Clinton’s Speech Shows that Only Sanders is Fit for the Presidency
Since promising Gorbachev "no NATO expansion" the U.S. is pushing NATO to Russia's every European border. If you were the Russians, how would you feel? How would you feel if Russia had missiles in Mexico? Yet we're putting missiles in Poland. Want to put Clinton in charge of that volatile stew?
by Gaius Publius
Hillary Clinton recently gave what her campaign billed as a "foreign policy speech" (transcript here) but was really just a "foreign policy campaign event" — mainly an attack on Donald Trump. Almost all of the news that covered the event covered the anti-Trump effectiveness of it, including a rather fawning Rachel Maddow report.
But there was actual news from that speech, though you had to be looking at what Clinton said about herself, and not what she said about Trump, to find it. Here's Jeffrey Sachs on that speech. He starts with some background (my emphasis everywhere):
Clinton’s Speech Shows that Only Sanders is Fit for the PresidencyHe then gets to the speech itself. Many have suspected that Clinton would be one of the most warlike modern presidents, on a par with George W. Bush. Sachs says that this speech confirms those suspicions:
Hillary Clinton’s recent foreign policy speech was an attack on Donald Trump but was also a reminder that Clinton is a deeply flawed and worrisome candidate. Her record as Secretary of State was one of the worst in modern US history; her policies have enmeshed America in new Middle East wars, rising terrorism, and even a new Cold War with Russia. Of the three leading candidates, only Bernie Sanders has the sound judgment to avoid further war and to cooperate with the rest of the world.
Clinton is intoxicated with American power. She has favored one war of choice after the next: bombing Belgrade (1999); invading Iraq (2003); toppling Qaddafi (2011); funding Jihadists in Syria (2011 till now). The result has been one bloodbath after another, with open wounds until today fostering ISIS, terrorism, and mass refugee flows.
In her speech, Clinton engaged in her own Trump-like grandiose fear mongering: “[I]f America doesn’t lead, we leave a vacuum - and that will either cause chaos, or other countries will rush in to fill the void. Then they’ll be the ones making the decisions about your lives and jobs and safety - and trust me, the choices they make will not be to our benefit.”Sachs points to this part of Clinton's speech:
This kind of arrogance - that America and America alone must run the world - has led straight to overstretch: perpetual wars that cannot be won, and unending and escalating confrontations with Russia, China, Iran and others that make the world more dangerous. It doesn’t seem to dawn on Clinton that in today’s world, we need cooperation, not endless bravado.
Clinton professed her belief “with all my heart that America is an exceptional country - that we’re still, in Lincoln’s words, the last, best hope of earth.” Yet surely President Lincoln was speaking in moral terms, not in Clinton’s militaristic terms. Lincoln did not mean that the last best hope of earth should send NATO bombers into Libya, the CIA into Syria, and Special Ops forces into countless other countries. Surely Lincoln would have been more prudent than to push NATO expansion to Russia’s very doorstep in Ukraine and Georgia, thereby triggering a violent response from Russia and a new Cold War.
Clinton: Unlike [Trump], I have some experience with the tough calls and the hard work of statecraft. I wrestled with the Chinese over a climate deal in Copenhagen, brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, negotiated the reduction of nuclear weapons with Russia, twisted arms to bring the world together in global sanctions against Iran, and stood up for the rights of women, religious minorities and LGBT people around the world.He then notes that this is a list of her failures. Back to Sachs:
Pure braggadocio. While Clinton “wrestled with China” over a climate deal, she failed to achieve one. While she “brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas,” she failed to head off the disastrous Gaza War in the first place. While she “negotiated the reduction of nuclear weapons with Russia,” she championed a remarkably confrontational approach with Russia based on NATO expansion to Ukraine and Georgia and a new nuclear arms race that will cost American taxpayers more than $355 billion over a decade. While she claims to have “stood up for the rights of women [and] religious minorities,” her Syrian adventurism left Syria devastated, displaced 10 million people, and destroyed the religious minority communities she claimed to defend.We'll come back to the main point in a minute, but let's pause at "wrestled with Chine over a climate deal." That was at the 2009 failed Copenhagen climate summit.
What Really Happened in Copenhagen in 2009
About Clinton and Obama's role at the Copenhagen climate conference, Sachs is far too kind. I I explained here, it's highly likely that Obama and Clinton actually sabotaged that conference. That's why the Chinese were so furious with him, publicly humiliated him...
