Friday 30 October 2015

Democrats crawl before Hillary (Pakistan Observer)

WATCHING the way in which House of Representatives members of the Benghazi investigation committee conducted themselves during the questioning of Hillary Clinton, it was clear that South Asian sycophants could learn lessons in obsequiousness from their US counterparts. Aside from crawling on the floor in supplication to the former First Lady, the Democratic Party members of the House Benghazi enquiry committee displayed on live television their loyalty to her. 

A similar scene was witnessed in India in 2004,when Congress Party Members of Parliament were informed that Congress President Sonia Gandhi would not be sworn in as Prime Minister,but had decided to hand that job over to Manmohan Singh. From the point of view of Sonia Gandhi, it was a wise choice,as throughout his two 5-year terms in the job,Singh behaved with impeccable loyalty, the same way as the Democrat members of the Benghazi committee showed their personal allegiance to Hillary Clinton. 

The fact is that Hillary Clinton has a lot to answer for in her record as Secretary of State under President Obama. In the case of Libya, it was Mrs Clinton who prodded her boss into approving a US role in the air strikes and covert activities (including supply of lethal weapons to individuals vetted by the most rudimentary of processes) which led to the fall of Kaddafy in 2011 and the consequent chaos in that country. Later,she joined hands with the GCC rulers as well as the Cameron-Hollande combination in flooding “moderate opposition fighters” with cash and weapons. What such individuals were moderate in was not specified, for the fact is that soon after getting such assistance,most wandered off in the direction of Al Nusra and ISIS. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was done away with two years later by the very individuals whom he did so much to empower with cash and guns in 2011. Forget about a 3am phone call, given her record as Secretary of State,it is doubtful that Hillary Clinton would be able to reach decisions appropriate to the longer-term interests of her country even at 3pm after an afternoon nap. On issue after issue,she has allowed herself to be led by activists with private agendas. 

In each case, President Obama seems to have accepted her view almost against his own judgment, with consequences that are unpleasant and on occasion disastrous, as in the case of Libya. Fortunately for Hillary Clinton, her faithful retainers within the House of Representatives ensured that enough smoke and noise was created by them as to divert attention away from such truths as the former Secretary of State knowing from early on that the Benghazi attack was an act of terror,but claiming for days afterwards that it had been motivated by a video of a mentally unstable individual cursing the Muslim faith from his home in the US The manner in which Bernie Sanders, who was till then presumed to be a rival of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination as the Presidential candidatwe, genuflected before her. 

The display of doglike devotion exhibited towards her by Democratic Party members of the House of Representatives committee on Benghazi, it seems likely that Hillary Clinton may end up with the nomination, although this columnist still believes that flaws in her record will get manifested and commented upon in the initial months of 2016, thereby denying her the nomination. However, nothing can get predicted with certainty in US politics,so it is conceivable that Hillary Clinton get her party’s nomination and then go on to win the election towards the close of 2016. Given the fact that President William Jefferson Clinton enacted some of the most Wall Street-friendly measures seen in the US,such as the discarding of the Glass-Steagall act, it is clear that a President Clinton would continue with a policy of helping the wealthy in deed while talking about helping the poor. Almost every decision of the Clinton administration appears to have been tailored to suit a particular special interest, although the loxic effects of some of the measures introduced by President Clinton took years to manifest themselves. 

In a tribute to the way in which the wealthy were cosseted by Clinton, the incoming George W Bush administration retained most of them. Given such a record,it comes as a surprise that Senator Sanders appears to have surrendered himself to Hillary. Although the Washington Beltway is dismissive of Donald Trump, yet from his responses it would appear that the feisty candidate for the Republican Party’s Presidential nomination has his concepts anchored to the ground. Trump has refused to go the way of Hillary Clinton and others in talking harshly of foreign countries not regarded as friendly to US interests, such as China and Russia. He has made it clear that he favours a cobnciliatory policy towards them, although on Iran he was hawkish before the nuclear deal was signed, but has been less voluble on the matter since. In Dr Ben Carson, the Reublican side has a contender of undoubted brilliance, even though most of his policy prescriptions are far from what the Washington Beltway is comfortable with. Will Carson do a Barack Obama on the Republican Party and become their nominee? 

The popularity of the Clintons within the black community owes less to substance than to show The Benghazi hearings revealed the manner in which Hillary Clinton relies on friends to frame policy. An example was the way a close friend named Blumenthal influenced policy on Libya that was not based on expert knowledge of the subject. However, Blumenthal’s views were identical to those of the GCC rulers,and only an investigation will reveal whether there are any financial reasons behind the one-sided advice given by him to the then Secretary of State. But instead of examining her record objectively, leading Democratic Party functionaries instead seem to have decided to accept the role of servitor to the Clintons.

—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.

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