Hillary’s war: The new phase of Neoconservatism

“I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you’ve done?” the now infamous words of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the UN General Assembly. He continues, “But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.”

Putin was speaking of the failures of American and Western foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa. Hillary Clinton would have us believe that Putin is the Devil, or the new Hitler, or some other monster grown from the shattered remains of the old enemy. Russia’s foreign policy is not without its own sins, but Putin’s point remains valid. America has become the monster.

I’m not alone in recognizing this, a 2014 survey by Gallup showed that much of the world, including many US allies, believe that America has become the greatest threat to world peace. The nations of the world live in fear of the day their government says the wrong thing, passes the wrong law, or otherwise upsets the American elite enough for them to be declared a “rogue state”.

The idea of a rogue state came originally from the Reagan administration, but was developed fully under the Clinton administration. The definition of a rogue state was established by the National Security Advisor to Bill Clinton – Anthony Lake. In his 1994 Foreign Affairs article ‘Confronting Backlash States’ Lake lists these states as Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Cuba. His definition can be quoted in full:

“Ruled by cliques that control power through coercion, they suppress basic human rights and promote radical ideologies. While their political systems vary, their leaders share a common antipathy toward popular participation that might undermine the existing regimes. These nations exhibit a chronic inability to engage constructively with the outside world, and they do not function effectively in alliances–even with those like-minded. They are often on the defensive, increasingly criticized and targeted with sanctions in international forums.”

For more than twenty years the spectre of the rogue state has been used as the excuse for increased American military expenditure, and as the glue to hold American led alliances, like NATO, together. Much of the rhetoric is recycled jargon from the Cold War, what remains is largely fictional. America struggled to find a purpose in the absence of the Soviet Union. Americanism had become the default and any action, no matter how violent or destructive, that served to promote the American way of life in every country and culture was justified. Any opposition to it was criminal.

So desperate did America become in its attempt to seek out enemies that it created one, in the form of radical Islamism. Osama Bin Laden’s attacks on 9/11 had two effects; the first was to weld the non-Islamic world into a global alliance against international “criminals”, the second was to stoke the flames of holy war in the Islamic world itself. It was precisely calculated by Bin Laden to draw western militaries, already configured for expeditionary warfare, into the rugged landlocked terrain of central Asia.

Bin Laden chose his terrain from history. Afghanistan is known to historians as the place where empires go to die. But neither Arabs, nor Americans, were particularly enthusiastic about fighting on cold mountains and desolate plateaus, the terrain of choice for both were the gentle valleys and flood plains of Mesopotamia. And so the spectre of the rogue state was resurrected, Saddam Hussein, the secular dictator of Iraq, had to go and any excuse would do.

Bush II was heavily criticized for going into Iraq without a UN mandate, but from an American perspective he needed none. The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, signed by Bill Clinton, had made the policy of removing Saddam Hussein from power the official foreign policy of the United States, and four years later became the justification for the Iraq resolution of 2002. All the talk of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism were incidental, it was US policy to remove Hussein from power long before 9/11.

With the invasion of Iraq in 2003 came the stunning realization that there were no weapons of mass destruction, nor were there any established terrorist networks already in operation, and so the post-hoc justification for the invasion had to be the spread of democracy. Indeed by November 2003, in a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy, it was the singular purpose given by Bush. Global Americanism was inevitable and the US military was part of “the plan of Heaven” to enforce it on the Middle East.

By 2008 it had become clear that this plan had been an abject failure. Far from producing a modern democratic state the invasion of Iraq had produced a sectarian war where Arabs, Persians, and Kurds conducted routine small scale genocides to carve out their own ethnically homogenous and independent zones within the now well and truly failed state.

It should not have been surprising and indeed to many it wasn’t. As Jerry Muller observed the American doctrine of ethnic pluralism was a notable exception to a 200 year trend towards ethnonationalism, it was not a universal rule brought about by natural forces.

The venerated Libertarian thinker Murray Rothbard had recognized the problem as early as 1994 noted Americans were particularly ill-suited to the role of world-policeman since their experience with nationalism was short and their adherence to Wilsonian foreign policy was contradictory to the national interest, both American and otherwise.

