Many conservatives hold out hope that, as president, Hillary Clinton will be okay on foreign policy and national security issues. A few even plan to vote for her for this reason, seeing Donald Trump as worse than Clinton on these matters.
Keith Kellogg, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General and adviser to the Trump campaign, demonstrates that hopes for a sound foreign national security policy can only be founded on wishful thinking and dislike of Trump. They find no support in her record.
Kellogg begins with Iraq. Clinton voted for that war. Was this a mistake? Clinton says it was.
It certainly was a major mistake to vote (as Clinton did) against the surge that turned the tide in Iraq, and to ridicule Gen. Petraeus, the surge’s architect. And it was a major mistake to pull out of Iraq when President Obama came to office. (The excuses for the pullout have been debunked by Dexter Filkins of the New York Times.)
Kellogg blames Clinton for not being able to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government. The evidence suggests that Obama didn’t want to reach an agreement and I believe that this, not poor negotiating by Clinton, is why we didn’t get one. But Clinton was part of the team that gave away our hard-won gains (gains she tried to prevent by opposing the surge) in Iraq.
Kellogg next considers Libya. There can be no Clinton finger pointing when it comes to the disasters that have occurred there. She was the architect of our Libya policy, which, email traffic shows, her team considered her greatest achievement as Secretary of State.
Some achievement. As Kellogg points out:
When [Qaddifi] was overthrown, there was no plan for follow-up governance. The result was instability, a huge refugee flow into southern Europe and the Islamic State gaining a foothold in Libya.
Worse was the eventual loss of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in the Benghazi terrorist attack. It was the first killing of a U.S. ambassador in the line of duty since 1979. The response from our secretary of state? She claimed his killing was the result of an anti-Islamic video.
Clinton’s Russian reset began badly. As Kellogg reminds us, Clinton couldn’t even get the translation on the idiotic reset button correct: The Russian word emblazoned on the button actually meant “overload.”
Since the reset, Russia has taken Crimea, invaded main portions of Ukraine, strongly supported Syrian President Bashar Assad, conducted airstrikes against civilians in Aleppo, Syria and significantly increased its military and political presence in the Middle East.
It’s ironic that Clinton is winning the debate over Russia. Yes, Clinton talks tougher than Trump about Russia. But, as Trump likes to say, it’s all talk.
Egypt is a case in point. In 2009, she called Mubarak a family friend. But when he came under attack, she supported his overthrow and then backed the Muslim Brotherhood government. Now, she denounces the U.S. friendly government as “basically a military dictatorship.”
As for Iran, Clinton backs the great giveaway known as the nuclear deal. We can be confident that in a Clinton administration, Iran will get away with violation after violation.
As for Syria, Clinton has tried to distance herself from the disastrous Obama policy. Supposedly, she wanted a firmer anti-Obama stance.
You can believe this if you want to. But the big question is how Clinton will deal with Syria now and, more generally, how she will deal with the next hot spots and crises.
Given her astounding misjudgments about Iraq, Libya, and Russia — indeed, about virtually every hot spot and crisis that arose during her time as Secretary of State — it should be impossible for any fair-minded observer to believe Clinton won’t botch any significant foreign policy issue that comes up.