Recidivist presidential candidate Ralph Nader has a history of lashing out at leading Democrats in over-the-top language (that time he warned Barack Obama not to be an Uncle Tom to corporate America).
Here he is, courtesy of PJ Media, calling out Hillary Clinton for her hawkishness:
"She almost singlehandedly did the Libyan war. The Defense Department was against it, [Secretary Robert] Gates, and she persuaded the White House that it was an easy topple without knowing that in a tribal society with nothing to replace it you would have a civil war, sectarian killings spilling into Africa, weapons everywhere, Mali, central Africa and she's being accused of Benghazi – the big thing is the huge amount of geography that has been destabilized because of the Libyan overthrow," he added.
Nader, who ran for president in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008, said Clinton "never met a weapons system she didn't like" when she was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"This is the problem of women trying to overcompensate in becoming more aggressive and macho so they are not accused of being soft on the need to kill and war, right? Instead of taking the tradition of women of peace, and turning into a muscular waging of peace of conflict and prevention, she [Clinton] did the reverse, and [Madeline] Albright did the reverse and Anne Marie Slaughter did the reverse and some of Obama's advisers did the reverse," he said. "We have to be transcendent on this. We have to really go right to the core of what people are standing for, fighting for and fighting against."
Here's video of Nader talking at D.C.-based bookstore Politics & Prose.
Without addressing his psychologizing about gender-based overcompensation (recall, something similar was imputed to George H.W. Bush, who was said to battle "the wimp factor" despite being a decorated World War II hero), there is little question that Hillary Clinton, as a senator and secretary of state, was clearly more on the hawkish side than the dovish.
Nader's substantive point about Clinton's foreign policy record of failure will likely be drowned out in a discussion about gender (this is more than understandable). That's a shame because if there is one thing the country has desperately needed since the end of the Cold War and especially in the wake of the 9/11 attacks is an extended debate and discussion of American foreign policy. While I think the Cold War was mostly waged in the wrong ways, you can at least argue that it was the result of a consensus between both major parties and even both major ideological tendences. As Richard Gid Powers noted in his excellent history of the period, Not Without Honor, American liberals were as or even more dedicated to Cold War geopolitics than their conservative counterparts, and the U.S. labor movement was a major factor in destabilizing Soviet power in Eastern Europe.
In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, it's not even that the United States has built a new foreign policy consensus that is terrible (though the past dozen-plus years have been that and worse), it's that there is not even the pretense of hashing out a grand strategy. Bill Clinton was a reckless "mad bomber in chief," dispatching troops and power regularly and recklessly around the globe, especially when domestic issues heated up. George W. Bush's wars have ended in stalemate and worse. Obama's foreign policy, directed as it was for years by Secretary Clinton, has only poured gasoline on a world that is full of sparks.
Last week, I suggested that the pushback on The Patriot Act, led by the bipartisan team of Sens. Rand Paul and Ron Wyden, was a sign that we're moving out of the post-9/11 fog that underwrote military adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and eslewhere. Indeed, Rand Paul's foreign policy statements alone and his ability to still get invited back to CPAC (and win straw poll after straw poll) show there is interest in having a serious converation even among Republicans.
Nader's genderizing (?) of the issue bothers me not simply because this sort of pop psychologizing of politicians is dumb (recall the attacks on Barry Goldwater as certifiably nuts) but also because it gives grounds to yet again push off actual debates about foreign policy.
Last year, Reason interviewed Nader about his book Unstoppable, which called for a progressive-libertarian coalition to stop corporate welfare and end the military-industrial complex. On that last point, Nader contended "The total support of the military-industrial complex and empire by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is staggering." He got that right, and without dragging in extraneous issues.
Here's a full transcript and take a look below: