Hillary Clinton and the Dangers of Hubris

Are the Democrats set to give us another imperial president?

During the Democratic debate in South Carolina, I heard something I never expected to hear: Hillary Clinton coming out against U.S. military intervention.

At least I think she was coming out against U.S. military intervention. Asked if U.S. troops should be sent to Darfur, the New York senator made a valiant effort to dodge the question by declaiming about sanctions, divestment and UN peacekeepers. But when pressed, "How about American troops on the ground?" she finally said, a bit awkwardly, "American ground troops I don't think belong in Darfur at this time."

But don't bet that she'll stick to that position if she's elected. It goes against type. Clinton favored intervention in Haiti in 1994. She favored intervention in Bosnia in 1995. She favored intervention in Kosovo in 1999. As first lady, Clinton said, "I am very pleased that this president and administration have made democracy one of the centerpieces of our foreign policy." Before the Kosovo war, she phoned Bill from Africa and, she recalled later, "I urged him to bomb."

Among her critics, Clinton is known for a mother-knows-best domestic policy that relies on overbearing interference from Washington to remake the landscape to her specifications. The flip side is a mother-knows-best foreign policy that relies on overbearing interference from Washington to remake the landscape to her specifications.

Democrats hope that when it comes to international affairs, Clinton would represent a big change from George W. Bush. Republicans harbor that fear. In truth, this is one realm where the two are more alike than different. It's no accident that she voted for the resolution authorizing the president to invade Iraq. And it's no mystery that she was slow to admit the war was failing.

She didn't support the war because she was hoodwinked by Bush. She didn't do it for strictly political reasons. She supported it because of her conception of America's proper role in the world—which combines a thirst for altruistic missions with a faith in the value of military force to get what you want. Those same impulses, of course, motivated the neoconservatives who urged Bush to go into Iraq.

On the morning after the South Carolina debate, the Clinton campaign trotted out former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to gush about the senator's declaration that she would not meet with various dictators "until we know better what the way forward would be." Said Albright, "She gave a very sophisticated answer that showed her understanding of the diplomatic process."

Being praised for your diplomatic sophistication by Madeleine Albright is like being complimented on your sense of humor by John Kerry. Albright is the renowned diplomat who helped the Clinton administration blunder its way into an 11-week aerial war in Kosovo. Albright was confident that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic would cave at the first whiff of gunpowder, and was shocked when he didn't.

That misjudgment had disastrous consequences. The Serbs responded not by capitulating but by greatly escalating their war on Kosovo's ethnic Albanians. Some 10,000 of them died, and more than a million were forced from their homes. If the war was a success, it was a very mixed one. The same could be said about Bosnia and Haiti, where the results fell far short of our intentions.
Like Iraq, the Kosovo war demonstrated the folly of taking military action without preparing for the worst. Both also showed the dangers of unchecked hubris.

But those are not lessons Clinton has necessarily absorbed. When she ran for the Senate in 2000, she mocked Republicans (such as Caspar Weinberger and Colin Powell) who think "we should intervene with force only when we face splendid little wars that we surely can win, preferably by overwhelming force in a relatively short period of time." On the contrary, she said, we "should not ever shy away from the hard task if it is the right one."

As Michael Crowley of The New Republic has noted, she had another reason for supporting Bush on Iraq. "I'm a strong believer in executive authority," she said in 2003. "I wish that, when my husband was president, people in Congress had been more willing to recognize presidential authority."

There you have it. A Hillary Clinton presidency promises to unite Madeleine Albright's zeal for using bombs in pursuit of liberal ideals with Dick Cheney's vision of the president as emperor. Won't that be fun?

COPYRIGHT 2007 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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  • ||

    "we should intervene with force only when we face splendid little wars that we surely can win, preferably by overwhelming force in a relatively short period of time."

    O!!! she was being sarcastic? So... we should get into long, drawn out wars, where the outcome is in doubt (and no owerwhelming force... to keep it uncertain)?
    And the point about when we know we are right...so that means UN approval... er, like Bosnia?

  • ||

    Here's some tough rhetoric: politicians who take $100,000 bribes should be strung up.

