Cracks In Hillary's Foreign Policy Already Showing
By Ben Smith
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was praised in the wake of the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for demonstrating her command of the players and the issues at stake in Pakistan, even as another candidate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, was criticized for stumbling over details.
But in two confident television appearances, on CNN and ABC, Clinton made an elementary error about Pakistani politics: She described President Pervez Musharraf as a "candidate" who would be "on the ballot."
In fact, Musharraf was reelected to the presidency in October. The upcoming elections are for parliament, and while Musharraf's party will be facing off against opposition parties, the president himself is not a candidate.
"He will NOT be on the ballot," said a Pakistan scholar at Columbia University, Philip Oldenburg, in an e-mail. "These are parliamentary elections, where the contests are for a seat in the national assembly.The prime ministerial candidate typically fights for victory in a local constituency, as well as lead[ing] the party in a national campaign."
A spokesman for Clinton, Howard Wolfson, said Clinton was referring to Musharraf's party, not the president himself.
And Oldenburg said that "how well the PML-Q, the so-called 'King's Party,' does would in effect be a referendum on Musharraf."
But Clinton's words appear unambiguously to describe Musharraf himself as a candidate.
"If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election, then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow," she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer (.pdf) Dec. 28.
"He could be the only person on the ballot. I don't think that's a real election," she told ABC's George Stephanopolous December 30.
Her error was first noted by a conservative American commentator, Thomas Houlahan.
After Hillary said Musharraf's government had no credibility, and insinuated state forces/the military assassinated Benazir Bhutto, we can clearly see that Hillary's foreign policy missteps have already begun.