15 March 2016

Hillary and the sale of foreign policy

Hillary Clinton remains the odds-on favourite to become the 45th president of the United States. While she has solid credentials as a supporter of working class Americans, she has also been referred to as "the political face of corporate America" and "The Wall Street candidate," and indeed she and her husband have been very lucratively associated with bankers.

Another association has also been very lucrative. Billionaire entertainment mogul Haim Saban and his wife have donated $5-million to Ms. Clinton's super PAC, Priorities USA, plus another $1.4-million to the Hillary Victory Fund. This doesn't include the $1.9-million the couple raised at a $2,700-per-plate fundraiser they held at their Beverly Hills mansion last year. If Hillary is, as expected, the Democratic nominee, many more millions will no doubt flow from the Saban trough. He has vowed to provide “as much as needed” to get her elected. He has also donated at least $10-million to the Clinton Foundation.

And what does Mr. Saban expect to get for his millions? Well, he's a good friend of Hillary's so perhaps he's just making a friendly gesture. On the other hand, he might be pursuing his favourite political project. Saban is an Israeli-American who describes himself as a staunch Zionist and proclaims, "I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel." Clinton has apparently assured him she is an unreserved supporter of his country and has pledged, in writing no less, to oppose the boycott Israel movement.

To be fair, perhaps Clinton has always been a supporter of Israel and her friend's generosity would make no difference to her Middle Eastern foreign policy. Maybe, but $26-million and counting suggests a large part of that policy has been bought and paid for.

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