“Few things are more dangerous than empires pushing their own interest in the belief they are doing humanity a favor.” -Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012) British historian, June 10, 2003
« It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq… » -Bill Clinton (1946- ), The neocon-sponsored Iraq Liberation Act, signed by President Clinton into law, in 1998
“I’m going to ask for his ideas, I’m going ask for his advice, and I’m going use him [former President Bill Clinton] as a goodwill emissary to go around the country to find the best ideas we’ve got, because I do believe, as he said, everything that’s wrong with America has been solved somewhere in America.” -Hillary Clinton (1947- ), during a debate on January 17, 2016
“I’ll tell you how good our military is doing under [former CIA Director] Michael Hayden and people such as this. We’ve been fighting wars in the Middle East for 15 years, 18 years. We were in for four or five trillion dollars; we don’t know what we’re doing; we don’t know who we’re fighting; we’re arming people that we want on our side, we don’t know who they are.
When they take over a country, they’re worse than people they depose.” -Donald Trump (1946- ), in a response to a public letter by establishment national security so-called ‘experts’
Polls indicate that most of the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates, with a few exceptions, have more than 50 % negative ratings. Also, poll after poll, after poll show that most Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are, and some are even outspokenly “angry” at the current situation. The polls also indicate a high degree of polarization.
That may also explain why two of the leading presidential candidates this year, Democratic Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump, are both proposing anti-establishment and populist policies to get the United States out of its current rut.
On the domestic front, each, if elected, would advance economic policies designed to assist the American middle class, which has been decimated after nearly thirty years of economic and financial globalization and from so-called “trade deals” which have mainly benefited large corporations and mega banks, because they are essentially “investment and financial deals”, before being bona fide “trade deals”.
On foreign policy, both would like to extricate the U.S. from costly wars abroad that have been going on for so long. Most of these wars have been the pet projects of pro-Israel neoconservatives (shortened to neocons), inside and outside the U.S. government, ever since the latter de facto took over American foreign policy, after the end of the Cold War, in 1991.
It is indeed well documented that prominent neocons became very influential during the Bush I and Bush II administrations, in 1989-1993 and in 2001-2009. Many people remember how characters such as Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, …etc. used different tactics to push the United States into a never-ending imperialistic war, branded as “preemptive wars” in the Middle East, beginning with an unprovoked military aggression against Iraq, in 2003.
But, even if this has been less publicized, neocons have also played important roles in the Bill Clinton administration (1993-2001) and in the current Barack Obama administration (2009-2017), in promoting a series of wars abroad, especially in the Middle East and in Europe, and in sowing the seeds of financial crises at home.
Since Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has publicly declared that she intends to consult with her former-president husband, if she becomes president, it is of paramount importance to know what this means. Indeed, the question can be raised as to the likelihood that a Hillary Clinton’s presidency could be, in fact, some sort of a third term for the Clinton couple in the White House.
I have previously identified three major crises, which have their origin during the Bill Clinton administration.
Let us summarize them here and add a few more:
1-The de facto rekindling of a Cold War II with Russia
History will record that President Bill Clinton broke a promise made by his predecessor, President George H. Bush, that the U.S. government would not expand NATO into Eastern Europe, if Russia were to disband the Warsaw Pact. As we know, during his 1996 reelection campaign, on October 22,1996, President Clinton thought to be to his political advantage to promise an enlargement of NATO to include Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. Nobody realized at the time that this heralded the beginning of a new cold war with Russia.
Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.
What is less well known is the fact that Ms. Hillary Clinton, when she was State Secretary in the Obama administration, appointed a prominent neocon, Victoria Nuland, wife of leading neocon Robert Kagan, to the post of Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State. Ms. Nuland was promoted to Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs a few years later, in May 2013, in the same Democratic administration of Barack Obama. Previously, she had served as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Republican Vice President Dick Cheney in the George W. Bush administration, and later as U.S. ambassador to NATO.
Ms. Nuland is considered to be the key person in charge of provoking Russia into a Cold War II. (This is an indication that in Washington D.C., one can go easily from a Republican administration to a Democratic administration, provided one belongs to the neocon brotherhood).
2- The Clinton administration engineered the demise of the United Nations in 1998-1999
President Bill Clinton played a major role in undermining the credibility of the United Nations when he decided, in 1998 and in 1999, to enter the Kosovo War in Yugoslavia without an explicit mandate from the U.N. Security Council, as the 1945 U.N. Charter mandates. This was a very dangerous precedent.
