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‘Clinton scares the generals’ — Democratic Party divides over foreign policy

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The divisions inside the Democratic Party are breaking out in a big way, especially now the divisions in the Republican Party are last week’s headline. Many Democratic establishment types are openly wringing their hands about what Bernie Sanders’s young hordes will do at the convention and in the general election if they lose and are not respected.

This divide is very substantive. Last night Ralph Nader said he couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s such a hawk. Chris Matthews asked him who he’s voting for.

My vote is one of conscience, I don’t disclose my vote. But I never vote for somebody I don’t believe in. Obviously I don’t believe in Hillary’s militarism. She scares the generals.

Nader said Trump is an unknown quantity in foreign policy because first he says he wants to negotiate, then he says he wants to smash enemies. “It’s an extremely unstable situation,” Nader said. He also said that either Sanders or Clinton would defeat Trump.

Israel and Palestine are central to this divide. Here’s another neocon walking the path toward supporting Hillary because of her unapologetic support for Israel. Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post:

[A] large portion of pro-Israel voters of both parties (accurately or not) view Hillary Clinton as an improvement over President Obama on Israel. She’s gone out of her way to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on his false accusations about Israel’s conduct during the Gaza War and to denounce the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. She’s at least rhetorically taken a harder line on Iran and expressed a desire for more cordial relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Given that Jewish voters usually vote overwhelmingly Democratic, she is likely to regain any lost ground Democrats suffered among Jewish voters during the Obama era.

Neoconservative Robert Kagan already moved to Hillary Clinton; now he says of Trump, “this is how fascism comes to America.”

But of course Trump has now got megadonor Sheldon Adelson on his side; and Adelson sent an email to members of the Republican Jewish Coalition telling them that Trump is better for Israel than Clinton, presumably because the Democratic Party is untrustworthy on the matter.

“Like many of you, I do not agree with him on every issue,” Adelson wrote board members of the Republican Jewish Coalition in the Monday email, which was first reported by The Associated Press. “However, I will not sit idly by and let Hillary Clinton become the next president. The consequences to our country, and Israel, are far too great to take that risk.”

At least one member of the RJC is with Adelson on Trump.

The Forward says the Adelson news is important because nearly a quarter of Republican presidential funding comes from Jewish donors.

Jewish donors have made up in the past an estimated quarter of direct funding for Republican presidential campaigns and may have played an even greater role in Super PAC funding. For Trump, who is reportedly interested in raising $1 billion, Jewish donors, if they follow Adelson’s lead, could prove valuable not only in providing major funds but also in signaling to other centrist establishment contributors that Trump represents a worthy political investment.

Democrats are even more dependent on Jews for funding (the level of Jewish support for Democrats is “gigantic” and “shocking,” according to experts), and given that a lot of that money is pro-Israel, it would seem that the lobby has this presidential election right where it wants it: the two leading candidates will be beholden to pro-Israel donors.

Clinton just held a fundraiser in Tel Aviv, featuring her Jewish outreach person, Sarah Bard; and Clinton’s major backer, Haim Saban, has worked closely with Sheldon Adelson. Alternet’s Alexandra Rosenmann reports that Clinton once played footsie with Adelson himself:

[I]n October 2014, Hillary Clinton met Adelson for the first time at a Las Vegas fundraising dinner honoring the major Republican donor at an event at which Clinton’s speaking fee may have been upward of $200,000.

But Adelson would rightly remind us: Don’t forget about the divisions inside the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders’s freedom to criticize Netanyahu signals that he has the solid support of his base here; and the polling makes clear that the political address for criticism of Israel inside the United States is liberal Democrats, who sympathize with Palestinians more than Israelis. When Ralph Nader calls Clinton militaristic, he has heard her AIPAC speech in which she promised to take the Israel relationship to the “next level.”

Many young Democrats who go to the convention in Philadelphia, or to the demonstrations outside it, are sure to have Palestine on their minds.

Oliver Stone beseeches Democrats to nominate Bernie Sanders; and he cites Israel/Palestine prominently, calling the AIPAC speech vicious:

Hillary Clinton has effectively closed the door on peace, blasting both the Palestinian peace process and the Russians in the same week. NATO is her god, the best thing the “exceptional” US has to export in this new “American Century.” ..

Our media has credited Hillary Clinton with wonderful foreign policy experience, unlike Trump, without really noting the results of her power-mongering….

Hillary’s record includes supporting the barbaric “contras” against the Nicaraguan people in the 1980s, supporting the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia, supporting the ongoing Bush-Iraq War, the ongoing Afghan mess, and as Secretary of State the destruction of the secular state of Libya, the military coup in Honduras, and the present attempt at “regime change” in Syria. Every one of these situations has resulted in more extremism, more chaos in the world, and more danger to our country.

Next will be the borders of Russia, China, and Iran. Look at the viciousness of her recent AIPAC speech (don’t say you haven’t been warned). Can we really bear to watch as Clinton “takes our alliance [with Israel] to the next level”? Where is our sense of proportion? Cannot the media, at the least, call her out on this extremism? The problem, I think, is this political miasma of “correctness” that dominates American thinking (i.e. Trump is extreme, therefore Hillary is not).

