Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity
Newly released Hillary Clinton emails clarify the depth of her foreign-policy neo-conservatism, and the closeness of her views to the views of the people who were advising George W. Bush and who advise today’s Republican Presidential candidates. (Donald Trump is an exception: he has recently been publicly condemned by more than a hundred of those Republican foreign-policy advisors, all of whom are neo-conservatives. They condemn him on incoherent grounds. For example, their jointly signed letter says, “His embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable.” But some of the letter’s signatories have themselves defended the use of torture, such as the letter’s writer, Eliot A. Cohen, who defended the use of torture implicitly in his “9/11 rules”; Frances F. Townsend, who in the White House actually authorized torture; Max Boot, who defended the use of torture; and Dov Zakheim, who has also defended torture. Hillary Clinton merely laughed at the torture-to-death of Muammar Gaddafi, but perhaps these foreign-policy ‘experts’ will end up voting for her, because she is so close to so many of them — even personal friends with some of them, such as Robert Kagan.)
In fact, Secretary Clinton’s emails add further insight into the world-view that led her in 2002 to be eager for (and to vote for) the US to invade Iraq — a country which, at the time (i.e., under Saddam Hussein), was viewed as a threat not only by Iran, but by Israel (a much bigger focus of American foreign-policy concern than Iran is). Neo-conservatives view Israel as an ally — if not as being America’s top ally — but they view Iran as an enemy (partly because it’s considered by Israel to be its top enemy). For some reason, US foreign policy appears to be dictated largely by the preferences of the Israeli government: If Israel considers Iran to be an enemy, the US government likely also will. That’s the way things are, irrespective of whether it makes sense for the American people; and it certainly is the way things are with regard to Ms. Clinton — as is made clear in her emails.
Many of Clinton’s emails were from-or-to Jacob J. Sullivan, about whom the Wikipedia listing opens, “Jacob Jeremiah ‘Jake’ Sullivan (born November 28, 1976) is an American policymaker and the top foreign policy advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign. He is widely rumored to be a front-runner for the position of US National Security Advisor under a potential Hillary Clinton administration, should she be elected president in 2016. … He also served as the Director of Policy Planning at the US Department of State, and as Deputy Chief of Staff to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He was deputy policy director on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary campaign.” It goes on to note that, “Sullivan married Margaret Maggie Goodlander, a former speechwriter to Senator Joe Lieberman and senior policy advisor to Senator John McCain, in June 2015.” Both Lieberman and McCain are also prominent neo-conservatives. Strobe Talbott, who has long worked closely with Sullivan, is among the Democratic Party’s senior neo-conservatives, and he says, “The sky’s the limit” for his much younger colleague.
So, Clinton respects Sullivan’s advice on international relations. In fact, she respects his opinions so much that in at least one email, she was on a phone call and emailed him “Can you get into the call w/out being announced?” In other words: she needed his advice but didn’t want the caller at the other end to know that he was listening-in on what was being said. They’re also very close socially.
Two of her other friends and advisors are Victoria Nuland (who organized the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine — it was a coup, and the head of Stratfor even called it “the most blatant coup in history”) and Nuland’s husband, Robert Kagan. Both Nuland and Kagan are friends also of the seminal neo-conservative Bill Krystol, and all of them are commonly called “neo-conservatives,” which Wikipedia defines by opening with: “Neo-conservatism (commonly shortened to neocon) is a political movement born in the United States during the 1960s among Democrats who became disenchanted with the party’s domestic and especially foreign policy.” They are interventionists abroad, who are devoted to extension of American power, especially of the power of US international corporations. In fact, neo-conservatism arose largely as a response against the anti-war position on Vietnam. It supported the “hawkish” position on Vietnam — the Republican Party’s position at the time, which was also being championed in the Democratic Party by Henry “Scoop” Jackson, “the Senator from Boeing” and a reliable representative of the entire military-industrial complex. Neo-conservatism is simply supporting control of the world by America, specifically the spread of control by international corporations that are headquartered in the US Wikipedia continues: “Many of its adherents became politically famous during the Republican presidential administrations of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Neoconservatives peaked in influence during the administrations of George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, when they played a major role in promoting and planning the 2003 invasion of Iraq. … Neoconservatives continue to have influence in the Obama White House, and neoconservative ideology has continued as a factor in American foreign policy.” They are reliably advocates for increased ‘defense’ sending. This also means that they favor higher federal debt, and/or lower federal spending on non-‘defense’ spending. In international relations, they’re proud advocates of a ‘muscular’ America. George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton are both prime examples of neo-conservative politicians, though of different Parties.
