The White House is using Bill Clinton as its fixer, having him run around the country offering political bribes to get candidates Obama doesn’t want out of races and to buck up those Obama likes.
Fine. It’s not exactly dignified, but if an ex-president wants to play political operative, that’s his perogative.
But who appointed or confirmed Bill Clinton as a U.S. diplomat?
It appears that Bubba, at a sensitive moment in U.S.-Russian relations, had a private meeting Tuesday with Vladimir Putin in Moscow. What they discussed is anyone’s guess. Is he doing business for himself? Is he doing business on behalf of any of his wealthy benefactors? If so, Putin, as king of the Russian Mafia, can be a big help.
The problem is that to many Americans and certainly to the rest of the world, it would appear Clinton is representing the United States government. In Russia, where control from the top is thorough, a Putin relative, for example, would never do anything without sanction from on high. Russians think everything political is done for a reason, and they certainly see Bill as Obama’s man in Moscow.
And who knows what messages he indeed is carrying for Hillary and Barack. Do any of these efforts intersect with his many opaque business dealings?
Which brings us to the incredible sight of Clinton yucking it up while Putin belittles the U.S. arrest of ten Russian spies.
“You’ve chosen the right time to come to Moscow. I hear your police have gotten carried away and put people in jail,” said Putin during their joint appearance before the cameras. The remark elicited a hearty laugh from Clinton.
Now, we in the United States know that Clinton is just a smooth operator and a get-along type who likes to seem as agreeable as possible to everyone. But this laughter certainly projects to Russia and the world that the United States believes it did wrong by collaring these Russian agents. The exchange was played repeatedly on Russian TV, priceless material for the Russian propaganda machine.
Here’s some more what Clinton said when he and Putin appeared before the cameras just prior to their meeting.
I have asked the U.S. Embassy several times to do their best to help Russia become the member of the WTO. I have a very positive opinion of the agreement on nuclear weapons. And I think President Medvedev has had a good meeting in America.
Really? Is he asking the embassy on behalf of the United States or for the many U.S. tycoons who want Russia into the WTO. How do Russians interpret this? Do the Russkies see a sure signal that their WTO effort is good as gold and they can make fewer concessions to get in?
Apparently, Putin also invited Clinton to visit some Godforsaken Russian outpost in the Arctic. It appears the invitation was serious. But it might also be perfect display of the deeply ironic Russian sense of humor: send Slick Willie to the North Pole.
Putin hinted as much.
Clinton: I’m happy that you invited me through my wife to visit the Arctic and Bear Island (Alexandra Land in Franz Josef Land). I’d love to visit it.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, to work with polar bears. This is quite possible. We can discuss this today.
Maybe he can get some Russian Eskimos to contribute to the Clinton Foundation.