The victory of Obama in the Democratic Primary and the rise of libertarianism in opposition to neoconservatism within the Republican party were signs that America had begun to recognize that the American model was not universally applicable. One could be hopeful that America was prepared to turn a new page, to accept that the world would not be American, that it would be its own thing of many flavours and many people’s enjoying national self-determination produced from the organic consent of homogenous groups.

The Project for the New American Century, founded by Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1997 to promote a “neo-Reaganite” American foreign policy and shift Republican attention from domestic issues, had collapsed in 2006 under the weight of the failures of the second Bush administration to produce anything but chaos abroad. In 2008 the Global Financial Crisis had shown the failures of the European Union to adopt anything more than the appearance of the American model. The election of Obama to the White House seemed like the final nail in the coffin of neoconservatism. But while Republicans had tired of globalism, the seeds of its resurgence were already planted in Washington in the form of the new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

The Project for a New American Century was reborn as the bipartisan Foreign Policy Initiative. With it came an expanded list of potential enemies, now including Russia, China and Turkey. Syria was the next target of regime change, and in 2010 the Arab Spring provided the excuse. Starting in Tunisia the Arab Spring was sold by the American media as the organic desire of the Arab world to become American.

The case study was Egypt: the non-violent overthrow of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak created a grand alliance of political factions in the west hailing it as the great democratic revolution. Socialists, liberals, even feminists could all find something good to say about the coming Egyptian democracy. The Arab Spring was hailed by the western powers as the last stand of dictatorship in the Muslim world, and the revolutions in Libya, Syria and Yemen must be aided in their quest to achieve the same thing.

By 2012 Obama could point to the Arab Spring as evidence that his foreign policy, conducted and overseen almost entirely by Hillary Clinton, was working. Inconvenient questions like “Didn’t you promise to end the War on Terror?” were not asked. Guantanamo Bay was still in operation, US troops remained deployed throughout the Middle East, and still more US military intervention was required. A compliant US media was more than happy to sell the story that this was the great success of Democratic Party Foreign Policy. The only dissenting voice on the national stage was that of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul who was painted by the media as a kook, a conspiracy theorist, and a racist, which destroyed his bid for the Republican nomination handing it to the far more compliant Mitt Romney.

By 2014 the Egyptian model had died in infancy. The election of Islamic hardliner Mohamad Morsi in 2012 had shown exactly what democracy would look like in the Middle East, and that for the majority of Muslims democracy and theocracy were one and the same. The very Egyptians that had demanded democracy in 2010 now welcomed the return of the junta in the form of a coup led by General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

In 2014 Hillary Clinton resigned as Secretary of State to begin her next presidential campaign. It also saw the rise of ISIS out of the failures of the Arab Spring. ISIS was the very antithesis of American globalism, the abominable union of Arab nationalism and revolutionary Islam. Where Saddam Hussein had been painted as the tyrant of a terrorist state, ISIS needed no paint, they were exactly the enemy that neoconservatism had been searching for and were more than happy to play the role exactly as defined. They even published their own propaganda, in English, explaining exactly why they were everything the US feared and despised.

“Do you realize now what you’ve done?” Putin asks. “Certainly not!” was the unequivocal response from neoconservatives. The policies and promotions of Hillary Clinton are the determination to continue to make the same mistakes, as many times as needed, until at last the world is American.

Hillary Clinton is the ultimate expression of American neoconservatism. On July 25th 2016 she spoke to the convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars. There she stated that to protect ourselves against terrorism America must be even more aggressive in its foreign policy. That America must set and enforce the rules, saying “we shouldn’t leave that to the rest of the world to figure out on their own.” Any retreat from the goal of a global America “will either cause chaos, or enable other countries to rush in to fill that void.”

In the neoconservative mind of Hillary Clinton there is no distinction between the national sovereignty of unaligned nations, and the anarchy of a failed state. To Hillary Clinton both are equally the absence of American rule.

On August 31st she expanded on these ideas to the American League, this time naming China and Russia as the key threats, promising a Nuclear Posture Review and citing cybersecurity concerns she declares:

“So we have got to step up our game. Make sure we are well defended and able to take the fight to those who go after us. As president I will make it clear that the United States will treat cyber attacks just like any other attack. We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses. And we are going to invest in protecting our governmental networks and national infrastructure. I want us to lead the world in setting the rules of cyberspace. If America doesn’t, others will.”