Only a few years later, his successor, President George W. Bush invoked that precedent to launch the 2003 Iraq War, again with no outright mandate from the U.N. Security Council. Therefore, it can be said that President Bill Clinton bears an obvious responsibility for the current international state of anarchy, considering that the United Nations, for all practical purpose, has been sidelined in favor of NATO, to pursue U.S.-led imperialistic wars, which are waged outside of the international legal framework of the United Nations Charter and even in opposition to the Nuremberg Principles, which define military aggression as a crime against peace.
In 1991, few people anticipated that the collapse of the Soviet Union would eventually bring about the collapse of the United Nations, which has de facto been reduced to the same influence that the old League of Nations had before World War II.
3- Bill Clinton Sowed the Seeds of the 2008 Subprime Financial Crisis in 1999
On November 12, 1999, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Republican-sponsored Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which effectively removed the separation that previously existed under the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 between investment banking, which issue securities, and commercial banks that accept government insured deposits.
Before 1999, the Glass-Steagall Act made it illegal for a bank holding FDIC-insured deposits to invest in anything other than government bonds and similarly low-risk vehicles. With his signature, however, President Clinton allowed largely unregulated super large banks and large insurance companies to engage in risky financial practices, as they are known to have done historically and as it should have been expected. The banks and insurance companies’ new financial products collapsed, and that led to the devastating 2008 financial crisis.
While Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has said that he would fully reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, his opponent, former Secretary Hillary Clinton, has said that she would not reinstate the banking law, preferring instead to rely on measures to better control so-called shadow banking.
4- The 2003 Iraq War Began in 1998: President Bill Clinton’s Iraq Liberation Act of 1998
On February 19, 1998, a group of prominent neocons (Robert Kagan, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Richard Perle, …etc.) anxious to get the United States involved in wars in the Middle East, wrote an open letter to President Bill Clinton. They were offering him a strategy for “the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power” in Iraq.
President Clinton did not immediately go to war to please the neocons, after all he was nearing the end of his term, but he did sign the Republican-sponsored Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, on October 31, 1998, stating that « It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq…. » That law opened the door for an American-led war against Iraq.
Indeed, President George W. Bush, in search for bi-partisan support for his planned war against Iraq, cited President Clinton’s Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 as a basis of support for the Congressional Authorization for use of Military Force Against Iraq of October 2002. We can say that President Bill Clinton set the U.S. government on a warpath against Iraq as early as 1998, and he therefore must share some responsibility for the disasters that have since resulted from that war.
5- Hillary Clinton’s Own Personal War of Aggression in Libya, (with false and misleading claims, and resulting in a huge refugee crisis)
President Barack Obama was reluctant to duplicate George W. Bush’s disaster with his military invasion of Iraq in 2003. That is why, in 2011, he hesitated to launch a new American war of aggression, this time against Libya, even though neocons inside and outside his administration were pushing hard for such a war. The latter country, headed by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, had the misfortune of having been singled out in the neocons’ grand plan as one of the Arab countries the neocons wished to overthrow and to destabilize the entire Middle East, using for that purpose the U.S. military to do Israel’s heavy lifting.
At the time, two heavyweights in the Obama administration, vice president Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, were both adamantly opposed to getting the U.S. government and its military involved in another neocon-inspired ‘regime-change war’ in the Middle East. That wasn’t counting on the neocons’ main ally, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Indeed, Hillary Clinton overcame the Biden-Gates’ formidable opposition to a U.S. military intervention in Libya by persuading a weak President Obama that Libyan President Gaddafi had a supposed plan to carry a “genocide” against his own people and that the U.S government had a “responsibility to protect” to avoid such a “genocide”, no matter what international law said. There is a dictum in French that “he who wants to kill his dog accuses him of having rabies”!
Such a proposal was in conformity with the precedent created by her president husband, Bill Clinton, who bombed Yugoslavia under similar circumstances, outside of international law, in 1998 and in 1999. It was also ironic that the President would side with her, considering that Barack Obama himself had campaigned against candidate Hillary Clinton in 2008, arguing that she had endorsed Bush’s 2003 Iraq-war policies.
Hillary Clinton (C) gestures with Libyan soldiers upon her departure from Tripoli, October 18, 2011.
In 2011, the demonized Gaddafi government was indeed fighting some groups of rebels, supported by outside powers, who wanted to overthrow his government, but the claim of a planned “genocide” was greatly exaggerated.
