As a journalist, I'm always fascinated when -- and how -- the British press knows things about America before we do, as in this report in the Guardian that Hillary Clinton will indeed become Barack Obama's secretary of state. Not sure what to make of that; clearly she's qualified for the job -- even if her diplomacy "baptism under fire" wasn't quite what she made it out to be. And the fact that her biggest decision in the foreign policy arena was also her worst, voting to authorize the Iraq war in 2002, now seems like ancient history after the brutal and endless presidential campaign.

I still have a hard time getting around this, however. Earlier today, Bill Clinton said his wife would be an excellent choice for the job. No surprise there, but the issue isn't so much what he said but where he said it, in Kuwait City, where he was giving yet another big bucks speech, this time to the National Bank of Kuwait. Indeed, the husband of the woman who would be secretary of state has spent much of the last eight years spinning a web of foreign entanglements, from speaking and consulting fees to huge donations to his library and the Clinton Global Initiative and an array of other causes.

Notes a different British newspaper (sigh):

— Mr Clinton is not required to reveal the list of donors, and has consistently refused to do so. Known foreign benefactors include the King of Morocco, the governments of Kuwait and Qatar, the Saudi Royal Family and the son-in-law of Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine’s deposed President.


— One of the most controversial issues involved Mr Clinton’s dealings with Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining executive. It has been alleged that the former President helped him to win a uranium-mining contract in Kazakhstan. Months afterwards a foundation run by Mr Giustra donated $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Ugh. If it were Bill Clinton himself up for secretary of state, I think he's too far gone. In the case of Hillary Clinton, however, the bare minimum here is full disclosure of all of Bill's post-presidency business dealings, especially with foreign nationals, and a pledge to refrain from any such activities while his wife is at the State Department. When the dust settles, I'd love to see legislation that would bar ex-presidents from cashing in, in the manner that Bill Clinton (and other ex-POTUSes like Reagan) has done. I doubt that will happen, though. In fact, I think the Newspaper Economic Relief Act of 2009 has a better chance of becoming law.