When it comes to foreign policy, there is no doubt that the Middle East poses the greatest challenge to any would-be American President. Hillary Clinton is in a unique position to defend both the US and our closest allies in the Middle East by virtue of her experience, her proven track record in foreign relations and her unparalleled personal connections and relationships with the major players in the region.
Hillary Supports Israel 110%
Hillary is by far the strongest supporter of Israel, our “special and irreplaceable ally” and the only theocratic Democracy in the world. Her steadfast support for the ruling Likud Party and her personal allegiance to Bibi Netanyahu is unquestioned, and she has for years supported Israel in their efforts defend themselves against the terrorists living in Palestine. For Hillary, there is no “grey area” – there is only the black and white reality that Israel is our ally and that their actions in Palestine are purely based on self defense and a desire to secure their own right to live in peace without fear of terrorist rockets or suicide bombers. In her speech to AIPAC, Hillary was clear, stating that the United States could not be “neutral” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; could not be neutral when it comes to settlements or land or the need to rout out the terrorists wherever they may hide. She railed strongly against the so-called “BDS” movement (Boycott, Divest and Sanction”) which she sees as nothing more than anti-Semitism and an unfair attack on Israel and the Jewish people.
Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, still talks about the so-called “two state solution” in which the Palestinians should have the right to live in an “economically viable” state of their own, and he is actually on the record as condemning Israeli settlements and the bombing of Gaza and various other operations that Israel has had to conduct in order to protect itself from the terrorists living in Palestine. His positions on these issues clearly put Bernie out of touch with the modern Democratic Party. Indeed, his views are a throwback to the 1970’s and the naïve peacenik policies of Jimmy Carter, who recently has even gone so far as to call the Israeli administration of Palestine an “occupation” and “a modern apartheid.”
Clearly, politicians like Bernie Sanders and Jimmy Carter simply do not understand the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as they have evolved over the past years, and how the situation has become more grave and more dangerous for Israel since the Likud Party has taken control of the Jewish State. Hillary knows that without the firm and unrelenting leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu Israel would find itself in a very different situation today, and so her strong and unswerving personal loyalty to the Israeli Prime Minister has gained her his trust and his thanks. Having Hillary in the White House will re-establish warm, friendly and close ties with Netanyahu and the Likud Party, which have grown tenuous and weak under President Obama – and would certainly become even more contentious under a President Sanders.
Hillary has a Proven History of Working with our Arab Allies
Hillary’s close ties and unqualified support for Israel has not kept her from developing equally close ties with our greatest Arab allies. As Secretary of State she moved decisively to push the Obama Administration to overthrow the Libyan government and remove Muamar Gaddafi from power. The US support for the bombing campaign that ultimately killed that despot was critical to the success of that mission, and Hillary herself described the overwhelming victory when she said “we came, we saw, he died.”
This action was not just a humanitarian mission, however. It was also something that our Arab allies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and elsewhere desperately wanted to see happen, and Hillary’s strong leadership in this action earned her the respect and the thanks of the ruling families of those kingdoms. Hillary was also able to cobble together support for the move to overthrow Assad in Syria, something both the Israelis and the Saudis wanted to see happen. Clinton thus proved capable of working with our two closest Middle Eastern allies in an effective way that reflects well on both her ability to get things done as well as her skill in keeping such initiatives “under the radar” in order to cloak the involvement of our allies and therefore spare them any embarrassment.
Hillary Occupies a Unique Position in World Affairs
Hillary cemented her personal ties with many Arab and Muslim leaders around the world by masterfully leveraging her position in government. Every arms deal must be approved by the State Department, and Hillary made sure that no weapons shipment was made without first ensuring that America and the world would benefit from the transaction.
Alongside her duties as Secretary of State, Hillary also championed the charitable activities of the Clinton Global Initiative, deftly using her arms negotiations with over 20 countries to cajole sizeable donations from the recipients. While some have criticised her for this, it is obvious that any negotiation resulting in such a “win-win” scenario can only serve to strengthen Hillary’s credibility and hence her ability to get things done with our Arab allies. In this way Hillary is uniquely positioned to succeed in enforcing her policies in the Middle East through leverage she can exert both through official channels as well as non-official and even private sector engagement. She is truly a “triple threat” in the world of Realpolitik.
Hillary is Right on Anti-Terrorism
As a US Senator, Hillary Clinton was and remains a staunch supporter of the Patriot Act, having voted for it in 2001 and again to re-authorise it in 2006, when she proclaimed “We understood then, as we do now, that these tools are important in our fight against terrorism.” Democrats need to be strong in this regard, and the good work that is being done by the NSA and other Government agencies are needed to keep us safe. This is the Democratic position.
Bernie Sanders has adopted a radical opposition to the original Patriot Act and its reauthorisation, and in this he is in the company of such Republicans and Libertarians as Rand Paul. Again, Sanders is tone deaf to the position of both the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton in realising the danger in having such people as Edward Snowden breach our national security without facing the consequences. While Bernie Sanders seems to want to extend leniency towards Snowden, Hillary will be steadfast and forthright in demanding that the criminal Snowden “face the music” for his traitorous activities.
What Hillary will get done in Foreign Policy
Hillary will continue to be the lion-hearted crusader in Foreign Policy that she has always been. Hillary is not afraid to take on the enemies of America and our key allies like Israel, and she will not hesitate to use America’s military might to extinguish any perceived threat to us or our friends, and she will be pro-active in pursuing a policy of international engagement that fits America’s unique position as the world’s lone Superpower and the “indispensible” country when it comes to international security. Henry Kissinger, though not a Democrat, is still one of the most venerated statesmen in America, and he has rightly praised Hillary for her handling of foreign affairs while at State. This is because Hillary, like Kissinger, understands that America occupies a unique position in the world in terms of its military capability as well as its innate moral superiority.
Hillary has a proven track record of bipartisanship in getting things done on Foreign Policy. Kissinger is not the only Republican to have praised Hillary’s performance as Secretary of State: John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Condoleeza Rice, Cory Gardner and even Jim Demint have all praised Hillary’s leadership while at State.
Indeed, Hillary maintains a “massive” stable of advisors including such luminaries as Robert Kagan as well as Kenneth Pollack and Martin Indyk, who share Hillary’s determination to assert America’s rightful position on the world stage as well as to stamp out terrorism and defend Israel at all costs. If elected President there is no doubt that Hillary will indeed “get things done” in the foreign policy arena.
EuroYankee is a dual citizen, US-EU. He travels around Europe, writing on politics, culture and such. He pays his US taxes so he gets to weigh in on what is happening in the States.