Friday, April 22, 2016

Hillary's hawkish foreign policy inclinations

Hillary Clinton does not have the Democratic nomination wrapped up and I'm not assuming that she's the all-but-certain nominee.

But for the longer term as well as for the Demcoratic primaries, the hawkishness of Clinton's foreign policy perspectives is a very important issue.

Here are three recent articles on that topic:

Mark Landler, How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk New York Times 04/21/2016

A. Trevor Thrall, Libya and the 5 Stages of U.S. Intervention The National Interest 04/19/2016

Paul Pillar, Hillary the Hawk The National Interest 04/21/2016

Pillar comments on Landler's article. And Pillar also observes of Clinton:

In the course of providing that sort of political cover and playing the role of uber-hawk on Afghanistan, Clinton — as later observed by Afghanistan hand Sarah Chayes—“contributed to the overmilitarizing of the analysis of the problem” while never following through on a talked-about civilian surge.

What is disturbing about this whole portrait is how much positions apparently are being determined, if not by narrow political calculations, by dynamics and relationships that really are more the province of sociology than of national security policy analysis. It is disturbing not just as a statement about Hillary Clinton—who, like Barack Obama, is smart enough to be able to do careful policy analysis on national security matters — but as a broader statement of how much of that manner of arriving at positions on the use of military force infuses overall debate on foreign policy. Hillary Clinton is a mainstream candidate who mostly plays according to what Mr. Obama would call the Washington playbook. A pattern such as overmilitarization of analysis of a subject such as Afghanistan is a recurrent problem and not unique to any one figure such as Clinton.

If Hillary Clinton is elected president — a probable outcome — an important question is whether once in office, given the changes in relationships and thus in the sociology, not to mention her sitting at the desk where the buck stops, her postures on use of military force also will change. Will those postures be an output of feet-on-the-coffee-table affinity with favored military officers, or more the product of detached and careful analysis as exhibited by her predecessor? [my emphasis]

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