Here is a thought experiment that does not take very much thought. Picture, if you will, Hillary Clinton facing a foreign-policy conundrum. With whom will she discuss it first and most intently: with her president or her husband? (I did tell you that this wouldn’t be difficult.) Here’s another one: Will she be swayed in her foreign-policy decisions by electoral considerations focusing on the year 2012, and, if so, will she be swayed by President Barack Obama’s interests or her own?
The next question, and I must apologize in advance for once again making it an un-strenuous one, is: Who else will be approaching Bill Clinton for advice, counsel, and “input” on foreign affairs? It appears from the donor list of the Clinton Foundation that there is barely an oligarch, royal family, or special-interest group anywhere in the world that does not know how to get the former president’s attention. Just in the days since the foundation agreed to some disclosure of its previously “confidential” clientsâ€šÃ„Ã®in other words, since this became a condition for Sen. Clinton’s nomination to become secretary of stateâ€šÃ„Ã®we have additionally found former President Clinton in warm relationships with one very questionable businessman in Malaysia and with another, this time in Nigeria, who used to have close connections with that country’s ultracorrupt military dictatorship.
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The Nigerian example is an especially instructive one. Gilbert Chagoury is a major figure in land and construction in that country and has contributed between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as arranged a huge speaking fee for President Clinton at a Caribbean event and kicked in a large sum to his 1996 re-election campaign. In return for this, he has been received at the Clinton White House and more recently at Clinton-sponsored social events in New York and Paris. This may have helped to alleviate the sting of Chagoury’s difficulties in Nigeria itself. As a close friend of the country’s uniformed despot Gen. Sani Abacha, he benefited from some extremely profitable business arrangements during the years of dictatorship but was later compelled, after an investigation of his transactions, to return an estimated $300 million to the Nigerian treasury in exchange for a plea-bargaining arrangement by which his bank accounts could be unfrozen.
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Christopher Hitchens – Slate