Artwork in the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
Saturday, June 4, 2016
RETHINKING HILLARY CLINTON’S FOREIGN POLICY SPEECH FIVE MONTHS TO THE ELECTION DAY
Keywords or Terms: US Secretary of State; Foreign Policy Speech; Washington Post/ABC Poll; California and New Jersey Primaries; Western Europe; Asia and Far East Stability; Donald Trump's America; Hillary Clinton's America; Foreign Policy Vs. Haphazard Pronouncements; Containment of Communism Vs. International Terrorism; Israel; Hamas; Russia, China; and, Arab Spring
The touchstone of American Foreign Policy since the election of the first African American President may be getting a facelift, considering what the presumptive Democratic Nominee for 2016 White House oval Office, Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said yesterday, June 2, 2016, in Sand Diego, California. The primary threat to America’s security was confronted in the speech with some direct effort to lambast the de-facto Republican Nominee, Donald Trump, as not prepared to hold the mantle of leadership in the White House come January, 2017. For Ms. Clinton and about 46 percent of college educated Whites in last week’s Washington Post/ABC poll, electing Businessman Donald Trump -as the President of the United States - will be a “historical mistake”. Ms. Clinton’s Foreign Policy speech received accolades among foreign policy experts and the press for charting a new focus or cause for American foreign policy, including asking America’s friends and allies to contribute, even if very marginally, expenses needed to provide the level of defense, stability and security in many parts of the world; a focus that some say is probably overdue and worthy of consideration with the galloping cost of maintaining regional and international security across the globe.
The new goal of this policy may be termed, participatory foreign policy financial commitment bill or, a participatory investment in planning and executing long term strategy for international security. Warnings that this proposal was long overdue, as once alerted by 2016 de-facto Republican Nominee, Donald Trump, while still competing fiercely against a slate of Republican aspirants for his party’s nomination. What the Former US Secretary of State accomplished on probably the most consequential foreign policy speech after a pseudo determination of who is the Democratic Party flag bearer, is that, the proponent espouses some parameters regarding funding of regional stability for friends and allies, considering the rising costs of ensuring continued international security and stability in the face of the chameleonic insurgent groups activities, including ISIS, and probably other revolutionary groups, with axe to grind with Western Democracies. International and National security threats from terrorism are now real and the penchant and longevity of fighting this international nemesis are becoming more unpredictable with the rise of international terrorists and terrorism threats, even in the heart of Western Europe. The past paradigm of fighting international terrorism and guaranteeing regional stability in many areas of the globe, are probably now archaic for a new century of upheavals. Though the proposal of participatory investment, through shared cost coverage, in providing security across the world may be unsettling and troubling for some of our friends and allies with underperforming economies and high national debts, it is still a proposal worth mulling over, even if only for a future consideration and deliberations between partners in the global fight against terrorists.
Just as Hillary Clinton was looking ahead on the new dimension for a proactive foreign policy, she was being bemoaned with the usual, misogynist comments from Donald Trump: "bad performance by Crooked Hillary Clinton" – a firestorm reaction from the de-facto Republican nominee that is unworthy of additional comments or reaction from Hillary Clinton. Foreign policy establishment policy analysts still gave kudos to Ms. Clinton’s including credits for: 1) believing in strong alliances, clarity in dealing with rivals, and rock-solid commitment to the values that have always made America great; 2) advancing the truth that America does not have to cower behind a wall as a strategy to keep away undocumented immigrants; because she enjoys friendly neighborliness with Canada and Mexico; and any unfathomable building of a wall to separate North from South America is essentially counterproductive; 3) denouncing proposal from Donald Trump, essentially encouraging Japan and Southern Korea to own and build nuclear weapons, for security purpose, a proposal she say is implausible; 4) denouncement of Trump’s demonizing of Muslims; apart from being unconstitutional, it is an advancement that plays right into ISIS narrative of what America and the West is all about; and, 5) characterizing Republican flag bearer as thin skinned and quick tempered, who enjoys lashing out at smallest criticism.
