Friday, December 5, 2008

WHY CLINTON IS AN AWFUL CHOICE FOR SECRETARY OF STATE

Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy in Focus - For those hoping for a dramatic change in U.S. foreign policy under an Obama administration -- particularly regarding human rights, international law, and respect for international institutions -- the appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is a bitter disappointment. Indeed, Senator Clinton has more often than not sided with the Bush administration against fellow Democrats on key issues regarding America's international legal obligations, particularly international humanitarian law. . . The selection of Hillary Clinton, at best, represents a return to the policies of her husband's administration.
Because the Bush administration had taken things to new lows, many seem to have forgotten the fact that the Clinton administration had also greatly alienated the international community. Regarding Iraq, Iran and Israel, the Clinton administration engaged in a series of policies which put the United States sharply at odds with most of its Western allies and a broad consensus of international legal scholars. And these were not the only issues during the Clinton years over which the United States found itself isolated from the rest of the international community: there was U.S. opposition to the land mine treaty, the strengthening of the embargo against Cuba, support for Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara, foot-dragging on the Kyoto Protocols, support for Turkey's vicious military offensive in the Kurdish regions of that country, among others.

Even worse, Hillary Clinton allied herself with the Bush administration on many its most controversial actions, such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq, threats of war against Iran, support for Israel's 2006 offensive against Lebanon and 2002 offensive in the West Bank, opposition to the International Criminal Court, attacks against the International Court of Justice, and support for the unrestricted export of cluster bombs and other anti-personnel munitions used against civilian targets.

Senator Hillary Clinton has opposed restrictions on U.S. arms transfers and police training to governments that engage in gross and systematic human rights abuses. Indeed, she has supported unconditional U.S. arms transfers and police training to such repressive and autocratic governments as Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan, Equatorial Guinea, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, and Chad, just to name a few.

Senator Clinton voted to send tens of billions of dollars unconditionally to Baghdad to prop up Iraq's U.S.-backed regime during the height of its repression, apparently unconcerned about the well-documented reports of death squads being run from the Interior Ministry that were killing many thousands of unarmed Sunni men. . .

Not only has she been willing to support unconditional military assistance to repressive regimes, she has little inclination to control weapons that primarily target innocent civilians. Senator Clinton has refused to support the international treaty to ban land mines, which are responsible for killing and maiming thousands of civilians worldwide, a disproportionate percentage of whom have been children.

She was also among a minority of Democratic Senators to side with the Republican majority in voting down a Democratic-sponsored resolution in 2007 restricting U.S. exports of cluster bombs to countries that use them against civilian-populated areas. . .

Senator Clinton also has a record of dismissing reports by human rights monitors that highlight large-scale attacks against civilians by allied governments. For example, in the face of widespread criticism by reputable human rights organizations over Israel's systematic assaults against civilian targets in its April 2002 offensive in the West Bank, Senator Clinton co-sponsored a resolution defending the Israeli actions, claiming that they were 'necessary steps to provide security to its people by dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian areas.' She opposed UN efforts to investigate alleged war crimes by Israeli occupation forces and criticized President Bush for calling on Israel to pull back from its violent re-conquest of Palestinian cities in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Similarly, when Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other reputable human rights groups issued detailed reports regarding Israeli war crimes during that country's assault on Lebanon in the summer of 2006, Senator Clinton insisted they were wrong and that Israel's attacks were legal. . .

In Senator Clinton's world view, if a country is considered an important strategic ally of the United States, any charges of human rights abuses -- no matter how strong the evidence -- should be summarily dismissed. Indeed, despite the Israeli government's widespread and well-documented violations of international humanitarian law, Senator Clinton has praised Israel for embracing “values that respect the dignity and rights of human beings.”

Senator Clinton has also been one the Senate's most outspoken critics of the United Nations, even appearing outside the UN headquarters in New York twice during the past five years at right-wing gatherings to denounce the world body. For example, she has falsely accused the UN of not taking a stand against terrorism, even though terrorism has become -- largely at the insistence of the United States -- a major UN focus in recent years.

