21 August 2014

Hillary Clinton—a very dangerous lady

During the Democratic nomination race for the 2008 U.S. presidential election, my preference was torn between a woman president or a black president. I was leaning toward the woman, Hillary Clinton, when, watching her on a TV interview, she stated that if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons she would "totally obliterate" Iran. I almost fell out of my chair.

What the hell was this all about? Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons and it hasn't attacked another country in centuries, so why was she tossing "obliteration" around—the slaughter of millions? This was reckless speculation that one would really not like to see in the president of the world's most powerful country. I quickly switched my hopes to the black candidate.

And, indeed, the black candidate duly won—the nomination and the presidency. Apparently Clinton's militarism also cost her the support of people who could actually vote on the nomination. But she soldiers on, almost certainly aiming for the Democratic nomination in 2016. I find her no more appealing now than I did then.

Very recently, in an interview in The Atlantic, she trotted out a series of bellicose views on American foreign policy that would have had Dick Cheney applauding: advocating a tougher stance on Syria, zealous support for turning the war on terror into a new cold war (sounding a bit like a jihadist herself), cheerleading Israel's brutal treatment of the Palestinians, denying Iran the right to any uranium enrichment at all, and advocating a more belligerent approach on foreign policy generally, while all the time bad-mouthing Obama's overly "cautious" approach. (Any progressive tempted to support Clinton should read this interview—it's a mind changer.)

All this was accompanied by a chauvinistic view of U.S. foreign policy achievements not always rooted in fact. For instance, while wallowing in a little American exceptionalism, she and her interlocutor agreed that the U.S. defeat of fascism and communism had been "a pretty big deal" for the U.S. But of course their motherland defeated neither. Fascism was defeated primarily by the Soviet Union (80 per cent of the casualties suffered by the German military were inflicted by the Soviets) with the support of the U.S. (and others) and Communism was defeated largely by the citizens of the Soviet Union and its satellites, to say nothing of collapsing under its own dead weight, although again, the U.S. might be credited with a supporting role. Clinton's Hollywood view of history does no credit to a woman who was U.S. Secretary of State for four years.

Maybe she is just flaunting her tough guy bona fides, necessary it seems for a U.S. presidential candidate, no doubt more so for a woman. But I think she does too much macho strutting for it to be an electoral gimmick. I think she means it.

Nonetheless, I would love to see a woman win the presidency. So please, please, Democratic Party, take courage and convince Elizabeth Warren to run in 2016.

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