Hillary is not a neoconservative, but her foreign policy bears watching

Liberal supporters of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary hopefully got a rude awakening Sunday when her acceptability and in some cases active support by right wing extremism was exposed in the media.

Previously her endorsement by the liberal section of corporate power, including by billionaire investors Warren Buffet and George Soros, had been well established and acknowledged by Clinton, herself.

But, on Sunday, the fascist-minded Charles Koch made the shocking announcement that, while dismissing GOP front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, he just might endorse Clinton for president.

In addition, the April 24 New York Times magazine ran a lengthy piece documenting Clinton’s close ties to some of the most ferocious war hawks in the military-industrial complex. Regarding a possible endorsement from Koch, Clinton has indicated that she is “not interested” in the backing of a person who backs the reduction of voting rights across the country. 

Actually, right wing extremist support for Clinton is not entirely new.  As Branko Marcetic pointed out in In These Times (March 23) Clinton has long had the enthusiastic support of prominent neocons like Eliot Cohen, Richard Perle and George Schultz, as well as Senators Lindsey Graham and James Inhofe.  Clinton, herself, has boasted her conduct as Secretary of State was praised by Henry Kissinger, the notorious mastermind of U.S. imperialist foreign policy, who has been indicted for war crimes by courts in France, Spain, Argentina and Uruguay.  As Marcetic noted Clinton was described in the neocon Weekly Standard as “The Great Right Hope.”

The Times piece, “H is for Hawk,” states that on foreign policy Clinton is to the right of Trump and Cruz and reports that the “greatest single influence on the way (she) thinks about military issues” is retired  four-star General Jack Keane, who, aside from being “the resident hawk on Fox News, where he appears regularly to call for the United States to use greater military force in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan,” is “a well-compensated member of the military-industrial complex, sitting on the board of General Dynamics and serving as strategic adviser to Academi, the private security contractor once known as Blackwater.”  Clinton, the article states, has had a long and close political and social relationship with Keane dating back to when she was a freshman senator in 2001.  Clinton is evidently also viewed favorably by other militarists, including the disgraced former generals, David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, the article states.

All this places greater urgency on the demand by Bernie Sanders that Clinton release the transcripts of her foreign policy speeches to Goldman Sachs and other big Wall Street banks.  As Clinton has stated, these speeches related to the lessons she learned as Secretary of State, not to the financial manipulations of the billionaires.  In other words, we may surmise, they express her support for continuing Wall Street’s reckless and militarist policies for world financial domination.

On the other hand, it is clear that the entire ruling class, both its liberal and right-wing extremist sections, are not yet united behind Clinton and it must be recognized that her domestic policies, at least as stated in the heat of the Democratic primary, indicate she would oppose policies that move in the direction of fascism and would stand up for improving living standards and protecting democracy.  What is important is that, if she does get the Democratic nomination as now appears increasingly likely, working people should support her, but with eyes wide open.  Endless, expanding war in the Middle East, not to mention in other hot spots like Korea and the South China Sea, could undermine the possibility for any progress on the domestic front.

As the Democratic nominee, she would have the united support of most grassroots progressive forces, including labor, the Black and Latino communities, women, the LGBT community, environmentalists and others. But, as Sanders has insisted, the enthusiasm of this support will  depend, primarily, on what she says and how she campaigns, and progressive forces have as a top responsibility to do everything possible to prevent a right wing extremist takeover of our government.

If Clinton wins the nomination, it only means that the progressive movement, currently led by Sanders, is not yet strong enough and sufficiently united, and that in the coming four years we have a lot of work to do.

Photo: Jim Cole/AP


Rick Nagin
Rick Nagin

Rick Nagin has written for People's World and its predecessors since 1970. He has been active for many years in Cleveland politics and the labor movement.