Another one of Ms. Clinton’s top foreign-policy advisors is Sidney Blumenthal, who (as reported in an informative article at the New York Observer) kept “offering Ms. Clinton unsolicited advice about Libya policy — which she passed around even after other administration officials concluded it was rubbish.” He, too, is highly favorable to America’s invading regimes that Israel wants to overthrow, and is a neo-conservative.
With this as background, here is an email that was passed along by Mr Sullivan to some unidentified person and which was written by Mr Blumenthal (“Sid”) to Secretary of State Clinton.
Point #1 in this email means that, back on 24 July 2012, Hillary Clinton knew that “European officials are concerned that the ongoing conflict in Syria will lead to uprisings in these countries that will bring increasingly conservative Islamic regimes into power, replacing existing secular or moderate regimes.” Yet still she and President Obama remained insistent that the jihadists in Syria topple and replace Bashar al-Assad — US policy favors the jihadists over Assad, regardless of whether “European officials” feel that way. Thus, too, Clinton’s friend and aide Victoria Nuland said, when Nuland told the US Ambassador in Ukraine whom to select to run the country after the coup would be over, “F—k the EU.” Clinton was actually more insistent in her neo-conservatism than Obama was and is. She was the Administration’s ‘hard-liner.’ The initial preparations for Ukraine’s coup were made just before Clinton stepped down to run for President.
Point #2 means that, “Israeli leaders are now drawing up contingency plans to deal with a regional structure where the new revolutionary regimes that take over the various countries will be controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and possibly more problematic groups such as al Qa’ida, which doesn’t bode well for the Israelis.” In other words: Clinton (and Obama) were even more determined to overthrow Assad than was the far-right leader of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. Here was a clear instance in which US foreign policy went against that of Israel: it was even farther to the right than that of Israel’s Likud Party. Democratic voters who are voting for Clinton evidently have no idea of how far to the right she is on foreign affairs. Republican voters might like her positions on that, but very few Democratic voters would. They’re simply ignorant of the reality. Maybe that’s because the ‘news’ media hide it from the public. Let’s see if US ‘news’ media will continue to make difficult the public’s finding this out. (It’s hardly even noted in the ‘news.’)
Point #7, however, means that Israel’s government isn’t significantly less right-wing than is America’s, because: “British and French Intelligence services believe that their Israeli counterparts are convinced that there is a positive side to the civil war in Syria; if the Assad regime topples, Iran would lose its only ally in the Middle East and would be isolated. At the same time, the fall of the House of Assad could well ignite a sectarian war between the Shiites and the majority Sunnis of the region drawing in Iran, which, in the view of Israeli commanders would not be a bad thing for Israel and its Western allies.”
Who knew? Hillary Clinton did. The US public still don’t.
Incidentally: Clinton also knew that her use of private email for State Department business was a violation. She even expressed to Mr Sullivan that State Department employees weren’t supposed to do that; she said this when he reported to her that a certain subordinate had done it; she replied: “I was surprised that he used personal email account if he is at State.” Sullivan likewise knew that what she was doing here was wrong. In fact, Secretary Clinton, on at least one occasion, gave him instruction on how to have the least likelihood of being penalized for it:
On 17 June 2011, Sullivan emailed her, “They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it.” And she replied, “If they can’t, turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.” This meant: strip away the top-secret marking, so that (if her use of private email for official business ever gets found out) I’ll have deniability that I knew I was receiving classified information to my private computer in a non-secure way. He followed her instruction, without hesitation.
She knew that using her private computer for official business was wrong, and she also knew that using this private system for top-secret information was especially wrong. But she did it anyway. She took evasive actions, for both. And her closest policy-advisor uncomplainingly broke the law for her. They keep each other’s secrets. And so do America’s press — even when internal political ‘Democratic’-Republican conflicts, such as over the Benghazi matter, force to become public information, the raw evidence of their knowing complicity.
This, for example, is how it came to be that “Hillary Clinton’s Six Foreign-Policy Catastrophes” are still virtually secrets, unknown by the millions of people who are voting for her. And so is her neo-conservatism, which motivated all of those catastrophes.
She says that her vote to invade Iraq was an ‘error.’ But that’s a lie. She’d do it again, in the same circumstances; she’s still the same person. She’s the very same neo-conservative now, that she was then and long before. She’s a reckless promoter of American Empire. And this is what explains her six catastrophes as Secretary of State.