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Hillary, Bernie, and the World Federalist Vision: Whom Should We Support?

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There are people who think it would be great to have a women in the White House. But not all women embody the traits that we often associate with women. For example, psychologist Carol Gilligan, in her ground-breaking book In a Different Voice, argues that women emphasize relationships, caring, social cooperation, and harmony much more than men. [1] This may well be true, but, of course, we know that some women have also embodied horrific qualities: some women have been murderers, child abusers, or the commandants of Nazi concentration camps. Women can repress or distort the so-called feminine characteristics through becoming sociopaths, or through primary identification with their super-wealthy social class, or through assimilating cultural hatred of some out group, for example Jews, Blacks, Communists, or Muslims.

Will Hillary likely bring "feminine" characteristics to the US Presidency if elected? Will she promote peace, cooperation, economic and political equality, and justice for all within our country and will she promote peace, the sovereign equality of nations, obedience to UN principles of international law, and multilateralism among nations? (None of these conditions among nations, of course, reflect the highest world federalist values, but we cannot expect more at this point in history of any US President.)

The answer is clearly "no" to all of these goals. Internally, within the US, Hillary has identified herself with the oligarch ruling class, with Wall Street, the big banks, and the multinational corporations. Her orientation is quite the same as that of her husband, Bill Clinton, when he was President and she was first lady. Bill Clinton betrayed the American working class by promoting neo-liberal economics of global trade agreements like NAFTA, in which corporations got richer while working people both lost their jobs and those still working had to accept wage cuts, pension cuts, and reduction in their benefits packages.

Hillary's public statements and behavior as Secretary of State have been consistent with this same orientation, which is the ideological stance of the US oligarchy: big banks, big business, a thriving industrial-military complex, and multinational corporations, which are supported by most of Congress and by the Executive branch. Obama has made some weak "progressive" gestures in some areas of prison reform, immigration reform, and healthcare, but these gestures are weak precisely because he is a representative of the "middle of the road" democratic oligarchy. Obamacare, even while extending coverage to millions, caters to private business and the huge insurance industry.

And Hillary has repeatedly said in her debates that she supports President Obama and his policies. The internal rule of the Oligarchy in the US is, of course, linked with their external global financial rule as well. President Obama has intensified the war on independent journalism far beyond that of George W. Bush. He has continued the human rights obscenity of Guantanamo Bay and has vastly increased the policy of target drone assassinations and terror tactics that deny the due process of law to perceived enemies everywhere on the Earth. Hillary has not spoken out against these human rights obscenities. Her rhetoric of rights (as, for example, concerning Syrian refuges or the Ukraine conflict) merely repeats US imperial ideology and has very little to do with actual concern for human rights.

Just as her husband Bill Clinton supported NAFTA, so Hillary as Secretary of State supported the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), at one time calling it the "gold standard" of trade agreements. In her debates with Bernie Sanders, she has changed her tune, now saying that she is "reserving judgment" about the TPP and that she "hoped it would be the gold standard." We should not be fooled by the change of rhetoric. Hillary's entire record, going back to when she was first lady, speaks of someone who identifies with the rich and powerful who run this country and who also aspire, through transnational banking and corporations, to control world trade in their own favor. To them, speech is a pragmatic tool for defending their class interests, and words like "justice," "human rights," "equality before the law," "world peace," "free trade," are simply tools in their war chest. Like the people who staff the Pentagon, they are basically sociopaths who care nothing about human suffering.

What about US foreign policy? As Senator from the state of New York from 2001-2009, Hillary was and is an ardent supporter of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. She also voted "yes" to George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, which was in direct violation of international law and the UN Charter. As Secretary of State, she has supported the entire imperial juggernaut with its assumption of US exceptionalism and superiority right down the line. She supported the overthrow of the elected government of the Ukraine and the neo-Nazi takeover of the Maiden government and continues to push a hawkish stance toward Russia, repeating the well-known State Department lies that Russia is the aggressor in the region and the US must act to block that aggression.