  • ||

    "The wolf changes his coat but not his vices" -That's Hillary nature. Both Hillary and Bush are basically same. How that she changes mind so easy? She was advocate of every single war US lost.

  • ||

    ...the dangers of unchecked hubris.

    Redundant. Hubris, by it's very nature, is unchecked.

  • ||

    She supported it because of her conception of America's proper role in the world-which combines a thirst for altruistic missions with a faith in the value of military force to get what you want.

    This is equally true of her domestic agenda, in case anyone missed that part of the article.

  • ||

    I have two OT posts here, since it's as good a place as any. First, was a story about a couple of people who were removed from a welcome cermemony for Fred Thompson after they questioned his conservatice credentials. I was reading the comments after the story and was amazed at how many references I saw to Ron Paul, including this one:

    " 'There are no more real conservatives.'

    Yes, there is a real conservative. I don't even need to tell you his name. Goggle "Stop Dreaming" Watch the video.

    Posted By Inibi, Imperial City, DC : July 25, 2007 3:15 pm "

    Gold, baby. The other OT thing I wanted to say: I finally visited this "URKOBOLD" site last night after seeing it so much here, and...you guys have WAY too much time on your hands. Seriously.





    Can I post there?

  • iih||

    This is a great video. I hope RP wins.

  • ||

    Darn, I expected to read a criticism of Hillary's Clinton's position on executive power, and all I got was some counter-factual nonsense about the Balkans wars.

    Milosevic gone. Ethnic cleansing in Bosnia ended. Conflict contained. Genocidists put out of commission. Kosovars still in their homes, and governing themselves. If Iraq had been this much of a catastrophe, Dick Cheney would win the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • iih||

    However, judging trends from the last 50 years or so, it seems that Hillary will get the dem nomination and Mitt or Giuliani will get the GOP nomination. Hillary will ultimately win. Two years into her presidency we will find that we got ourselves another wacko with messed up foreign policy, with heavily socialized local policies.

    Unfortunately, I have no reason to believe that RPs message is met with any seriousness. Regardless of the money he raises, I think Mitt will crush RP's campaign, which is very sad. The only thing that will go for RP is that a good chunk of the American people all of a sudden realize how far America today is from the principles it was founded on. If that happens, if RP is able to achieve this realization, he will have a great chance to win the GOP nomination and possibly the presidency.

  • ||

    Yesterday, joe was telling us to stop criticizing the current Congress because at least they were better than the previous one.

    Today, he's telling us to stop criticizing the Kosovo war because at least it went better than the Iraq war.

    Is he auditioning for an excuse-writing job with the Bush administration?

  • iih||

    crimethink:

    I think it would be a better strategy to debate what joe is actually saying instead of sarcasm about his potential motivation or agenda. Lets stick to the issues.

  • Rhywun||

    However, judging trends from the last 50 years or so, it seems that Hillary will get the dem nomination

    Agreed. The American public may be souring on Iraq, but it's not going to lead to any sort of preference for non-intervention. Most Americans just don't care about the little skirmishes that we find ourselves in, over and over.

  • ktc2||

    I don't think Hillary will have the easy coasting to imperial executive Bush enjoyed. I do expect the Ds to hold both houses and senate. But I really expect the stigma of being "the first woman president" will hold her back some. I really think the notion of a woman exercising not only the proper powers of the executive branch but the BS ones as well will rankle the "good ole boys" in the legislature too much to put up with it. Their egos will not take it.

    So, is that sexism working for the good side for once?

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    sage
    TIME IS MEANINGLESS TO THE URKOBOLD!

  • ||

    A bit less than honest, comparing Kosovo to Iraq (unless we have thousands of troops living and dying in Kosovo that I don't know about?).

    But who knows, maybe this indicates a trend in the libertarian mind to recognize that democrat v. republican is not nearly as significant as authoritarianism v freedom.

    Perhaps I might actually think Mr. Chapman isn't a hypocryte if I had read just a few more arguments like this while Bush/Cheney were building their soviet like executive office.

    I've been bringing up "do you want Hillary having this power" for years, pity no one really paid attention to the power of the supreme executive and commander and chief before it was to late.

    Expecially disappointing is the part that libertatians have played in enabling the arrival of the supreme executive.

