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Clinton and Obama's Foreign Policy Teams Have Very Different Records

Clinton, yesterday at George Washington University, in a major address featuring foreign policy , criticized Barack Obama, "for advocating rash, unilateral military action without the cooperation of our allies in the most sensitive part of the world."

II thought it might be interesting to see how their foreign policy teams stack up..since Hillary is always exhorting people to look at their records and implicitly those of the advisors they have chosen for their foreign policy teams, some of whom, will likely hold high positions in any new Dem administration.

First, Senator Clinton's team which are basically Bill Clinton's senior ,often hawkish, foreign policy hands cobbled together. This is a change we can believe in. Of course, Hillary in her years as first lady in White House and in the Senate was well known for her 'advocacy of military action in the most sensitive part of the world- Iraq' -the most notable example of her instinct to fight aggressively. From Alternet, Guy Saperstein, a past president of the Sierra Club Foundation is unsympathetic to Hillary's dilemma.

The problem of Clinton's poor instincts on foreign policy is compounded by the hawkish foreign policy advisors she has surrounded herself with, the most important of which are Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, Lee Feinstein and Sandy Berger. Former Secretary of State Albright is the person of whom Colin Powell's chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, once said, "She never met a military option she didn't like. When I worked at Defense, she used to scare us." When Colin Powell urged the new Clinton administration not to bomb Bosnia too hastily, she countered, "What's the use of having his superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?" "I thought I would have an aneurysm," Powell would later write.

Perhaps an even more problematic member of the Clinton foreign policy team is Richard Holbrooke, who Clinton insiders say would be the most likely secretary of state in a new Clinton administration. Holbrooke certainly is not short on foreign policy experience, having been an assistant secretary of state for East Asia and ambassador to the United Nations, but his track record should cause all progressives concern. Holbrooke, described by pundits as, "The raging bull of U.S. diplomacy," cultivated and supported Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, supported Indonesia during its brutal occupation of East Timor and backed the generals behind the Kwangyi massacre in South Korea. He supported Bill Clinton's signing a bill calling for "regime change" in Iraq .in Iraq -- the predicate for the Bush/Cheney led invasion..

That's the wisdom of the 'experience' team...Now let's look at the record of the "rash, unilateral military action " foreign policy team of Obama and their records... on Iraq. Again, Guy Saperstein:

While nearly all of Clinton's stable of foreign policy advisors were strong supporters of Bush's invasion of Iraq, almost every one of Obama's foreign policy team opposed the U.S. invasion. Obama advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security advisor, warned that the international community would consider invasion of a nation that posed no threat to the United States to be an illegal act of aggression.

For those voters who want American foreign policy to continue to trend in the direction of muscularity and intervention, they have their candidate -- Hillary Clinton. For those who want change in American foreign policy, who think American militarism and interventionism need to be scaled back, Obama, and his foreign policy advisors, appear ready to begin those changes.

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Comments (3)

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:
From Alternet, Guy Saperstein, a past president of the Sierra Club Foundation is unsympathetic to Hillary's dilemma.

Yeah, I always look to the administration of the Sierra Club Foundation for leadership and guidance on the issue of foreign policy, Steve.

I guess we could always just hug the terrorists until they submit to the ObamaWill (tm).

And you should have included this telling quote from Brzezinski:

On February 2, 1979, Brzezinski wrote a memo to the president claiming that Islamic fundamentalism was not an imminent threat and would not gain prominence in the Middle East.

I feel safer already.

Steve Crickmore:

Lee, Guy Saperstein is a little more than just that but I admit he has been a real thorn to the Clintons. He may not have all the credentials of all the experts from the Council of Foreign Affairs, and most of the Clinton Democratic establishment but it was they (with the exception of Gore, an early anti war critic) who helped get us into the mess of Iraq, what Obama calls 'the stategic blunder'.

February 1979, was ten months before the Soviet Union invaded Afganhistan...and the Carter policy continued by the Reagans was to fund the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan in effort to topple topple the Soviets, which did in fact break the Soviet army and lead to the break up of the Soviet empire. So in a sense it was successful, but for the unintended consequence of the growth of radicalIslam fundamentalsm, which I feel was bound to happen anyway. Brzezinski gives a not so flattering interview in 1998 about the link.

Sure the terrorists are a big problem, but I feel Obama's approach, carrot -stick with more emphasis on the carrot, will be more successful than Clinton's which will be more successful than Bush's and McCain's which is strictly the big stick approach.

Steve Crickmore:

Incidentally, to watch the debate tonight between Senators Obama and Clinton on your computer click or type in www.cleveland.com

The Cleveland Plain Dealer- live streaming and chat beginning at 8 pm est.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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