The Electronic Intifada 14 April 2016
Actor Susan Sarandon recently caused a panic when she revealed her potential unwillingness to vote for Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton in a general election matchup with likely Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Sarandon was echoing an attitude shared by many supporters of Clinton’s Democratic opponent, Bernie Sanders, who say they will not vote for Clinton even if it means Trump becoming president of the United States.
In response, the establishment lost its collective mind.
New York Times columnist Charles Blow blasted “Bernie or Bust” voters for engaging in “scorched-earth electoral portentousness” mired in “petulance and privilege” and “filled with lust for doom.”
The Forward’s JJ Goldberg, in an article headlined “ ‘Bernie or Bust’ is Self-indulgent, Stubborn – and Dangerous,” warned that “[w]hining about [Clinton’s] weaknesses can only depress November turnout and hand Washington to the GOP, lock, stock and barrel.”
And Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast lamented that these anti-Clinton refuseniks are mostly privileged white people with no skin in the game.
Even Hillary Clinton chimed in, tweeting: “Some folks may have the luxury to hold out for ‘the perfect.’ But a lot of Americans are hurting right now and they can’t wait for that.”
It has become accepted orthodoxy in establishment circles to view Trump as an authoritarian race-baiter who would present a major threat to the world if elected in November.
While this characterization is certainly well founded, it ignores the fact that Clinton is also dangerous to world stability. And unlike Trump, she has the blood on her hands to prove it.
If lesser evilism is the goal, as establishment pundits insist, it remains unclear who the lesser evil is – if the choice is limited to Trump or Clinton.
On many issues, particularly trade and foreign policy, Clinton is to the right of Trump, with an inclination toward militaristic belligerence that more closely resembles a neoconservative war hawk than the progressive she claims to be.
For evidence, look no further than the neoconservatives themselves, who are so petrified of Trump’s noninterventionist approach to foreign policy, they are ready to line up behind Clinton.
This isn’t the first time Clinton has won the adoration of the war hawks.
Back in 2008, neoconservatives breathed a sigh of relief when President Barack Obama nominated Clinton as his secretary of state.
Richard Perle, former chair of the Defense Policy Board under President George W. Bush and a leading architect of the Iraq war, said of Clinton’s appointment, “I’m quite pleased … There’s not going to be as much change as we were led to believe.”
The neoconservative Weekly Standard also celebrated Clinton’s nomination, applauding her evolution from “First Feminist” to “Warrior Queen, more Margaret Thatcher than Gloria Steinem.”
Clinton went on to exceed neoconservative expectations.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said he was impressed with Clinton’s work at the State Department, which amounts to a neoconservative seal of approval.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe in 2014, Dan Senor, a leading neoconservative operative and former foreign policy advisor to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, declared, “Hillary is more hawkish than any of us!”
“Hillary is the neocon’s neocon,” added host Joe Scarborough. “It’s going to be fascinating if she decides to run and gets the nomination. She will be more of a saber-rattler, more of a neocon, than probably the Republican nominee. I mean, there’s hardly been a military engagement that Hillary hasn’t been for in the past twenty years.”
The love for Clinton isn’t at all surprising. After all, Clinton routinely accuses Palestinians of teaching their children to hate while closely aligning herself with Israel’s right-wing, Holocaust-revising Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a card-carrying neoconservative whose demagoguery rivals Trump’s.
She has expressed pride in making an enemy of “the Iranians” whose country she once threatened to “obliterate” and continues to threaten with sanctions.
And she likened Russian president Vladimir Putin’s actions in the Ukraine to Hitler’s population transfers before World War II.Despite her 2014 mea culpa over backing the calamitous 2003 Iraq invasion, and her current effort to rebrand herself as a progressive, the war hawk label is one Clinton is still proud to wear – as when she jubilantly touted this week’s New York Daily News endorsement of her as a “superprepared warrior realist.”
Trail of blood
Clinton’s hawkishness goes far beyond inflammatory rhetoric.
While serving as secretary of state, she greenlighted enormous weapons deals to US-backed tyrants, dramatically strengthening the military prowess of despots who happened to be some of the Clinton Foundation’s most generous donors.
In a stunning demonstration of her failure to absorb even the most basic lessons of the Iraq war, Clinton spearheaded the Obama administration’s overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi based on faulty intelligence.
After Gaddafi’s especially gruesome public lynching by US-backed Libyan rebels in 2011, Clinton could barely contain her excitement, gleefully telling CBS News, “We came, we saw, he died.”
Libya predictably descended into a lawless haven for extremist groups from across the region, including the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS.
