Afghanistan. The question was, how much of a “surge” should be attempted in (“the necessary war” in) Afghanistan? There were already 70,000 U.S. troops there in 2009. Vice President Joe Biden questioned the efficacy of any surge. The brass wanted 40,000. Hillary supported the brass. Obama sent 33,000. (The surge was in fact ineffectual, and the Obama years have seen relations between U.S. troops and the Afghans they’re supposed to train deteriorate into conditions of mutual contempt and “green-on-blue” incidents. Desertion rates are high, corruption pervades the Afghan army and the Taliban controls more territory than at any time in the last 14 years.)

During Clinton’s years as secretary of state, the relations between President Hamid Karzai and the U.S. careened from crisis to crisis as Karzai was obliged to express outrage at U.S. bombings of civilian targets and attacks on innocent civilians. At one point he order the U.S. army to withdraw Special Forces from Helmand Province entirely following reports of abuses there. Where these cannot be blamed on Madame Clinton, they are just one more example of the consequences of the militarism she’s always championed.

Syria. One consequence of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq was the alienation of the country’s Sunnis and the establishment of an al-Qaeda foothold. Indeed, the scattered network of terrorists first emerged as a land army able to hold territory in Anbar Province in 2004. The 2007 “surge” dealt al-Qaeda in Iraq a major blow, but the group established a foothold in neighboring Syria.

In 2011, as Arab regimes were toppled in the “Arab Spring,” Hillary’s state department decided to withdraw diplomatic recognition from Syria. Both the president and secretary of state pontificated that President Bashar Assad, having shot down demonstrators, had “lost his legitimacy” and had to go. They decided to actively aid the armed opposition, covertly at first.

It soon became abundantly clear that the “moderate opposition” forces the U.S. hoped to assist in bringing down the secular Syrian regime were Islamists aligned with the al-Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda. U.S. arms provided to these (imaginary) moderates have passed into al-Qaeda hands. Meanwhile al-Qaeda in Iraq morphed into ISIL (also known as ISIS, the Islamic State, or Daesh). The latter—a direct product of Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 that (repeat! Hillary had passionately supported)—is among the most horrific, despicable organizations in the world today.

Hillary’s solution? Why, arms shipments, of course! She has since leaving the administration to pursue her presidential ambitions openly disparaged Obama’s stated principle that in formulating foreign policy you “don’t do stupid shit.” She apparently thinks that that “mantra” reflects timidity, an unwillingness to take the sort of risk she opted for when she voted for the invasion of Iraq. As she assesses it, the ongoing war in Syria shows 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.”

In other words, why not use anyone willing to take our arms, in order to topple a nationalist leader who won’t kowtow to Washington?

Obama himself responded to her comments with restraint, simply noting “there’s a difference between running for president and being president. And the decisions that are being made and the discussions that I’m having with the joint chiefs become much more specific, I think, and require a different kind of judgment.” And both he and Biden have repeatedly pooh-poohed the idea of creating an armed force in Syria out of “former farmers or teachers or pharmacists” or “dentists or maybe some radio reporters.”

(But as it happens, the Obama administration has ratcheted up support for the Syrian “opposition” even as it—finally concluding that ISIL is also an enemy needing to be “destroyed”—bombs Islamic State targets. It has pursued a policy of targeting both the regime and the jihadis, insisting that they both have to go, to be succeeded by something else at least as suitable to Washington as the regimes which now govern in Afghanistan and Iraq. The problem is that the “moderate opposition” is illusory, and the fall of the Baathist regime would likely mean Islamists taking Damascus, with dire consequences for any but the most compliant Sunnis.)

Hillary’s policy—to demonize Assad, deny his legitimacy, and back the armed opposition—has been superseded by that of her successor John Kerry, shaped in part by energetic Russian diplomacy. The Russian decision (in September 2015) to begin bombing Islamist forces in Syria, in support of the Syrian Arab Army—which, along with the Kurdish peshmerga—has been the most effective force against al-Nusra and ISIL, has been a game-changer. The Assad regime, which has a definite social base (especially among Christians and other religious minorities) has gained the upper hand in the war. Kerry has been forced to work with the Russians to back peace talks between the (non-terrorist) forces involved, and to concede that Assad’s departure, while still a U.S. goal, need not be immediate. This is why there’s been an intermittent partial ceasefire since February.

One need not wonder about how Hillary would handle the situation; she has stated in the presidential debates that she is “advocating the no-fly zone both because I think it would help us on the ground to protect Syrians; I’m also advocating it because it gives us some leverage in our conversations with Russia”—conversations that involve U.S. insistence that Assad’s “future” be “put in the political and diplomatic track, where it belongs.” It’s been estimated (by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey) that this act of war would require 70,000 U.S. troops to dismantle the Syrian antiaircraft system and impose a 24-hour watch on the country.

It’s a fair bet Clinton will order this. This time Russia might say: No, you can’t destroy another country in this region close to us and far from you. We’ve been cooperating on Syria; the Russian air force has bombed both ISIL and al-Nusra forces helping Syrian state forces (the mostly Sunni but secular-led soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army and numerous militia loyal to the state and opposed to Islamism). We have said all along that while the Assad regime is not ideal it defends the rights of women and religious minorities, including Alawites and other Shiite groups, Druze and Christians. The people you are supporting belong to hundreds of militias that usually have an understanding with the local al-Nusra operation about joint action against the Syrian army. You have accused us of directing our bombing attacks against “opposition” forces in Syria, as opposed to the terrorists which are ISIL and al-Nusra. But we think it is difficult to differentiate groups like Ahrar ash-Sham (which Saudi Arabia and Turkey openly support) and which has played a key role—with tanks and anti-tank missiles—in most of the major battles with the Syrian army. You consider these terrorists as “moderate opposition” and want to protect them with a “no-fly zone.” Sorry, we will not back off from our support of the secular state and let you play at reckless regime-change again!

Think about it. How will President Clinton respond? She wants so bad to look strong.

Libya. In the same year that civil war broke out on Syria (2011—again in the course of the Arab Spring) the government of Libya came under attack by protesters including armed opponents. Never mind that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was at that point on good terms with the U.S., indeed in close touch with the CIA pertaining to anti-terrorism efforts. He had dismantled his WMD programs, restored diplomatic relations with western countries, and was on especially cordial terms with Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi.

No matter; it looked like he too would be toppled in short order by a mass movement. So why—thought quite a number of western leaders, thinking as they always do opportunistically—why not get in on the action in the beginning, so that after the revolution, the U.S. and its allies can pose as friends of the Libyan people?

Hillary’s role in arranging the NATO bombing of Libya (yet another deployment of NATO having nothing to do with its original purpose, quietly protested, indeed, by some member governments) is clear. Indeed the bombing of Libya was her crowning achievement as Secretary of State. She destroyed a whole country, just as George W. Bush had.

Obama himself was hesitant to intervene in the civil strife in Libya that began in February 2011. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was publicly unenthusiastic about U.S. action in the region. But Hillary had other plans. She proposed that the U.S. and its allies establish a no-fly zone (on a humanitarian basis) to protect Libyans from the “genocidal”—yes, that term again—plans of the dictator.

French president Nicolas Sarcozy wanted to attack the former Italian colony, partly (it has been plausibly suggested) to block Gaddafi’s plan to introduce a new pan-African gold currency challenging the euro. He found a firm ally in Clinton, who leaned on Obama to “lead from behind” by providing the bulk of the fire-power for a coalition of NATO forces and forces from the Gulf monarchies to intervene in Libya.

The strategy was to get a UNSC resolution authorizing a humanitarian mission. Russia and China (to their later regret) abstained rather than vetoed the resolution, which was soon used, not to protect threatened civilians, but to target Gaddafi himself and bring down his government. In short order, Gaddafi was captured by jihadis and gleefully murdered after being sodomized with a knife, all on camera.

Hillary’s reaction? Asked about her reaction to Gaddafi’s death by ABC’s Diane Sawyer in a TV interview she could scarcely contain her delight. Paraphrasing Julius Caesar’s statement after the Roman conquest of Carthage, she declared: “We came, we saw, he died!” Priceless!

If you haven’t already, watch it on YouTube right now.

Yes, and after he died, Libya quickly descended into absolute chaos, a situation for which Hillary refuses to take any responsibility. Indeed, she solidly defends the attack that destroyed the old order, insists it was followed up by two successful elections, and that any current problems are due to insufficient U.S. involvement since. (She is, that is to say, in a state of total denial.)

Clinton supporters rail at the suggestion that she somehow misrepresented the facts after al-Qaeda related jihadis killed four U.S. diplomats and CIA agents in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. In fact, she indicated the day after the attack, in an email to her daughter Chelsea, that al-Qaeda was responsible for these attacks. And she subsequently had State Department officials blame mob action resulting from an anti-Islam YouTube video rather than Islamists empowered by the toppling of Gaddafi. Yes, she misinformed the public. But that’s a comparatively minor sin. The larger crime was the destruction of the Libyan state itself, based—like the destruction of the Iraqi state—on lies.

An email made public (due to the FBI investigation of Clinton’s use of her email accounts while secretary) makes Hillary’s central role in the crime crystal clear. It’s from Clinton confidant and former employee Anne-Marie Slaughter, once dean of the Woodrow Wilson School and a queen among liberal interventionists. She had begged Clinton to arrange a U.S. strike against Libya, arguing this would “change the image of the United States overnight.”

On March 19, 2011, the day after the NATO bombing of Libya began, she sent this message (subject line “Bravo!”) to her former boss. “I cannot imagine how exhausted you must be after this week, but I have NEVER been prouder of having worked for you. Turning POTUS [President of the United States] around on this is a major win for everything we have worked for.”

Everything we have worked for! What does that mean, but that Clinton and Slaughter (and Sid Blumenthal among others) were struggling to push Obama further and further towards a neocon, regime-change-based-on-noble-lies foreign policy agenda? How can anyone look at this record and extol Clinton’s “experience?”

Repeat: Libya has now descended into absolute chaos, with three rival wannabe national governments, ISIL and al-Qaeda footholds, and unprecedented ethnic conflict destabilizing neighboring countries. And Hillary continues to call her signature war “smart power at its best.” Both the EU and the U.K. are now considering dispatching military forces to Libya to fight the formerly non-existent problem of ISIL. The Islamic State with 5-6000 fighters is now firmly headquartered in the coastal city of Sirte, the hometown of the man whose death Clinton laughed at.

If (some) Europeans push for more intervention, expect President Clinton to order more bombing, with dire ramifications for all North Africa and the Sahel.

NATO. But let us turn from the Middle East and North Africa to Russia and NATO expansion. NATO is of course a military pact requiring each country to devote 2% of its GDP to military expenses and requiring all to support any member attacked by a non-member nation. It remains—all straight-faced denials notwithstanding—an anti-Russian pact designed to encircle and isolate the core of the old Soviet Union.

While Bill Clinton was president he had made the decision to expand NATO, a move that senior U.S. diplomat and Russian specialist George F. Kennan in 1998 called “a tragic mistake” with “no reason whatsoever,” showing “little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history.”

It is, in a word, in the post-Cold War world, nothing other than a provocation justified on vapid premises. (Donald Trump would not agree with that but he does significantly question the current role of NATO and its value to the America he wants to “make great again.” This just tells us that certain staple institutions of the Cold War might get unhinged as the world evolves.)

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