Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hillary Clinton Never Met a War She Didn’t Want Other Americans to Fight

Hillary Clinton Never Met a War She Didn’t Want Other Americans to Fight

Never before were the two leading presidential candidates so disliked. Both major parties have nominated candidates that most Americans desperately want to reject.

There many reasons to oppose Hillary Clinton: a history of scandal, reaching back to Bill Clinton’s Arkansas governorship; greedy, grasping friendships with economic elites; and brutal partisan war against political opponents. She is smart, competent, and experienced, but so were Richard Nixon and Richard Cheney. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that she would put her virtues to good use as president. She almost certainly would lead America into more foolish wars. About the only reason to hope for a Clinton victory is her flawed opponent, Donald Trump.

Yet despite his many failings, he remains superior to Clinton when it comes to foreign policy. No one knows what Trump would do in a given situation, which means there is a chance he would do the right thing. In contrast, Clinton’s beliefs, behavior, and promises all suggest that she most likely would do the wrong thing, embracing a militaristic status quo which most Americans recognize has failed disastrously.

In fact, her proclivity for promiscuous war-making has attracted the support of leading Neoconservatives, including some architects of the disastrous Iraq war, which as Senator she voted to authorize. Some otherwise obscure Neocons even have appeared in her campaign ads. Her record of backing every recent U.S. military intervention is far more attractive than Trump’s intermittently blustering rhetoric to war-happy Republican hawks.

As my Cato Institute colleague Christopher Preble pointed out, “Clinton supported every one of the last seven U.S. military interventions abroad, plus two others we ended up fighting.” For instance, while First Lady she pushed for U.S. intervention in the Balkans—attacking the Bosnian Serbs and then Serbia. She was an enthusiastic war advocate, explaining: “I urged him [her husband] to bomb.” Alas, Bosnia remains badly divided while Kosovo has turned into a gangster state which, according to the New York Times, is “a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.” Oops.

She apparently took the same position toward Iraq, backing bombing that became almost routine during her husband’s administration. He also turned a humanitarian mission in Somalia into nation-building on the cheap, threatened a military invasion of Haiti to enforce regime change, launched a lengthy occupation of the faux state of Bosnia, and expanded NATO toward Russia. None of them were in America’s interest or turned out well, but Hillary Clinton apparently only objected to the Haiti misadventure. She was seen by aides as the most influential of the administration’s many ivory tower warriors, always available to lobby Bill to do more bombing and killing abroad.

Sen. Hillary Clinton supported the overbroad Authorization for Use of Military Force after September 11, which 15 years later the Obama administration claims as warrant for its very different war against the Islamic State. She strongly backed the Iraq invasion. Only after it turned out badly and threatened to damage her political career did she acknowledge her mistake. Of course, that was too late to retrieve the thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, and trillions of dollars squandered. At the same time, she said she was sorry for opposing the 2007 “surge” of troops, despite what Iraq became. Worse, a former State department aide reported that Clinton later announced she would not feel “constrained” in the future by the failure in Iraq. She apparently sees no need to learn from one’s mistakes.

Clinton supported the Obama administration’s decision to double down, twice, on its expensive yet failed nation-building mission in Afghanistan. She pushed for even higher troop levels than did President Obama. Clinton once warned about the ill consequences of drone strikes in Pakistan, became a strong supporter as secretary of state. Then she backed the administration’s drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen as well as Libya, Somalia, and Syria.

Clinton was more responsible than anyone else for America’s Libyan misadventure, another attempt at regime change on the cheap, though with a humanitarian gloss. She reportedly warned President Obama against allowing America to “be left behind” by not joining the foolish war parade in North Africa in early 2011. She responded to Moammar Qaddafy’s death with a joke, but the war left another failed state, host to Islamic State killers and convulsed by civil war.

Her insistence on the ouster of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad discouraged a negotiated settlement, but the administration provided his opponents with no practical means to oust him. Clinton advocated lethal aid to rebels, who displayed a dismaying tendency to surrender and turn weapons over to radial groups, including ISIS. She later urged direct U.S. military intervention in the form of a “no-fly” zone.

Clinton backed NATO expansion up to Russia’s borders, a policy guaranteed to poison bilateral relations. She further advocated including both Ukraine and Georgia, which would turn their next confrontation with Moscow into a potential nuclear war involving America. After leaving office she made the overwrought comparison of Russia’s annexation of Crimea with Nazi Germany and supported military aid to Ukraine, which would encourage Moscow to escalate accordingly.

Of her belligerent record Trump observed: “Sometimes it seemed like there wasn’t a country in the Middle East that Hillary Clinton didn’t want to invade, intervene in, or topple.” Indeed, as he suggested, she is “trigger-happy and very unstable.” This is one of the most important reasons Americans face a terrorist threat. While she previously contended that “We need a real plan for confronting terrorists,” she apparently failed to recognize how bombing, invading, and occupying other nations, supporting murderous foreign rulers, intervening in other countries’ conflicts, and killing foreign peoples all create enemies around the globe, some of whom retaliate against U.S. civilians.

Alas, her policies guarantee even more wars in the future. Every military action creates blowback, which is used to justify escalating involvement and new conflicts. Yet she believes that her mistakes entitle her to the presidency: “I’m proud to run on my record, because I think the choice before the American people in this election is clear.”

It is. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for more meddling, intervention, and war, with more dead Americans and wasted dollars, and ultimately even more meddling, intervention, and war.