After the U.S. intervened in Libya along with a few European nations, some rebel groups succeeded in capturing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, on October 20, 2011. They sodomized him, and they murdered him and his family. Chaos ensued and Libya is still to this day a failed state run by groups of Islamic fanatics, besides creating millions of refugees fleeing their devastated land.
Hillary Clinton took full credit for creating the political mess in Libya, when she appeared on a TV interview and bragged with the boast, “we came; we saw; he died!” Her neocon advisers had told her that she would be remembered as having implemented some sort of a “Clinton Doctrine”! If creating a human catastrophe counts as “experience” in a résumé, then candidate Clinton is undoubtedly ‘qualified’ to become U.S. president. Her lack of basic human empathy is evident.
6- Hillary Clinton: Proud Candidate of the Establishment 1%
As professional politicians, Bill and Hillary Clinton have become the richest political couple of all times. In 2012, their combined net worth was in excess of $112,000,000.00. In contrast, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders had a net worth of only $420,000.00. There is not a shadow of a doubt that the Clinton political family belongs to the 1% and even to the 0.1% of American taxpayers. Politics has been a most rewarding industry for them.
It is therefore no surprise that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is by far the establishment’s favored choice. Neocons find her a most reliable ally. If she becomes U.S. President, they will be able to continue and even accelerate their over-all plan for the Middle East. There would be joy in the land!
In contrast, presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are both considered outsiders who oppose neocon-inspired American involvements in foreign wars and who favor fundamental domestic reforms. Democratic candidate Sanders, for one, backs aggressive social-oriented policies while Republican candidate Trump proposes to reign in industrial and financial globalization that has resulted in the lost of millions of well paid American jobs, when U.S. corporations began investing and moving their installations and their profits abroad.
In the case of Hillary Clinton, the entire Democratic primary system is biased and the dice are loaded, since some 719 so-called unelected “superdelegates”, representing party officials and organizers, sitting Democratic senators and representatives, lobbyists …etc., stand to tip the balance in her favor, as the establishment candidate, even if Bernie Sanders were to obtain a majority of the people behind him during the primaries. The superdelegate system was adopted in the 1980s to give the Democratic establishment a definitive advantage in determining the party’s presidential nominee and, if need be, to cancel the choice of the people.
Of all the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates, none is more pro-establishment than Hillary Clinton, and none more associated to that establishment and the mess the latter has created over the last quarter of century.
7- Hillary Clinton’s Eagerness to Launch “Regime change” Wars and Create Chaos in other Countries
Belligerent Hillary Clinton appears to be a John McCain in a skirt. As a U.S. Democratic senator from New York (2001-2009), she enthusiastically supported President George W. Bush’s 2003 illegal Iraq War.
In her many thousand personal emails containing state secrets and sent to friends when she was U.S. Secretary of State, (possibly an illegal act), and discussing American foreign policies with outsiders, Hillary Clinton indicated on numerous occasions her willingness to use the U.S. military to fulfill Israel’s objectives in the Middle East. In one revealing email of hers, for example, and sent in the spring of 2012, she spelled out her views very clearly:
“The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad…
For Israeli leaders, the real threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is not the prospect of an insane Iranian leader launching an unprovoked Iranian nuclear attack on Israel that would lead to the annihilation of both countries. What Israeli military leaders really worry about —but cannot talk about —is losing their nuclear monopoly…
Then, Israel and the United States might be able to develop a common view of when the Iranian program is so dangerous that military action could be warranted…
In short, the White House can ease the tension that has developed with Israel over Iran by doing the right thing in Syria.”
There is no doubt that if and when candidate Hillary Clinton becomes U.S. president, she will be more than willing to use the United States military to do the heavy lifting and go to war so that a foreign country, Israel, could fulfill its political objectives in the Middle East. This is surely an important enough issue to warrant a discussion during a presidential election.
8- Hillary Clinton’s Close Ties to Wall Street and Special Interests
While candidate Bernie Sanders is mainly financing his campaign with small donations from supporters, and while candidate Donald Trump is self-financing his campaign, candidate Hillary Clinton has principally relied on large contributions from professional lobbyists and large corporations and mega banks. Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley are among her top contributors.
This should raise red flags as this could mean that she could naturally be more inclined to act in favor of big corporations and mega banks, before being the president “of the people, by the people and for the people”, in President Lincoln’s words.