Thanks to Yakov Hirsch.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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18 Responses

  1. ritzl on May 19, 2016, 1:49 pm

    I watched “Washington Week” last Friday and the panel appeared absolutely jittery when discussing this election. They kept saying the same old same old CW, but seemed to realize (but strangely never state) that it didn’t apply this time. It’s like they kept wishing for it to apply because they were so devoid of analytical skills due to years of steno/group-think that they feared being totally lost if it didn’t. Very bizarre but strangely encouraging behavior in an obliquely optimistic sort of way.

    Sanders provides a new funding model for the Dems. Nobody understands its implications either. Could be this is the election where EVERYTHING changes, on both sides.

  2. lysias on May 19, 2016, 3:12 pm

    This is one retired military officer whom Hillary scares. That “We came, we saw he died — (cackle)” comment about the awful way Ghaddafi died was positively psychopathic. If she gets the nomination, I intend to vote for Jill Stein.

  3. pabelmont on May 19, 2016, 3:14 pm

    Our prayers should include: that Dems realize that, looking at State by State polls, Sanders wins the election agasinbt Trump and Clinton loses it (or very dangerously close to); that Dems realize that many Sanders voters will not vote for Clinton; and that Dems realize that Trump will open his barrage on Clinton (if she is Dem candidate) full throttle after she is nominated, which Sanders has not done, and she will become even less popular in the face of that barrage. And finally, that Dems will realize that holding onto the sinking ship of oligarchy-as-usual (and holding onto Clinton) will not satisfy today’s young voters in the long run even if they squeak by in 2016.

    • Bandolero on May 19, 2016, 4:28 pm



      What I just remarked is that Hillary Clinton obviously believes she will manage to scare not only generals, but also voters. Look at this tweet of her today:

      “The threat that Donald Trump poses is so dramatic to our country, to our democracy.” —Hillary on @CNN


      If that’s not fearmongering, what is?

      I also tend to believe that her mud wrestling like peddling womanzer stories against Trump will backfire spectucularly. I think people already know these things of Trump for a long time, it was already priced in into his bid long ago, soon after he started his bid. I think most of voters won’t anything new in these attacks, except confirming their view that the Washington establishment is really against Trump – what is exactly why they vote for him.

      And then, if Clinton comes down to that level of mud wrestling, Trump is a grand master on that turf, like he now answered the NYT hit piece by declaring that Bill Clinton is a rapist, and self-declared feminist outsider Hillary enabled him doing so. All this mud slinging from Hillary on Trump just points to the fact that her record and her Wall Street designed policies are so unpopular with voters that she prefers to go with gossip and fearmongering after Trump instead of attacking him on policy.

      However, I’m not so negative about Trump regarding Israel as Philip seems to be. I see the recent invitation of Walt and Mearsheimer to the Koch brothers’ event is a sign that big time changes are coming in the Republican party regarding Israel and Palestine. I’m quite sure that the mood of many nationalist Republican voters on Israel could switch quite quick against Israel if the Republican leadership changes their donor driven position on Israel and makes the Republican rank and file folks see what harm Israel has done to the US.

      • ritzl on May 19, 2016, 5:08 pm

        Yeah. I wonder what the overlap is between the Koch-funded/directed astroturf Tea Party and the Israeli Lobby-funded/directed astroturfCUFI. If the overlap is significant or substantial (likely, imo), who’s voting orders will they follow ultimately?

        So many strange/new forces and realignments in play this time. It’s hard to see political things staying the same. Hopefully whatever changes gives us a vision and opening and energy and resolve, and maybe most importantly, some sense of synergistic political cross-spectrum common purpose (there are enough common hurts/themes being echoed by Sanders and Trump to suggest a “we’re all in this together” sense could bubble up) at the grassroots level to do things that can make the world slightly better for everyone instead of always vastly worse.

        It could happen.

  4. just on May 19, 2016, 5:13 pm

    From your link:

    “When fear becomes collective, when anger becomes collective, it’s extremely dangerous. It is overwhelming ,The mass media and the military industrial complex create a prison for us, so we continue to think, see, and act in the same way. We need the courage to express ourselves even when the majority is going in the opposite direction, because a change of direction can happen only when there is a collective awakening…

    Therefore, it is very important to say, ‘I am here!’ to those who share the same kind of insight. Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist Monk, The Art of Power

    I’ve been in deep despair these last few months about our political landscape. This quote from Thich Nhat Hanh recently elevated my spirit, and I share it with you. Because I am, we are still here! Though it’s clear that the die is cast and that Clinton will win, that is, if you believe in numbers and materialism, but I don’t, not completely. …”

    – See more at:

    Ollver Stone is spot- on.

    Both HRC and Trump scare me. Most of all, their supporters and financiers frighten me and are the zombies in my night terrors.

