After Hillary Clinton has the nomination nearly sewn up, the New York Times decides to run a Sunday magazine piece titled “How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk,” by Mark Landler revealing conclusively that she has a greater “appetite for military engagement” than anyone else in the race, on either side. Here’s the nut graf:
Clinton’s foreign-policy instincts are bred in the bone — grounded in cold realism about human nature and what one aide calls “a textbook view of American exceptionalism.” It set her apart from her rival-turned-boss, Barack Obama, who avoided military entanglements and tried to reconcile Americans to a world in which the United States was no longer the undisputed hegemon. And it will likely set her apart from the Republican candidate she meets in the general election. For all their bluster about bombing the Islamic State into oblivion, neither Donald J. Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has.
The article details Clinton’s long commitment to the use of force, including incidents never revealed before; explains why Donald Trump is likely to be far less eager to go to war than she would be; and says that Clinton had to hide her hawkishness during the primaries so far:
To thwart the progressive insurgency of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Clinton carefully calibrated her message during the Democratic primaries
The piece is an ode to Clinton’s “pugnacity” and her “muscular brand of American foreign policy,” with a celebratory chorus line of Robert Gates, Jake Sullivan and various functionaries. And lest you had any doubt about the newspaper’s point of view, there’s this foolish bonbon at the end:
It’s an open question how well Clinton’s hawkish instincts match the country’s mood. Americans are weary of war and remain suspicious of foreign entanglements. And yet, after the retrenchment of the Obama years, there is polling evidence that they are equally dissatisfied with a portrait of their country as a spent force
It’s not an open question actually. As Stephanie Schriock of Emily’s List told J Street last week, the mood of the people is isolationist, they don’t want to be engaged in foreign wars.
So why are we learning this now? Donald Johnson nails the journalistic and moral dereliction at the heart of this publication:
The readers picks on the 600-plus comments on the article are very good. Clinton defenders sound like militarists or idiots. One says she only wants to prevent genocide. Yeah, heart of gold.
It is utterly cynical of the NYT to publish this after her nomination is nearly certain. The readers noticed that.
Israel is not mentioned in the article, but it occurs to me that maybe she panders to Benjamin Netanyahu because she really does believe what she says about terrorists raining down rockets. I can easily imagine her bombing Gaza without the slightest qualm. She might really be as stupid and narcissistic as the people who defend Israel’s actions in Gaza. And while I have read that Bill Clinton disliked Netanyahu, yes there might be bad blood that way, but they might still see themselves as the staunch defenders of civilization.
It’s interesting to read the folks who say we have a moral obligation to vote Democratic. I find lesser-evilism voting persuasive, much as I hate it, but the people making the argument go much further. There are nearly always personal insults towards the people too pure to live in the real world. But to respond: How realistic is it to tell Clinton she has your vote no matter what she does, so long as Republicans are worse?
I was told we have to start at the bottom. Does that mean most Democratic activists at present are currently pro war or pro Netanyahu and this is why we get people like Clinton? I have no idea. People who care about issues already start at the bottom and I would guess rank and file Democrats don’t want another war and yet we get Clinton.