    I wouldn't be so afraid of Hillary, if it wasn't for the executive powers that she will have if she wins, power she would never had if conservatives, liberals and especially libertarians in this country weren't such a bunch of bed wetters.

  • ||

    iih,

    I'm not going to debate joe on whether Kosovo turned out better than Iraq, because I agree with him on that. That's not the point.

  • ||

    Minion,

    It would have to be for you to institute "Sulu Friday."

  • iih||

    crimethink,

    I have recently realized that such personal comments often lead to off-topic discussions that dilute the value of the discussion (just like what we're doing now?).

  • ||

    crimethink, please stop making up arguments and assigning them to me.

    Would you care to point out where I compared the Kosovo War to the Iraq War?

    *chirp chirp chirp*

    Yeah, I didn't think so. If you want to respond to what I wrote, then respond to what I wrote.

    The Kosovo War isn't just a success "compared to the Iraq War." It is, objectively, a success, no grading on the curve involved.

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    JOHN WAYNE GETS JEALOUS.

  • ||

    John Wayne was a fag.

  • ||

    Yeah, and if he were alive today, joe would tell him that to his face. Right, joe?

    joe?

  • ||

    Vote Mom-ary!
    Mom-ary knows all!
    Mom-ary will save us!
    Mom-ary will equalize us!

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    THE HELL HE WAS!

    (sage - that was a quote from "Repo Man")

  • ||

    He was too, you boys. I installed two-way mirrors at his pad in Brentwood. He come to the door in a dress.

  • ||

    sage,

    How many times have you seen me use the word "fag?"

    Srlsly.

  • VM||

    A lot of straight guys like to watch their buddies fuck. I know I do...
    aqui

  • ||

    If Iraq had been this much of a catastrophe, Dick Cheney would win the Nobel Peace Prize.

    There you go, joe. Rather than address Chapman's point about Albright's blunder in Kosovo, you compared that conflict to Iraq.

    Also, in the future, you might want to, you know, give the person a chance to respond before posting the *chirp*chirp* taunt.

  • ||

    Nope, that's not a comparison, and it's not a declaration of the Kosovo War's success in comparison to anything.

    It's a taunt, and I see it got to you.

  • ||

    joe,

    I think that was the first. You normally seem to prefer the term "cakeboy."

  • ||

    Uh, sage turns the tables.

    I don't get the "cakeboy" reference.

  • ||

    I was kidding, joe. "Cakeboy" is from the movie "Clueless." At least that's the first place I heard it.

  • ||

    joe,

    If you were intending to taunt Iraq war supporters, you missed target with me.

    Just because not all "humanitarian" military interventions turn out to be complete disasters like Iraq has, doesn't mean it's a good idea to get involved in them.

  • ||

    "I'm a strong believer in executive authority," she said in 2003. "I wish that, when my husband was president, people in Congress had been more willing to recognize presidential authority."

    On January 21, 2009, does anyone want to stay at my place?

  • ||

    You know, I completely forgot. Since this is a thread about Hillary Clinton:

    Hugo Chavez in a pants-suit.

  • ||

    You're slipping, sage. It's your go-to catchphrase and you forgot to use it. D'oh!

  • ||

    crimethink,

    Just because not all "humanitarian" military interventions turn out to be complete disasters like Iraq has, doesn't mean it's a good idea to get involved in them.

    Agreed. And, in turn, just because some humanitarian military interventions turn out badly does not mean they are all fool-hardy.

    My point, from the beginning, has been that attaching the label "humanitarian intervention" to two different episodes does not make them equivalent, nor provide us with the information we need to judge them.

  • ||

    Aresen,

    I told my Hilllary-loving aunt that I didn't like Senator Clinton for precisely that reason, and she told me - simultaneously - that I wasn't actually making an argument; that Hillary Clinton did not actually believe in greater executive authority than any other candidates; and that she agreed strongly with Clinton's position on executive authority.

    It was rather frustrating.

    When John Kerry said "I voted for the AUMF because I thought the president should have that authority," he meant "I voted for the AUMF because I thought I needed to in order to win the election, and came up with this excuse after the fact."

    When Hillary Clinton said "I voted for the AUMF because I thought the president should have that authority," I believe her. That's why I'm not going to vote for her in the primaries (of, if Paul wins the nomination, in the generals, either).