Perhaps even more alarming than the moral righteousness with which she asserts her right to make war as she pleases, is that nearly all of the recent cyber security scandals have not involved the US government or the national interest, but rather the Clinton political machine exclusively, either the emails of the DNC, or the emails of Hillary campaign staffers, or the illicit use of a private email server by Hillary Clinton herself. It seems that a further distinction escapes Hillary Clinton, and that is the difference between American power and her own.

It is not just that America must rule the world, but it is an America in her charge that must rule the world. An attack on her is an attack on America. In this mindset the American military becomes but a tool to be wielded for the greater glory of Hillary Clinton herself.

In an email to John Podesta Hillary Clinton further adds to the list of countries on her bad list, the focus of ISIS has shifted to Egypt and Jordan, heretofore US allies, and so too must the US led fight against them. More significantly Turkey, under the democratically elected Erdogan, is shifting towards Islamism and so too joins the list of Rogue States.

Putin’s Russia edges its way up the to-do list, and this has not gone unnoticed by the Kremlin. Russia has engaged in a number of actions it sees as defensive, including calling up reserves and deploying its army on its Western border. It has also invested heavily in new surface-to-air missile technology and recently commissioned new ICBMs. The last leader of the former Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, has described the world as being at a “dangerous point”.

Putin and Clinton have a personal history stretching back years, in January of 2008 Hillary Clinton, in the middle of losing the Democrat primary to Obama, declared that Putin did not have a soul apparently unaware that the American press was widely read in Russia. Putin responded that he may not have a soul, but at least he had a brain, he later added that Hillary was graceless in her public statements and that this was a sign of weakness.

Putin gave numerous public statements both before and after his infamous UN speech where he laid out the evidence for the impending attack on Russia by US forces. Central to his case is the NATO anti-ballistic missile system in Poland, Czech Republic, and Romania, which he argues neutralize Russia’s nuclear deterrent, creating conditions where a conventional war could be waged on Russian soil.

It’s worth noting that the definition of Rogue State has now expanded and morphed into something that now covers more than a third of the world’s population. The neoconservative search for an enemy has found not one but many, and they are everywhere.

Indeed if we reflect on Lake’s original definition, we can easily become convinced that the United States has itself become a rogue state after two decades of neoconservative rule. Certainly it is ruled by a central clique with a hostility to political participation by the ordinary citizen, especially if that participation presents a threat to itself. This clique adheres to the ideology of neoconservatism, which could easily be argued to be radical Americanism, it is in the process of spreading a war further into independent states, it is increasingly unable to adhere to an international consensus and is subject to criticism from the rest of the world. The refusal to work with the governments of Syria, Iran and Russia in combatting ISIS speaks to an increasing inability to play well with others.

One must wonder where the American people, particularly those of the ethnically homogenous communities of the inner cities and rural towns, fit into this grand plan of a Global America. It is certainly disingenuous to argue that the neoconservative experiment has been in their interests. They have almost nothing to show for it barring rising prices, stagnant wages, a breakdown of the family and a record high prison population.

Yet Hillary Clinton makes the case that their sacrifice is in American interest, as did George Bush before her. This is a thought that seems at odds with itself. How can the sacrifice of the lives and well-being of American citizens be in the interest of American citizens? The only way the thought makes sense is if “America” and “Americans” are treated as two separate and distinct concepts, homonyms but not synonyms.

Americans it seems are the last barrier to globalism. Americans who would like to see a reduction in immigration, particularly from the non-English speaking countries of Central and South America, are declared by Hillary Clinton to be “deplorables”, and by her husband Bill as “your standard rednecks,” beneath respect and unworthy of deciding what sort of country they would like to live in. The advancement of America will not be achieved for Americans, but rather in spite of them.

Do you realize now what you’ve done? I think I do. A Hillary Clinton presidency promises only war, economic destruction, increasing hostility both from the US and to it. It is the result of an experimental ideology that has failed every test and produced nothing but misery. I just hope it’s not too late to stop the situation getting any worse.