Obama this week called the failure to prepare for the aftermath of Gaddafi’s overthrow the “worst mistake” of his presidency.
As secretary of state and the leading champion of the intervention, that planning would surely have been Clinton’s primary responsibility.
Libya wasn’t the only country Clinton meddled in.
Following in the footsteps of her mentor, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Clinton supported and legitimized the right-wing Honduran military coup that ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya in 2009, plunging Honduras into record-setting violence that sent thousands of children fleeing for their lives.
Clinton later advocated for the deportation of tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American refugee children who sought asylum in the US in 2014 to “send a message” to their parents that “just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay.”
Nearly a third of those children had fled post-coup violence in Honduras.
Clinton reiterated her support for deporting them as recently as August.
Indigenous rights and environmental activist Berta Cáceres criticized Clinton’s role in the coup prior to her murder by a Honduran death squad on 3 March.
The Clinton campaign denied that its candidate bore any responsibility for the violence, casting her role in Honduras as “active diplomacy.” This week, Clinton again defended the overthrow of Zelaya.
Despite the trail of blood she left behind, Clinton remains confident in the righteousness of US-backed regime change.
Asked last month what she thought about America’s history of overthrowing democratically elected leaders around the world, Clinton invoked the specter of Nazi Germany, arguing, “Somebody could have assassinated Hitler before he took over Germany, would that have been a good thing or not?”
Even Trump recognizes Clinton’s hawkishness to some degree, telling a March rally in Detroit that “the Middle East is burning to a large thought because of Hillary Clinton’s failed policies and her concepts.”
The great neocon panic
In almost surreal contrast to Clinton, Trump has called for reducing America’s military presence abroad and has repeatedly stated his opposition to foreign intervention, calling the Iraq war that Clinton backed “a big fat mistake” that “destabilized the Middle East.”
He even suggested a policy of neutrality in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, a proposal he eventually walked back after incurring the wrath of pro-Israel hardliners, including Clinton, who declared, “America can’t ever be neutral … anyone who doesn’t understand that has no business being America’s president.”
The neoconservative establishment reacted by launching an all-out assault on Trump.
The Emergency Committee for Israel, a neoconservative think tank, released an ad conflating Trump’s opposition to US regime change in Libya and Iraq with support for anti-American dictators.
Soon after, a group calling themselves the “Republican national security community” published a letter condemning Trump’s blasphemy against the core tenets of their hegemonic principles.
Signed by a cadre of neoconservative intellectuals, former government officials and operatives, the letter criticized Trump’s flirtation with isolationism and opposition to corporate trade deals.
It went on to denounce Trump’s bigotry and torture advocacy, though these complaints can hardly be taken seriously given that the people behind them have for decades advocated torture, bigotry and worse.
Eliot Cohen, who organized the anti-Trump letter, went on to assert, “Hillary is the lesser evil, by a large margin.”
Meanwhile, on the advice of South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, Netanyahu is now rushing to sign a bloated US military aid deal, which he previously rejected as insufficient, before Obama leaves office out of fear that a President Trump might not be as generous.
If foreign policy separates Clinton and Trump, there are a number of domestic issues that unite them.
Clinton’s newfound enthusiasm for “tearing down barriers,” a direct reference to Trump’s anti-immigrant proposal to build a wall at the US-Mexico border, completely contradicts her own support for the border wall that already exists, much of it constructed on Obama’s watch.
Just five months ago, Clinton was bragging about her support for that wall.
“I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in,” Clinton boasted at a New Hampshire town hall in November.
Asked at a debate last month to distinguish her wall from Trump’s, Clinton pointed to size.
“As I understand him, [Trump’s] talking about a very tall wall,” she said.
Clinton is a huge fan of Israel’s separation wall that effectively annexes Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and has suggested using it as a model for the US border with Mexico.
And she continues to cite her support for Israel’s wall, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice, as a selling point on her campaign website.
Her hypocrisy has not gone unnoticed by Trump, who tweeted back in January, “Hillary Clinton said that it is OK to ban Muslims from Israel by building a WALL, but not OK to do so in the US. We must be vigilant!”
Race to the bottom
In recent months, Clinton has reinvented herself as an anti-racist social justice warrior, using the language of intersectionality and privilege discourse to deride Sanders’ economic populism, distract from her well-publicized ties to Wall Street and distinguish herself from Trump’s hateful rhetoric.
But behind her social justice veneer are principles more in line with Republicans than the Democratic base.
While Trump has called Mexicans “rapists” and mocked people with disabilities, Clinton notoriously called Black children “super-predators” and referred to welfare recipients as “deadbeats.”
