We all know that Hillary Clinton voted for the resolution authorizing the war on Iraq. And when Barack Obama objected to the use of nuclear weapons against terrorists, she replied, “I don’t believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or nonuse of nuclear weapons.”
Surely though, as secretary of state, she would do President Obama’s bidding. Not necessarily, according to the dean (if only due to his tenure) of political writers, the Washington Post’s David Broder. In his already much-commented upon Wednesday column, “A Force for Good – but Not at State,” he wrote:
What Obama needs in the person running the State Department is a diplomat who will carry out his foreign policy. He does not need someone who will tell him how to approach the world or be his mentor in international relations. … The last thing Obama needs is a secretary of state carving out an independently based foreign policy.
Then the money line:
He needs an agent, not an author.
Still, however strange it is to choose a secretary of state whose area of expertise is domestic, would her hand pressing Obama’s at the foreign policy helm be disastrous? To give Hillary the benefit of the doubt, weren’t her Iraq and Iran statements just flukes?
During the campaign Stephen Zunes of Foreign Policy in Focus worked up in-depth rundowns (like this one) of each candidate’s foreign policy. Here, as I wrote during the campaign, is some of what most of us don’t know about Hillary. . .
- Of her White House days, Zunes writes that “when President Bill Clinton and others correctly expressed concerns that bombing Serbia would likely lead to. . . ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, Hillary Clinton successfully pushed her husband to bomb that country anyway.”
- She also defended the bombing raid on the Sudanese chemical-weapons-plant-that-wasn’t. (If you’ll recall, it was a pharmaceutical plant.)
- Hillary supports military aid, including missiles which can be nuclear weaponized, to Israel, Pakistan and India, all of which have refused to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. She even voted to end restrictions on US nuclear cooperation with such states.
- After defending Israel’s right to occupy Palestinian territory, not to mention its erection of the Wall, she denounced the International Court of Justice for calling on Israel to abide by international humanitarian law.
- Besides supporting her husband’s bombing of Iraq, Hillary, Zunes writes, “has expressed pride that [his] administration changed underlying U.S. policy toward Iraq from ‘containment’ to ‘regime change.'” Bet she wish she could take that one back.
- During the Senate debate over the resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq, Clinton was the only Democrat to accept all of the Bush administration’s claims about Iraq.
As if the above weren’t troubling enough, Hillary’s stances and votes on international law are downright chilling.
- In 2002, she voted in favor of an amendment by Senator Jesse Helms (yes, you read that right) prohibiting the United States from cooperating with the International Criminal Court. In other words, when it comes to prosecuting for genocide in Darfur, don’t look at us.
- After Israel’s 2002 offensive in the West Bank, Hillary opposed UN efforts to investigate alleged Iraqi war crimes by Israeli occupation forces. Even more startling, she criticized President Bush for calling on Israel to pull back.
- Finally, she refused to support the international treaty to ban land mines. Then she voted down a Democratic-sponsored resolution restricting U.S. exports of cluster bombs to countries using them against civilian-populated areas. Just keeping defense donors happy or are these legitimate weapons to her?
Still, it’s not as if she’ll be worse than previous secretaries of state. Check out this list going back to Nixon: Rice, Colin Powell, Madeline “We think it was worth it” Albright, Warren Christopher, Lawrence Eagleburger, James Baker, George Shultz, Alexander “I’m in control now” Haig, Ed Muskie, Cyrus Vance, and, of course, saving the best for last, Henry Kissinger.
The only ones who didn’t seem to be predisposed to military force are: 1. Muskie. 2. Vance, with his interest in arms reduction and who resigned in protest against the mission to rescue hostages in Iran. 3. Schulz, who urged Ronald Reagan to go all in for nuclear disarmament at Reykjavik.I think we can safely say, that besides Condi, Hillary is an improvement over at least Madeline Albright, Alexander Haig, and, of course, Henry Kissinger.
If that’s something best filed under “thank goodness for small favors,” remember that, during the Bush administration, there were no favors whatsoever.