Latinos and Foreign Policy by Seneca

November 18th, 2008 · 21 Comments

Disclaimer: This blog post was going to go up last night, but I became busy with other things. Come to wake up, and VivirLatino is reporting that Hillary Clinton will accept Barack Obama’s offer for Secretary of State. Remember how many in the Latino community were hoping that Bill Richardson would get the top diplomat spot. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) may get to fill Hillary’s seat in the senate. Remember that Bill Richardson has been an Ambassador to the UN, was a staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, worked on Congressional Relations for Henry Kissinger’s State Department, speaks Spanish and French, in addition to his most recent stint as Governor of NM and Secretary of Energy. He is certainly more qualified than Hillary Clinton to become the Secretary of State.

Here is Seneca’s take on Latinos in the Foreign Policy realm, and yes, once again, it looks like we Latinos are getting the shaft.

Basically, we are not players in the foreign policy realm, except for the Cuban Americans, who have successfully shaken down both parties on Cuba policy because of Florida’s importance as an electoral pivotal state. I will be most lacerating if Richardson gets the shaft as Hillary shoves him aside. All with the white boys approving and cheering her on to snatch the Secretary of State position from Richardson. Now if Obama goes with Kerry, it will be dreadfully boring. Teresa Heinz, his Portuguese wife, will be the only spice in that picture. As for Chuck Hagel, he would be honorable and decent choice, but if Obama keeps Gates at Defense, then Hagel’s possibilities diminish with a GOPer at Defense, hence another at State would be out of order.

Hillary is the biggest threat now to Richardson. She knows that in 8 yrs she is not running as her time would have passed. The Senate now  is too small for her global-sized ego. Hence State Dept becomes her last swan song politically speaking. Do recall that the Irish mafia in the senate (Kennedy, Dodd, Kerry and Biden) successfully blocked her from VEEP. The Kennedys were treated like pariahs under Clinton as was Carter. Therefore, it will be interesting to watch Hillary get the SECSTATE and how she relates to Vice Pres Biden, who is now the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, and he would be most interested in foreign policy while Obama treats the economic crisis. I maintain that Hillary, plenty smarter than her two female predecessors, will try internationally and nationally to steal the thunder from Obama and keep her stock high world-wide with Bill at her side on SECSTATE presidential aircraft. Latin America would readily be banished from the Hillary awareness. Anything to do with the Cucaracha Circuit would be ‘slumming it’ for Hillary. She would play the female Metternich or Talleyrand or Kissinger — all with maniacally sweeping size egos along with having a Euro and Asia focused view of the world.

Albright came across as an eager cheerleader of the Clintonistas but appeared shallow in depth and Rice was perceived as being over her head at the NSC from day one and her move to State did nothing to disabuse anyone of that notion. Madeline Albright got the job because Clinton needed a woman for the job to make history. Rice got SECSTATE because she charmed W and made herself ‘indispensable.’ The rumor on Albright was that Clinton minimized or disregarded her. Rice was never any match for Rumsfeld or Cheney, and she was viewed as betraying her mentor and main promoter Brent Scowcroft and looking the other way when Powell was being eviscerated and used by the Bushies.

As for Latin America, Shultz and Baker were the last SECSTATES that even spent any notable time and made or guided policy toward the Latin region. Rice is known to avoid having to deal with the region, flees from any looming complication and has a ‘careerist’ deal with the region : meaning keep it off her desk. Remarkably, Rice appears ready to be able to waltz away relatively unscathed and bearing no responsibility for this current Administration’s epic foreign policy debacle and wreckage because being the first female NSC Director and the second African American SECSTATE seem to insulate her from any harm to her ‘celebrity’ status. Truly too many policy-makers prefer to become ‘celebrities’ not politicians. ‘Celebrity’ translates into more opportunities and lucrative secured income after office. Hence doing ‘well’ as opposed to having to do ‘good’ becomes the end game. This adds credence to the view of the outside world that Washington is a ‘Hollywood for the Ugly.’ Hardly any politicians and policy-makers are beautiful people.