    Executive authority is a big issue for me in the next election. That's why I'm supporting Bill Richardson - he's a great big overgrown wheeler-dealer State Rep., and there's no way he's going to stomp all over Congress's perogatives like Bush (and, to a lesser extent, his predecessors) did.

  • ||

    ...that Hillary Clinton did not actually believe in greater executive authority than any other candidates...

    I fear your aunt may be right on that point, at least as far as the "major" candidates are concerned.

  • ||

    Hillary "finally said, a bit awkwardly, 'American ground troops I don't think belong in Darfur at this time.'"

    If you define "at this time" to mean "prior to me being inaugurated". When Democratic politicians refer to "redeploying" troops out of Iraq, quite a few of them mean "sending them to the Sudan or some other more PC place to warmonger."

  • ||

    joe said, "The Kosovo War isn't just a success "compared to the Iraq War." It is, objectively, a success, no grading on the curve involved."

    A success for who? The taxpayers who financed this war that was none of our business? The soldiers who died? Or a success for big-government Democrats like joe who know that "war is the health of the state" and, for those ulterior motives (and the desire to praise Democrats), want to characterize Kosovo as something other than a huge waste of American money and lives?

    I'm constantly amazed at the people who consider themselves to be libertarian who support such foreign adventures. At least joe is honest about not being the least bit libertarian.

  • ||

    "She favoured intervention in..."

    Did she favour intervention in Rwanda? The Congo? All those other countries the US did not intervene in?

  • ||

    The soldiers who died?

    There were no NATO fatalities during the Kosovo War.

  • Steve Trinward||

    Until we get folks out there to realize how little difference there is between a "Republican" who thinks he knows what's best for others, and a "Democrat" with the same worldview ... we will never break this chain of constant growth of the Emperor's throne and power. I am still amazed at the reaction I get from the anti-Bushites when I point out that without allowing Clinton (and his predecessors) so much leeway and largess, we might not be facing such an arrogant slug as the present resident is.

  • different joe||

    Did they ever find the mass graves of the 100,000 Albanian Kosovars that the Clinton Administration claimed Milosevic killed?

    I know: they're in the Smithsonian warehouse, next to Saddam's WMDs and the Ark of the Covenant.

  • ||

    Don't forget the real Shroud of Turin is hidden there too, not that cheap imitation that Turin's modernist bishop replaced it with before they did the C-14 dating on it.

  • Gene Berkman||

    Around 1993 or 1994, National Review concluded that George H.W. Bush did not represent the ending of the "Reagan-Bush Era" but the start of the "Bush-Clinton" era.

    It looks like we are about 5/6ths of the way through the "Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton" Era. Or, if we are really unlucky, we are 5/7ths of the way through the "Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton" Era.

    If we are spectacularly unlucky as a country, watch for Eric Dondero to start a campaign for Jeb Bush for President.

  • ||

    I fear that a Hillary presidency would simply mean a continuation of failed foreign intervention. I have greater hope for an Obama administration. I certainly hope that he will be able to convince Democratic voters that he can win in 2008, as I see Obama as the only real chance to change the direction of U.S. foreign policy.

  • ||

    jh,

    No American soldiers died in the Kosovo war. None. Zip. Nada. Zero. A number that cannot appear in the denominator. Zilch. The null set.

    As for your question "A success for whom," the answer is "the people who were victims of the Milosevic's government's attempted genocide, and those of us who feel that stopping genocides and squashing those who would commit them are a good things." Or, to put it another way, Kosovars and liberals.

  • ||

    Did they ever find the mass graves of the 100,000 Albanian Kosovars that the Clinton Administration claimed Milosevic killed?

    Yup. They've been finding them for a decade now.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/473017.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/368524.stm

    http://web.amnesty.org/wire/September2004/Kosovo

    http://citycellar.com/BalkanWitness/graves.htm

    http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/Kosovo/Reports/homepage.html

    http://givepeaceachance.wordpress.com/2007/04/22/new-mass-grave-of-kosovo-war-victims-found-in-serbia/

    I see you've been gullibly reading denialist web sites. Partisanship will do that to you.

