Hillary, Tzipi to Stop Iran Enrichment

Clinton-Livni

Clinton-Livni

Israel’s daily Haaretz said Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the new US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the deal during a phone conversation on Thursday.

The report added that they also agreed to take joint measures to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment program. Clinton officially gained the control of the US State Department on Thursday.

The US, Israel and their European allies accuse Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory Iran of developing a nuclear program for military purposes. Tehran says it only seeks civilian applications of the technology.

Last week, Clinton said that the Obama administration would pursue ‘an attitude toward engagement (with Iran) that might bear fruit’.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also said, in a Thursday letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Berlin is ready to aid the Obama administration in resolving issues such as the Iranian nuclear standoff.

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Rules Out Talks With Hamas

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has ruled out negotiations with the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas unless it drops its extremist stance, saying her position is “absolute”.

“On Israel, you cannot negotiate with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognises Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements. That is just for me an absolute,” Mrs Clinton told a Senate confirmation hearing.

“That is the United States government’s position. That is the president-elect’s position,” she said after a senator suggested it is “naive and illogical” to pursue diplomacy with governments opposed to Israel.

She echoed the stance of the outgoing administration of President George W. Bush which is supporting Egyptian efforts to mediate a ceasefire following an 18-day Israeli war to stop Hamas rocket attacks.

Palestinian medical sources said around 70 more people had been killed in the fighting, bringing the overall toll to around 975 Palestinians with a further 4400 wounded.

On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and three civilians have been killed in combat or by rocket attacks since December 27 when the Jewish state began its deadliest ever offensive on Gaza, ruled by the Islamists of Hamas since the group won elections in mid-2007.

The Bush administration has opposed negotiations with what it calls a terrorist organisation.

Mr Obama has proposed reaching out to the leaders of anti-US countries like Iran, North Korea and Cuba, but analysts doubted he would engage with Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah, which the US denounces as terrorist groups.

During her confirmation hearing, Mrs Clinton said the new administration will try a “new approach” toward Iran by engaging it diplomatically.

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Neither respected nor feared

Elihu Root

Elihu Root

In an exalted phrase, the keynote speaker at the Republican convention reviewed the record of the administration, and asked, “When have we rested more secure in friendship with all mankind?” That wasn’t in St. Paul, where the Republicans are gathered this week, but at the 1904 Republican convention in Chicago, when the speaker was Elihu Root, a past Secretary of War and future Secretary of State.

His words were sonorous then, and they are haunting now. They will not be repeated this year, because they could not be. A senior American politician might have said something similar in 1920, or 1945 or 1960. But no Republican now – and no Democrat – could utter Root’s words without inviting utter derision.

Today there might be a more bitter question: When has America rested less secure in friendship with all mankind?

And that explains the intense interest which this year’s presidential election has inspired beyond the shores of the United States. It’s not just Obamania – there’s no point in denying that Senator Barack Obama is the man most people outside the United States would like to win – but he was one of three potential candidates until Senator Hillary Clinton conceded defeat who were all fascinating simply in personal terms: a septuagenarian war hero, a woman, a black man.

The election absorbs us in Europe – and others in Africa and Asia – because we can see that a general crisis spreading around the globe is directly linked to the follies and failures of American policy. In his new book, “The Much Too Promised Land,” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which he used to be engaged as a State Department official, Aaron David Miller puts it with lapidary succinctness.

Having stumbled for eight years under the Clinton administration over how to make peace in the Middle East, and then for eight years under the administration of George Bush the Younger over how to make war there, the United States finds itself “trapped in a region which it cannot fix and it cannot abandon.” Still more to the point, throughout that region, for all of her seeming might, America is “not liked, not feared and not respected.”

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America in the Time of Empire

All great empires and nations decay from within. By the time they hobble off the world stage, overrun by the hordes at the gates or vanishing quietly into the pages of history books, what made them successful and powerful no longer has relevance. This rot takes place over decades, as with the Soviet Union, or, even longer, as with the Roman, Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian empires. It is often imperceptible.

Dying empires cling until the very end to the outward trappings of power. They mask their weakness behind a costly and technologically advanced military. They pursue increasingly unrealistic imperial ambitions. They stifle dissent with efficient and often ruthless mechanisms of control. They lose the capacity for empathy, which allows them to see themselves through the eyes of others, to create a world of accommodation rather than strife. The creeds and noble ideals of the nation become empty cliches, used to justify acts of greater plunder, corruption and violence. By the end, there is only a raw lust for power and few willing to confront it.

The most damning indicators of national decline are upon us. We have watched an oligarchy rise to take economic and political power. The top 1 percent of the population has amassed more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined, creating economic disparities unseen since the Depression. If Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes president, we will see the presidency controlled by two families for the last 24 years.

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