- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday said the Bush administration is building its foreign policy on “a bedrock of fear” in the United States and strenuously defended taking a multilateral approach to Iraq and around the world.

She said that at times, it seems as though the administration wants to anger other nations, adding that the administration seems to be saying, “In fact, we hope you don’t like it because that will make us feel even stronger.”

Mrs. Clinton, New York Democrat, who has visited both Iraq and Afghanistan and sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Brookings Institution yesterday that her experiences have shown her that the president needs to put more troops in both countries.

In a 45-minute address on foreign policy, she said the president’s failures go beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to include trouble spots throughout the world. In particular, she criticized the laissez-faire approach to the Middle East and said Mr. Bush has raised the risks involved with North Korea’s nuclear program.

“We have dithered for two years while we risk that North Korea becomes the first nuclear Wal-Mart,” she said.

And she said the administration has built its foreign policy on “a bedrock of fear” among Americans.

“We do not want to become a people obsessed with the color of [terror] alerts,” she said.

She called for a broad review of the U.S. military, saying that she thinks troop strength will have to be boosted and that the mix of U.S. troops should be changed to increase civil-affairs personnel and military police.

Mrs. Clinton, who supported authorizing the president to use force in Iraq, was particularly pointed in saying the administration is moving too quickly to turn over sovereignty there.

“We have a date, but not a destination,” she said. “We should not adhere slavishly to an artificial deadline if it creates chaos and unraveling in Iraq.”

Mrs. Clinton found fault with Mr. Bush’s policies almost across the board, though she did praise Mr. Bush for following through on the Millennium Challenge Accounts, which offer U.S. aid to nations that can prove they are making progress in developing good government and human rights.

She proposed spending more money to boost homeland security and international assistance, including $500 million a year to create a global education fund to help education in other nations, particularly as a way to reduce the influence of madrassas, radical Islamic schools.

“We need to do more to combat the influence of hatred and bias. With respect to education, we are doing too little around the world,” she said.

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