Hillary Clinton Glosses Over Her Seriously Flawed Foreign Policy Plans
Last Thursday, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton held what was billed as a major national security speech in San Diego. It wasn’t. It was an opportunity for her campaign to get millions of dollars in free advertising with the nationally televised speech, blasting the character of presumptive Republican candidate Donald J. Trump. Later that day, Trump fired back with a mocking, derogatory counterattack of his own. The clear loser in the duel? The American people. Beneath the petty, decidedly ungentlemanly exchange of personal slights, the foreign policy offered by both candidates should serve as a warning flag for all voters.
The majority of Clinton’s speech was standard campaign fare. She ridiculed many of Trump’s statements over the years, taking a number of things knowingly out of context to make him sound even worse, and then of course claimed many foreign policy successes for herself. The speech offered nothing new in terms of her position on foreign policy matters, but wasn’t really meant to. The primary purpose of the event was to make people believe Trump is wholly unfit to become president. She did score some points on that front.
Clinton pointed to several examples of what Trump said he would do if elected President. Among them, that Trump has said he would use torture against terror suspects and kill family members who are related to accused terrorists, “even though those are war crimes.” She also accused him of saying he would let the Islamic State “run wild” in Syria and use nuclear weapons against ISIS. She would “leave it to the psychiatrists,” she said, to explain why Trump allegedly likes tyrants.
But her more emphatic point was that electing Trump to become commander in chief “would be a historic mistake” because he wasn’t qualified. In contrast, Clinton said, she’s had “experience with the tough calls and the hard work of statecraft” and listed what she claimed were her biggest accomplishments.
Among them were that she had “wrestled with the Chinese” on major issues, advised the president in the White House situation room at important times, and that she had worked “side-by-side with admirals and generals” during wartime. There were, however, a few noteworthy events missing from her 4,149-word speech related to her experience. Two in particular jump out.
First, Russia invaded Georgia in August of 2008, to the consternation of many NATO members. Two months after the Obama Administration took office, Secretary of State Clinton was charged with trying to “reset” relations with Russia. It was at a meeting in Geneva that the now-infamous photo of Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pushing the red “reset” button (which had been improperly labeled by the White House with the Russian word for “overcharged”) was taken.
During the meeting with Lavrov, Clinton indicated the new Administration was willing to be “flexible” with Russia on the missile defense interceptors that had been planned by the Bush Administration. “Six months after the Geneva meeting,” the American Thinker reported, “the U.S. cancelled deployment of the systems, leaving Poland and the Czech Republic bereft of the economic and security benefits of the installations but still saddled with Russian anger.”
A scathing editorial in the Wall Street Journal later that year argued that this time the diplomatic deal with Russia was “the concession was missile defense. Next time, perhaps, the West can be seduced into trading away the pro-Western government of Georgia, or even Ukraine.” That diplomatic achievement didn’t work out so well for the U.S.