Normally silent on the subject, bits and pieces of the U.S. media (ones which actual audiences, unlike the blog that carries my own hysterical rantings) are picking up on the hypocrisy and inconsistency of Hillary Clinton. The perpetual neo-con and would-be Presidential candidate, whose fulsome support of Israeli colonialism, coming as it did alongside her attack on the Obama administration’s foreign policy, has been perhaps a trifle too obvious in her contortions.
For Clinton—whose surname in both of its political manifestations is synonymous with cynicism and opportunism—to suggest that Obama’s foreign policy was rudderless is mildly amusing given that she had a great hand in shaping and implementing that policy. To all appearances, it was Clinton who pushed for the morally-stunted, fatally-cautious approach to international relations that characterized much of the Obama administration. And she did so in opposition to younger advisors who sought a break from the clearly-inadequate conventional wisdom that has defined our foreign policy for the past decades.
A cynic might think that Clinton’s efforts to restrain the more moral and ambitious members of Obama’s team stemmed from a desire to minimize her exposure to risks as she did her time in the State Department, all the while her eyes on an altogether higher office.
But her cynicism has not gone unnoticed.
A piece in the Huffington Post titled “Hillary Clinton Twists Herself In Knots to Avoid Blaming Israel for UN Bombing” points out that in the case of the downed airplane over Ukraine Clinton was willing to immediately assign blame to and call for action against the Russian government because it provided the weapons that shot down the plane.
But when the Israeli government bombed a United Nations school after being warned 17 times of its presence, we witnessed the utter disintegration of Clinton’s spine as she literally set about inventing excuses for the terrorism of the Israeli military.
972 magazine pointed out how many commentators—Clinton most prominent among them—have been trotting out propaganda cooked up by the Israeli military about the use to which tunnels in and out of Gaza are being put.
The New Republic analysed Clinton’s attack on Obama’s injunction for U.S. foreign policy to avoid doing “stupid stuff”. Sure, the phrase is simple, but it was designed to convey the extent to which so much U.S. foreign policy consisted of our government, military, and intelligence apparatus performing actions which were so very obviously going to come back and bite us…and then expressing surprise when the inevitable occurred. (Would the President listen to his own advice…)
Clinton’s call for greater sophistication might have resonated if she didn’t couple them, in the same interview, with a nostalgic backward glance to the days of the Cold War when the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, and especially Reagan administration ran a kind of gangster government, funneling funds and weapons to and from regimes representing both the ideologies and methods that hundreds of thousands of Americans died trying to defeat in the Second World War.
The criticism might not just come from the press: CNN reported that David Axlerod, one of the President’s senior advisors—whether operating in a formal or informal capacity—had unkind words for Clinton, and reminded readers that in 2003 Clinton lent her considerable support to the illegal, immoral, and unbelievably destructive and counterproductive war on Iraq.
The harshest words came from Haaretz, an Israeli paper, when it proclaimed Clinton “Israel’s new lawyer”, arguing that “she sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through [Netanyahu’s] eyes, which could be the reason she gets so much wrong”.
Citing Clinton’s propensity for misrepresenting reality—something presumably ingrained in the Clinton political DNA—in her characterization of her own and Netanyahu’s behavior. Haaretz pointed out Clinton’s advocacy for perpetual colonial control of the West Bank, and most tellingly, the double-standard that features whenever Clinton and other U.S. officials contemplate the relationship between Israel and its colonies.
“Notice”, Peter Beinart wrote, “how [Clinton] begins her statement about security control of the West Bank: ‘If I were the prime minister of Israel’. There’s nothing wrong with that. U.S. officials should understand and empathize with, Israeli leaders, even right-wing ones. But what’s missing from Clinton’s interview is any willingness to do the same for Palestinians.
“If it’s so easy to understand why some Israelis might want perpetual military control of the West Bank, why can’t Clinton understand why Palestinians—after living for almost fifty years under a foreign army—might not want to indefinitely patrol their supposedly independent state”.
This set of observations, from a variety of sources, illustrate some of the deep flaws in the manner in which Hillary Clinton approaches our relations with other people in the world.
Rather than pursuing justice, peace, equality, or even a well-defined articulation of the public interest, Clinton sets herself up as an advocate for particular regimes on the basis of their close ties to our criminal arms industry and the fundamentalist zealots who call too many shots in our country and abroad.
Clinton, in common with many other national politicians—particularly of her generation—has a pathetically-weak grasp on history. She has imbibed the propaganda of nationalist textbooks, the conventional wisdom of a myopic State Department which is fed propaganda by our broken intelligence services, and the outright lies peddled by well-funded lobbies out to defend their indefensible colonial rule.
And as the author of the Haarezt article points out, Clinton evinces not the slightest interest in considering the point of view of people from countries other than those which have been constantly on our side as we spent the last half-century hawking our provincial, right-wing outlook using guns, bombs, dictators, and coups.
The nut-bag commentariat on the right is undoubtedly disappointed that President Obama has yet to unveil the sinister, radical agenda they convinced their followers he had up his sleeve. The problem with the Obama presidency, in fact, has been its refusal to un-moor itself from the bankrupt, immoral, and elite-dominated economic practices of the past 35 years, and foreign policy practices of the past 65 years.
Anyone who believes that such a break from the practices which have generated so much inequality and violence is necessary must surely accept that Hillary Clinton is incapable of making such a break.