Hillary Clinton has begun the policy wars with Donald Trump. She gave it her best shot Thursday with what was billed as a major foreign policy speech. I’ll save you the effort to read the transcript. She said in essence, nothing.
Most of her time was spent trash-talking Trump saying he’s neither smart enough nor stable enough to be president.
The rest of the time was telling us about all her many self-proclaimed successes and ending with how she and President Obama were responsible for killing Usama bin Laden. I give her full credit for that, as well as Obama. But that’s not the only issue in American foreign policy over the last two terms.
But let’s put aside her own very questionable judgment on a number of issues:
- Compromising national security with her cavalier treatment of our most classified information.
- Failing to protect or rescue Americans in Benghazi and then lying about it afterwards.
- Clamoring for the Libya war and supporting the premature Iraq withdrawal which enabled the spread of radical Islam far and wide.
- Failing to reset relations with Russia
The real problem is that Hillary Clinton represents the Democrat and Republican establishment position on national security issues. She claims it as a badge of honor. But frankly, the foreign policy establishment hasn’t gotten much right in the last fifteen years, whether it was the Bush or Obama administrations.
They lost three wars: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. And, if you count Syria, four.
They failed to stop the spread of radical Islam all around the world, and in some ways enabled it.
They encouraged the rise of Iran by signing a one-sided nuclear deal in a misguided attempt to get them to change. Sadly, it’s only emboldened Iran’s anti-American, pro-terrorist stance, as a determination to build nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.
The establishment decimated the U.S. military and abandoned our veterans. They’ve allowed America to be pushed around all over the world -- by China, by Iran, by Russia, and even the pipsqueak in North Korea.
They’ve also failed to get a handle on cyber-threats.
Secretary Clinton slams Trump for not appreciating, or even comprehending, the accepted conventional wisdom of both political parties. In so doing, she misses the point.
Trump hasn’t accepted the conventional wisdom because it hasn’t succeeded, at least not for the last decade or so.
Trump is forcing us to rethink our failed policies of the past, by relying on good, old-fashioned common sense.
You know who else did that? Reagan. In 1980 he challenged and beat the GOP establishment candidate George H.W. Bush in the primaries and went on to beat the incumbent Democrat President Jimmy Carter in the general election.
Reagan revisited the decades old policy of coexistence with the USSR and decided we should win the Cold War instead. We did within a decade, without firing a shot, by using our economic superiority.
Reagan rejected the mutually assured destruction (MAD) strategy of mutual suicide in favor of a Star Wars missile defense system that could protect us from nuclear attack.
So Hillary does have a point. Trump isn’t a conventional candidate. He doesn’t fall into line with conventional wisdom. He’s rethinking the issues. What will he come up with to replace the tired old theories of the past? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.
We’ll have to wait and see. That’s why we can throw out the rule book for this election.
And that’s why it’s so interesting.