Washout: Hillary’s foreign policy experience does her no favors

HillaryCaricature

Hillary Clinton and her backers figure she’s got at least one advantage, public trust in her foreign policy experience and judgment.

Hillary tried to highlight that factor when she told a questioner at a recent New Hampshire town hall meeting, “When you vote for someone for president, you’re also voting for a commander in chief.”

But why, exactly, does Hillary, or anybody else, think her foreign policy experience is a plus when you review her screw-ups.

Consider:

Libya

Then: Hillary Clinton urged President Obama to back a military campaign against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, over the opposition of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and other national security experts.

Now: Libya has deteriorated into a virtual failed state run by hundreds of private militias. Eighteen months after the initial airstrikes, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in attacks by militants on a U.S. diplomatic post and a nearby CIA site in Benghazi. The North African nation has become a primary outpost for the Islamic State, which has exploited the chaos to take territory, train soldiers and prove its strength outside Syria and Iraq. Washington Post, Feb. 3, 2016

Iraq

Then: On voting in favor of a resolution to take military action against Iraq in the face of Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, “I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt,” Clinton said in a Senate speech the day before the vote. “It is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation…It is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein — this is your last chance. Disarm or be disarmed.”

“We’ve ended the war in Iraq,” Obama said on June 25, 2012, at a New Hampshire rally in New Hampshire. “I’ve kept the commitments that I’ve made,” he said in Iowa on Oct. 24, 2012. “I told you we’d end the war in Iraq. We did.”

Now:

Although the Iraq war has technically been over for more than four years, Iraqis are still dying in large numbers. The number of Iraqis seeking refuge in other countries has risen considerably as the conflict between the Islamic State and the Iraqi government and associated forces continues. The U.N. has described the violence as “staggering” and noted the Islamic State may be guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.

A Jan. 2016 report by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq also accuses ISIS of holding an estimated 3500 people as slaves across Iraqi territory, using many as human shields, and pressing 800-900 children into military service for the conflict.

Meanwhile, animosity Between Sunnis and Shiites is threatening the Iraq’s stability. Neighboring Iran, home to the world’s largest Shia population, is behind the country’s support for Iraq’s Shia-dominated government.

Syria

Then: Hillary Clinton joined President Obama in declaring that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces would cross a “Red Line” if they used chemical weapons. On Aug. 11, 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Istanbul that it’s clear to the Assad regime the use of chemical weapons is “a red line for the world.” On Aug. 20, 2012, Obama said that the use or movement of chemical weapons by the Assad regime is a red line. “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” Obama said. “That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

Now:

Under the banner of fighting international terrorism, President Vladimir Putin has reversed the fortunes of forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which were rapidly losing ground last year to moderate and Islamist rebel forces in the country’s five-year-old crisis. Washington Post, Feb. 3, 2016

Today, 4.6 million Syrians are refugees and 6.6 million are displaced within Syria; half are children. World Vision

Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes. Mercy Corps

The conflict is now more than just a battle between those for or against President Bashar al-Assad. It has acquired sectarian overtones, pitching the country’s Sunni majority against the president’s Shia Alewite sect, and drawn in regional and world powers. The rise of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) has added a further dimension. BBC

Russia

Then: In March 2009, Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button with the Russian text “перегрузка”, which was intended to be the Russian word for “reset”. Clinton explained that she wanted to reset relations between Russia and the United States, to spur a new era of better ties. “The reset worked,” Clinton told CNN in August 2014.

Now: In March 2014, Russia decided “To hell with the reset” and annexed Crimea. This led to the installation of a pro-Russian government in Crimea, the holding of a disputed, unconstitutional referendum and the declaration of Crimea’s independence.

 Russia subsequently:

  • blocked a U.N. Security Council resolution on Crimea’s referendum
  • provided a Russian-made Buk missle to Ukrainian rebels who used it to shoot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board
  • granted asylum to Edward Snowden, who’s wanted in the United States for leaking information about National Security Agency surveillance practices.
  • Provided military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Hillary, a tested,  brilliant, strategic foreign policy expert the American people can trust? I don’t think so.

 

 

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Joe Biden’s legacy: hold the applause

Following Joe Biden’s announcement that he would not run for president, public pronouncements and media coverage have been more hagiography than biography.

The praise has been so over the top, you’d think Joe had died and gone to heaven and folks were delivering cloying funeral orations.

Joe Biden Caricature | by DonkeyHotey

Joe Biden Caricature | by DonkeyHotey

Before the Democrats and the media canonize Joe Biden, let’s step back a bit.

The most consistent element of the comments has been the assertion that Joe is a great and good man because of his unquestioned honesty.

Not so fast.

In his 1988 campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Biden gave a speech that drew the attention of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. She accused Biden of outright plagiarizing speeches given by British Labor Party leader, Neil Kinnock.

As it turned out, not only did Biden lift text from Kinnock’s speeches; he even appropriated parts of Kinnock’s life, citing his ancestors’ ability to read and write poetry, his accomplishment of being the first in his family to attend college and, in an apparent effort to show his blue-collar roots, that some of his ancestors were coal miners. That was all true for Kinnock, but most certainly not for Biden.

Biden’s problems escalated when media discovered that he had also exaggerated his college academic record and been accused of plagiarism there. Biden claimed that he’d finished Syracuse Law School in the top half of his class when he’d actually graduated 76th of 85. He’d also and gotten an F in a law school class for plagiarizing a substantial portion of a paper from an article in the Fordham Law Review. Biden dismissed the plagiarism incidents as “much ado about nothing,” but subsequently ended his campaign.

Biden also played a major role in the Robert Bork and the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1987 and 1991 that many observers still describe as defamatory. “Joe Biden has had his finger in every tawdry hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee in my memory,” said Mark Levin, president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, a conservative legal advocacy group. “He has lowered the standard of debate. He has politicized the confirmation process. He has used his position to defame a number of nominees, including Bob Bork and Clarence Thomas, and there’s no road too low that he won’t travel.”

Like so many politicians, Biden also has not shied away from rewriting history. Remember when Hillary Clinton claimed she was threatened by sniper fire when she visited Bosnia in 1996, an assertion that was later disproved? Biden once claimed that his helicopter was “forced down” on “the superhighway of terror” by Afghan extremists. The facts? He was in a helicopter with two other senators when a snowstorm closed in and the pilot decided to put down, after which a U.S. troop convoy took them to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

Biden’s shifting versions of events continue today. In 2012, Biden said he advised President Obama not to approve the raid on the Abbottabad, Pakistan compound that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden. White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed Biden’s comment. But on Oct. 20, Biden said just the opposite, that he had he privately advised Obama to approve the raid.

And let’s not forget Biden was perfectly willing to embrace and propagate the administration’s lie that the Benghazi terrorist attack that resulted in the death of American ambassador was a spontaneous reaction to an inflammatory anti-Muslim video.

Then, of course, there’s Biden’s seemingly never ending dithering on whether to enter the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. His hemming and hawing and general indecisiveness on that issue alone should tell you a lot about his suitability for the presidency.

When Biden dropped out of the selection process this time around, Hillary Clinton said she’s confident that “history isn’t finished with Joe Biden.” Let’s hope not, at least insofar as historical truth goes.