Clinton owns the Libyan war as much as any member of the Obama administration after the president himself, and as recently as this spring she touted it as an example of “smart power at its finest.” The truth is that it was an example of almost everything that is wrong with our foreign policy, and Clinton’s proud support for it is an indictment of her judgment… The administration strained and damaged relations with other major and rising powers for the sake of toppling that government and destabilizing the surrounding region… The U.S. and its allies went far beyond the mandate that it had been given, and pursued a war for regime change after explicitly disavowing regime change as a goal. As a result, Libya was handed over to militias and chaos, and its neighbors were left to cope with the serious and violent consequences of a reckless military intervention.
Many Yemenis suffered from hunger before the war, but the war has made conditions dramatically worse for the entire population. All sides have used food as a weapon, but the coalition blockade has had by far the most severe effect on millions of people. Like other modern famines, the one that is being created in Yemen is entirely man-made, and the coalition and its Western backers bear the greatest responsibility for it. It could still be prevented if there were a concerted effort to save Yemen from starvation, but there seems to be very little interest in making that effort. All of the governments with the resources to do this are either oblivious to the need or complicit in creating the catastrophe.
Contrary to the conventional view, Obama has not been averse to using or threatening to use force. He pretends to be reluctant to resort to force, and his domestic critics pretend to believe him, but he will leave office with the dubious distinction of having presided over eight uninterrupted years of war. He has continued wars that he inherited, he has started new ones during both terms, and he has lent U.S. support to the wars of clients that couldn’t have been fought without our backing.
Overall, Clinton’s speech could have been given by a conventional Republican hawk, and some of the lines could have been lifted from the speeches of some of this year’s Republican presidential contenders… Clinton insisted that “America must lead” and conjured up a vision of the vacuums that would be created if the U.S. did not do this. This is a standard hawkish line that implies that the U.S. always has to be involved in conflict and crises no matter how little the U.S. has at stake in them.
Head of a right-wing think tank says the existence of ISIS serves a “strategic purpose” in the West’s interests.
Hillary Clinton’s recent “alt right” speech marks a new and dangerous low in what has become race to the bottom – and, should she be elected, it has ominous foreign policy implications as well.
Although the U.S. government would not dare to formally renounce the Geneva Conventions, the normalization of deviance has effectively replaced them with elastic standards of behavior and accountability whose main purpose is to shield senior U.S. military officers and civilian officials from accountability for war crimes.
Saudi Arabia resumed its appalling war in Yemen last week and has already killed dozens more civilians, destroyed a school full of children and leveled a hospital full of sick and injured people. The campaign of indiscriminate killing – though let’s call it what it is: a war crime – has now been going on for almost a year and a half. And the United States bears a large part of the responsibility.
The black-and-white moralising of Western foreign policymaking not only proved woefully inadequate when dealing with the complex realities of a civil struggle; it corrupted that struggle, deepened the involvement of regional and international players, empowered warlords and Islamist militias, and backed Assad into a corner from which there was no non-military way of escape. Any resolution that might have been possible at the start became impossible.
Her advisors say Syria will take top priority in her first days in office, and, in addition to ISIS, President Bashar Assad must go. So it is important to examine what a real Clinton Syria policy might look like despite her rhetoric on the campaign trail.
There are three things to look at…