On Sunday January 27, 2013, the historic, joint interview of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aired on CBS’s legendary show 60 Minutes. The interview was conducted by Steve Kroft, and the Secretary of State and the President once again showed the entire world how their ability to work together was certainly not a fluke, as the two former political rivals now turned partners complimented each other so naturally that it almost seemed automatic.
Now overall, Kroft conducted a good interview with some decent questions, but when he told Obama and Clinton that their administration’s foreign policy cupboards are bare when it comes to a significant success in that field, one has to wonder which planet he was on and which cave has he been lost in for the past four years.
“This administration, I mean, you've generally gotten high marks. You've generally gotten very high marks, particularly from the voters for your handling of foreign policy. But there's no big, singular achievement that—in the first four years—that you can put your names on. What do you think the biggest success has been, foreign policy success, of the first term?”
Was Kroft serious? Is his political memory that short? Now Obama answered Kroft’s critical question by focusing on the administration’s ability to wind down the two wars, because ending something as monumentally draining as the Iraq War should not be treated like a minor accomplishment.
And although Obama talked about crippling the core leadership of Al Qaeda during his first four years with the help of Clinton, the argument could have been made and should have been made that the signature foreign policy achievement was the killing of Osama Bin Laden in a hostile, double-dealing country like Pakistan.
Compared to the trillion-dollar goose chase known as the search for weapons of mass destruction that was unleashed by the Bush 43 administration, it is arguable that the killing of Bin Laden should be viewed as the greatest foreign policy triumph since the Cold War talks between President Reagan and Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Whether it was Arianna Huffington marginalizing the Bin Laden killing calling it “despicable” for the Obama administration to politicize it in an ad, or Mitt Romney when he said that “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order” (referring to taking the kill shot on Bin Laden), or when President Bush 43 downplayed Bin Laden by saying:
“Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not. We haven't heard from him in a long time. I don't know where he is. I really just don't spend that much time on him, to be honest with you,”
the killing of the world’s top terrorist who inflicted one of the deadliest attacks on American soil has continually been treated like a fat husband taking out the garbage on a Monday night.
There is no way that Kroft doesn’t understand the importance of the Bin Laden killing, and he should have asked a question about it, and either Obama or Clinton should have brought it up.
Steve Kroft is either a moron or a racist, because in all likelihood there is no way that he would have conducted that same interview with President Bush 43, alongside Dick Cheney or Condoleezza Rice and then said that their administration had no “big, singular” foreign policy achievement if they had been the ones who oversaw the Bin Laden killing, and the same could be said for the minimizing statements of Arianna Huffington and Mitt Romney. People would have been carrying Bush 43 off of the political field like he'd won the Super Bowl.
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton deserve the administrative credit for the Bin Laden killing, just as any other administration would have gotten and would still be getting, because it is the strategical riskiness of the enormous uncertainty involved with successfully getting from point A in Afghanistan over into the treacherousness of point B in Pakistan that is the signature, foreign policy coup for the Obama administration, and it’s hard to believe that a seasoned, award-winning journalist like Kroft honestly fails to comprehend that point!
After all, if the slaying of Bin Laden is truly as inconsequential as so many of these naysayers have suggested, instead of risking their lives to take out Bin Laden, maybe the Navy SEALs should have just gone over and shook his hand and offered him the keys to another airplane, so Steve Kroft could have booked himself a first-class seat!