Senator Clinton's hostility to international law and the UN system is perhaps best illustrated by her opposition to the International Criminal Court. In 2002, Senator Clinton voted in favor of an amendment by right-wing Senator Jesse Helms that prohibits the United States from cooperating in any way with the International Criminal Court and its prosecution of individuals responsible for serious crimes against humanity, such as those responsible for the genocide in Darfur. In addition, this vindictive law also restricts U.S. foreign aid to countries that support the ICC.. . .

The International Court of Justice (also known as the World Court, which essentially serves as the judicial arm of the United Nations) has also been a target of Senator Clinton's hostility toward international law. For example, in 2004, the ICJ ruled by a 14-1 vote (with only the U.S. judge dissenting, largely on a technicality) that Israel, like every country, is obliged to abide by provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Laws of War, and that the international community -- as in any other case in which ongoing violations are taking place -- is obliged to ensure that international humanitarian law is enforced. Affronted that an important U.S. ally would be required to abide by its international legal obligations and that the United States should help ensure such compliance, Senator Clinton strongly condemned the decision. . .

The UN Charter forbids its member states from using military force unless under direct attack or authorized by the UN Security Council. Customary international law allows for pre-emptive war only in cases of an imminent threat, such as troops massing along the border or missiles being loaded onto launchers. Senator Clinton, however, believes that the United States had the legal right to invade Iraq, even though it constituted no threat to the national security of the United States and there had been no authorization by the UN Security Council to use force. . .

Though an overwhelming majority of Americans, according to public opinion polls, believe that human rights and international law should be a cornerstone of American foreign policy, Senator Clinton has repeatedly prioritized the profits of American arms manufacturers and the extension of Washington's hegemonic reach in parts of the world. It is ironic that, with the long-awaited return of the Democratic Party to power, the new Secretary of State essentially advocates a clear break with the internationalist and law-based principles espoused by such previous Democratic leaders as Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman.

Hillary Clinton is not the first hawk to be appointed to a key position by Obama. The selection of Joe Biden as his vice-president, the pro-war militarist chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was seen as a slap in the face to his dovish constituency. . .

Then came the selection of Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. . . Then came the word that Obama was going to keep Robert Gates, Bush's current Secretary of Defense and a proponent of the Bush's disastrous Iraq policy, as the Pentagon chief. . . Then came the apparent selection of the recently-retired Marine General James Jones, a prominent hawk who supported John McCain for president, as Obama's national security advisor. . . .

With the selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, it is no longer possible to make any more excuses. It is getting harder to deny that Barack Obama intends to tilt his foreign policy to the right. . .

It is important to remember, however, that it has been rare for elected Democratic officials to take the lead in building a more progressive foreign policy. From Vietnam to South Africa to the nuclear freeze to Central America to East Timor to Iraq it has been mass movements which have forced the Democrats away from their initially right-wing militarist agenda to one more supportive of human rights and international law. . .

As a result, while it is important to recognize the serious implications of the Clinton appointment, it is also important to realize that the ultimate direction of Obama's foreign policy will not be determined by his Secretary of State, but by the American people.

4 Comments:

At December 5, 2008 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the results of the 2006 midterm elections, it couldn't have been clearer most americans wanted an end to the Iraq war. What happened? Obama was elected largely as a repudiation of Bush policy. What happened? Political dissent and peaceful assembly have been criminalized to the point that any citizen who resorts to direct action can expect to be deemed a terrorist and given some serious federal time. So how is it that "the ultimate direction of Obama's foreign policy will not be determined by his Secretary of State, but by the American people"?

 
At December 5, 2008 2:09 PM, Anonymous obama backing out on ending iraq war said...

Obama is a completely fraudulent lying prettyboy.
See:
Obama's Thoughts Evolve on US Troops in Iraq
Thursday 04 December 2008

»
by: Thom Shanker, International Herald Tribune


http://www.truthout.org/120508L

 
At December 6, 2008 9:04 AM, Anonymous Clintons are generals in criminal army said...

December 5 / 7, 2008

How Washington Arrogance Helped Drive the Mumbai Attacks
Muslim Revolution
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

“In a government of law, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

-- Justice Louis Brandeis

Is Pakistan responsible for the Mumbai attack in India? No.

