Readers who have followed me both here on Unz.com and also at The American Conservative should have no doubt about my feelings regarding the Clintons. In 1980s Bill’s global transgressions while a peripatetic Arkansas governor even became known to me when I was a CIA officer serving in Europe, a tale best left untold, and in my opinion the Clintons have always combined an oddly selective personal morality with an all-consuming sense of entitlement.
It has been credibly reported that the Clintons (Chelsea included) used to refer to the Secret Service Agents assigned to guard them as “pigs,” an unimaginable slur coming from a president regarding his own protection detail. That sort of counterculture contempt for others fed the miasma of sleaze and corruption that accompanied Bill and Hillary when in office. The dissimulation about Monica Lewinsky engaged in by both Clintons coupled with the sheer driving ambition that they exhibited were unseemly to say the least and the thought of the Clintons redux as something like an Imperial Dynasty in Washington should be enough to keep anyone awake at night.
Last week was a typical wallow in Clinton excess. Bill spoke at Union County College in New Jersey. He said that “white, non-college-educated Americans need to be brought along to the future” and stop trying to “reclaim the past.” It was a familiar bit of racist condescension, making clear that in the mind of the Clintons the Trump supporters are backward and not very smart, and it was only lacking key words like “redneck” or “white trash” to make the point more emphatic. It was a sneer worthy of Barack Obama’s dismissal of flyover America’s connections to guns and Bibles or Hillary’s putdown of women who choose to stay at home to raise their children and “bake cookies or do teas.” The future that Bill foresees, as he made clear in his speech, is “an inclusive, non-divisive America — an America that is oriented towards our future greatness, not trying to reclaim a past that is past and gone.” It is, in short, an America that needs to abandon its own culture and values in exchange for a globalism and multiculturalism that has worked so well in many places, just ask the Europeans. Or better still ask the Clintons, who have become very, very rich off it.
So the Clintons see their future tied to a mishmash of a country that is, a possible contradiction in terms, both “inclusive” and “diverse,” which will keep them and their like in power for the foreseeable future as opposed to a nation guided by citizens yearning for a “past” in which Americans were safe in their communities, sent their kids to good schools and had well-compensated jobs with health and pension benefits. Normally I would respond “So what?” as a Bill Clinton vision is inevitably some kind of pander, but the real danger of a Hillary in power comes with her consistently belligerent view of America’s role in the world, her own track record while in office, and her apparent willingness to create international conflicts where none are called for. Though Hillary is not so insane as to want to risk a nuclear war, she embraces policies that incrementally increase tension with Russia and could easily produce one. In that respect, she is far more dangerous than either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.
Hillary’s foreign policy speech delivered in San Diego California last Thursday was in part a bowdlerized and embellished synopsis of her record but it was more than that a political statement. It was delivered in front of a massed array of American flags to a carefully selected audience, full of sound bites and laugh lines that will no doubt be excerpted and turned into campaign material. The speech was intended to highlight her “experience” vis-à-vis Bernie Sanders (who hopefully will trounce her in California today) and to dismiss Donald Trump as unfocused, ill-informed and dangerous: so “thin-skinned” that he might start a nuclear war on a whim. Even though the version of Hillary-confronts-the world is largely nonsense, it is inevitably being heralded by neoconservatives and the mainstream media, all fearful that either Bernie or The Donald will be elected and put an end to the corrupt and self-serving status quo.
The Clinton speech began with a gushing tribute to “our men and women in uniform,” obligatory as it was Memorial Day week. Whether the Clintons genuinely respect soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen is, of course, questionable as both came out of the antiwar movement and Bill personally engaged in fraud to dodge the draft by signing up with ROTC to obtain a deferment and then declining to participate. Hillary meanwhile tried to ban military uniforms in the White House when Bill was president.
As a sop to the military in the audience, Hillary also said “A President has a sacred responsibility to send out troops into battle only if we absolutely must, and only with a clear and well-thought-out-strategy,” an assertion contradicted by her public statements on Syria and her actions in Libya which demonstrate little regard for either U.S. personnel or for the poor bastards on the receiving end. People do change, however, and it is possible that Bill and Hillary now have a more appreciative and protective view of America’s armed forces, particularly as it is politically important to be perceived as friendly to the Pentagon and its interests if one wants to get elected president.
