One of the popular ideas in far left circles is the notion that Hillary Clinton is a bloodthirsty monster who craves war and wants to invade the world to spread neoliberal economics. This theory is based on two pieces of evidence — Clinton’s vote on a resolution to force Saddam Hussein to allow United Nations inspectors to verify whether the regime had destroyed chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and her role in the Obama administration’s actions in Libya to remove Muammar Gaddafi.
While questionable decisions on Clinton’s behalf, George W. Bush made the ultimate decision to go to war with Iraq, and the Obama administration worked in tandem with NATO European and Arab allies to depose Gaddafi in a hugely collaborative effort. Clinton did play a key role in the decision to aid NATO and Arab allies, but it was not a decision taken lightly by any means, and wasn’t crafted specifically for regime change, but rather the protection of Libyan civilians caught in a gruesome conflict that was getting out of control. C
For anyone familiar with reality, Clinton’s foreign policy history cannot be considered perfect, but it is by no means an ideological one. Clinton has always believed in a muscular American foreign policy, but one that uses war as a last resort. On the Senate floor after her vote to authorize Bush to verify the destruction of Saddam Hussein’s weapons arsenal, Clinton said this:
This is a difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make. Any vote that may lead to war should be hard, but I cast it with conviction…My vote is not, however, a vote for any new doctrine of preemption or for unilateralism or for the arrogance of American power or purpose…is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our president. And we say to him: Use these powers wisely and as a last resort.”
Again, Hillary Clinton did not send troops into Iraq. George W. Bush, a man who ran on an isolationist platform in 2000, did.
Being skeptical of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy record is perfectly rational (I supported Obama in 2008 primarily because I believed he was more of an isolationist than Clinton), but it is not rational to believe she would have kicked off World War III had she become president in 2016. There is simply no evidence or reason to support this other than unbridled hatred for a woman who has been relentlessly smeared by the Republican establishment for the past 25 years.
Those on the far left who abstained from voting for Clinton in 2016 because she was “just as bad” as Donald Trump must now concede that they were wrong. Leaving aside the domestic carnage that includes attempting to destroy affordable health care, gutting the federal government, getting rid of climate scientists in the EPA and attempting to destroy public education, Trump has already bombed Syria and is now threatening North Korea with “fire, fury and frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
While North Korea does present a genuine threat to global stability, it isn’t a military threat to the United States and should not be treated as such. Hillary Clinton’s record in office reflects this sentiment, and the rogue nation was treated very carefully and action was coordinated with North Korea’s neighboring countries. Clinton viewed North Korea as a genuine problem, but felt that diplomacy, collaboration and sanctions were the best way to achieve America’s aims.
It is unthinkable that Clinton would have attempted to escalate a nuclear conflict in such an idiotic, thoughtless way, and anyone who believes otherwise is subscribing to the same conspiracy theories that helped get Trump elected in the first place.
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Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.