U.S. financier and politician Simon Cameron (1799-1889) used to quip, “An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought”. Indeed, considering the importance that big money has taken in American politics after the 2010 ‘Citizens United’ (5-4) decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, stating in effect that for profit ‘corporations’ are breathing people and that the use of ‘money’ is speech, the issue of how those who control huge amounts of money can influence the results of elections cannot be swept under the rug.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is the only Democratic candidate accepting donations from federal lobbyists, corporate interests and super Political Action Committees (PACs), and even indirectly from foreign donors. Any candidate to high office who primarily relies on big money to be elected should be held accountable.
9- Hillary Clinton’s Responsibility in Ambassador Stevens’ Assassination and the Entire Benghazi Disaster
There were two scandals in the Benghazi Disaster, and Secretary Hillary Clinton was involved in both of them.
The first was that, on September 11, 2012, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith were left unprotected, in a hostile environment, by Hillary Clinton’s State Department. And what is worse, before they were attacked and killed by Islamic militants in the diplomatic consular compound, they had requested and had been denied that assistance. Hillary Clinton has taken responsibility for the lapse in security.
The second scandal is the fact that Secretary Hillary Clinton had seemingly accepted that the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya be merged with the CIA’s covert operations in that country, thus placing the State Department personnel in harms way. As early as March 2011, Ambassador Stevens had been named the first liaison with the Libyan opposition made of Islamic rebels, to whom the CIA was channeling weapons and providing tactics to overthrow the Libyan government.
According to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, “The [U.S.] consulate’s only mission [in Benghazi] was to provide cover for the moving of arms. It had no real political role.” And those arms and weapons were not only supplied to Islamic rebels to overthrow the Libyan government of President Gaddafi, they were also smuggled into Syria to other Islamic rebels in their attempt to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad.
This is a very murky affair considering that all those covert operations were illegal under international law, and this casts a long shadow on Hillary Clinton’s record and ‘experience’.
10- Hillary Clinton is Publicly Committed to U.S.-led Imperial Wars, Especially in the Middle East
In her 2016 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), on March 21, candidate Hillary Clinton stated clearly her intentions to push the United Nations aside when she declared, “I would vigorously oppose any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict], including by the U.N. Security Council.” In a similar speech during the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania, in April 2008, when she was also a presidential candidate, she went as far as to declare, that to defend Israel, “If I’m President, we will attack Iran… We would be able to totally obliterate them.”
Only a political psychopath could make such an outlandish statement to annihilate a country of 80 million people. That frame of mind should disqualify any person running to become American president. Her Democratic opponent at that time, candidate Barack Obama, accused Hillary Clinton of sabre-rattling and pointed out that this was the kind of language used by the George W. Bush administration.
Hillary Clinton has all the credentials as a pro-perpetual war candidate. That is probably because she adopts the self-serving and dangerous myth of American Exceptionalism. In her biographical book ‘Hard Choices’ and in various interviews, she has proclaimed her belief that “America remains the ‘indispensable nation.’ ” This is a dangerous posture by politicians who control nuclear arms. The history of the 20th Century and the rise of Nazi Germany should teach any democratic leader to refrain from brandishing the superiority of their nation over others.
For example, candidate Hillary Clinton is still on the record as supporting a U.S. imposed no-fly zone in Syria, similar to the one she advocated in Libya, in 2011, with disastrous results, since Islamist terrorists have taken over that country. It seems that Hillary Clinton has learned nothing from the Libyan fiasco she created. That shows very bad judgment.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), said, in 2015,
« Hillary Clinton is a neocon, [because] she supported the war in Iraq, in Afghanistan…
If Hillary Clinton is president, we will be back at war in the Middle East. »
Considering Hillary Clinton’s numerous hawkish statements over the years and her dismal record at the State Department, the question whether she is, or she is not, a neoconservative should be squarely put to her to be answered in a proper forum. From her statements, there is no doubt that candidate Hillary Clinton would be a pro-perpetual war American president. This is a perspective that Democrats and the American electorate in general should ponder.
Even more fundamentally, perhaps, considering the questionable legacy that President Bill Clinton left behind during his two presidential terms, in 1993-1997 and in 1997-2001, and considering that the former president is most likely going to be a close adviser to his wife, if she becomes president, Americans should ask themselves if they want to support the Clinton couple for a third term (2017-2021) in the White House.
Economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book “The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, Please visit the book site at: http://www.thecodeforglobalethics.com/ and his blog at: http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm To write to the author: [email protected]