Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Legacy: A More Unstable, Less Free World
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has wrapped herself in the mantle of President Barack Obama’s foreign and national security policies, expecting it to facilitate her rise to the presidency. However, the current global mess and her record as U.S. Senator, as the nation’s top diplomat, and her conduct while in office cast serious doubt on whether she deserves election to the nation’s highest office.
On the surface, Secretary Clinton’s resume appears impressive. She served the nation as First Lady for eight years, as twice-elected U.S. Senator from New York for eight years, and as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State during President Obama’s first term for four years. She is also the first woman ever nominated for the presidency by a major political party. And, if elected, she would become the first secretary of state to be elected president since James Buchanan in 1856.
As a U.S. Senator, Hillary Clinton attempted to bolster her national security credentials by serving on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. Arguably, her most important and controversial votes were in favor of the Afghanistan and Iraq war resolutions. Those wars, to date, have resulted in 6,888 American troop fatalities, 49,897 American troop injuries, at an estimated cost to the American taxpayer of between $4-6 trillion. And despite the enormous American sacrifice of blood and treasure during the Bush and Obama administrations, these two nations remain among the most dangerous places on earth, infested with radical Islamic terrorists who continue to threaten U.S. citizens and U.S. national security.
As Secretary of State (the executive branch of U.S. Government’s third highest position after the President and Vice-President), Mrs. Clinton dutifully carried-out President Obama’s foreign policies and served as a key member of his National Security Council, providing advice and assistance to him on the most important and urgent foreign policies and national security matters. She promised to move the country in a new direction with “smart” foreign policies designed to make the U.S. more secure and the world more free and peaceful.
Some significant examples of where those policies led to and how she handled her secretary of state duties follow:
- The Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Peace Index provides an assessment of the current global landscape in 2016. It reported a decade-long decline in peace with terrorism at an all-time high, battle deaths from conflict at a 25-year high, and the number of refugees and displaced people at a level not seen in sixty years. Since 2009, terrorism-related deaths have more than tripled; battle deaths from conflict have more than tripled; and refugees and internally displaced persons almost doubled to 60 million people.
- The U.S. State Department’s 2016 congressionally-mandated annual report on terrorism lists 59 foreign terrorist organizations (about 75 percent of them which gestated and operate in Muslim-majority countries) that threaten U.S. citizens and security. Since 2009, the Department reported the number of FTOs grew by 34 percent. IntelCent (a private firm which collects and disseminates up-to-date global terrorist activity) currently ranks Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Libya and Somalia as the world’s most dangerous countries, and the Islamic State (which evolved from al Qaeda in Iraq) and the Taliban among the most dangerous terror groups.
- Freedom House (a democracy, press and human rights watchdog group) reported in 2016 that global freedom declined for the 10th consecutive year and that press freedom at its lowest point in 12 years. Of the world’s 7.3 billion people, only 40 percent live in freedom and only 13 percent enjoy a free press.
- Secretary Clinton stored more than 30,000 official government emails without permission, including some containing the nation’s most secretive information, in private unsecured servers at unsecured locations outside of U.S. government control during and after her time in office. Her action, among other things, possibly exposed U.S. state secrets and other sensitive information to skilled Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and North Korean espionage cyber-thieves that could be used to embarrass and/or blackmail U.S. government officials. It spurred FBI and State Department Inspector General investigations and congressional hearings which proved many of her statements about it wrong and caused the FBI Director to claim that Secretary Clinton and her colleagues “…were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information…”
- Secretary Clinton routinely met with people in the private sector and representatives of foreign governments during her State Department tenure that gave or pledged large sums of money to the Clinton Foundation and programs. The Associated Press recently reported, through evidence contained in recently disclosed emails, that more than half the people (85 of 154) outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave a total about $156 million – either personally or through companies or groups to the foundation. She also met with at least 16 representatives of foreign governments who gave another $170 million to the foundation. The revelation raises serious ethical and conflicting interest issues.
Ironically, Secretary Clinton and her allies are suggesting to voters in campaign ads, on the campaign trail, and in media that her prime presidential opponent, Donald Trump, is advocating dangerous policies that would harm the U.S. and world and therefore is unfit to lead this great nation. Time will tell whether American voters will look through that smokescreen and see the harm that President Obama and Secretary Clinton “smart” foreign policies may have done to U.S. and global peace and security, and how she behaved in office.
As America’s 2016 presidential election approaches its final stage beginning on Labor Day, American voters will have a clear choice on whether to elect someone like Secretary Clinton who offers a continuation of President Obama’s globalist policies or a successful international businessman and non-politician Trump who seeks to “Make America Great Again” by turning the country in a new direction, placing American interests first and away from Obama/Clinton’s globalist policies. The world will be anxiously awaiting their decision.
Fred Gedrich is a foreign policy and national security analyst. He served in the U.S. departments of State and Defense.