«Queen of Chaos»: How Clinton’s Presidency Will Impact US Foreign Policy (II)
Peter KORZUN | 22.03.2016 | WORLD / Americas

«Queen of Chaos»: How Clinton’s Presidency Will Impact US Foreign Policy (II)

See Part I

Hillary Clinton was a leading voice in helping persuade Obama to back a NATO operation in Libya allegedly to head off a possible physical extermination of opposition fighters by then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Even after the lesson of Iraq, Mrs Clinton had no plan after the Gaddafi's regime fell. Libya tumbled into instability; it is torn by tribal divisions and has become a haven for extremists like the Islamic State. The chaos precipitated the murder of US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans on September 11, 2012 by an anti-US mob in Benghazi.

From the onset of the Libyan civil war, both the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency determined that there was no discernible US national security interest in Libya. Then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and then-Director of Central Intelligence Leon Panetta advised against US military intervention in Libya. Both argued that this was neither wise nor prudent, given the enormity of the US debt and the inability to finance such military interventions, but Hillary Clinton managed to prevail upon the President to make him do it her way.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates resigned in anger after failing to stop Clinton’s war. As he frustratingly explained to The Daily Beast: «We were playing it by ear».

Actually, Mrs Clinton was using the State Department to start a war while the military was trying to use diplomacy to prevent it.

She is not popular with the servicemen because she usurped a defense matter and abandoned Americans in Benghazi. She did nothing to implement improved security measures at the Consulate that might have saved the lives of Ambassador Stevens and the other victims. That came to the surface when ex-US Senator Jim Webb called out Hillary Clinton for her «inept leadership» in Libya. «Our next commander in chief must define a strategic vision for the country and accept accountability for past actions. Hillary Clinton should be called to account for her inept leadership that brought about the chaos in Libya, and the power vacuums that resulted in the rest of the region… While she held that office, the US spent about $2 billion backing the Libyan uprising against Gaddafi. The uprising, which was part of the Arab Spring, led directly to Gaddafi being removed from power and killed by rebel forces in 2011. Now some 2,000 ISIS terrorists have established a foothold in Libya… For a Secretary of State (and a Presidential administration) this is foreign policy leadership at its worst», writes Webb, a highly decorated Marine combat veteran who was Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan.

With the chaos to follow after the regime change, weapons from Libya have also gone to Boko Harem in Nigeria, literally flooded Sub Saharan Africa and got into the hands of the Islamic State. Hillary’s regime change in Libya has caused chaos and misery spreading around Africa and the Middle East.

It is widely believed that Hillary Clinton withheld Benghazi-related emails from the State Department that detailed her knowledge of the scramble for oil contracts in Libya and the shortcomings of the NATO-led military intervention for which she advocated.

A lot of people also believe Hillary Clinton is guilty of using her family's private email server for her official email communications while she was the Secretary of State rather than using official State Department email accounts maintained on federal government servers.

As a consequence of Mrs Clinton’s policy, the probability is great that the US military will have to intervene and lose lives in Libya again.

This is the worst consequence of the major foreign policy decision one could think of.

On Syria, Clinton has pointed out that she advocated arming and training moderate Syrian rebels much earlier in the civil war. Actually, she supported the idea of giving weapons to the people the US knew little or nothing about. Clinton has also called for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria and humanitarian corridors on the ground, a step the administration has deemed unfeasible. The implementation of such strategy would lead to partition of the country and embroil the US in the conflict as a power committed to providing security in the zone. To a large extent, Clinton’s views coincide with the stance of Turkey’s leaders. She does not say so openly, but actually her plan presupposes deploying US forces on the ground with all the implications such a step could entail.

The results would be quite contrary to what the Russia-US-initiated peace talks are currently trying to achieve in Geneva.

Hillary Clinton supported the crackdown on democracy in Bahrain. After Saudi Arabian forces joined those of the Bahraini monarchy in brutally repressing nonviolent pro-democracy demonstrators in 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported that Clinton had emerged as one of the «leading voices inside the administration urging greater US support for the Bahraini king».