Tags: Barack Obama · Bill Richardson · Cuba · GWB · Hillary Clinton · Kennedys · Rep. Nydia Velazquez · Sen. Joseph Biden · Seneca

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anna // Nov 18, 2008 at 11:20 am

    If Hillary weren’t the nominee, I doubt Richardson would be either. Yes, he’s the most qualified; but he’s a man of peace. The lobbyists who really run our country want a neocon in charge.

    And I don’t think Nydia Velasquez would replace Hillary in the Senate. It would probably be Anthony Weiner.

    I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but I really don’t see Obama doing much to help Latinos on the national stage. I don’t think he’ll touch immigration reform either. Look at his record. He’s not one to really take a stand on anything.

    What I expect from him is an improved economy and the end of immigrant bashing.

  • 2 YolandaR // Nov 18, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Seems to me appointing previous Clinton personnel does not necessary mean there won’t be different policies. As for Obama’s well leaked Hilliary for SECSTATE demonstrates brilliance. If she and Bill can pass the vetting process, she still isn’t president. Her air balloon sized ego will deflate every time she has to confer with Biden (AKA 1/3 Irish Mafia), yeah THAT ONE her husband ignored for 8 years. She has to go where they send her. VEEP Biden (aka Joey) will give her the presidental jet to Sudan and Cuba. Then Hilliary has to report back to the OTHER ONE (aka President Obama) in the morning. Remember she said he isn’t the one to call in the middle of the night. And she never gets to publicly sign any peace treaty or international agreement, particularly the White House lawn signings. Imagine what she is muttering under her breathe standing over his shoulder or not even in the photo ops when the world leaders come to the White House. Perhaps Condi Rice can show her where she buys her shoes and purses when she goes to Israel. Wherever she shops overseas she won’t draw the crowds or attention Obama will. Conversely, if she doesn’t get the position because Bill and her don’t want to answer some blistering questions, oh well it isn’t Obama’s fault. Works for me! Don’t be fooled she is outmatched and outwitted. As for immigrant reform and equal rights for the underclass, I will wait and see. But I know for sure it would be a lot worse with the Clintons and McCain in the White House.

  • 3 Anna // Nov 19, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Sorry, Yolanda, but you’re wrong. Hillary would have been an advocate for everybody.

    As for being Secretary of State, I hope you know that the President has no power to fire the Secretary of State. I seriously doubt that she’s outmatched or outwitted. It’s Obama who needs the Clintons, not the other way around.

    That being said, I would rather see Hillary in the Senate working on domestic policy. I hope she doesn’t take the job.

  • 4 webmaster // Nov 19, 2008 at 10:51 am


    President Bush “fired” or asked for the resignation of Secretary State Colin Powell.

    Why do you think that Obama would not be capable of doing the same if Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and moved in a direction that he didn’t like?

    Secretary of State is a position in the president’s cabinet, taking direction from the Chief Executive.

  • 5 Anna // Nov 19, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    I heard that on Hardball. OK, my mistake. That being said, I don’t think she should take the job. If Obama has the power to fire her, he will, and then her career is over. She should stay in the Senate and get healthcare passed.

    I find it difficult to believe that Obama would even want her to be Secretary of State. I wonder if a certain lobby forced his hand.

  • 6 webmaster // Nov 19, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    That’s why we shouldn’t believe everything we hear on TV. ;)

  • 7 soledadenmasa // Nov 19, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    Let’s take a different look at Clinton’s vetting for Sec. of State. What if this is the only way Obama can reject her from a position in the Cabinet without incurring the wrath of her supporters? If Billary are vetted and Obama’s aides find too much in their past that might conflict with her work as Sec. of State, Obama has legitimate reasons for taking her off his list of possible appointees. There can’t be loud screams of sexism, harboring hard feelings, or ignoring a large part of the Democratic electorate if Obama vets Billary and rejects Hillary or Sec. of State.