By highlighting that Mr. Trump must not be in a position to make life and death decision on behalf of the United States, Ms. Clinton decried a lone ranger attitude from the US and any excuse to entertain a candidate with loose talking approach to nearly all problems as President of the United States. Further, Ms. Clinton believes a presidential candidate with a penchant for demonizing all Muslims and minority groups, scanty mastery of information on Iran and Nuclear program, must not be allowed to have the code to nuclear weapon launching. Just as Ms. Clinton was worried about the risk involved in having Donald Trump who had engaged himself in using his Twitter account for loose talks, being in the position where he can commit America’s arsenals, to war, she probably spoke to the implications of the new endorsement of the US House Speaker Paul Ryan for Donald Trump’s ambition for US Presidency.
If Ms. Clinton was building up support for her candidacy for the White House oval office by proposing a new cause or focus for America’s foreign policy before a wider audience of voters beyond the Democratic Party, maybe she accomplished that and some more yesterday, and probably got some converts from the other aisle of American Political Party. By proposing foreign policies that lead America to a new reality of costs of security and the contriteness of isolating America from the rest of the world, through Mr. Trump’s America First doctrinaire, Ms. Clinton probably overtook her arch rival in the Republican Party by surprise, since he had already appeared as the hawkish candidate who conveniently, for whatever reason, advanced ideas in support of nuclear proliferation without an iota of consideration for the regional and or international implications.
Further, if Ms. Clinton was attempting to lead the nation to a new awareness of the veracity of the Iran nuclear deal, essence of building world alliance to prevent nuclear proliferation, and the importance of reminding us that we are a nation of immigrants, who cannot keep some people away because of their religion or color of skin, she probably did that effectively by creating some justification of anxiety towards Donald Trump’s candidacy for the US Presidency. In addition, if the presumptive Democratic Nominee for 2016 White House race was offering a definitive foreign policy contrary to the haphazard pronouncements and or declarations from Mr. Trump, she probably attained the upper hand in the debate on foreign policy against a neophyte. Yes, Ms. Clinton benefited from being the former US Secretary of State, a job that opened her to many successes and pitfalls of rational and irrational foreign policies.
Unfortunately, rather than offering alternative proposals countering or contrasting Ms. Clinton’s foreign policy speech, Mr. Trump automatically took exception to all Ms. Clinton’s foreign policy proposals; with the usual abusive denigration; one shortcoming that is probably backing establishment Republicans to the wall, making them wonder, why their party's leadership is now coalescing behind a candidate, whose choice words at opponents, unusually create fears and anxieties among Americans. Why on earth is the Republican Party subscribing to xenophobic pronouncements and or dishevel comments that may lead to irreversible damage to America’s Foreign policy if Mr. Trump becomes the next President of the United States? As if to say America’s national interest is at stake for considering Mr. Trump for the White House oval office, Ms. Clinton’s Foreign policy speech alluded to other indisputable arguments: 1) “Imagine Donald Trump sitting in the situation room, making life-or-death decision, could you trust his judgement, [based on his temperament and past activities on Twitter]” 2) “I have some experience with the tough calls and the hard work of statecraft. I wrestled with the Chinese over a climate deal in Copenhagen, brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, negotiated the reduction of nuclear weapons with Russia, twisted arms to bring the world together in global sanctions against Iran, and stood up for the rights of women, religious minorities, and LGBT people around the world;” both arguments that undermine Mr. Trump’s candidacy over Ms. Clinton’s.
For all intents and purpose, everyone is probably aware that the global community is gradually shrinking. Thus, arguing for a candidate that is about isolationism in running the White House oval Office, appears counterproductive for futuristic vision, even for some progressive Republicans. The constant challenge of having to advance argument of American First for a candidate seeking the White House oval office is not only counterproductive, it belies the obvious in a world of rapid globalization. The demise of isolationism since the fall of Soviet Union and the advancement of information technology, especially the internet, make the influence of America rather daunting if she chooses to have a leader that opts for the archaic national policy of America first. If made in China products are so offensive to Mr. Trump, maybe he should begin with his corporations, asking them to stop patronizing “Made in China’ suits for Trump’s Classic suits and array of retail products. Winning the competitive struggle and global influence impose on us responsibilities of supporting free and competitive markets; a situation that bemoans an archaic doctrinaire as advanced by Mr. Trump. There is therefore validity and merits in Ms. Clinton’s foreign policy argument that globalization has not stolen anything from anyone; and America is hardly carrying any heavier load than any other nation in current day trading dispensation.
