28.08.2016 Author: Steven MacMillan

US Presidential Election 2016: The Battle of the Hawks

3454354354352As the US presidential election fast approaches in November, the greatest political spectacle of the year is in full swing. Say what you want about the US, but there is no other country that knows how to put a show on in the same way as our American friends. Trump vs. Clinton is the pay-per-view event of 2016, and it will continue to dominate the media headlines.

 Yet many media outlets fail to ask the most important and fundamental question pertaining to the presidential contest: is the fight rigged so that the establishment is the only winner? Clinton is evidently controlled by the establishment and will serve her masters loyally if installed into the White House, although her deterioratinghealth will be a worry for the puppet masters, as even puppets need to be able to dance on strings when needed. The real issue is whether or not Trump is the establishment outsider he claims to be, and will actually challenge the parallel government. Judging by the Wall Street connections of Trump’s advisers however, the elite seem to be in control of both major candidates, with the election merely serving as a political circus to distract the masses from the bankrupt economy and the perennial foreign wars.

Both Trump and Clinton Supported the Libyan War

The more digging you do into Trump, the more he seems to be just another flavour of the establishment. By looking at Trump’s stances on two previous wars, we can get an indication of what US foreign policy will look like under Trump. Although the real estate magnate has criticized both the wars in Iraq and Libya after the fact, he did support both imperial endeavours before they were launched. In a September, 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Trump was asked whether he would support a war in Iraq, in which he replied: “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.” To be fair, this is hardly the most belligerent comments you’ve ever heard, but it is still disingenuous for Trump to claim he was against the 2003 war.

What should really worry those who are opposed to Western imperialism however, is the position Trump took on the 2011 ‘humanitarian’ intervention in Libya, which led to the complete destruction of the country. Despite criticizing Clinton for her pivotal role in the war, Trump himself was a major cheerleader of the intervention. In a video posted on one of Trump’s official YouTube channels from the 28th of February, 2011, the reality TV star couldn’t be more in favour of the war that caused such widespread devastation:

“I can’t believe what our country is doing. Qaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people, nobody knows how bad it is, and we’re sitting around – we have soldiers all have the Middle East – and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage… You talk about things that have happened in history; this could be one of the worst. Now we should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it, and save these lives… Ultimately, the people will appreciate it; they’re going to end up taking over the country eventually, and they should pay us back.” 

Trump continues:

“But we have to go in to save these lives; these people are being slaughtered like animals. It’s horrible what’s going on; it has to be stopped. We’re making decisions like trade embargoes – what does this have to do with a trade embargo? He’s [Qaddafi’s] killing people with machine guns in the streets. We should do it on a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya [and] knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives. After it’s all done, we go to the protestors who end up running the country… and we should then say: by the way, from all of your oil, we want reimbursement.”


Hillary the Hawk

Out of the two candidates, Clinton is clearly the number one pick of the establishment. Clinton is one of the most hawkish individuals in Washington, and she has supported every US military venture in recent decades. Clinton has received over $300,000 from war contractors in her presidential bid so far, the second highest amount (after Bernie Sanders) out of all the candidates who initially ran for the White House.  There is not one thinking person on earth that disputes Clinton’s hawkishness, as the evidence is too insurmountable to challenge. 

Apparently establishment academics live in a world of their own however. In an article published by Vox – and republished by the Brookings Institution and European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) – on the 8th of August, two establishment academics engaged in the most absurd argument one has read in a while. Written by Jeremy Shapiro, a nonresident senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy and the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, and Richard Sokolsky, a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the article was titled: Why Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be a foreign policy hawk as President.

Shapiro and Sokolsky start by acknowledging that every human being who has an IQ above single digits believes Clinton is a hawk, and that US foreign policy will be more aggressive under a Clinton administration. They then progress to document that she has supported countless wars and interventions in the last two decades: including in the former Yugoslavia, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya and in Syria. So far, so good. But then, with a not-so-subtle flip of reality, they try to argue that her hawkish history is not a good indication of how she will behave if she becomes President, claiming that Clinton will be more focused on domestic policy rather than foreign affairs.

From this article we can draw the following conclusion: Clinton’s reputation is so tarnished, and her warmongering so transparent, that the establishment has to engage in total damage control to try and keep her in the race. If Hillary wasn’t a woman, and didn’t have the weight of the establishment behind her, there would be absolutely no chance that she could win in a fair vote, considering the array of scandals she has been at the centre of. As Clinton has supported at least five major wars and interventions over the past two decades, there is no question that she would be hawkish as Commander-in-Chief.

Although Hillary is (rightly) lambasted for being a hawk, Trump should also be criticized for supporting illegal and immoral wars in the past. Trump’s brazen endorsement of military intervention in Libya in 2011 should be a warning as to the type of administration a Trump one would be. The evidence indicates that regardless of who is crowned the champion in November, we can expect US foreign policy to continue to be destructive and belligerent.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.