    If Obama did not vet her at all, Hillary supporters would have been up in arms about Obama looking over “a qualified candidate.” by vetting Bill and her, Obama can reject her with the appearance of actually looking deep into her past and finding good reasons to reject her.

  • 8 wendy carrillo // Nov 20, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Does anyone else not see that Hillar would be a great appointment to the Supreme Court? She was voted twice as one of the most influential lawyers in our nation and also served as young research jd on the Nixon impeachment trial. She has a great legal mind and would be a progressive commanding voice in a life term over the laws of the land!
    I don’t like all the HRC bashing, she’s done quite well if you ask me and we should all rethink how we speak about non-latinos who in many ways have done MORE for Latinos than Latino electeds. Also, Nydia is going to be the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, not that this title should influence her for a Senate race, but still, thought I would put that out there.
    And I also agree, I would like to see more Latinos in Obama’s cabinet, just as i would like to see more Blacks and Asians and women and other people of color, not a revamp of Bill Clinton’s admin.

  • 9 Lauren, San Bernardino, CA // Nov 20, 2008 at 6:50 am

    If Bill Richardson does not get SOS will there be any Latinos in Obama’s cabinet?

  • 10 webmaster // Nov 20, 2008 at 9:17 am


    People forget that Supreme Court justices are usually constitutional law scholars, former judges (jurists). Hillary Clinton has been none of those things. While I think that she would probably make some progressive choices on the high court, I don’t think that she’s a good choice for the Supreme Court because she hasn’t been immersed in con law. Remember, she was a corporate attorney representing Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, etc.

    Now, I kind of agree w/ Soledad’s point:

    “Let’s take a different look at Clinton’s vetting for Sec. of State. What if this is the only way Obama can reject her from a position in the Cabinet without incurring the wrath of her supporters? If Billary are vetted and Obama’s aides find too much in their past that might conflict with her work as Sec. of State, Obama has legitimate reasons for taking her off his list of possible appointees.”

    My hope is that there are too many skeletons in the collective Clinton closet for Billary (er Hillary) to get Sec of State. With Bill Clinton’s overseas business dealings, his hidden donors for his library, etc., it could pose a conflict of interest.

    Now will Gov. Napolitano in AZ getting DHS, I wonder where Bill Richardson will fit in, if at all.


    There could still be Latinos in lower level cabinet positions like Sec of Education, HUD, etc. We shall wait and see.

  • 11 Anna // Nov 20, 2008 at 11:21 am

    I really hope Hillary becomes SOS and is a huge star.


  • 12 Michaelr // Nov 20, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    I agree with you Anna. The world isn’t big enough for HRC’s ego and all the baggage Bill Clinton now lumbers around. Hopefully this is all strategic on Obama’s part to neutralize her malicious public behavior. Imagine all the Third World countries HRC won’t visit because they won’t have enough red velvet to roll out in front of her when she struts out of the Air Force One plane. All this illusion about her legislative productivity in the Senate just represents the political behavior we are hoping to permanently get rid of in DC. Her background as a corporate attorney for Tyson Foods and Wal-Mart would make her a controversial part of an administration claiming to truly change things in Washington DC. It’s literally an oxymoron, since she represents everything that the Bush Administration stood for, and practiced for eight years.

    I wonder why Federico Pena isn’t being considered for any cabinet post. He was one of the first high profile Latino politicians to publicly support Obama, and he’s one of the few nationally known Latino politicians whose public behavior hasn’t humiliated his public standing. He’s also qualified and intelligent, something that is lacking with our political representation in Washington DC

  • 13 Anna // Nov 20, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    He might be. There are still lots of posts that haven’t been filled.

  • 14 Mexitli // Nov 20, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Obama played Latinos like a cheap game of craps.

    Did Someone say “whiteboys” ?

  • 15 Anna // Nov 22, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    I disagree. The Republican Party imploded. It would have been stupid for us to have put McCain/Palin in office. The economy is going to get worse, and we know that the GOP uses racial rhetoric to divide and conquer–while they steal everything.

    Even if Obama turns out not to be everything I had hoped for, I’m still glad the Republican Party and their Southern Strategy are finished.

