Hillary Clinton’s serial foreign policy blunders over Libya, Syria, China, or otherwise as secretary of state should torpedo her presidential ambitions.
She stupidly scorned the foreign policy wisdom in the long-headed Farewell Addresses of Presidents George Washington and Dwight D. Eisenhower. They warned against entanglements abroad and the influence of the military-industrial complex towards objectless wars.
Clinton, however, championed a virtually lunatic “humanitarian” conflict against Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi, and a military entanglement to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that would strenghthen the Islamic State or the equally terrorist-minded Al-Nusra Front.
In pre-war years, Libya’s Gaddafi had renounced support for international terrorism, abandoned weapons of mass destruction, and paid compensation for the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. He was an ally in opposing al- Qaeda and radical Islam. He was unthreatening to the United States. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified that Libya was not a “vital interest.”
Even a school child could see that to overthrow Gaddafi would steel Iran and North Korea against renouncing their nuclear ambitions; would open his stockpile of conventional weapons to Islamic radicals throughout the Middle East; and, would cause chaos and strife to ensue among tribal, ethnic, sectarian, or secular militias enabling penetration of Libya by al-Qaeda or the Islamic State.
Clinton’s memoir Hard Choices shows that she was clueless as to the Pandora’s Box that would be opened by overthrowing Gaddafi, like a child ignorant of the dangers of a Kalashnikov rifle. The multiple adversities that should have been foreseen have come home to roost.
Iran has refused to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for a relaxation of economic sanctions. North Korea has enhanced its nuclear arsenal and delivery vehicles. Gaddafi’s conventional arms have fallen into the hands of our enemies. Libya splintered into hundreds of ethnic or tribal-based militias or terrorist groups and was left without a functioning government. United States Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in a terrorist attack along with three other Americans at Benghazi. Clinton absurdly denied that motivation for the killings mattered in sputtering, “What difference at this point does it make?” But motivation distinguishes terrorism, i.e., an intent to intimidate a civilian population or coerce a government, from ordinary criminality. Since the terrorist murders, our Libyan embassy personnnel has been evacuated. A massive refugee crisis developed in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Tens of thousands of civilians died amidst the convulsions unleashed by Gaddafi’s overthrow, including black Africans massacred and tortured by Libyan rebels.
Clinton’s staggering stupidity over Libya was repeated in Syria. She placed President Assad in her cross-hairs for human rights violations (a threshold for war that would have the United States fighting more than half the world, including Russia and China). She urged President Obama to intervene militarily in Syria’s hornet’s nest of violence long before he dispatched troops there. Clinton maintains: “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were originators of the protests against Assad–there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle–the failure to do that left a vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”
But the United States has no more national security interest in overthrowing Assad than it did in toppling Gaddafi. He opposes radical Islam. He has kept peace with Israel. His human rights violations are the common in the Middle East–in the same class as found in Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Moroever, the so-called “moderates” Clinton discerns among Assad’s opponents are an optical illusion. There are none. Assad’s enemies do not subscribe to due process, a separation of powers, freedom of speech, press, religion, or association, or the rule of law. Clinton’s recommendations to arm and ally with Assad’s opponents invites a reprise of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
There, a broad coalition of political forces joined to overthrow the corrupt and brutal Shah Mohammed Rezi Pahlevi. The revolution was predictably hijacked by the extremist forces of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the United States is living with the grim consequences today, including Iran’s nuclear program.
If Assad is overthrown–as Clinton wishes–his replacement will be even worse for the United States, i.e., the Islamic State or the Al-Nusra Front.
As recounted in Hard Choices (pp. 45-46), Clinton’s “pivot” of United States military forces to Asia was as ill-conceived as her anti-Gaddafi and anti-Assad ebullitions. It inflamed bilateral relations with China, and gratuitously thrust the United States into its maritime disputes with Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
China’s military is only a shadow of the Pentagon, and doesn’t threaten our national security. As Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates elaborated, “any… defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia… ‘should have his head examined,’” quoting General Douglas MacArthur.
In sum, Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy incompetence should disqualify her from the presidency. She does not understand the philosophical foundations of the nation that made it exceptional from all others, as then Secretary of State John Quincy Adams elaborated in his July 4, 1821 address to Congress:
“America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.”
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