In Yemen, while she eventually called for authoritarian President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, Mrs Clinton backed the Saudi initiative to replace him with his Vice President, General Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, rather than support the demands of the pro-democracy movement to allow a broad coalition of opposition activists to form a transition government and prepare for democratic multiparty elections.

The Middle East is not the only region to shed light on the Queen of Chaos’s foreign policy record.

Hillary Clinton has expressed reservations regarding the Obama administration’s strategy in Ukraine. Instead of Obama’s more passive take, Clinton proposes greater financial and military assistance.

From 2009 up to 2013, the year the Ukrainian crisis erupted, the Clinton Foundation received at least $8.6 million from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, which is headquartered in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, a new report claims. In 2008, Viktor Pinchuk, who made a fortune in the pipe-building business, pledged a five-year, $29-million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, a program that works to train future Ukrainian leaders «to modernize Ukraine». The Wall Street Journal revealed the donations the fund received from foreigners abroad between 2009-2014 in the report published in 2015.

Several alumni of the program have already graduated into the ranks of Ukraine’s parliament, while a former Clinton pollster went to work as a lobbyist for Pinchuk at the same time Clinton was working in the government.

There is a good reason to believe that Hillary Clinton used her official position for personal gains with Ukraine’s top oligarch being a top cash contributor to the Clinton’s Foundation prior to the Ukrainian crisis.

Hillary Clinton’s stance on Russia is one of distrust and wariness, but with a pragmatic acknowledgment that the US has to work with Russia on certain issues. Not because she wants to, but because there is no alternative to this policy. She has been increasingly vocal about Russia’s moves inside Syria and Ukraine, and probably sees Russia as one of the key geopolitical rivals for the US in the next few years. She wants to use the relationships with key allies and partners to limit Russia’s actions. However, there are some issues on which she believes they can work together on. She believes that the US needs to be firm with Russia in Syria, set clear boundaries and stick to them. This does not preclude cooperation though, as she has stated that a no-fly zone will need to be put in place with Russian help. Clinton is very tough on Ukraine. At least, that’s what she says during the presidential race. Clinton famously said during the 2008 election that Vladimir Putin "doesn't have a soul".

She has also called him «thin skinned and autocratic» in her book Hard Choices. She believes that Putin sees politics as a zero-sum game.

It is fair to say that there is no love lost between the two. She clearly sees Putin as the main reason why the US-Russian relationship is so bad, and that he needs to be ‘stood up to’ rather than acquiesced.

She sees the new START treaty that was agreed to between the US and Russia as one of the key accomplishments on the ‘reset’. She also appreciates Russia’s contribution into curbing the Iranian nuclear program. Nuclear non-proliferation is one of the few issues that she would be willing to work on with Russia.

She can cooperate on some issues of mutual interest, but will never embrace Russia as an equal power during her term in the Oval Office. She does not appear to understand that that’s what made the «reset» policy flawed – something US foreign policy gurus start to understand.

It should be noted that prominent neocon Robert Kagan has endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for President.

He believes Clinton represents the best hope for saving the United States from populist billionaire Donald Trump, who has repudiated the neoconservative cause of US military interventions in line with Israel’s interests. The fact that a leading neocon, a co-founder of the infamous Project for the New American Century, has endorsed Clinton raises eyebrows. The Democratic presidential race frontrunner has clearly become the choice of many neoconservatives who favor continuation of US imperial designs around the world.

It all goes to show how seriously we need to take Mrs Clinton’s penchant for adventurism in foreign policy. Her cakewalk through the primaries will give her a great chance to lead the nation. She has always been prone to getting mired in costly foreign adventures with horrible fallout to face. Having won the nomination, hawkish Hillary Clinton will become the candidate of the party with the majority of Democrats increasingly critical of US military intervention in the Middle East and its support for dictatorial regimes and armed interventions abroad.

Tags: Syria  US  Clinton