    Personally, I think the Amnesty International link is the best, but the one at the bottom my list has the advantage of being quite recent.

  • ||

    Although, you'll be disappointed to learn, it appears that the Clinton administration managed to interrupt Operation Horseshoe in its early stages, so the number of victims is only in the five digits, rather than the six figure casualty count that the Serbian government and militias were aiming for.

  • ||

    As for your question "A success for whom," the answer is "the people who were victims of the Milosevic's government's attempted genocide, and those of us who feel that stopping genocides and squashing those who would commit them are a good things." Or, to put it another way, Kosovars and liberals.

    The neocons were more enthusiastic than anyone, as usual.

    The great humanitarian Bill Kristol famously said that America should "crush Serb skulls". (Yep, that's exactly what government should be doing...after all, you can't trust the private sector to crush Serb skulls, can you?)

  • ||

    And, in turn, just because some humanitarian military interventions turn out badly does not mean they are all fool-hardy.

    No, actually it does. If we knew which ones would turn out badly in advance, none would. "Only intervene wisely" is just as helpful advise as "only buy lottery tickets with winning numbers".

  • ||

    joe said, "As for your question "A success for whom," the answer is "the people who were victims of the Milosevic's government's attempted genocide, and those of us who feel that stopping genocides and squashing those who would commit them are a good things." Or, to put it another way, Kosovars and liberals."

    So you support the war in Iraq because it removed a genocidal dictator from power? And you support American involvement in every genocidal civil war anywhere on the planet?

    Actually, I'd be OK if liberals like joe wanted to spend their own money to hire mercenaries to wage these wars of "liberation" so they can feel smugly virtuous about themselves. But, keep your grubby hands off the taxes of the rest of us who believe in a Dept. of Defense that actually only engages in defense, not a Dept. of World Policing and Virtuous Warmongering.

    P.S. The non-Nato soldiers (and, quite possibly, civilians) bombed or killed by the American air strikes might not have been quite as sanguine as you about the Kosovo thing being an "objective success", or might not have regarded you and your ilk as great humanitarians.

  • ||

    Max,

    Yeah, well, the neocons believe that being at war is a good thing, all by itself, regardless of the merits of the pariticular case. Bill Kristol has made no bones about the fact that war is a really terriffic example of his "Great National Project" varient of conservatism. They're a stopped clock, and sometimes it really is noon.

    Anyway, our record with humanitarian interventions is a lot better than that of a lottery player.

  • ||

    jh,

    So you support the war in Iraq because it removed a genocidal dictator from power? And you support American involvement in every genocidal civil war anywhere on the planet?

    Back in the Fall of Ought-Two, I actually had an open mind about the invasion of Iraq, for exactly that reason. "Genocidal" is a bit strong, but Saddam Hussein really was a terrible tyrant. I was very open to the Ken Pollack argument.

    What ultimately swayed me was my growing certainty, by about November, that the mission would be a miserable failure. The scope of the mission - take over the country, install a goverment, remake it in our image, happy-peace-freedom-democracy comes about - and the incompetance and irresponsibility of the people who'd be running the war convinced me that it had a very low chance of success, and a very large chance of turning into a disaster. You gotta go back to your Thomas Acquinas and his Just War Theory - one of the bars you have to clear is to have a high probably of success, rather than throwing lives away for nothing. This is why those of us who take the justness of proposed wars seriously like smaller defensive actions, like Kosovo and Bosnia and Sudan, rather than World Changing Crusades like Iraq.

    But on the humanitarian merits, I did support the Bush and Clinton administrations' interventions to protect the Kurds from Saddam. We saved hundreds of thousands of lives at a cost of none to ourselves. Not too bad.

    Actually, I'd be OK if liberals like joe wanted to spend their own money to hire mercenaries to wage these wars of "liberation"...

    I don't believe we should launch wars of liberation. People have to liberate themselves, we can't do it for them. We can only play a supporting role, or a defensive one. That's one of the big lessons of the Iraq War. None of the actions I described were, from our end, wars of liberation. They were defensive missions.

  • ||

    jh,

    So, you think the types of missions I support are murderous and anti-human, but you're perfectly mine with my carrying them out, as long as it doesn't cost you any money.

