Archive for February, 2009



Hillary Gets One Right

Published February 18th, 2009 by tcarpenter

I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton or her foreign policy views.  In the past, she has far too often been an advocate of U.S. military intervention in situations that have nothing to do with the security or well being of this country.  Her support for meddling in the civil wars in Bosnia and Kosovo during the 1990s were prime examples, as was her later endorsement of the congressional measure authorizing President George W. Bush to use force in Iraq.

But she has made the correct decision regarding her first trip abroad as secretary of state.  Instead of going to Europe, as most of her predecessors did, or going to the Middle East–a region that gets far too much attention from American foreign policy officials, she chose to go to East Asia.  Secretary Clinton is in the middle of that trip, having already made a stops in Japan and Indonesia.  Next, she travels to China and South Korea.

East Asia is already a crucial region for the United States, both diplomatically and economically, and it is likely to become more so in the coming decades.  My colleague, Leon Hadar, makes a strong case for giving that region a higher priority on the U.S. foreign policy agenda instead of obsessing over every development in the Middle East.  It’s refreshing to see signs that the Obama administration may be developing a more rational set of priorities.

The only other step Secretary Clinton should have taken was to put India on her itinerary.  In many respects, that country should be as important as China–perhaps even more so–to the United States.  Nevertheless, her first move as the steward of U.S. foreign policy has been a competent one.

The Fire Next Door: Drug Violence in Mexico

Published February 4th, 2009 by tcarpenter

While U.S. leaders focus on Afghanistan, Iran, and other problems in distant regions, there is an alarming security threat brewing right next door.  Violence in Mexico, mostly related to the trade in illegal drugs, is spiraliing out of control.  Even worse, it is apparent that the drug traffickers are winning their fight against the Mexican government.  The situation on our southern border has grown so bad that even the Marines at Camp Pendleton in southern California are now barred from spending their leave time in neighboring Tijuana because the city is too dangerous.

The drug violence in Mexico, and how it is spilling across the border into our own country, is the subject of my new policy study for the Cato Institute.  You can access it here.