boards of the Club For Growth and the National Taxpayers Union.