Presumptive 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton sharply criticized her former boss’ approach to foreign policy, accusing President Obama of political messaging with his philosophy of “don’t do stupid stuff.”
The former secretary of state told The Atlantic Monthly in an article Sunday that “peace, progress and prosperity” would be a much more effective strategy.
“Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” she said.
Anxious to distance herself from an unpopular president caught in the vise of overseas scandals, Clinton revealed that she was an early advocate for supporting Syrian rebels when protests broke out, but Obama would have none of it.
“I know that the failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against [President Bashar al] Assad – there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle – the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” she told The Atlantic.
The United States needed a leader who believes that the country is an indispensable force for good, and the appearance of withdrawing from the world stage sends the wrong signal, Clinton said. She insisted that a balance can be struck between posturing and doing nothing, noting that the perils of radical jihadists and Putin’s fire-stoking nationalism got her “hepped up.”
She said that America needed “an overarching strategy” to deal with the rapidly expanding menace of ISIS, “because the breakout capacity of jihadist groups can affect Europe, can affect the United States…Their raison d’etre is to be against the West, against the Crusaders, against the fill-n-the-blank – and we all fit into one of these categories. How do we contain that? I’m thinking a lot about containment, deterrence, and defeat.”
“What’s so interesting is, I think she means some of this,” commented Tucker Carlson on “Fox and Friends.” Clearly some of it is political. …On the other hand, this is consistent with her views since 2000, when she started in the Senate. She voted to authorize force in Iraq in 2003. She has a very different view from Obama. My question to her would be, ‘Really? You were Secretary of State for all those years? Did you just parrot the president’s policy? Where were you when you worked there?’”
The conflict in Gaza also offered Clinton an opportunity to present herself as a vigorous defender of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even though she blasted his settlement policies while serving as secretary of state.
“I think Israel did what it had to do to respond to the rockets,” she said. “Israel has a right to defend itself. The steps Hamas has taken to embed rockets and command-and-control facilities and tunnel entrances in civilian areas, this makes a response by Israel difficult.”
Clinton left no doubt that she was running for president, but The Atlantic’s softball questions afforded her an easy home run. Hardballs still await.
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