  5. wondering jew on May 19, 2016, 6:30 pm

    Another misleading headline from mw: ” ‘Clinton scares the generals’, democratic party divides over foreign policy” Implies that the quote about clinton and the generals comes from the Democratic party. It did not. It came from Ralph Nader. not a Democrat. The man whose candidacy elected George Bush 43.

    • Mooser on May 19, 2016, 10:13 pm

      “Another misleading headline from mw:”

      “Yonah” let’s not kid ourselves any longer; these Mondo Editors and Mods don’t understand anything except force.

      So let’em have it, “Yonah”! Give it to ’em with both babbles!

      Just stop reading and commenting, and I say Mondo will be begging for your input before the next millennium is over.
      Show ’em what it’s like to go without, and they will meet your terms. With a smile.

  6. Bandolero on May 19, 2016, 9:02 pm

    Wow, I just noticed that the very liberal NYTimes – which has endorsed Hillary Clinton – has just run a hard hitting piece on Donald Trump’s foreign policy that I missed.

    A guy billed as “counselor of the United States State Department from 2007 to 2009” Eliot A. Cohen hits hard on Trump’s foreign policy concept and praises Hillary Clinton’s because Donald Trump’s foreign policy is similar to that of Barack Obama, but Hillary Clinton’s is much better. Quote:

    A Really Bad Deal for America

    Donald J. Trump can be seen as a talented demagogue, or as the manifestation of deep pathologies in the body politic, but he is also the bearer of ideas — crudely framed and sometimes incoherent, but ideas nonetheless. Nowhere is this more true than on foreign policy. …

    Fundamentally, much of the difference between Mr. Trump and Mr. Obama reflects style rather than substance. … Mr. Trump merely takes these views some steps further and decibels louder. … Voters should examine Mr. Trump’s statements closely not just because of what they mean for the Republican Party, but what they imply for the two-generation-old American foreign policy consensus. …

    On foreign policy, Hillary Clinton is far better: She believes in the old consensus and will take tough lines on China and, increasingly, Russia. … True, under pressure from her own left wing, she has backtracked on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a set of trade deals that supports American interests by creating a counterbalance to China and American values by protecting workers’ rights. But she might edge back toward supporting it, once in. …

    So now we all know why Trump is so dangerous. He’s almost like Barack Obama, just louder. Everybody should vote for Hillary, because there is a chance she’ll didn’t mean what she said against TPP under pressure from Sanders supporters and she “might edge back toward supporting it, once in.”

    I have hardly ever heard such a passionate argument for Hillary Clinton, so I should think it should be distributed at the front doors of each rally and voting station where Sanders’ supporters are to be met, to convince them with this hard hitting piece of the really liberal New York Times, that Donald Trump is dangerous and Hillary Clinton makes a eally good president.

    Or so.

  7. Kathleen on May 20, 2016, 1:35 am

    It’s not just “young” Sanders supporters who will not be voting for Clinton if she wins the nomination. I am 64 been working on Dem campaigns since I was 16. I will not vote for a proven war hawk like Clinton. Sorry to say but I truly believe a man with her war record could not have gotten out of the starting gate.

    • Boo on May 21, 2016, 4:11 pm

      I’m the same age and have the same track record of Dem campaign work, and I agree wholeheartedly.

      • Kathleen on May 22, 2016, 11:23 am

        Will not vote for a war hawk. Never have, never will.

    • csutter on May 21, 2016, 5:57 pm

      Yup, me too (I am a year older). And it isn’t just her war mongering. Her selfish, elitist, attempted feminism really grates. #neverhillary

  8. pabelmont on May 20, 2016, 7:52 am

    Hmm. Jewish money is mentioned in the posting: 1/4 of Repugnican money comes from (those very, very few very, very rich) Jews, and most or a lot more Democratic money comes from similar sources.

    Does this not suggest either that “democracy” among Americans has been very-nearly handed over to (those very, very few very, very rich) Jews or that the oligarchy (the CEOs of the big multinational corporations) is surprisingly made up of folks who “vote” with corporate money in a “Jewish” manner?


  9. SnowLeopard on May 20, 2016, 8:35 am

    I’d very curious to know what evidence Ralph Nader has that Hillary Clinton “scares the generals.” That’s the kind of thing we left-progressives would like to be true, but I’d feel a lot better if I saw some evidence for it.

    • Doubtom on May 20, 2016, 1:55 pm

      Jeeeezusss, Snow Kitty! did you read the accompanying article at all? Try re-reading Oliver Stone’s comments for what is meant by ‘scaring the generals’.

  10. Ossinev on May 20, 2016, 2:56 pm

    “Like many of you, I do not agree with him on every issue,” Adelson wrote board members of the Republican Jewish Coalition in the Monday email, which was first reported by The Associated Press. “However, I will not sit idly by and let Hillary Clinton become the next president. The consequences to our country, and Israel, are far too great to take that risk.”

    I think he inadvertently inserted an”and” between “country” and(sic) “Israel”

    Such a nice man – believes very passionately in practicing with nuclear devices in Arab/Persian countries.

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