Scholars of world affairs such as James Petras [2], Michel Chossodovsky [3], Pepe Escobar [4], and William Engdahl [5] have demonstrated in great depth that US foreign policy (behind the rhetoric and behind the scenes) has long been a coordinated attack on perceived rivals to US global dominance: Russia, China, and Iran, as well as against the lesser pieces in the Afro-Asian "chessboard": Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yeman, etc. In a recent article, Michael Hudson, eminent economist of global imperialism, has written about the US use of the IMF and World Bank to destroy the economic well-being of the Greek people and, then, changing the IMF rules to allow for an exception in the case of the Ukraine, to use support of the neo-Nazi Ukrainian government to economically undercut and marginalize Russia [6].

Hillary was Secretary of State under Obama from 2009-2013. It would be impossible for any person to hold this position and not be an insider to the secret strategy to destroy the stable and prosperous government of Libya (which she was explicitly part of), destroy the Russian-linked stable government of Syria (she is explicitly against the government of President Assad), and in general wreak military and economic havoc in Afro-Asia (as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and the Ukraine) in the service of US geopolitical imperialism. Her false rhetoric of sympathy for the miserable refugees now flooding out of Syria only confirms her wretched hypocrisy, since she and her government are most directly responsible for the destruction of stability in the region first in Iraq and now in Syria.

As President of the US, we could only expect more of this horrific global imperialism without any care for the hundreds of millions of ordinary people whose lives, livelihoods, and homes are destroyed by this callous imperial foreign policy in the service of the west's rich and powerful ruling oligarchy. It is always true that internal and external policies are linked. Hillary would clearly continue to support the military-industrial complex, and US big business, which are both destroyers of the internal well-being of the US working class, major polluters of the environment, and essential to the imperial drive for world domination.

Bernie Sanders, by contrast, is not a neocon, nor an oligarch, but an old-time FDR-New Deal social liberal. He believes in a social democracy that puts restraints on unfettered capitalism (that neocons support). He would break up the supper-big banks, protect workers from rapacious employers, and create an internal economic resurgence through FDR style stimulus packages (like Roosevelt's Civil Conservation Corps (CCC)). He would lead the way in trying to convert the internal US economy to a more sustainable and environmental friendly form. He would end the shame of being the only industrialized country without a decent single-payer national health system.

The extent to which he would be able to do these things, as he himself points out, would be dependent on his continued support of the majority of ordinary citizens, since all this would obviously be opposed by the ruling class in the country. A corollary of this appeal to a resurgence of democracy includes Sanders support for dialogue, real journalism, and factually informed debate. The present repression of journalistic debate by the Obama administration, and the obsession with making everything the government does secret, would most likely be mitigated under a Sanders presidency.

On foreign policy, Bernie has taken the stance that he would encourage a multilateral world in which nations would be encouraged to cooperate to deal with terrorism, extremism, and other international problems. He would try to limit imperial uses of US military forces and probably support obedience to international laws and norms. Doing this might help to restore a multilateral world in which nations cooperated more and lived more in peace, perhaps joining together against the common enemy of climate collapse.

However, in this endeavor, Bernie would again be in conflict with the US oligarch class, the industrial military complex, and the powerful Pentagon system. And here he could not so easily appeal to the popular support of the people of the US. The people of the US may be waking up to the oligarchy that is screwing them internally, but they are not nearly as awake to the imperial juggernaut of the US toward world domination and the utter callousness of US foreign policy toward the well-being of ordinary people everywhere on the Earth.

Since internal and external policies are linked: since the global domination of US multinational corporations and banking cartels (in large part through the IMF and World Bank) is linked to the loss of jobs and benefits within the US, Bernie would be facing an uphill battle. But at least there would be a battle, and in the course of such a battle, public education becomes possible and real change becomes at least possible. If Hillary were President, it would be just one more instance of the fox guarding the henhouse: continued repression of independent journalists, etc.

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Glen T. Martin is professor of philosophy and chair of the Peace Studies Program at Radford University in Virginia. President of the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA), the Institute on World Problems (IOWP), and International (more...)

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