Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Clinton speaks; many shudder

I've always expected to be lied to by Hillary Clinton while she runs for President. I thought while campaigning she'd tack toward an apparently restrained stance in foreign policy. She'd show a decent respect for avoiding dumb wars that accords with the weariness of the electorate she needs to elect her.

And then she'd revert to her naturally bellicose -- yes, imperial -- instincts. But apparently she is so tone deaf, she just doesn't care. In her recent Atlantic interview with Jeffrey Goldberg she advertises her absolute fealty to Israeli brutality in Gaza:

... what you see on TV is so effectively stage-managed by Hamas, and always has been. ...

... There’s no doubt in my mind that Hamas initiated this conflict ... So the ultimate responsibility has to rest on Hamas and the decisions it made.

How's that for a heaping serving of Israeli talking points? No major U.S. political figure treats U.S. interests as more important than those of that brutish little apartheid state, but at least they should pretend to while running for office in their own country, don't you think?

Clinton seems to want a new cold (or hot?) war posture toward many adherents of Islam, the religion of two billion people around the world.

... what’s happening in the Middle East right now is because of the breakout capacity of jihadist groups that can affect Europe, can affect the United States. Jihadist groups are governing territory. They will never stay there, though. They are driven to expand. Their raison d'être is to be against the West, against the Crusaders, against the fill-in-the-blank—and we all fit into one of these categories.

How do we try to contain that? I’m thinking a lot about containment, deterrence, and defeat. You know, we did a good job in containing the Soviet Union, but we made a lot of mistakes, we supported really nasty guys, we did some things that we are not particularly proud of, from Latin America to Southeast Asia, but we did have a kind of overarching framework about what we were trying to do that did lead to the defeat of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Communism.

Apparently the experience of the last 13 years hasn't quite come through to her: propping up dictatorial kleptocracies and sending the Marines to clomp around in other people's countries makes jihadis instead of subduing them.

The bits of this interview I've pulled out are the same sensational ones that all the pundits are commenting on. There are other bits that seem much more grounded in good sense. You can read them yourself. But there's a reason for the prominence given to the bits many are reacting to -- presumptive Democratic president Hillary Clinton is scaring the hell out of a lot of people. Josh Marshall, no lefty, opines that the interview seems

... to be an effort on Hillary's part today to position herself as the candidate of what might be termed the moderate wing of the neoconservative foreign policy intelligentsia.

This sickening glimpse of what a Clinton presidency would be like does not change my personal stance about the 2016 election. I will work somewhere, somehow, to increase Democratic turnout and hence to elect her; I will not vote for her. As a Californian, I don't have to; the state's electors will not be in play. (I've never voted for DiFi either and am proud of that.)

For the last six years, those of us who oppose military adventures have enjoyed the comfort of knowing we had a president who understood that there were limits to the power of the U.S. empire. Despite some adventurism, this one was at least marginally responsive to the people's overwhelming desire to avoid more dumb wars. In this, Obama has been in tune with a majority of us. Clinton doesn't seem to understand she has to at least pretend to respect majority preferences. And I certainly don't hear in her the mature acquiescence to the realities of the world that is Obama's best feature on his better days. Clinton seems firmly in the "we make our own reality" camp.

I hope progressives can get ourselves geared up to take an active, critical stance toward a president our own constituencies will have a large role in electing. That takes some political sophistication. With Obama, too many advocacy groups held back; the miracle of electing an African-American president meant that the guy got a lot of slack from his own side that any other Democrat would not have enjoyed. Hillary isn't bothering to give us the expected false promises; reciprocally, we don't have to give her any particular deference.

It's good to see MoveOn has responded to the Clinton interview:

Secretary Clinton, and any other person thinking about seeking the Democratic nomination in 2016, should think long and hard before embracing the same policies advocated by right-wing war hawks that got America into Iraq in the first place and helped set the stage for Iraq’s troubles today. These hawkish policy stances are also threatening to undermine the peaceful international resolution of Iran’s nuclear program.

Voters elected President Obama in 2008 to bring the war in Iraq to an end. MoveOn members will continue to stand with elected officials who oppose military escalation that could put us back on a path to endless war.


Rain Trueax said...

I always vote for President. Since I was first given the privilege. It's often been disappointing (those choices), but I personally feel that it gives you a sense of responsibility to choose which candidate is best for the country-- when you really dislike both. I would not work for a candidate either where I could not vote for them. Doesn't that seem unfair to those you are telling to vote for her unless you also say-- but I wouldn't do it.

She might be better on domestic issues than the Republican (although who knows on that either), but it seems the military industrial complex has the parties tied to their best interests. She shows it with all she says.

For me, when she said our problem in the world is we don't tell our story right, I cringed. That is so republican and manifest destiny sounding. Ugh. I don't want her and will be donating to any Democrat who can viably run against her if she goes for it. To me her wantabe is Margaret Thatcher who I also didn't respect. But then I didn't like Bill either for what he did (did vote for him though); so this is not just a woman thing.

I still hope someone else will show up who is more viable but it seems the Democratic party wants her :( Very depressing regarding our nation's future, and the more I hear her talk, the worst my lack of hope gets

Hattie said...

Try to look at things from her viewpoint. She is rich and famous. She is a believer. She is a handmaiden of Destiny. How can we little people possibly understand?

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