“What I saw was profoundly shocking. The Chinese premier, Wen Jinbao, did not deign to attend the meetings personally, instead sending a second-tier official in the country’s foreign ministry to sit opposite Obama himself. The diplomatic snub was obvious and brutal … “...and sent Obama and Clinton scurrying after them, chasing through the convention hall looking for the Chinese, after they learned that the Chinese had already left for the airport. Obama and Clinton needed some kind of confrontation with them that could be spun as a "meeting." From Clinton's remarks during the first debate (quoted here):
When we met in Copenhagen in 2009 and, literally, President Obama and I were hunting for the Chinese, going throughout this huge convention center, because we knew we had to get them to agree to something.This is what "scurrying" looks like after a well deserved public humiliation. Now back to our original story.
Clinton Is As Dangerous As Trump
Clinton rightly accused Trump of being unpredictable, yet Clinton is dangerously predictable. She is always trying to prove how tough she is, how tough America is, how exceptional is America’s power. Trump is unqualified to be President because he lacks both the necessary experience and good judgment. Clinton, by contrast, has the extensive experience that proves that she too lacks the good judgment to be President.Thus his headline — on foreign policy "only Sanders is fit for the presidency," not Trump, not Clinton.
Bernie Sanders, by contrast, not only offers a vastly better economic program than Clinton, but also a foreign policy based on wisdom, decency, and especially restraint. As a result, the American people trust Sanders rather than Clinton.
NATO, Russia and the Syrian Conflict — A Prelude to Disaster
I may give this more attention later, but just consider the possibilities of conflict with Russia under Clinton. She wants to be aggressive in Syria and topple Assad. There are multiple forces arrayed against him, and against each other, some backed by the Russians, some backed by other Mideast national actors — and some backed by the CIA while others are backed by the Pentagon. Imagine the mess.
Check out this incredible story from the Chicago Tribune:
CIA-armed militias are shooting at Pentagon-armed ones in SyriaWe can't even keep our own selves straight. Now substitute "Russia" for "CIA" and "U.S." for "Pentagon" in the headline above. Add in a U.S.-enforced "no-fly zone" — which Clinton endorses — and Turkish interests in Syria, which aren't often American interests, and the presence of Russian jets providing support for their surrogates on the ground. Spice the brew with energy conflicts, pipeline agreements to take oil and gas to the Mediterranean through Syria, and this whole thing could blow up in Ms. Clinton's hyper-aggressive face. And ours.
Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter 5-year-old civil war.
The fighting has intensified over the past two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other as they have maneuvered through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.
In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east.
"Any faction that attacks us, regardless from where it gets its support, we will fight it," said Maj. Fares Bayoush, a leader of Fursan al Haq.
Finally, consider Russia's already angry point of view. When the Soviet Union fell, the deal with the U.S. was "No NATO Expansion." Here's what happened:
President George H.W. Bush promised Mikhail Gorbachev that if the Soviets let the Warsaw Pact go, Russia would not have to worry about NATO expansion. The U.S. responded to this deal by immediately taking the former Warsaw Pact states into NATO and then moving into former Soviet territory in the Baltics. Nobody could blame new entrants for wanting NATO entry, given their past of Soviet occupation. But, neither could anyone blame Russians for feeling betrayed by the U.S. breaking its word.Gorbachev was furious (fuller discussion here). NATO is now aggressively expanding right to Russia's border (see map above), with the U.S. backed coup regime in Ukraine applying for membership. The U.S. is also building new missile facilities in Poland:
NATO Ratchets Up Missile Defense Despite Russian CriticismWe've already seen Ms. Clinton's fierce battle style on the campaign trail. She's a take-no-prisoners person. Do we really want Clinton to stir the international pot in the same way she stirred the Libyan pot?
LONDON — NATO’s European missile defense system will go live on Thursday when a base in Romania becomes operational. The next day, Poland is scheduled to break ground on its NATO missile-defense base.
The decision by the United States and its allies in Eastern Europe to proceed with ballistic missile defense in the face of increasingly loud Russian criticism is an important stage in the alliance’s new stance toward Moscow.
Those deployments will be coupled this spring with major military exercises in Poland and the Baltics, with significant American participation, and a beefed-up rapid reaction force of up to 5,000 troops....
Echoing Sachs, the future of the world could depend on whether we get Bernie Sanders into the White House, because neither of the other two choices are fit for the role of Commander in Chief. Quoting Sachs, "Clinton is intoxicated with American power."
We don't give our car keys to the intoxicated. What applies to Trump in Clinton's speech applies to Clinton herself. Either one of them, in my view, could get us all killed.
Put differently, Clinton now runs the Democratic Party, and you see how heavy-handed she is. Do you want to give her the whole federal government, and its military, with no one looking over her shoulder, no one to report to? The price for that mistake could be very great indeed. Russia and the U.S., both, are still nuclear nations.