Hillary Clinton made headlines with a speech in San Diego casting Donald Trump as unfit for the presidency due to the damage his incendiary rhetoric could cause. Simultaneously, the former Secretary of State sought to convince the California audience that she was the safer choice in foreign policy matters.
But when taking a closer look at US foreign policy under her leadership as the nation’s top diplomat, it’s obvious that Clinton could potentially be as disastrous as Trump if given the position of Commander-in-Chief.
Here are a few examples of countries where conditions are tremendously worse as a result of Hillary Clinton’s policies.
Hillary Clinton made Libya a failed state
In an April interview with Fox News, President Barack Obama, reflecting on his 7 years as Commander-in-Chief, admitted that ousting Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was the biggest mistake of his presidency. While Obama took responsibility for the failure of Libya in that interview, he relied on the input of Hillary Clinton, his Secretary of State at the time.
In March of 2011, Clinton met with Mahmoud Jibril, who was leading the opposition to Gaddafi. As the New York Times reported, Clinton asked Jibril a series of questions about how his coalition planned to fill the power vacuum that would be created by Gaddafi’s ouster. And in the end, it was Clinton who convinced the White House that deposing Gaddafi was the right thing to do:
Her conviction would be critical in persuading Mr. Obama to join allies in bombing Colonel Qaddafi’s forces. In fact, Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, would later say that in a “51-49” decision, it was Mrs. Clinton’s support that put the ambivalent president over the line.
The 2011 NATO-led invasion of Libya that took place after Clinton’s visit has since allowed extremist groups to seize power in an unprecedented takeover of much of the country over the last five years.
In 2014, the US State Department shut down the US embassy in Libya and issued a travel warning urging all Americans to stay away from the country. Roughly one year ago, Libya’s central bank, the last remaining institution in the failed state, was forced to flee to a city in the Eastern region of the country due to rebel forces encroaching on the bank’s facility in Tripoli, the capital. Libya is now a haven for terrorists, with thousands of ISIS soldiers using the country as a staging ground.
In an interview on CBS, Clinton laughed about Gaddafi’s slaying, proudly exclaiming, “We came, we saw, he died.”
Hillary Clinton deserves credit for poverty and instability in Haiti
In Haiti, the first state ever founded by freed black slaves, citizens are still fighting for political and economic freedom today, largely due to the influence of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
In 2011, Wikileaks published US State Department cables from 2008 and 2009 confirming that State Department officials were meeting behind closed doors with Haitian business leaders, plotting on how to stop the Haitian government from implementing a 37-cent hike in the minimum wage from $0.24 an hour to $0.61 cents an hour.
While Haitian President René Préval was initially neutral on the proposal of raising the minimum wage, he went on the record opposing the wage hike after consistent efforts from within the US Embassy in Haiti and the Haitian business lobby by July of 2009. Politifact rated the claim that Clinton’s State Department tried to suppress the wage hike as half-true, since there’s no link proving that Clinton directly played a role.
However, Clinton’s influence on Haiti didn’t stop there. As US Uncut previously reported, the former Secretary of State took an active role in swinging Haitian’s presidential elections in favor of corporate special interests. In the first round of Haiti’s presidential elections, thousands of citizens took to the streets demanding an annulment of election results, alleging that then-Haitian president Michel Martelly committed election fraud.
Martelly, who succeeded René Préval, is a close confidant of the Clinton family. In 2011, Martelly appointed Bill Clinton to an advisory board whose stated goal was to court foreign investors.
And in one of Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails made public, Clinton’s chief of staff received an email from another staffer openly boasting about using connections within the Haitian business elite to lobby for the withdrawal of Jude Célestin, Martelly’s political rival, from an upcoming runoff election. The aide, Kenneth Merten, predicted the news of the US interfering in election results would create widespread protests, and said he had called Martelly, asking him to plead with Haitians “to not pillage.”
While Martelly is no longer in power, his hand-picked successor, Jovenel Moïse, won the most recent election. However, watchdogs are calling the results fraudulent and demanding a new election. Ricardo Seitenfus, who has served as representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) for the last eight years, admitted that Haiti’s government is essentially a puppet of US interests, saying the Haitian election schedule is “subject to the U.S. schedule.” Hillary Clinton deserves to be closely scrutinized when touting her diplomacy record, as Haiti’s political instability is a result of her policies.
Honduras’ downfall resulted from a coup Clinton supported
In 2009, shortly after Obama took office and appointed Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was arrested at gunpoint by the military and forced onto a plane to Costa Rica while a new government took power. While the US State Department didn’t directly oust Zelaya, it refused to call his ouster a coup, despite calls from the U.S. ambassador to Honduras and from Congress to do so. In her interview with the New York Daily News editorial board, Clinton defended her decision to keep sending aid to Honduras despite the violent overthrow of Zelaya:
I think, in retrospect, we managed a very difficult situation, without bloodshed, without a civil war, that led to a new election. And I think that was better for the Honduran people. But we have a lot of work to do to try to help stabilize that and deal with corruption, deal with the violence and the gangs and so much else.
