Opinion

Hillary’s Foreign Policy Legacy

It’s going to be fun watching Hillary supporters twist themselves into pretzels this week trying to “prove” that the world is not going to hell in a hand basket because of failed American leadership.

After all, those are the talking points her campaign and the DNC have put out to their flunkies in the media.

In his acceptance speech last Thursday, Donald Trump painted a picture of Mrs. Clinton and President Obama’s feckless leadership that has got Democrats worried. Why? Because ordinary Americans can see the glaring differences between the world Obama and Hillary inherited in 2009, and the one they are leaving behind today.

In January 2009, the U.S.-Israel alliance had never been stronger. Israelis were confident in U.S. support of Operation Cast Lead against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, which ended just days before Obama took office, and believed the United States shared their goal of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.

We had a solid alliance with a secular, pro-Israel Turkey, and strong partners in the Arab world who looked to America for leadership and who gladly followed our lead.

Egypt was struggling with finding a successor to Hosni Mubarak, but knew domestic peace. The Muslim Brotherhood feared rearing its head from underground.

Libya’s Qaddafi had given up his nuclear weapons program and become a U.S. ally in the war against al Qaeda and radical Islamists.

Iraq was increasingly on the mend after the surge, with a real political dialog beginning to take root among Sunnis, Shias and Kurds.

Iran’s ayatollahs had been put in a box because of international economic sanctions, and were fearful of their own people rising up against them.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban insurgency was beginning to pick up, but had not yet reached a critical phase. Al Qaeda was on the run, and with the death of Abu Musab Zarkowi in 2006, disappeared as an organized military force in Iraq.

The last attempted al Qaeda or al Qaeda-inspired attack on the U.S. homeland took place over the Christmas holidays in 2001 – yes, 2001 – when Richard Reid failed to detonate explosives concealed in his shoes on a flight from Paris to Miami.

The last successful al Qaeda attack on the U.S. homeland was on September 11, 2001. That’s right: 9/11.

Fast forward to today and look at each one of the countries I cited above.

Turkish leader Tayyip Recep Erdogan, egged on by Obama who called him a personal friend, broke off his country’s alliance with Israel and sponsored a terrorist attack on Israel under the guise of a Gaza “flotilla.” Today, Turkey has become a full-fledged Islamist dictatorship.

Obama and Hillary threw their lot in with the Muslim Brotherhood and encouraged the “Arab Spring,” leading to the collapse of pro-American regimes in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and eventually to the Syrian civil war.

Israel frequently has been treated like an enemy, while the United States has showered favors on Islamist Iran, including $150 billion in sanctions relief. Under Hillary and Obama, it’s become easier to be a mullah building nuclear weapons in Iran than a Jew building an apartment in his capital, Jerusalem.

Obama’s catastrophic withdrawal of all U.S. military forces from Iraq in 2011, which Mrs. Clinton supported, predictably led to the collapse of the Iraqi government, a dramatic expansion of Iranian influence, and the rise of what we now call the Islamic State.

Here at home, al Qaeda and its successor, the Islamic State, have attacked us repeatedly – from Fort Hood to San Bernardino, Orlando and beyond – while Obama and Hillary continue to deny that Islamic ideology has anything to do with the attackers.

You cannot defeat an enemy you refuse to name.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign famously tried to frighten voters during the 2008 Democrat primaries with an ad about answering the 3 AM phone call, claiming that Obama had no experience with international crises and knew nothing about American power.

But Mrs. Clinton had her 3 AM phone call while she was Secretary of State. Not only did she fail the test of Benghazi, but that phone called took place at four in the afternoon when she had all her staff and the entire U.S. government national security apparatus at her disposal.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta came away from his meeting with President Obama at 6 PM that night with full authority to deploy U.S. military assets to Benghazi immediately. “My orders were to deploy those forces, period,” he told the Benghazi Select Committee.

By 7 PM that night, Panetta “issued what he believed, then and now, to be the only order needed to move” military assets to Libya immediately. But then something happened.

Mrs. Clinton went into a two-hour secure video teleconference with political hacks at the White House, and transformed those direct deployment orders into “preparation” to deploy, because she was more afraid of U.S. military boots on the ground in Libya than she was about the loss of American lives in Benghazi.

Five of the ten action items that came out of that two hour meeting involved crafting a cover story – a deception, if you will – that blamed an obscure YouTube video no one had seen for the Benghazi attacks.

Making Mrs. Clinton’s lie even more egregious was the fact that she told her own family and foreign leaders the truth.

Benghazi is Hillary’s ultimate foreign policy legacy, where all her instincts as a leader came to the fore. When tested, Mrs. Clinton avoided hard choices, denied the truth, and turned to a lie. And then kept telling that lie at every opportunity.

We need a commander-in-chief who tells the truth, who recognizes threats and eliminates them through decisive action. Mrs. Clinton has shown she has neither the instincts or the character for the job.

Kenneth Timmerman is the author of Deception: The Making of the YouTube Video Hillary and Obama Blamed for Benghazi, and ten other non-fiction books on national security and foreign policy issues. He is a Donald Trump supporter.