Trump wants to ban Muslims. But Clinton has a solid record of advocating for bombing Muslims, not to mention her ongoing pattern of trashing Arabs and Muslims to win over pro-Israel voters and donors.
Trump is riling up fascist sentiments. But he’s doing so by tapping into legitimate anger at the negative consequences of trickle-down neoliberal economics driven by establishment politicians like Clinton.
She played an active role in dismantling the welfare safety net and selling out American workers to disastrous corporate trade deals.
Another four or even eight years of Clintonian economics and military adventurism could well lay fertile ground for the rise of a demagogue even more bellicose than Trump.
A general election between Clinton and Trump would be a dreadful race to the bottom. It’s no wonder so many people would refuse to cast a ballot for either candidate.
Rania Khalek is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada.
- Hillary Clinton
- Donald Trump
- Bernie Sanders
- 2016 US presidential election
- Susan Sarandon
- Charles Blow
- J.J Goldberg
- Michael Tomasky
- Barack Obama
- Dick Cheney
- Dan Senor
- Benjamin Netanyahu
- Iraq War
- Berta Cáceres
- US-Mexico border wall
- Emergency Committee for Israel
- Lindsey Graham
Madame War Criminal vs "Poor Little Rich Boy"
Permalink Zionism Is Not Judaism replied on
Does it really matter? We must move beyond the lesser of two evils (which, sadly, happens to be Chump) and look to and build for the future.
Let "we came, we saw, he died" be the epithet they chisel on that monster's tombstone. There are just some things that go beyond the ethical and moral pale. That was one of them.
Go Gloria! http://www.votepsl.org/
Permalink Koko replied on
Another massive fiasco not mentioned - Hillary's open and early support for the so-called 'Syrian rebels' who at the time (2011) were well known to be al-Qaeda affiliates. She openly bragged about sending them millions of dollars. Her unspoken goal was regime change in Syria and the ousting of Pres. Assad. In many ways, the policy she touted is responsible for the millions of refugees, homeless, death and destruction we have seen in Syria since that time. Syria puts her bad judgement in high relief.
Permalink Chris Daught replied on
Excellent article Rania Khalek! It's nice to see that there's some real journalism that's existent. I also love how you worked your sources into the article. Please write more!
Hilary vs Trump
Permalink dennis kortheuer replied on
Good discussion of Hilary's past foreign policies. However, it's probably Cruz who will get the nomination. How does his foreign policy compare to Clinton's? And everyone talks about foreign policies, what about domestic policies, things like health care, SS, medicaid and medicare, etc. Aren't those differences between Hilary and the Republicans worth considering? Lesser of two evils is a hell of a way to vote but until things change a lot in this country that's often what we'll be stuck with. I've been around a long time and am used to it. Doesn't mean I like it.
Hillary on the Home Front
Permalink KevinM replied on
Your right her stances on domestic issues are very important... good thing she completely fails there to. Some of her less talked about positions over the years:
Single moms on welfare are dead beats
Black men are super predators
Supporting the destruction of the older welfare system by her husband
Supporting the anti vaxxer movement
Yeah she's flip flopped on all of this because its to her political advantage but when you add in the numerous scandals associated with her and her husband she's completely untrustworthy.
Permalink L Garou replied on
Bottom line. A majority of decent young(and old) democrats, when seeing or hearing Hillary coming, auto-reach for a wooden stake, just like I do. Despite the M$M all-out effort, practically a demand, to believe Hillary is close to Bernie, or has any chance at all in gaining anything more than bigger heaping helpings of disgust and contempt.
Everyone (here and around the world) knows she's widely despised, seen as an untrustworthy liar, and the ongoing attempts to lie, manipulate, coerce and con the public to the contrary, is itself despicable criminal malfeasance.
Permalink Charles Kinsey replied on
Good article . Clinton is dangerous because she is running as a Democrat . If she ran as a Republican I would say she was the best of the people I don't vote for .
Is Hillary More Dangerous Than Trump
Permalink Kathleen Ruth replied on
The ONLY one more dangerous than Trump is Cruz. HRC had to much of a spotlight on her now to continue the way she was going politically. She has expressed too much support, publishing, for progressive stances to turn back completely now.
On another subject I don't think there are many TRUE Sanders supporters who will refuse to "vote blue, no matter who." I know a LOT of Sanders supporters so you'd think there'd be at least ONE who refused to vote for Hillary but we will all vote for the Democratic candidate, as Bernie wants us to.
I think those who say this online (I've NEVER met one face-to-face) are trolls and are planted by the Trump of the Cruz campaigns to spread dissent.