However, the result of the coup was a massive amount of bloodshed, as gangs and drug cartels began to take more power in the absence of a stable government. In the year following the coup, Clinton’s State Department published a list of human rights abuses prevalent in Honduras:
“…unlawful killings by police and government agents, which the government took some steps to prosecute; arbitrary and summary killings committed by vigilantes and former members of the security forces; harsh prison conditions; violence against detainees; corruption and impunity within the security forces; lengthy pretrial detention and failure to provide due process of law; politicization, corruption, and institutional weakness of the judiciary; corruption in the legislative and executive branches; government restrictions on the recognition of some civil society groups; violence and discrimination against women; child prostitution and abuse; trafficking in persons; discrimination against indigenous communities; violence and discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation; ineffective enforcement of labor laws; and child labor.”
The horrific conditions in Honduras triggered a mass exodus of migrants to the US. As Telesur reported, approximately 9,000 child refugees fled Honduras in 2015. Also in 2015, Clinton defended the deportation of children back to the Central American countries they’re fleeing in order “send a message.” However, Clinton has since walked back that statement as her Democratic presidential primary battle with Bernie Sanders became more competitive.
This March, the violence in Honduras became a subject of international scrutiny when 44-year-old environmental activist Berta Caceres was assassinated in her home. Caceres had been an outspoken opponent of a proposed hydroelectric plant on indigenous land, and had recently gotten in an altercation with soldiers, police, and employees of a private power company while protesting the project just weeks before she was killed.
Clinton is responsible for the fall of Iraq and Syria (and the rise of ISIS)
In late 2011, after months of sustained anti-government protests inspired by the “Arab Spring” movement, Hillary Clinton called for the resignation of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Then, in April 2012, Clinton gave a speech in Turkey more forcefully calling specifically for regime change, saying, “Assad must go.” Those three words created the policies that led to both the rise of ISIS in Syria and the European refugee crisis of 2015.
One of Clinton’s last actions as Secretary of State was to call for the arming of Syrian rebels fighting Assad. As the London Telegraph reported, Clinton’s plan to give weapons to Assad’s enemies was backed by not only former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, but also by former CIA director David Petraeus and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While Obama initially rejected his Secretary of State’s plan, he eventually agreed to arm Syrian rebels in the goal of ousting Assad.
However, as ISIS began to get a foothold into Syria and Iraq, the “moderates” that received weapons from the US were eventually overtaken by ISIS fighters, who suddenly found themselves in the possession of military-grade weapons paid for with US tax dollars. In a study conducted by Conflict Armament Research, which tracks the movement of arms in war-torn regions, researchers found that ISIS has weapons and ammunition not just from the US, but also from coalition forces that are funded by the US government. The access to advanced weaponry was likely the reason for ISIS’ rapid expansion into Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere.
The consequences of destabilizing Syria and Iraq are apparent. Over one million refugees, largely from countries where the US intervened militarily, fled to Europe between 2015 and 2016, creating the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. In this chart compiled by Eurostat, the top three countries people are fleeing are Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq:
Yemeni blood is on Hillary Clinton’s hands
Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Yemen, which started in 2015 and continues today, was made possible with arms purchased by the US government. Since Obama’s presidency, the US has sold approximately $46 billion in arms to the Saudis, with many of those weapons sales greenlighted by Hillary Clinton’s State Department. As US Uncut reported in April, Clinton was particularly focused on making sure the US came through for Saudi Arabia in a 2011 weapons deal. David Sirota of the International Business Times reported that Clinton argued the arms deal was “in the national interest.”
At press conferences in Washington to announce the department’s approval, an assistant secretary of state, Andrew Shapiro, declared that the deal had been “a top priority” for Clinton personally. Shapiro, a longtime aide to Clinton since her Senate days, added that the “U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army have excellent relationships in Saudi Arabia.”
Saudi Arabia is very likely using the weapons acquired from that 2011 exchange to wage brutal bombing campaigns in Yemen. In March, Foreign Policy magazine accused the US and its allies of complicity in war crimes by funding and arming the Saudi regime:
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in airstrikes while asleep in their homes, when going about their daily activities, or in the very places where they had sought refuge from the conflict. The United States, Britain, and others, meanwhile, have continued to supply a steady stream of weaponry and logistical support to Saudi Arabia and its coalition.
This week, the United Nations added the Saudi-led coalition to a blacklist of states and armed groups that violate children’s human rights during conflicts, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon personally slamming the coalition for killing and maiming Yemeni children.
Hillary Clinton is completely right that Donald Trump is woefully unprepared to take on the responsibilities of Commander-in-Chief. But voters should also be leery of Clinton, who, despite having met with more world leaders than any presidential candidate in US history, is responsible for some of the worst foreign policy blunders of the 21st century.