Is India’s repression of its Muslim minority responsible? No.

Is the United States government responsible? Yes.

The attack on Mumbai required radicalized Muslims. Radicalized Muslims resulted from the US overthrowing the elected government in Iran and imposed the Shah; from the US stationing troops in Saudi Arabia; from the US invading and attempting to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, bombing weddings, funerals, and children’s soccer games; from the US violating international and US law by torturing its Muslim victims; from the US enlisting Pakistan in its war against the Taliban; from the US violating Pakistan’s sovereignty by conducting military operations on Pakistani territory, killing Pakistani civilians; from the US government supporting a half century of Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their lands, towns and villages; from the assault of American culture on Muslim values; from the US purchasing the government of Egypt to act as its puppet; from US arrogance that America is the supreme arbiter of morality.

As Justice Brandeis said, crime is contagious. Government teaches by example, and America’s example is lawlessness. America’s brutal crimes against the Muslim world have invited every Muslim to become a law unto himself--a revolutionary. It is not terror that Washington confronts but revolution.

By illegal, uncivilized and undiplomatic behavior, the US has stirred Muslim peoples from their long slumber as serfs of Western colonial powers. Some Muslims have had all that they can take, and their fury drives them to rouse a billion of their fellows to throw off the yoke of foreign hegemony.

The arrogant incompetence of American governments brought this conflict to the American people and inflicted it upon the world. By destabilizing Pakistan, the US lost a puppet and created an opportunity for Muslim revolutionaries to exploit. By enraging India against Pakistan, the Mumbai attack has created new problems for Pakistan that will focus that government’s attention away from combating Taliban sanctuaries on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. If the US picks up the slack, it will have invaded yet another country and become trapped in a larger quagmire.

Having fomented terrorism, the American government now pretends to be the innocent victim, just as Israelis, having brought about terrorism by driving Palestinians from their homes and villages, pretend to be innocent victims.

Today European members of NATO, an outdated organization formed to defend Western Europe against Soviet invasion, are sacrificing the lives of their soldiers fighting the American Empire’s war in Afghanistan. If America continues to have its way, Europeans will soon be dying in Ukraine, Georgia, and Iran.

The American government, which preaches “freedom and democracy” has in the 21st century gone to great extremes to stamp out the US Constitution and the civil liberties that it guarantees. The US government has repudiated the Geneva Conventions and the prohibitions in US statutory law against torture. The US government has set aside habeas corpus, the ancient legal principle guaranteed by the US Constitution that prohibits governments from holding people in prisons without presenting charges. The US government has broken the laws of other nations by kidnapping foreign citizens and transporting them to other lands to be tortured.

These massive crimes have been justified in the name of the “war on terror.” In truth, America’s crimes foment revolution.

It was the US government that created the “war on terror,” which has been used to murder and dispossess millions of Iraqis and Afghans, to imprison US citizens as if they were medieval serfs, and to squander three trillion dollars for the sole purpose of enriching Halliburton and the military-security complex.

Investigative journalist John Pilger has shown that the so-called “moral superiority of the West” is a hoax designed to shield from view the self-seeking West’s crimes against humanity.

Obama promised change from this destructive behavior, but how does change arise when the most arrogant woman on earth is appointed Secretary of State and the rest of the new government is staffed with tried and true Likudniks and servants of the militar-security complex?

The change over which Obama will preside will have no American victories. The change will come from America as a failed state, from the dollar dethroned as reserve currency, from America repudiated by its allies and paid puppets, from massive unemployment for which there is no solution, from hyperinflation that produces anarchy.

The day might arrive when Washington is faced with revolution at home as well as abroad.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

 
At December 7, 2008 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We constitute governments as a neccessary evil for the benefits we wouldn't have without them.

What greater benefit could the people have than to have no war?

But what have we been promised?

Endless war!

The costs of war have bankrupted us, the conduct of war has poisoned us and bought us determined enemies, the results of war have widened the wealthpower chasm.

Brilliant!

The human species is seriously insane.

 

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