When trying to maintain your membership in the exclusive Liberal club, it isn't exactly a good idea to criticize the current party darling, Hillary Clinton, but I'm going to do it anyway. I have a ton of concerns about her both as a candidate and as a president. Is she right for this country, or is there a better liberal/progressive out there that will be better?
Over the weekend, Clinton gave an interview to The Atlantic, in which she criticized the Obama Administration for failing to arm the Syrian rebels. This has led to some calling her a neocon. That's not a nice word to be associated with, especially if you're supposedly a democrat. You'll all remember who the last neocon to take office was, and that didn't work out so well.
I'm not sure that the label matters so much, it's what she said that worries me.
“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”Remember Osama bin Laden? We gave him guns in the 1980s when we were worried about communism. Once the war was over, he turned them against us. We gave Iraq military support when they were fighting Iran (well at least one of the times they were fighting Iran). We've went to war against that country twice (and it looks like we might have to go back).
I'm not a complete isolationist, though the idea has some appeal. I am, however, a historian who considers history cyclical in many ways, and it doesn't seem like a grand idea to give anyone in the middle east weapons, even if it could help them defeat a royal douche like Assad. What happens when they do defeat him? Are they going to be our friends and allies? I mean that did work out once, we gave Great Britain arms in World War II and they are closer to us now than they were before the war. But I don't think the Syrian rebels are the same, and the outcome is likely to be one we didn't foresee.
The point of it all isn't really about this one specific case. What we should take away from this is that Hillary is a hawk, and that maybe isn't what we need right now. President Obama has done an incredible job of keeping us out of another war. There have been several occasions where he, had he been neocon/hawk/any republican, could have sent American troops into battle (Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine). He didn't. While I think he enjoys drones a little too much, it's hard from a "keep our troops at home" stance, to criticize him for his foreign policy.
Let's ask ourselves a question. If Hillary had been president during those crises, would she have had the will power or willingness to stick to sanctions, drones, and diplomacy? That's the question, and I'm worried about the answer.
I think that Hillary will be fine domestically, should she become president after the 2016 campaign. I don't think she's a perfect democrat by any means, but her husband wasn't perfect either and he did just fine in the end. But I think we liberals get confused a bit when it comes to Hillary. She is not her husband. She's a strong and clearly opinionated woman (which is fantastic), and she won't be toeing her husband's party line. The question we, as democrats, need to ask ourselves is, is she really right for America or would there be a better choice?
A friend and I discuss Hillary in detail in this podcast, you might find it interesting.