Jim Jatras and Anthony T. Salvia
Jim Jatras, a former US diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership, comments on financial and foreign policy topics and on U.S. politics in his publication TheJIM!gram. Tweet him at @JimJatras. Anthony T. Salvia was Special Advisor to the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs under Ronald Reagan, director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Moscow bureau, and is now Partner at Global Strategic Communications Group, a firm devoted to governmental relations and public advocacy.
One cannot help but wonder if Hillary Rodham Clinton is smart enough to be President. She evidently learned nothing from her attempt a few weeks ago to play the "woman card” against Donald Trump. He responded by slamming her for enabling her rapist husband’s multiple predations while savaging his accusers.
You would think she would have remembered the old adage: "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
But as if to demonstrate the truth of another proverb characterizing fools, "once burned, twice shy,” there she was in San Diego throwing rocks with reckless abandon in the glass house of America’s foreign policy. Donald Trump, she claimed, is dangerous. He is a threat to our national security. He doesn’t love NATO enough. Or Muslims.
Her tirade is an engraved invitation for Trump to shine a bright, unflattering light on Hillary’s foreign policy views and record as U.S. Secretary of State—one of the most checkered and blood-soaked in U.S. history.
Hillary’s overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi (conspicuously absent from her San Diego speech) has turned that country into an ISIS stronghold. Her cackle over his murder, echoing, tellingly, Julius Caesar—"we came, we saw, he died”—speaks volumes about her weird vainglory and bloody-mindedness.
Hillary pushed for a Security Council resolution to allow U.N. forces to relieve the beleaguered city of Benghazi during Gaddafi’s last days—then promptly sandbagged the other members of the Security Council by superseding the resolution’s mandate, using it as carte blanche to hunt down Gaddafi and bring about regime change. Russia and China, which could have vetoed the resolution, but did not believing (naively) in Washington’s good will, felt deeply betrayed. Indeed, her perfidy and aggression may well have convinced Vladimir Putin that he needed to replace then-president Dmitri Medvedev—with himself.
As for Benghazi, the original casus belli, it is well-known how little Hillary cared about the security of the U.S. diplomatic mission there, let alone the city as a whole. A Fox News report released May 12th sheds light on Hillary’s negligence and incompetence: a member of the U.S. Air Force squadron at Aviano airbase in Italy said he and his fellow airmen were waiting for the order to conduct a rescue effort, but it never came. The report also quotes a certain "Mike,” a member of an anti-terror quick reaction force: "We had hours and hours and hours to do something . . . and we did nothing.”
Questions put to Hillary by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee suggest Hillary’s main concern—and the reason the late U.S. ambassador had travelled from Tripoli to Benghazi in the first place—was to arrange for the transfer of weapons from Gaddafi’s arsenal to Turkey and then to jihadist groups in Syria. Thus, the Benghazi calamity had its roots in our, ill-conceived "Assad-must-go” policy, which has plunged Syria into a horrendous cycle of violence and destruction, and continues to be U.S. policy today and Hillary’s preferred outcome.
Once again—as in Iraq and Libya (and with Hillary’s full-throated support)—we are seeking to overthrow a secular government that has a long history of tolerating local Christian churches (the fate of Christianity being, of course, of zero interest to Hillary). Thanks in large part to her—we are now backing jihadist groups in Syria that are closely aligned ideologically with the people who knocked down the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
The result of Clintonian aggression and incompetence has been the destabilization of the entire region, and the migration of tens, indeed hundreds, of thousands of refugees to Europe, threatening to swamp the security, economy, and cultural cohesion of the Old Continent under a tidal wave of inassimilable people. Hillary is not appalled by this; she thinks it is marvelous.
Bernie Sanders has taken Hillary to task for her vote for the Iraq War. He is right about that. But he will not connect the dots linking Iraq to Libya to Syria. These dots in turn connect to Hillary’s outspoken dislike for Vladimir Putin and hatred of Russia, and ultimately to her husband’s appalling war of aggression against Serbia and her advising him that he should bomb the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade—the first aerial bombardment of a European city since 1945, as Gary Leupp, professor of history at Tufts University, has pointed out in a helpful survey of her many crimes and blunders.
What do Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Serbia have in common? They were all friends and allies of Russia when they were attacked. It is hardly a coincidence that America swings into military action (Serbia, Iraq) and/or seeks regime change (Libya, Syria, Ukraine) if it contributes to our policy of isolating, encircling, and defeating post-communist Russia.
Hillary’s comparing of Vladimir Putin to Hitler and her current advocacy of a no-fly zone (directed against Russian aircraft) in Syria and beefed up military assistance to Ukraine—plus the Obama Administration’s enhancement of NATO’s presence on Russia’s borders (now including deploying nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers over the Baltic States!)—has convinced many Russia-observers that what was unthinkable during the Cold War has become plausible, even probable.As Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University, has observed, the large-scale U.S.-NATO massing of military forces on Russia's western border—in Poland and the Baltic states, and in the Black Sea—which NATO considers its "Eastern Front,” is unprecedented and creates the impression in Moscow that we are preparing for war.
It is no wonder that even as Obama cautions that the world is "rattled” at the prospect of a Trump presidency (as though foreigners were entitled to pick our leaders), Russians prefer The Donald by a significant margin. Maybe they just fear what having Hillary back in the White House would mean for them. Americans should be scared too.
Few people under 50 years of age remember that once upon a time the Democrats were known as "the War Party” and Republicans stood for peace. Some pundits have suggested that Trump’s less bellicose policies mean he is "left-flanking” Hillary on war. That is inaccurate. As with his positions on immigration and trade, he is not so much flanking her from the "left” as hitting her destructive globalism from the American side.
Adding endless wars—and the prospect of a nuclear war against Russia, or possibly China—to his bill of particulars against Hillary would serve Trump, America, and the world well. Maybe it’s time for him to fund a remake of the famous "Daisy” attack ad that helped propel Lyndon Johnson to a landslide victory over Barry Goldwater in 1964.