Wednesday 7 December 2016

Why another Clinton in White House is last thing the world needs

Con Coughlin

Published 17/04/2015 | 02:30

Hillary Clinton (R) stops to take a selfie after meeting with members of the Iowa State legislature at the Iowa State Capital .
Hillary Clinton (R) stops to take a selfie after meeting with members of the Iowa State legislature at the Iowa State Capital .
Hillary Clinton

After Hillary Clinton's disastrous performance as Secretary of State, she does not deserve to win the race for the White House.

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In the video Ms Clinton posted on the internet announcing her candidacy, she made it clear that she would be pursuing a populist, socially liberal strategy, primarily aimed at securing blue-collar votes.

There is no mention in the 90-second video clip about the kind of leadership she intends to provide on the world stage if her bid for the White House is successful, which is just as well given her less-than-impressive performance during the four years she spent as Secretary of State.

Many on the Left are still trying to cling to the fiction that Ms Clinton's idealist attempts to cast American foreign policy in a fresh, non-confrontational light during her term at the State Department was a brilliant success. Commenting on Ms Clinton's declaration, US President Barack Obama, her rival for the Democratic nomination in 2008, said that, based on her "outstanding" track record at the State Department, she would make "an excellent president". Yet, looking back at her record, it could equally be argued that Ms Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State was an unmitigated disaster. This started with her ridiculous attempt to "reset" relations with Moscow at the beginning of her term, and ended with the deadly attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi in 2012 by Islamist extremists, in which four people were murdered, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Despite Ms Clinton's clumsy effort in 2009 to ingratiate herself with Sergei Lavrov, her Russian opposite number, by presenting him with a box that was supposed to include a red "reset" button (instead the State Department mistakenly had the Russian word for "overcharged" engraved on the box), the Russians have lost none of their appetite for confrontation with the West. From last year's illegal annexation of Crimea to this week's incident in which a US reconnaissance aircraft was buzzed by Russian warplanes over the Baltic, Russia is testing the West's nerves.

The Benghazi attack is arguably a more egregious example of Ms Clinton's incompetence, not least because she failed to heed any of the warnings about possible Islamist terror attacks against US diplomats in Libya. She did nothing to implement improved security measures at the Consulate that might have saved the lives of Mr Stevens and the other victims.

Looking back, Ms Clinton's inadequate response to major foreign policy challenges echoes her husband's unconvincing performance during his presidency in the 1990s. Throughout Bill Clinton's eight-year tenure at the White House, the president earned a reputation for being conflict-averse, occasionally lobbing the odd salvo of cruise missiles at Saddam Hussein when he refused to comply with UN weapons inspectors and resisting Tony Blair's calls for ground troops to be deployed in the Balkans to prevent more ethnic cleansing. The most damning indictment of Mr Clinton's hands-off approach is contained in the findings of the 9/11 Commission report, which argues that his refusal to take effective measures against Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'ida terror cell in Afghanistan resulted in the September 11 attacks.

Today, with so many new threats on the horizon, it could be argued that the last thing the West needs is another Clinton in the White House. And yet, when you look at the feebleness of the West's response to Isil as well as Russia's new appetite for military adventurism, it could be argued that the Clintonian doctrine of avoiding confrontation at all costs has now become accepted. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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