I know LOT of Sanders
Permalink Lara replied on
I know LOT of Sanders supporters also and most of them will NOT vote for her PERIOD. Including myself, who always voted blue and supported and volunteered on democratic campaigns since I was old enough to vote. Call me a troll, a projection likely. See what trnspires in Nov. when we sit this one out and HRC has no chance without their support.
Permalink Dave replied on
I'm a Sanders supporter and a veteran of the USMC. I've also lived and worked in Honduras, Syria, Yemen and Palestine. I can assure you I will NEVER cast a vote for Hillary Clinton. If she is nominated I'll vote for Jill Stein. Hillary is a neoconservative war monger and a serious danger to world peace.
Absolutely! I have already
Permalink CLAUDIA replied on
Absolutely! I have already said many times in the past that Donald Trump may just be a pawn being used to ensure that Hillary wins. Trump and Clinton have a long history beyond politics, they have been good and close friends. Why would he all of a sudden be running against her? Trump is a smart business man, if he truly wants to be president, he would not be doing and saying half of the things he is coming out of him. Trump has created a stage for bigotry and divisiveness, the majority of Americans will not embrace this value. Clinton has a horrible record so they need to put her up against a worse scum so she can be viewed as the most viable candidate. They thought that this plan would be flawless but they underestimated the power of the people behind Bernie Sanders.
I can argue it.
Permalink Andrew replied on
I could actually argue there is one (I do so love to argue too :D)
Thanks to Paul Ryan and other conservatives outbursts of late, my argument is even stronger.
Trump gets elected, what happens? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Why? Congress HATES him. They utterly hate him. And as much as people like to pretend the Presidency is a "powerful position" (it's not without power, but they conflate it with more power than it has), without congress, there's little to no power. So what happens? Congress and Trump fight each other for 2-4 years and that weakens the GOP grip on congress as 2018 more voters come out and flip the house and 2020 we can get a real progressive to run and win (hopefully Warren).
Hell, there's a good chance Congress will work to impeach Trump. Both GOP and Dems will work together on this. So ultimately, a Trump presidency means nothing happens.
Now, let's look at Hillary. Hillary is hated by the GOP, yes, openly, but in private? There's a lot they agree on.
* Hillary is a war hawk ( http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04... ) and she's openly been for war with Iran ( http://www.globalresearch.ca/h... ). So there ya go, GOP and Hillary agree and war with Iran seems even more likely.
* Hillary is for the same kinda trade deals the GOP are for ( http://www.ibtimes.com/cables-... ). She might be saying in the primary that she's against the TPP, but she lobbied for it FORTY FIVE TIMES! Her state department helped create what it is today. Words are like the wind. Easily ever changing and meaningless without action to back it up. And, quite frankly, Hillary's actions on trade show opposite of what her words do.
Clinton more dangerous because of global climate change.
Permalink Alvin Humphrey replied on
If clinton is elected she will do little to effectively address the crisis of climate change. She is to beholden to the establishment especially fossil fuel industry. We will continue warming the planet and as tipping points are crossed run away climate change will ensue. It would be better if Trump were elected as his disregard for the law and civility would most likely bring about impeachment and a political revolution. It would be better to face a crisis now than slow death thru complacency. As in addiction intervention (and fossil fuels are an addiction) Raising the bottom up is prefered to letting the addiction continue, to often irremediable fatal damage.
Step Back For A Moment
Permalink Seriously? replied on
Are we really going to make the statement that Donald Trump is preferable candidate to Hilary Clinton? If you count yourself as any stripe of "left," I find it impossible to believe people actually feel this way. The two candidates are lightyears apart on nearly every issue of the day - climate change, domestic economics, human rights, women's rights, immigration, education, etc. I refuse to believe that intelligent, activist progressives are so cynical or nihilistic in their assessment that they would genuinely root for the worst candidate to every run for office over his democrat opponent, however watered down or flawed they feel she is.
Is this a serious sentiment? Please consider future generations when deciding how to act in November. Theres an enormous amount riding on this election, and ensuring a left of center POTUS, SCOTUS, Senate and perhaps house would be a game changer.
You don't get it
Permalink KevinM replied on
You're asking the wrong question. The question is do you really believe a lying flip flopper like CLinton is a better choice then Trump. I don't. That doesn't mean I'll vote for Trump either. THeir both lying manipulative snakes who will say anything to get into office. Do you really think you know where Clinton stands on any issue? She's changed her mind on pretty much everything in her political career based on whatever people want to hear. If it really comes down to Clinton Vs Trump I'll vote 3rd party because a vote for one is EXACTLY the same as a vote for the other.