National Security

Clinton's Libya Problem

It's isn't just that nation; it's her entire tenure as secretary of state.

John J. Bastiat · Mar. 7, 2016

We warned as far back as March 2011 that we had no business in “Arab Spring” — that foolish Barack Obama-backed fantasy that democracy was “spreading everywhere” in the Middle East and we should help rebels overthrow governments that, while far from perfect, nonetheless retained some measure of stability. That warning, of course, was ignored by the Obama administration. In August 2014, we revisited the situation to observe the predicted, tragic results: As we characterized it then, “The U.S. needed a foreign policy that both protected vital U.S. national interests and promoted peace and stability in the region. We got neither.” What we actually got was a Middle East that was — and continues to be — on fire.

Far from being irrelevant to today’s pitched political battles in the race to the White House, one figure prominently stands at the center of blame for the complete failure of U.S. foreign policy under the current administration: Hillary Clinton. As then-secretary of state, not only did she oversee the irresponsible withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, but she also pushed for unneeded and counterproductive military intervention in Libya. Both of these actions continue to embroil the entire region in civil and insurgent wars, daily terrorist attacks, mindless atrocities and constant unrest. Even more specifically, the result was Benghazi — the murder of our ambassador and three other Patriots.

Not to be outdone by these debacles, however, Clinton then promoted supplying rebel efforts in Syria against the ruling dictator, Bashar al-Assad, supporting groups that she knew or should have known were either completely against the U.S. or which had no hope of winning. We’re still living with the result of all of these decisions.

For example, in Syria, our friend from the “Reset” — itself another in a long list of huge Clinton foreign policy blunders — Vladimir Putin, has intervened in a big way, backing the Assad regime. Why? To protect Russia’s key naval facility at Tartous, which serves as Russia’s sole Mediterranean base for its Black Sea fleet. Prior to U.S. intervention in Syria, there was no issue of “regime change” and the region maintained relative, albeit uneasy, stability. Now we are fighting indirectly with Russia through surrogates, and the U.S. is of course backing rebels we can expect to turn on us at some point, no matter the ultimate outcome in Syria. Again, