Home National Politics Hillary’s Waterloo Is Along the Road to Damascus

Hillary’s Waterloo Is Along the Road to Damascus


Hillary Clinton photo 130904Hillary_Clinton_zpsf69a494b.jpg This has to be a particularly uncomfortable moment for Hillary Clinton. She was an architect of this Syrian dilemma by omission and commission. Her team has been hoping we would ignore that. The statement that was released on her behalf was nuanced for deniability. Like her vote on Iraq, spineless.

“Secretary Clinton supports the president’s effort to enlist the Congress in pursuing a strong and targeted response to the Assad regime’s horrific use of chemical weapons.”

There is no escape for this pretender this time. And it really doesn’t matter that the situation in the Middle East is the culmination of a decade or more of national arrogance that overlays a crumbling economic foundation. Ms. Clinton bought a permanent stake in this when she cast her vote at that very important moment supporting George Bush’s war. When she had an opportunity to redeem herself and demonstrate her moxie as Secretary of State, she didn’t.

There have been too many missteps to count regarding Syria alone. And throughout this period, her understudy, Susan Rice, now the National Security Advisor, was completely ineffective in her role as Ambassador to the United Nations. Every bit of this has Hillary’s signature all over it. And this will weigh her down throughout her campaign for 2016.

The Russian reset is part and parcel of this situation; Hillary owns that. At a time when Clinton’s State Department team was sending out feelers to Assad’s opposition, inviting representatives to meet with our Ambassador to Syria, we were handing Assad’s benefactor a trump card. Unexpectedly, as the opposition transitioned to the use of organized violence, something happened to change Hillary’s opinion of Assad and to cast him as a reformer. No wonder the Russians and their client read the tea leaves the way they did. Meanwhile, Senator McCain was allowed or maybe even encouraged to traipse around the region as though he had any ability to discern the situation on the ground. But that fit with Hillary’s penchant for wanting to have it both ways. The United States could be seen supporting both sides.

Take the statement by Clinton in April 2011 painting Bashar al-Assad as a reformer. When there should have been groundwork ratcheting up diplomacy and work to press sanctions against the use of force against protestors, Rice instead pulled an in-your-face attempt to sanction Assad in the Security Council. Of course that failed. She blamed the Russians, our new friends according to Clinton, and the Chinese, our important trading partner. Why? Rice, like Clinton, did not understand national interests, ours or theirs. But that is integral to the Hillary approach to diplomacy. Like everything she does, it is a function of national sentiment rather than national strategy.

And that is reflected in that initial statement from her spokesperson. National sentiment demands Congressional review. That portion of Obama’s position she can back. Now she can only hope she does not have to choose between supporting Obama and remaining on the side of the current popular wave.

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  • FreeDem

    She still has the nomination if she wants it. The anti-war left is outraged by President Obama’s proposal to intervene in the Syrian civil war. What happens if eight years after defeating the candidate who personified Democratic support for the Iraq War, we have the same nominee back again, running to follow an anti-war President who has continued some of the most objectionable policies of the previous GOP administration? We’re building up the pressure for either a Howard Dean 2004 type primary candidate, or, worse, some sort of Ralph Nader re-run of 2000 where liberal anger manifests itself in a third party spoiler candidate.  

  • NotJohnSMosby

    Wow, lots of hatred for Hillary, with no real data to back up the claims that she can’t win the Presidency.  Sounds more like a personal dislike to me.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    Sorry, Dan, but there’s a reason that Hillary Clinton leads in every poll taken, even beating Chris Christie in Virginia. Of course, 2016 is a long way off. First, she has to declare that she will run. Then, the Democrats have to nominate her. Believe me, women are more than ready to vote for an experienced woman to be president, not just Democratic women but Independents and even some Republican women. Her greatest gift has been the Republican Party shooting itself in the foot over and over by trying to regulate the personal lives of women, to let women knew that “Daddy” is in charge of them.

    The only formidable candidate I see on the GOP side against Hillary  is Chris Christie. The others are just more of the foolishness that the last GOP primary season brought. Christie’s greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. He’s “in your face” with what he believes, and his temper is legendary in New Jersey.

    I’m surprised by your giving Hillary the blame for Putin’s idiocy and the Syrian mess. Secretaries of state never make policy all by themselves. As for that Iraq vote, every possible opponent of hers voted the same way, did they not.

  • sonofkenny

    Sure seems to have all the hallmarks of someone who isn’t a fan of Hillary and wants to find something to trash her time as Sec of State with, flailing around looking for any kind of evidence to back that up…and I have to say what you did come up with is pretty weak sauce.

    If you think vague or incorrectly interpreted comments she made about Assad 5 years before the election is going to to have any affect on her reputation you are mistaken.

    And the rest of your assertions are opinions trying to masquerade as fact…

    Hillary is the runaway favorite for the Dem nomination, and for the Presidency…nothing you assert here is going to change that.

  • Andy Schmookler

    (And I don’t mean “animus” in the Jungian sense :).)

    Over the years, I’ve not always been a fan of Hillary Clinton. But the explanations given here by Mr. Sullivan for his hostility –that when cornered by the Bushites in 2002, at a politically very dangerous and uncertain moment, she failed to take a “principled stance,” and that as Secretary of State she didn’t break with her president who didn’t break enough with the “neo-conservative track”– seem rather inadequate.

    Either Mr. Sullivan holds politicians to a standard that few –not FDR, probably not even Abraham Lincoln– manage to meet.  Or the explanation would seem to lie elsewhere.

    In any event, it does seem that the feelings are swamping the analysis. Whether Hillary Clinton has a good chance of getting the nomination or not, if she runs, and whether she’d have a good chance of winning the presidency if nominated –and on these two matters I agree with Lowell– are questions to which our answers ought to be independent of whether we regard these outcomes as desirable.

    Reading all the above, I find it difficult to believe that is the case here.

  • ToddSmyth

    Bad stuff going in in Syria and it may get worse and Dan doesn’t like Hillary Clinton so he hopes people will somehow blame her for what may happen in Syria by putting the words “Syria” and “Hillary” together without any actual point. But instead people who read this just think Dan is a fool. Nice going Dan. Really not helpful.