    How libertarian of you.

  • ||

    I don't see how you can objectively consider Kosovo a success, since it makes us complicit in the atrocities of Kosovar militias.

  • ||

    That's a fair point, Bradford C. When the ledger gets closed on that adventure, the atrocities you mention will be a debit for our side, no question.

    But given the horrors we saw in Bosnia, and the eagerness of the Serbian government to do even worse in Kosovo, it's not hard to figure out where the balance of the scale tips.

  • ||

    Thinks probably would've been much worse if we hadn't have intervened, sure, though I think that the value derived from keeping our hands clean outweigh an averted potential for more atrocities.

    Every single little ethnic group in the former Yugoslavia is waiting for the right moment to slit each other's throats in the promise of gaining control of what they feel is rightfully theirs, so there's no real right side to join. Siding on the side of the Albanians or the Kosovars instead of letting events play out in Serbia only puts a lid on a regional pot that's waiting to boil over.

    I think it's better to retain a moral high ground as opposed to being responsible for the smaller of two potential genocides.

  • JSamuels||

    It looks like the 78 day bombing (bombing and killing to stop "genocide" should be a tip off ladies and gentlemen) of Kosovo was a PNAC project.

    Here's the URL:
    http://www.newamericancentury.org/balkans.htm

    I'd bet a mortgage that the elites in DC in BOTH PARTIES have decided that the US is the new Rome, to hell with the voters.

    Some things are too important to leave to the commoners.

    It's funny that all the while during Clintons Kosovo attack we were told that there were no reporters there, all the while Paul Watson was filing reports on the front page of the LA Times.

    And the "reporter" constantly telling us how evil Milosovic was (Amanpour) was married to the US State department spokes creep.

    Good thing most 'Murikans have the memory retention of a Gnat.

    And wasn't that hit on the TV station spectacular? Shock and Awe, I'll tell ya

    Samuels

  • ||

    Sounds like most other presidential candidates. Lord Acton was right as was Orwell. We'll never be as equal as our illustrious political leaders.

  • ||

    Hillary Clinton is going to be a disaster as president. It is a curse on Americans to have maniacs for leaders. The divisive character of
    emperor Hillary is going to make her presidential term unbearable. Obama is a joke.

  • ||

    Hillary will follow the CFR line.

    She will follow a Marxist line.

    She will support abortion, sodomy, open borders, a police state and a truly Communist agenda.

    She's evil, period.

    The CFR and others behind the scene running the show own the script and Hillary will follow it.

  • ||

    She must NOT be allowed to rule this country, even for one day.

  • ||

    Kosovo is a lost cause. The Russians will see to it and China too.

    Why would we want a Muslim terroist state in Europe? Running drugs from Afghanistan and Syria I suppose. Billions, even trillions to be made.

    And Serbia is a white country. Like the Afrikaner farmers and Zimbabwe/Rhodesia, the New World Order will promote multiculturalism and diversity at the expense of Western Civilization.

    I think it was Wesley Clark who said there should be no white countries. Personally I don't care. All racism is wrong, from the Nazis to that black professor at Harvard who advocated the genocide of the white race. (This is education?) But this is the reality of the elite. It's ugly. It's white supremacy at the top (look at the UN's abortion programs for instance) and a Tower of Babel for everyone else. Family, race, nation, religion all must be crushed as they are the pillars of meaning and identity for humans.

    It amazes me how hard it is for people to put the pieces together of the "master plan." But once you see how the transnational elite operates, it's fairly simple to follow their script (Divorce in Ireland, Euro for Denmark, endless referrendums on issues like the Euro for the UK, immigration, sanctions on South Africa but MFN for Red China, RU-486, cloning, Brave New Schools, National ID card, women in combat, turning Allah McBeal into Ally McBeal in the Middle East, the porno flood -- which even China tries to supressed while we encourage it -- UN funding, bombing Serbia on and on ad nauseum.)

    Democracy is not the broad participation of the electorate. Rather its only real meaning is the advancement of ultra left wing -- and usually evil and destructive -- crusades cited above.

    I would like to hear others' take on it.

  • ||

    My take is that I am blessed in the opponents God sent me.

    Racists and Birchers.

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