5 Most Hawkish Positions Embraced by Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton is a hawk who wants to further militarize American foreign policy. A Clinton White House could mean disastrous consequences for Americans and those overseas who will be most impacted by her policies. If you think Obama’s policies of drone strikes and Special Operations troops around the world are bad, just wait for Clinton.
In early August, former Secretary of State Clinton laid out her war-mongering foreign policy to the mainstream journalist perhaps most receptive to her ideas: the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, the former Israeli prison guard who famously promoted the Iraq War and predicted that Israel would bomb Iran in 2011. While Clinton’s ideas may be out of touch with the American people, who are weary of more war, she wants to appeal to the Democratic establishment and the pro-war, pro-Israel donors who sustain it.
Here are five of Clinton’s worst foreign policy ideas.
1. Arming Syrian rebels. While she was Secretary of State, Clinton pushed for stepping up U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war by arming the rebels fighting against Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. eventually did end up arming Syrian fighters, but the effort has been kept on a tight leash that has not come close to shifting battlefield dynamics.
In her interview with Goldberg, Clinton said that the U.S. should have armed the Free Syrian Army when the uprising began in 2011. That would have deeply enmeshed the U.S. in a civil war that pitted Assad versus a fractured opposition that also included radical Islamists with ties to Al Qaeda. While the Syrian opposition also included those who wanted a true democracy, they are not the most effective fighters. As Middle East analyst Marc Lynch wrote in the Washington Post, following Clinton’s strategy would have meant a raging war, much as it is today, but with deeper U.S. involvement.
2. Pressuring Iran. Clinton’s interview with Goldberg included some hardline thoughts on the current negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. She told the Atlantic that “I’ve always been in the camp that held that they did not have a right to enrichment. Contrary to their claim, there is no such thing as a right to enrich.” She said what the Gulf Arab states and Israel want in an Iran deal was not unrealistic.
This position would likely mean the scuttling of any deal with Iran—a deal that would ease tensions in the Middle East and stave off the possibility of a war with the Islamic Republic. Iran is looking for an agreement that would preserve its desire to enrich some uranium. Clinton wants to put the kibosh on that.
3. Supporting Israel no matter what. A book on Clinton reported that during Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2012, which killed 167 Palestinians, 100 of them civilians, the Secretary of State told colleagues, “We’ve gotta support Israel 110 percent here.”
Clinton also came out swinging in support of Israel during the just-concluded war in Gaza, which killed over 2,100 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians. In her interview with Goldberg, she said that “Israel was attacked by rockets from Gaza. Israel has a right to defend itself," ignoring that Israel ramped up tensions in Gaza by cracking down on Hamas in the West Bank after three teenagers were kidnapped and killed by Palestinians.
Clinton also agreed that Israel has a reason to hold onto the occupied West Bank indefinitely. “If I were the prime minister of Israel, you’re damn right I would expect to have control over security [on the West Bank].”
4. Endless war on terror. Thirteen years after September 11, it is clear the “war on terror" has failed. In fact, it has produced more terrorist groups, including the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Born out of the wreckage of Iraq after the U.S. invaded in 2003, the group has captured a swath of territory stretching from Iraq to Syria.
But Clinton does not recognize that war has done nothing to stop terrorism. She told the Atlantic that “one of the reasons why I worry about 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...How do we try to contain that? I’m thinking a lot about containment, deterrence and defeat.”
5. Libya intervention. Clinton was a strong advocate for the Obama administration’s 2011 intervention in Libya. Cast as a humanitarian mission to save Libyans from slaughter at the hands of Muammar Gaddafi, it quickly turned into a NATO-led regime change. Qaddafi was overthrown and a new government was formed.
But since then, Libya has turned into a mess. Fighting between rival militias has broken out across the country. The New York Times recently reported that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates bombed Libya in a move aimed at Islamist militias they are opposed to. Libya has become the latest front in the proxy wars ripping the Middle East apart, proving that the intervention Clinton backed is far from a success story.