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Every once in a while Hillary Clinton manages to make the left stand up and take notice. Recently Foreign Affairs magazine solicited an article from each presidential candidate on international security. Nukes of Hazard kindly excerpted hers.
First we wade through her table talk, with which we're now all too familiar. "If Iran does not. . . [blah, blah, blah], all options must remain on the table." You can almost see models of nuclear warheads lined up in front of her like piles of poker chips.
Then she (or, to be more exact, her nuclear policy wonk) writes, "Neither North Korea nor Iran will change course as a result of what we do with our own nuclear weapons."
A statement like this is a slap in the face to us arms control types. It runs contrary to all conventional thinking on nuclear nonproliferation, which holds that nuclear powers must lead the way to disarmament.
However, she qualifies this: ". . . but taking dramatic steps to reduce our nuclear arsenal would build support for the coalitions we need to address the threat of nuclear proliferation and help the United States regain the moral high ground."
Then Hillary hits all the right notes:
To reassert our nonproliferation leadership, I will seek to negotiate an accord that substantially and verifiably reduces the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals."
"I will support efforts to supplement the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty."
"I will also seek Senate approval of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by 2009." Ratifying that damned thing has long been a dream of arms control types.
As for actual goals, her first "would be to remove all nuclear material from the world's most vulnerable nuclear sites and effectively secure the remainder during my first term in office."
Finally: "We need to engage Russia selectively on issues of high national importance, such as thwarting Iran's nuclear ambitions, securing loose nuclear weapons in Russia and the former Soviet republics."
Back in June, Hillary announced that if elected she would create the position of Senior Advisor to the President for Preventing Nuclear Terrorism. (Incidentally, few are aware that when John Kerry ran for president he also proposed a cabinet-level office to prevent nuclear terrorism. Also, his nuclear platform was equally as sound as hers.)
Encouraging as all this sounds, the issue with Hillary is not, as she and her team persist in believing, how strong she is on defense. Her credibility is still her Achilles heel.
Hillary talks a good disarmament game, but do we really want someone with her finger on the button who we neither believe nor trust? The character of some her campaign contributors is a case in point.
First we have the mad "bundler," Norman Hsu, who gathered $800,000 from small donors. He laid these alms-in-reverse at the feet of the Clinton campaign before his day job as a fugitive was exposed.
Next, Alan Quasha, whose career was outlined by the Real News Project's Russ Baker in a recent article subtitled "Bush's money man becomes Hillary's." He's the notorious financer who, traveling with the BCCI crowd, bailed out Bush's Harken in the eighties.
Baker quotes John Moscow on Hillary. He led the investigation of the corrupt BCCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce International) global financial empire. "Too many of the same names from earlier troubling circumstances suggests a lack of control over who she is dealing with. . . or a policy of dealing with anyone who can pay."
Next, Farhad Azima. As venerable reporter Stephen Pizzo writes at News for Real, Azima inhabits a "world swirling with allegations of gun and drug running, illegal Iranian arms shipments and CIA involvement." But he always "seemed to enjoy a kind of prosecutorial forbearance back then that companies like Halliburton and Blackwater Security enjoy today."
Azima has given money to both Clintons, had it handed back to him, and yet, as recently as a couple of months ago, could still be found hanging around a Hillary fund raiser.
Finally, London's The Independent reported last week that an "analysis of campaign contributions shows senior defence industry employees are pouring money into [Hillary's] war chest in the belief that their generosity will be repaid many times over with future defence contracts."
To quote Moscow again from Baker's article, "That Hillary Clinton's campaign is involved with this particular cast of characters should give people pause." File that under "understatement."
Nothing else springs as straight from the conscience as the issue of nuclear disarmament. Talk about faith-based, it's the ultimate in such initiatives. Yet, especially since the demise of the Nuclear Freeze movement, it flies under the public's radar.
Is someone who has few qualms about accepting money from an international fugitive, a corrupt financier, a gun runner, and the defense industry capable of summoning up the integrity to implement such a policy -- especially when her hands aren't being held to the fire by the public?