Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton–the most senior foreign policy official in the United States, aside from President Barack Obama himself, for four years–is now attempting to differentiate herself from her old boss, now that his hapless leadership has become a liability to her presidential ambitions. And the media are buying it, then re-selling it to the public as if it represents an authentic split instead of opportunism and lies.
This is the sequel to the “fairy tale” that so embittered Bill Clinton during the 2008 campaign, when Obama tried to argue that he opposed the Iraq War, though he had never been forced to take a vote on the issue and had spouted the party’s talking points in support of John Kerry’s alleged military credentials in 2004.
Payback is overdue, but the fact is that Hillary’s newfound hawkishness is as much a sham as Obama’s “smart power.”
Hillary did nothing–nothing–to argue against Obama’s foreign policy in any way that mattered. In fact, she was frequently the willing public face of his worst policies, whether the Russian “reset” in 2009 or the public rebuke of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2010 or the Libyan misadventure in 2011 (“We came, we saw, he died!“) or, most of all, the Benghazi debacle of 2012, in which she eagerly led the effort to deceive the public.
The idea that Hillary alone foresaw the rise of a radical Islamist threat from the chaos of the Syrian civil war is preposterous. So, too, is the idea that her more hawkish views were suppressed by the White House. Obama was prepared, belatedly, to go to war in Syria–on the same justification as the Iraq War, by the way–before public skepticism and diplomatic ineptitude impelled him to take the easy way out, letting Russia protect its pawn.
The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg writes: “This is what Clinton said about Obama’s slogan: ‘Great nations need organizing principles, and “Don’t do stupid stuff” is not an organizing principle.'” It now becomes permissible for liberals to say what conservatives have been saying for years–i.e. that the emperor has no clothes. That is good, perhaps, for liberating our democratic discourse, but it is a cheap shot that should not let her off the hook.
Hillary’s tenure at the State Department is one long litany of “stupid stuff.” It is also far from clear what her own “organizing principle” in foreign policy is, short of doing whatever is necessary to preserve her own ambitions.
The media love the idea of rescuing Hillary’s candidacy from the rubble of Obama’s incompetence and apathy. But it is complete B.S. She owns Obama’s foreign policy, and there is nothing the media can do to change that.