In a sickening irony U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose to announce while she was attending a conference on Afghanistan's future that she had "serious concerns" about Russia's election process.
So Mrs Clinton is concerned that there were voting irregularities in a Russian election, is she? Here are some of my concerns about the U.S. Department of State:
1. I am concerned that State fully supported the U.S. military's COIN/nation building approach in Afghanistan even while knowing that the majority of attacks on U.S. troops in the country were not an insurgency but a proxy war mounted and overseen by Pakistan's junta -- a proxy war unwittingly paid for, over the course of a decade, by the American public.
2. I am concerned that State supported what it knew was a fundamentally flawed U.S. war plan in Afghanistan and did so because the COIN/nation building approach meant a greater role for the State Department in the Afghan War and thus, a bigger congressionally-mandated budget.
3. I am concerned that State supported initiatives mounted by NGOs and GONGOs in this country and Europe meant to destabilize Russia's government, and that State continued the support even after it was clear that (a) Pakistan was leveraging its transport route for NATO supplies in order to block NATO military action against Taliban and other Pakistan-based terrorist groups, and (b) the best countermeasure was to seek cooperation from Russia's government in using a transport route that didn't go through Pakistan.
4. I am concerned that it took years longer than should have been necessary for the U.S. to secure Russian permission and influence in former Soviet republics to set up a transport route for delivering NATO supplies to Afghanistan that avoided Pakistan.
5. I am concerned that State continues to support the British project, launched at least as early 2004, to cut power-sharing deals with Taliban that are under the control of Pakistan's junta and thus give Pakistan de facto control of Afghanistan.
6. I'm concerned about State's motives for supporting the British project, which has wreaked utter havoc on Afghanistan, caused an unconscionable loss of life among British and American troops serving there, and made the Afghan War virtually unwinnable for NATO.
That's just the short list and it conveys only my most pressing concerns about the conduct of the U.S. Department of State.
If State argues it can't be held responsible because it doesn't write U.S. foreign policy and military strategy -- what kind of policy is it, what kind of strategy can it be called, when you're aware that your government knowingly pays another to murder and maim the very troops sworn to protect your life and your nation? This is not a policy or strategy issue. This is about demonstrating baseline human decency, as did the British military officers who resigned their commands to protest their government's betrayal of British troops in Afghanistan.
So I'd say that at this juncture the Secretary of State should be less concerned about human rights abuses in Russia and more concerned about the conduct of the agency she heads. The conduct has helped make a mockery of human rights in Afghanistan and the United States and specifically in the treatment of Americans serving tours of duty in Afghanistan and the Afghans serving in their country's military. And that's not even mentioning the mayhem that State has helped unleash on Pakistan.
Given all that, how dare Mrs Clinton lecture foreign governments about human rights abuses? First lecture Washington on its disregard for the lives of American troops, but only after State has straightened out its own priorities.