Monday, March 2, 2009

Hillary Clinton Talks to the Middle East

This weekend, Hillary Clinton arrived in the Middle East bearing gifts. In keeping with the Obama administration's pledge to facilitate peacemaking efforts between Israel and Palestine, the Secretary of State will present 300 million dollars in aid to war-torn Gaza as well as 600 million to the Palestinian Authority during an international donors' conference convened by Egypt.

In addition to providing financial help to the region, Clinton is slated to continue to encourage Israel to open its border crossings into Gaza so that much needed resources and aid can reach the region. Israel has been resistant to U.S. requests to relax its restrictions in fear that helping to rebuild Gaza will strengthen Hamas.

Analysts also predict that since the public largely supports newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in his staunch opposition to peace talks with Palestine, Clinton's efforts may be fruitless. This scenario provides the opportunity to discuss diplomacy and its effectiveness with students. According to Article II, Section 2 of the constitution, the president has the right to nominate and appoint, with the approval of the senate, ambassadors and other counsels to fulfill any need he deems appropriate both foreign and domestic.

Classroom discussion questions:
  • What is diplomacy?
  • Why is it important?
  • Why would the president appoint people to speak to other countries on his behalf instead of talking to them himself?

Have a discussion on how effective efforts at diplomacy actually are by analyzing recent examples such as the current situation in Israel, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

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