Madam Secretary

Odds, ends, and office decor at Foggy Bottom on a Friday

Odds, ends, and office decor at Foggy Bottom on a Friday

Here’s a dose of odds-and-ends Hillary news to get you through the weekend.

  • Hillary Clinton today hosted former Secretary of State George P. Shultz (after whom I named my beloved stuffed dog when I was 8 — I was a strange kid) at the State Department today. When asked what counsel or advice he would give Clinton, he talked of his efforts in redecorating the building.
  • Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, speaking in Davos today, declared himself "reassured" after his phone conversation with Hillary Clinton, telling reporters, "We’ve been reassured by the new administration that there wouldn’t be any quick disengagement, there wouldn’t be any quick withdrawal or irresponsible decisions and this has been very, very encouraging."
  • Reports that Hillary Clinton’s first trip abroad will be to Asia aside, the Greek newspaper Ta Nea is reporting that Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis expects to meet with Hillary Clinton in late March or early April. This would correspond with the timing of the supposed meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov prior to the G-20 Summit in London, indicating that her potential second trip could well be a swing through the European capitals.
  • There are a few more hints that Hillary Clinton and the State Department intend to wrest back dominance in the China policy arena from the Treasury Department. In today’s press briefing, acting spokesman Robert Wood said:

    Well, this Department has been very engaged in dealing with a wide range of elements of our bilateral policy with China. And the Secretary, as you noted, is very interested in making sure that our relationship with China is not so over-focused on the economic side, because there’s so many other elements to that bilateral relationship, you know, the human rights issues, political, security, military issues. And so it’s a key relationship for the United States. And China can certainly play a very, very positive role in the world. And we want to try to help move China in a much more positive direction in terms of some of the issues that we are dealing with, as the international community is dealing with. And you know, certainly, we’d love to see China do more to help on the ground in Darfur, for example.

    So the Secretary will have discussions with her counterpart at some point in the future, and it’s a high priority for her. So we’ll be able to let you know more once policies start to really develop.

Seems like Clinton is expecting Tim Geithner to focus on fixing the domestic economy and leave the diplomacy to her. Sounds like a plan to us.