Monday, August 01, 2016

Clinton II foreign policy

If we're lucky, Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump will become the US President next January.

But the fact that Hillary is several orders of magnitude better than Trump doesn't mean that there aren't seriously problematic aspects of her Presidency to be expected. In foreign policy, for instance.

Paul Pillar looks at what it's really meaningful to call the Obama-Hillary foreign policy in our ongoing War for the Greater Middle East (The Costs and Consequences of Managing Rogue States The National Interest 07/28/2016):

Libya under Muammar Qaddafi was subject to years of punishment and ostracism. As far as international sanctions were concerned, this did have a specific declared objective: involving the turning over of named suspects in the bombing of Pan Am 103 in 1988. Once Qaddafi surrendered the suspects, real negotiation ensued. It resulted in an agreement that ended (while opening up to international inspection) Libya's unconventional weapons programs and confirmed the Libyan regime's exit from international terrorism. Then, after an internal insurrection broke out in Libya, the idea took root—first in Western European capitals, although Washington would go along—that the situation should be exploited to intervene on behalf of the rebels and to help overthrow the regime. Regime change supplanted negotiation.

Policy toward Syria has been a mixed bag all along. There has been lots of punishment, but without some of the isolation to which other regimes have been subjected; the United States kept diplomatic relations with Syria even after placing it on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Once an internal revolt broke out in Syria, a situation similar to Libya arose, in that some outsiders (principally Gulf Arab states and Turkey) wanted to take advantage of the situation to topple the Assad regime. With Russian and Iranian help, and also for internal reasons, the regime has managed to hang on. But “Assad must go” became a slogan elsewhere, and many in the West took regime change to be an objective. There was negotiation leading to the surrender and disposal of Syrian chemical weapons, but some, including in the United States, did not like that approach. While there has been some backing away from the idea that Assad must go, others outside Syria say that still should be an objective. In short, there has been conflict and controversy, even within the United States let alone in any larger coalition, over just what the objective should be. [my emphasis]
Gareth Porter warns in Hillary Clinton and Her Hawks Consortium News 07/29/2016:

As Hillary Clinton begins her final charge for the White House, her advisers are already recommending air strikes and other new military measures against the Assad regime in Syria.

The clear signals of Clinton’s readiness to go to war appears to be aimed at influencing the course of the war in Syria as well as U.S. policy over the remaining six months of the Obama administration.
Escalating intervention in Syria, which is already underway under Obama, faces new complications after the recent failed coup attempt in Turkey, after which Turkey's government is looking to develop better relations to Russia.

Enflaming wars in the Middle East and generating further chaos and destruction there is really not a good idea for US foreign policy.

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