Some political observers wonder why Ms. Clinton scheduled a Foreign Policy speech to coincide with the California primary, asking if it has anything to do with her lagging in California polls against Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party primary. Was Ms. Clinton creating an impression of inevitability in the nomination process and at a juncture where the mounted fight for votes’ dominance in California is close to being against Ms. Clinton as a possible victor at that State's Primary coming Tuesday. As maintained by one Bernie Sanders staffer, her veracity to close the deal on Tuesday is still a tossup. Her foreign policy speech therefore is more adept to an expectation that she is the inevitable nominee based on the Super delegates counts. On the Republican party side, maybe what Donald Trump may be asking, since he does not have a rebuttal for Ms. Clinton’s foreign policy speech is this: “If her foreign policy speech is so brilliant as claimed by some political observers, why hasn’t she closed the deal before next Tuesday primaries in California and New Jersey? It takes time to adjust to a reality that Ms. Clinton probably targeted the major weakness of Mr. Trump’s candidacy for the White House oval office; just the way, her foreign policy speech is a demonstration of her being presidential than any of her opponents, either within her party and outside her party.
Further, by offering early foreign policy speech that quickly and doubly chastises the de facto Republican Party nominee as ill-informed; or, completely ignorant of international politics and foreign policies, Clinton appears to be putting Mr. Trump in the handicap status towards the race to the White House. One main digression from the focus of Ms. Clinton’s foreign policy argument is her walk away from two major successes she championed as US Secretary of State while in Obama's Administration: 1) Trans-Atlantic Partnership Agreement and 2) Pivoting America’s foreign policy towards Asia and Far East Countries, especially in the arena of trade, commerce and regional stability. Many Americans are wondering why Ms. Clinton is walking away from these conceptual successes in foreign policy parlance in her pursuit of the 2016 White House. Is she doing this as a self-service objective; or is she doing this for other ulterior motives because such policies may not receive the type of blessing they have had under President Obama’s? With respect to future commerce, regional stability and international relations with countries in Asia and Far East, as conceived under the proposed foreign policy dispensation under a “President Hillary Clinton”, will Americans feel safer under the new dispensation and will existing bilateral relations with countries of that region affect America’s ability to fight global terrorism? The usual mystic associated with proactive foreign policy agenda or vision of a reflective future, hardly rely mostly on pulling the carpets under existing policies, especially the most recent ones that may be yielding positive results as envisaged when the nation launched into them?
In my view, visionary and proactive foreign policies, attempt to make corrections to past failures of initial efforts. How about a policy that fixes the mess that the incursion into Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as resulted? Some envisioned corrective efforts at fixing past failures in foreign policies, can make much difference than launching into new ones without a consideration of a 20/20 vision reflective considerations of initial efforts. How about, contemplating foreign policies that address the current bi-polar deficiency of the Israeli-Palestinian long standing distrust of each other and moving forward from the gridlock to a two state solution as expected at first bat? How about a policy of wait and see what becomes of the Egyptian uprising? Are these not worthy of a second take after the challenges associated with coming upstream?
The heretofore containment of communism that has lost much allure in current day foreign policy parlance is no longer visionary; however, finding solutions addressing the perceived failures of the Arab Spring maybe one visionary effort to correct for not having the so-called democratic society in those Arab States that engaged in upheavals that led to the testability of the veracity of democratic principles in the Arab world. The traditional foreign policy that have remained consistent over the years, whether we have a Republican or Democrat in the White House oval office, which appears to have prevented a re-evaluation of lopsided trade issues with China; and or, the vested interest of Saudi Arabia in ownership of America’s foreign debt, plus the inconvenient issues appearing to be linked together by those suspicious of level of transparency associated with the ill-fated September 11 2001 terrorist attacks investigative report; most especially, the misgivings of some conspiracy theorists, that not all information regarding that ill-fated event has been released to the public? It is essential that these issues are put to rest for the sake of national security and transparency; and the unusual upheaval from conspiracy theorists regarding what was kept out of the released report and what was not; including who actually sponsored what, who knew what beforehand and how much did anyone within the United State government know about the attack? The need to be transparent is paramount, if we are to put to rest allegations of cover-up for the sake of commerce or partnering in the trade and exchange of oil as postulated by conspiracy theorists. There are no greater and better ways to preserve the sanctity of the truth, no matter whose lion is groined.
Artwork in the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
Artwork in the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.