The ugliest, meanest, primary-caucus season in modern history, is over.
History will record the ending came when Republican champion Donald Trump swept five states in Tuesday’s primaries while Democratic winner Hillary Clinton won four out of five primaries.
Other primaries will continue through June 7, but the winners have been chosen: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the insult bully and the Israel Lobby’s favorite war hawk, will face off in the General Election, November 8.
Our Hillary a war hawk? How can this be?
Her record is out there. Her preference for military solutions was never more obvious than in the New York primary debate, Thursday, April 14.
Asked about his earlier statement that Israel had a “disproportionate response” to Palestinian rocket fire against Gaza, Bernie Sanders responded on behalf of an embattled people under occupation.
Clinton’s response, in sharp contrast, was pure AIPAC, a perspective that merges her pro-Zionism with her militarism.
Below are ten minutes of the debate in which Clinton emphasizes Israel’s “need” for military force in its relationship to Palestinians, in both the West Bank and Gaza.
She tries to bolster her case by using long-refuted Israeli lies, including Israel’s “departure from Gaza”, and Yasir Arafat’s rejection of a non-existent “offer on the table” from Israel.
Clinton also refers to Hamas as a terrorist group, rather than as the political party which won a monitored 2006 election against Fatah, a Palestinian party backed by Israel and the U.S.
She encourages her image as a hawk. Her campaign team monitors her media exposure tightly, so it was hardly a coincidence that the Sunday before the New York primary, The New York Times magazine featured a cover story by Mark Landler under the title, “How Hillary Became a Hawk”.
As Hillary Clinton makes another run for president, it can be tempting to view her hard-edged rhetoric about the world less as deeply felt core principle than as calculated political maneuver. But Clinton’s foreign-policy instincts are bred in the bone — grounded in cold realism about human nature and what one aide calls “a textbook view of American exceptionalism.”
If her focus on military power is not clear enough, Landler emphasizes her contrast with Barack Obama, the president she served for four years.
It set her apart from her rival-turned-boss, Barack Obama, who avoided military entanglements and tried to reconcile Americans to a world in which the United States was no longer the undisputed hegemon.
As for her potential Republican opponents, Landler writes:
Neither Donald J. Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has.
Ladler quotes Vali Nasr, a foreign-policy strategist who advised her on Pakistan and Afghanistan at the State Department, who said, ““Hillary is very much a member of the traditional American foreign-policy establishment.”
She believes like presidents going back to the Reagan or Kennedy years, in the importance of the military — in solving terrorism, in asserting American influence. The shift with Obama is that he went from reliance on the military to the intelligence agencies. . . .
Unlike other recent presidents — Obama, George W. Bush or her husband, Bill Clinton — Hillary Clinton would assume the office with a long record on national security.
Ladler writes, “There are many ways to examine that record, but one of the most revealing is to explore her decades-long cultivation of the military — not just civilian leaders like [Robert] Gates, but also its high-ranking commanders, the men with the medals”.
Her affinity for the armed forces is rooted in a lifelong belief that the calculated use of military power is vital to defending national interests, that American intervention does more good than harm and that the writ of the United States properly reaches, as Bush once put it, into “any dark corner of the world.”
Unexpectedly, in the bombastic, testosterone-fueled presidential election of 2016, Hillary Clinton is the last true hawk left in the race.
Clinton’s belief in military-focused foreign policy, has not endeared her to the more progressive wing of her party, many of whom had favored Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic nomination.
Now that Sanders is essentially out of the nomination race, Clinton has no one pushing her leftward.
That push will have to come from progressives who will need to do their pushing in the General Election campaign through public and social media. Voices for peace will be heard.
Sandy Tolan, author of a new book, Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land, is just such a voice. He recently wrote in Truthdig that Clinton has gone “radical right” on Israel, to Donald Trump’s right.
Tolan wrote that Clinton told this year’s AIPAC gathering:
“Israel faces brutal terrorist stabbings, shootings and vehicle attacks at home,” she said. “Palestinian leaders need to stop inciting violence.” Yet she had not one word for the 188 Palestinians killed during the same period, some of them in extrajudicial executions by the Israeli military, including here, here and here.
Clinton has also been equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, largely through her condemnation of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), a nonviolent movement to confront Israel’s human rights abuses through direct economic and political pressure. (Would she prefer suicide bombers and rockets?).
A tide of citizen resistance must follow Clinton through the Democratic convention in July, and to the General Election.
Progressives in dismay over the remaining political choices for November, have work to do. There is still a Congress to be changed. And, the next national race for the White House is just four years away.
The photo of the Clintons above is by Spencer Platt for Getty Images