Hillary’s speech took credit for several initiatives that she was only marginally involved in, to include the Iran nuclear deal and the START agreement with Russia. Given Hillary’s beyond close ties to Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu it is unlikely that she would have come to any agreement with Iran if the choice had been hers to make, but fortunately it was in the hands of President Obama and John Kerry. She has vowed to “enforce that deal vigorously” by means of “distrust and verify,” which some have interpreted as a readiness to modify or revoke the agreement once in office. She, later on in her speech, explicitly cited a willingness to go to war with Iran if necessary.
The Clinton speech repeatedly lambasted Trump for his sensible lack of confidence in America’s extensive series of alliances, most particularly NATO, without which, per Hillary, numerous enemies and ISIS would be “emboldened.” And she also criticized Trump for his willingness to deal with “dictators” in Russia, China and North Korea. Per Hillary, “Moscow has taken aggressive military action in Ukraine, right on NATO’s doorstep,” a complete reversal of reality as it is NATO that has expanded to Russia’s doorstep and it was Hillary’s protégé at the State Department Victoria Nuland who schemed to overthrow the Ukrainian government, starting the crisis that continues to this day.
Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, Hillary made a point of including in her foreign policy resume her standing up for “the rights of women, religious minorities and LGBT people around the world.” These are not legitimate foreign policy issues per se but they are important constituencies in the Democratic Party as long as one does not include Christians among the religious minorities. Hillary’s aggressive position on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom she has pledged to remove, would lead to the destruction of one of the few remaining vibrant Christian communities in the Middle East. As George W. Bush ignored the destruction of Iraq’s Christians and the Israelis have long since driven out nearly all of the Palestinian Christians, the birthplace of Christianity has become virtually Christian-free due to U.S. policy.
Hillary’s claimed standing up for the rights of women and LGBT is also suspect and begs for an answer to “When and where?” Attempts to enforce “liberation” of women in Afghanistan have failed utterly and it is difficult to find an instance where U.S. State Department objection to foreign sexual conventions has had any effect apart from making policymakers in Washington feel good about their efforts.
The Clinton speech avoided mention of the possible consequences of her hardline on Syria, where she threatens to make the same interventionist mistakes that she made in Libya only worse. Her promotion of a no-fly zone in Syria would guarantee going head-to-head with the Russian and Syrian air forces, dramatically escalating the crisis. Instead of talking about Syria directly, she instead prefers to discuss ISIS, but the Syrian problem is ISIS. And toppling al-Assad will only provide ISIS and the al-Qaeda affiliates with more options in the power vacuum that will inevitably develop. Hillary also avoided mentioning Libya, the greatest foreign policy disaster of her term in office, an intervention for which she proved to have been the principal driving force.
Hillary inevitably mentioned Israel twice, once attacking Trump for saying that he would “stay neutral” on Israel’s security, which is in fact a distortion of what Trump did say as he was referring to negotiations with the Palestinians, not security. She added “In particular, Israel’s security is non-negotiable. They’re our closest ally in the region, and we have a moral obligation to defend them,” demonstrating that for a “seasoned diplomat” Hillary nevertheless errs in her terminology as Israel is not an ally and the “moral obligation” to defend them lacking any genuine U.S. interest has never been demonstrated. It might be presumed that her concern is somehow related to the fact that the principal funder of her PAC is Haim Saban, an Israeli-American billionaire who has said that he is a one issue man and that issue is Israel.
Hillary’s speech, full of the contradictions and omissions that I have noted above, was based on the conjoined principles that America is “exceptional” and “if America doesn’t lead, we leave a vacuum – and that will either cause chaos, or other countries will rush in to fill the void.” It epitomizes the failure of both Republicans and Democrats during the past fifteen years. Promoting American leadership is a formula for continued interventionism and international bullying, the kind of interference in other countries that has spelled disaster, and it reinforces the impression that Hillary will be business as usual or even worse when it comes to foreign and national security policy since she is markedly more aggressive than Obama. If she and her husband meanwhile succeed in building the diverse political coalition that Bill envisions to sustain their personal grip on power it will be a long nightmare for most of us. Can we look forward to a President Chelsea Clinton?