Voices from Russia

Thursday, 4 January 2018

If Hillary Had Won, We’d Be Even Worse

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What if Hillary Clinton had won 114,000 more votes in four key states? Or, what if she’d picked up the two to three percent of the vote she lost because Bernie Sanders supporters sat on their hands on Election Day? She’d be “Clinton 2” or “Clinton 45” or “the second President Clinton”… and the world would look very different. In terms of personnel and therefore policy, a Clinton Administration II would look and feel like a mash-up of Obama’s third term and a throwback to figures that populated her husband’s White House during the 1990s. Having moved to the right since Bill’s first term, progressive figures like then-Labor Secretary Robert Reich would be out in the cold. Rahm Emanuel and Timothy Geithner could expect cabinet offers. Therefore, so could some Bush-era neocons like Robert Kagan. Hillary didn’t promise much change to domestic policy during her campaign. Her biggest proposal was to spend 275 billion USD (15.664 trillion Roubles. 1.783 trillion Renminbi. 17.415 trillion INR. 343.43 billion CAD. 350 billion AUD. 227.74 billion Euros. 202.72 billion UK Pounds) on infrastructure, which would’ve left us 1.3 trillion USD (74.046 trillion Roubles. 8.428 trillion Renminbi. 82.336 trillion INR. 1.624 trillion CAD. 1.655 trillion AUD. 1.077 trillion Euros. 958.35 billion UK Pounds) short of what we need. Not that she could have gotten it through a Republican Congress.

The alternate presidential history of 2017 differs most significantly in two respects… foreign policy and tone. Clinton’s liberal supporters always glossed over her long history of a hawkish, arguably far-right, approach to military matters. Those who mourn her loss to Trump today completely forgot that she convinced Obama to back military coups against the democratically-elected leaders of Honduras and Egypt. She also successfully advised Obama to arm and fund radical Islamist militias in Syria and Libya, plunging two modern Muslim countries into civil wars that reduced one of them to a failed state. Clinton’s famous cackle after a US drone blew up Libyan ruler Moammar Khaddafi’s convoy, leading to his being sodomised by a bayonet on video, is terrifying. Micah Zenko speculated in Foreign Policy in July 2016:

It’s impossible to know which national security crises she’d be forced to confront, of course, but those who vote for her should know that she’ll approach such crises with a long track record of being generally supportive of initiating US military interventions and expanding them.

Two months later, Clinton Ehrlich FP writer penned an astonishing look behind the Kremlin walls at the thinking of top Russian officials worried about the US election:

Moscow perceives the former secretary of state as an existential threat… That fear was heightened when Clinton surrogate Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader, recently accused Putin of attempting to rig the US election through cyberattacks. That’s a grave allegation… the very kind of thing President Clinton might repeat to justify war with Russia.

Would Hillary’s tough talk have triggered World War III with Russia by now? Probably not. However, it isn’t impossible… which shows us how far right she stands politically on the use of the force. More likely and thus more worrisome, Hillary might have leveraged the current U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan into attacks against neighbouring Iran. Clinton said in 2008:

I want the Iranians to know, if I’m the president, we’ll attack Iran [if Iran were to attack Israel… even if there were no Congressional authorisation or a clear and present danger to the USA] And I want them to understand that… we’d be able to totally obliterate them [to retaliate for an attack on Israel].

Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran has a real military and thus a real ability to defend itself… that’d mean a long, costly, and possibly unwinnable war. Like Trump, Hillary would almost certainly authorise the construction, deployment, and use of more assassination drone planes.

The one arena where most people agree that President Clinton would be better than President Trump is presidential tone. Yes, “she does yell into microphones and speak in an overly enunciated voice… two factors that may make her seem abrasive”. However, this woman’s campaign assigned 12 staffers to compose a tweet; they went through ten drafts over ten hours. There wouldn’t be any Trump-style 0300 Twitter diarrhoea coming out of a Clinton White House.

When George W Bush was president, there wasn’t one morning I didn’t regret that Al Gore wasn’t there instead. Gore wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. He might not have gone into Afghanistan either. Unlike pretty much every other president, he cared about the environment. There isn’t a single moment I miss President Hillary Clinton, though. Trump is a disaster, a real piece of crap. However, everyone knows it. Because Trump is so loud, stupid, cruel, greedy, and corrupt, all liberals and not a few conservatives clearly discern the true nature of his administration, and of the system itself. If Hillary Clinton were president, the left would still be just as asleep as it was between 2008 and 2016. First woman president! Aren’t we just the best?

Meanwhile, drones fire their missiles, US troops and spooks prop up tyrants, and the filthy rich rake in their loot. Trump gives us clarity. That’s no small thing.

27 December 2017

Ted Rall

Counterpunch

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/27/if-hillary-clinton-had-won-wed-be-even-worse/

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