Although many may not yet realize it, Wednesday morning the world breathed a collective sigh of relief as the United States elected Donald Trump as their next president — and rejected Hillary Clinton.
To appraise how dangerous a Clinton-led United States foreign policy may have been, one need only look at Clinton’s record as Senator for New York and as the nation’s secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.
The 2011 intervention of Libya by a U.S.-led coalition of NATO forces will forever be associated with Clinton’s unprecedented failure in judgement, planning and strategic misuse of “smart power.”
Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had come in from the cold and re-engaged western powers, eventually developing Libya into one of the most prosperous states in all of Africa. In early 2011, after a brief uprising in the wider context of the Arab Spring, Gaddafi and his forces successfully quelled and contained an armed rebellion.
Unhappy with this outcome, Secretary Clinton fervently lobbied and finally convinced President Barack Obama to help lead the NATO coalition imposing a “no fly zone” over Libyan airspace to prevent a reported impending bloodbath in Benghazi — something now known to be false.
The no-fly zone quickly developed into an illegal NATO airstrikes — with Clinton’s encouragement — taking out strategic government assets as well as assisting “rebel” forces import arm shipments. Clinton-related emails disclosed that Libya’s plan to create a gold-backed currency to compete with the euro and dollar was the primary motive for NATO’s intervention — not to mention Libya’s 42 billion barrels of oil reserves.
“Humanitarianism,” we soon found out, was simply a euphemism for regime change which was supposed to propel Clinton into the White House in 2017.
Today, Libya is a failed state, with the war costing anywhere between 25,000 to 40,000 deaths and the ensuing power vacuum has allowed ISIS and jihadist fighters to turn the region into a haven for prospective recruits.
Two million Libyans, a number equivalent to one-fifth of Tunisia’s population or one-third of the pre-NATO intervention population of Libya, have taken refuge in Tunisia. Libya is now a major source of the mass European refugee crisis as hundreds of thousands flee through its coasts from other African and Middle Eastern countries on boats — many thousands have drowned.
Secretary Clinton fully supported the invasion of Afghanistan and as senator voted for the Iraq war which she now admits was “a mistake.” Tellingly, she has never explained why, or what lessons she learned from a decision which helped contribute to the deaths of 251,000 people.
In 2007, Clinton opposed the Iraq War troop surge, for both military and domestic political reasons but the surge coupled with successful COIN (counter-insurgency) operations was a stabilizing success. While Clinton erred in supporting the Iraq invasion, the State Department also erred in overseeing U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq, a move which helped create a vacuum for ISIS to metastasize, much like the failed post interventionist planning of Libya.
There was no stay-behind agreement, no advisers or transfer team left in Iraq to help with a suitable transition. Clinton has since attempted to distance herself from this decision.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq later morphed into ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups that began fighting Syrian President al-Assad.
Here, Clinton’s intransigence led to the failure of UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s cease fire efforts in the spring of 2012, helping prolong the Syria’s civil war. While Clinton cannot be blamed for the vicious civil war that has cost 470,000 lives and displaced 11 million others, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi acted as a key distributing conduit to funnel arms to Libyans who sought to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. This happened at the behest of the State Department to prop up the opposition.
Yet those weapons reportedly made their way to Syria, inflaming that conflict as well. Clinton’s campaign position on Syria was to impose another no fly zone to “save lives” yet in a closed-door speech to Goldman Sachs in 2013; Clinton admits it would “kill a lot of Syrians”. Many military experts believe a no fly zone would only provoke Syria’s ally Russia.
Saudi Arabia / Yemen
In Saudi Arabia, Clinton’s State Department was heavily involved in approving $29.4 billion arms sales to the monarchy in 2011 including up to 84 advanced F-15SA fighters manufactured by Boeing. As weapons transfers were being approved, both Saudi Arabia ($25 million) and Boeing ($900,000) made donations to the Clinton Foundation
The shockingly brutal Saudi air campaign in Yemen led by American-made F-15 jet fighters has killed at least 2,800 civilians — mostly by airstrikes. The planes, made by Boeing, have been implicated in the bombing of three facilities supported by Doctors Without Borders.
And a leaked email from August 2014 shows Clinton aware of Saudi Arabia and Qatar (who gave between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation) giving financial and logistical support to the Islamic State and other terrorist Sunni groups.
Saudi Arabia had hoped for Clinton to adopt a more muscular approach to Syria than Obama, who has disappointed Riyadh by opening up to arch-rival Iran. With Clinton’s desire for a no-fly zone we would have likely seen a more aggressive U.S. strategy against Syria, a key Russian ally.
In the Ukraine, Washington and Clinton donor and supporter George Soros, helped neo-fascists topple the Ukrainian government in a coup which ultimately ousted the democratically elected pro-Russian president leading to the installation of a U.S. handpicked junta leadership, sparkingthe current civil war there.
Clinton supports Ukraine’s bid to reclaim its Crimean peninsula, the eastern, ethnically Russian part of the country annexed by Russia and Kiev is pushing for NATO membership. Clinton’s pro-Ukrainian, pro-NATO policy could very well have immersed the U.S. in an unnecessary war right along the Russian fault-line.
Ominously, and a point mostly missed in this election cycle was that Clinton stated that if she became president, cyberattacks against U.S. interests would be treated “like any other attack” and threatened to “be ready with serious political, economic, and military responses.” Couple this with her unfounded, relentless accusations that Russia, in collusion with Donald Trump, hacked into America’s election process, Hillary Clinton was already on a collision course with Moscow.
Clinton’s militaristic and interventionist foreign policy record is littered with ill-judged decisions and colossal mistakes that have left a trail of death, destruction, destabilization and the displacement of millions of people across the world.
Her liberal-hawkish — although many characterize it as neo-conservative — approach to international relations mixed with the desire to satisfy the myriad of political donors would only have immersed the United States in unnecessary conflicts and protracted wars.
In the words of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, “Everything HRC (Hillary Rodham Clinton) touches she kind of screws up with hubris.” America and the world have dodged a bullet, quite literally.
Dorgan is a geopolitical analyst and political commentator; he holds a degree in Politics and History as well as an MA in Historical Research specializing in United States Foreign Policy. You can follow him on Twitter @M_Dorgan.
This article first appeared in The Hill on November 11th, 2016. To view the original version, click here.