So Far, So Good! (photo of Hillary Clinton with Thai PM Abhisit from BP)
It's pretty tough to fuck up diplomatic relations with a country that is generally welcoming of foreigners and has had friendly ties with the US for over 100 years. About the only way to do it would be to insult the King, knock over a Buddha statue during a drunken bender, or con your way out of a bar fine. And I'm proud to say our country's top diplomat has not done any of these losing-face gaffes as of 8:30pm in Bangkok. Uh, U-S-A, U-S-A. From Wall Street Journal:
Total trade between the U.S. and Asean exceeded $178 billion in 2008, and, in an opinion piece Mrs. Clinton wrote that was published in Bangkok newspapers Tuesday, she said "there is no doubt that our economies' fortunes and our nations' futures are more intertwined than ever before."The free trade stuff with Southeast Asia is all well and good, and she's trying to get the ASEAN countries to put the squeeze on the usual suspects (Islamic terrorists, North Korea, Burma), which is good as well. I'll give her bonus points if she can calm the country down about this CIA black site business.
Some regional analysts see the Asean grouping as the kernel of a broader free trade bloc spanning the Pacific and also encompassing China, Japan, South Korea. Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to sign a non-aggression pact with Asean in Phuket, as China did in 2003, which diplomats say could enable the U.S. to later enmesh itself within the so-called East Asia Summit group, which includes the ten Asean members plus trade partners China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia.
Believe it or not, besides her scary offical cabinet photo, I have a lot of confidence in Hillary as the Secretary of State. IMHO of a good diplomat, you need someone smart, well-educated, and the ability to be conniving and manipulative while putting on a bullshit smile, something Hillary Clinton has in droves.