Friday, June 12, 2009 Michael_Jackson_Talk_RadioMichael_Jackson_Talk_Radio

Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitalhen was the last time you read of good news with, probably, universal appeal, out of the Middle East? It is indeed a rare occurrence and that is what makes the outcome of the Lebanese parliamentary election stand out. Pro-Western forces scored a solid victory over Hezbollah. That should surely be considered a clear-cut over the militant group's supporters in Syria and Iran. The people of Lebanon have endured years of strife and now look for more peaceful times. To those critical of President Obama's outreach to the Muslim world, one might answer by claiming that he may well have undercut the extremists at the polls. Beyond that Vice President Joseph Biden's visit to Lebanon, just prior to the election, was a welcome show of support for the winning pro-Western coalition.

a peaceful approach

President Obama showed his wisdom when he sent his Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, to Beirut and Damascus. I'd ask Mr. Mitchell whether or not now would be the time to encourage Syrian peace talks with Israel. But it is still all in an embryonic stage. In our president's well-received speech in Cairo, President Obama held out the possibility of finding a way to work with Hezbollah. If that should happen it would make clear the message that the voters are weary of extremism.

Hezbollah should listen.

Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitalt's a year since Hillary Clinton conceded the nomination to Barack Obama. It has been four months since she became his Secretary of State. Our former first lady and New York senator has settled into her office and her role as the top diplomat for the president, who seems amply adept at being his own global ambassador. In USA Today there was a cover story headlined "In a supporting role, Clinton takes a low-key approach at State Dept.". As the Secretary recently said, "I feel very much in the center of helping to devise the policies, carry out the policies, pick the people who will implement the policies."

Recently Hillary Rodham Clinton won a small diplomatic victory in Honduras at San Pedro Sula. The issue was Cuba and she and her team persuaded 33 other governments not to allow Cuba back into the OAS without a process that respects the group's charter language on democracy. It was tough going and is a true victory for the State Department.

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