Reprinted from Consortium News
The Democratic Party establishment seems determined to drag Hillary Clinton's listless campaign across the finish line of her race with Bernie Sanders and then count on Republican divisions to give her a path to the White House. But -- if she gets there -- the world should hold its breath.
If Clinton becomes President, she will be surrounded by a neocon-dominated American foreign policy establishment that will press her to resume its "regime change" strategies in the Middle East and escalate its new and dangerous Cold War against Russia.
If Bashar al-Assad is still president of Syria, there will be demands that she finally go for the knock-out blow; there will pressure, too, for her to ratchet up sanctions on Iran pushing Tehran toward renouncing the nuclear agreement; there are already calls for deploying more U.S. troops on Russia's border and integrating Ukraine into the NATO military structure.
President Clinton-45 would hear the clever talking points justifying these moves, the swaggering tough-guy/gal rhetoric, and the tear-jerking propaganda about evil enemies throwing babies off incubators, giving Viagra to soldiers to rape more women, and committing horrific crimes (some real but many imagined) against defenseless innocents.
Does anyone think that Hillary Clinton has the wisdom to resist these siren songs of confrontation and war, even if she were inclined to?
President Barack Obama, who -- for all his faults -- has a much deeper and subtler intellect than Hillary Clinton, found himself so battered by these pressures from the militaristic Washington "playbook" that he whined about his predicament to The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, himself a neocon war hawk.
The Washington foreign policy establishment is now so profoundly in the hands of the neocons and their "liberal interventionist" sidekicks that the sitting President presumably couldn't find anyone but a neocon to give those interviews to, even as he complained about how the U.S. capital is in the hands of warmongers.
Given this neocon domination of U.S. foreign policy -- especially in the State Department bureaucracy, the major media and the big think tanks -- Clinton will be buffeted by hawkish demands and plans both from outside of her administration and from within.
Already key neocons, such as the Brookings Institution's Robert Kagan, are signaling that they expect to have substantial influence over Clinton's foreign policy. Kagan, who has repackaged himself as a "liberal interventionist," threw his support to Clinton, who put him on a State Department advisory board.
There is also talk in Washington that Kagan's neocon wife, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, another Clinton favorite and the architect of the "regime change" in Ukraine, would be in line for a top foreign policy job in a Clinton-45 administration.
Neocons Back in Charge
So, Clinton's election could mean that some of the most dangerous people in American foreign policy would be whispering their schemes for war and more war directly into her ear -- and her record shows that she is very susceptible to such guidance.
At every turn, as a U.S. senator and as Secretary of State, Clinton has opted for "regime change" solutions -- from the Iraq invasion in 2003 to the Honduras coup in 2009 to the Libyan air war in 2011 to the Syria civil war since 2011 -- or she has advocated for the escalation of conflicts, such as in Afghanistan and with Iran, rather than engaging in reasonable give-and-take negotiations.
Though her backers tout her experience as Secretary of State, the reality was that she repeatedly disdained genuine diplomacy and was constantly hectoring President Obama into adopting the most violent and confrontational options.