  • 16 Richard Kane // Nov 22, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    There is a systematic establishment effort to hem Obama in. Peace Action and Rabbi Lerner’s Jewish peace site are trying to challenge this but are mostly just urging people to contact the transition commission to urge people oriented appointees, no names.

    Meanwhile the Alternet, Truthout and Common Dreams are condemning without pushing for something better.

    Obama loves the middle ground which appears to shift, if one side isn’t pushing.

    Please give Peace Action, Rabbi Learner and those who appreciate Obama standing up against the death-squad government in Columbia and human rights earmarks in our trade laws some leadership and some inspiration.

    Richardson doesn’t need to quit his office just to be Commerce Secretary.

    Please give peace idealists and lefties, some material and inspiration to fight for Richardson for top diplomat. Libertarians would like his foreign policy almost as much as they would hate his policy on the as Commerce Secretary, so the entire movement can get on board and Hillary will be doing great domestic things by continuing as Senator from NY,
    Read earliest page of comments first,
    COMMENTS DON’T CLOSE ON Daily Kos and Capitol Hill Blue COMMENTS DON’T CLOSE ON Daily Kos and Capitol Hill Blue
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  • 17 Richard Kane // Nov 22, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Questions we should insist Hillary answer before she quits as Senator to run to become the head diplomat, to head the Department of State

    Many established figures want Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State. She and John McCain, during the debates, argued with Obama over aid to the death-squad government of Columbia and over human-rights earmarks in our trade laws.

    Question l, Hillary please tell us how the fact that you differ with Obama on certain policy affect how you perform at the Department of State. Second Question, President Bush and Condoleezza Rice humbled themselves before Arab monarchs, especially the King of Jordan. Madeleine Albright always wore a head scarf while visiting Arab lands. Do you think your role as top diplomat is to hold your head high and let the world know, that America doesn’t cow down to backward customs?

    If for some reason you are fired before four years are up with both your Senate and diplomatic career ruined, would you then engage in a vendetta against President Obama for destroying your life?

    Obama may have a tendency to engage in expensive human rights projects, just as the US economy may face utter and total collapse. Richardson’s sober insights, if serving as Secretary of State, could prevent Americans in the future from starving with only junk currency to spend.

    I admire the way Hillary gave up a lucrative legal career to become a child advocate, earlier the way as a law student struggled for fair trials. And her noble response to her husband’s personal transgressions. I would prefer she not be on the Supreme Court, but at least there I won’t fear a future of starving to death.

    Peace idealists, libertarians, leftists and Hispanics and sober Americans everywhere, let’s make Obama a great President, despite his desire to almost always head for the middle ground.

    And all Americans, let’s demand that no Congressional Representative quit serving in their job until confirmed in another one.

    Why is the Alternet, Common Dreams, and Truthout condemning the tentative appointments instead of lobbying for better one, like the lobbyists for established interests are doing. And where is George Soros now that we need him?

  • 18 Washington Wire - : Hispanic Bloggers: Richardson was Robbed // Dec 3, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    […] State job over Richardson, who has more demonstrable international experience. Los Blogueros and Latino Politics Blog expressed their disappointment in late November when the Clinton news first surfaced. ?Remember how […]

  • 19 Hispanic Bloggers: Richardson was Robbed | Barack Obama // Dec 4, 2008 at 12:11 am

    […] State job over Richardson, who has more demonstrable international experience. Los Blogueros and Latino Politics Blog expressed their disappointment in late November when the Clinton news first surfaced. “Remember […]

  • 20 Q & A with Nathan Gonzalez, author of Engaging Iran // Jun 22, 2009 at 10:58 am

    […] why I invited Nathan to participate on this blog is to bring some additional enlightenment, as Seneca has been able to do periodically chiming in about foreign policy […]

  • 21 Yesterday’s May Day Marches // May 2, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    […] both opined that the our power in Congress and overall representation in the federal bureaucracy is weak at best. For those of us who are citizens and of legal voting age and haven’t been convicted […]

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