11 September 2015

Clinton v. Sanders on foreign policy

To a friend who expressed the opinion that Sanders is weak on foreign policy, while Clinton's plan to have a strong military and quick readiness (as expressed in her Brookings Institution speech; I saw it as codewords for an essentially NeoCon worldview), I replied with the following:

I don't see it that way at all. I thought her Brookings Institution Speech betrayed her strong neocon credentials. She is farther to the right on foreign policy than Obama, who largely continued the Bush foreign policy. Sanders is emphasizing domestic agendas, as probably befits a presidential campaign at this point, but he has read Chalmers Johnson, Lawrence Wilkerson (a Republican, but someone who understands how international power politics works), Brent Scowcroft (ditto), and Steve Clemmons, and he knows that continued land presence in the Middle East, and attempting to prop up the regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, while maintaining an irrational double standard as regards terrorism sponsorship and human rights for Iran as opposed to our supposed "allies", Saudi Arabia and Pakistan (both Sunni and both worse than Iran by any reasonable measure)... are all mistakes that need to be ratcheted back and reversed long term. Clinton may have a lot of experience as secretary of state, but her accomplishments hard to identify, and some of the projects she was involved in, such as the TPP, are clearly antithetical to the interests of working people. Kerry has accomplished far more in a shorter period of time than she did. And I keep thinking, who do I really trust on foreign policy? Someone who saw through the lies and voted against the Bush II Iraq invasion (Sanders) or someone who didn't (Clinton)? Sanders is the obvious answer. Her experience just shows that her judgment is suspect, and I sorry to say that some of the decisions she's made even in the present campaign show that to be the case as well.

And I have to disagree with the implication that she is more or less equivalent to Sanders on domestic policy too. Her position on Keystone (refusal to say), TPP (supports, called it the "best trade deal ever," but is now being coy), $15 min. wage (no support), Glas-Steagall restoration (not supporting), and other enhancements to Dodd-Frank (sound of silence); not to mention her refusal to endorse Medicare for All, breakup of the 5 "too big to fail = too big to exist" banks, major infrastructure investment, which economists and tax experts like Krugman and David Cay Johnson agree is a "no brainer" (she has failed to articulate any such plan); or universal free public higher education (she has equivocated on this), are all MAJOR distinguishing features of their respective DOMESTIC agendas.

I will support the eventual Democratic nominee (as I certainly hope her supporters will also say). But for now, I find Clinton is the LEAST desirable, from a general Progressive point of view, of all the likely Democratic candidates (Her, Sanders, Biden, O'Malley, Lessig). And I actually believe a pretty good case can be made that she is less electable than Sanders or Biden, at least, as well. Her negatives, which are a better predicter of outcomes of elections than issues positions in polling, are awful.

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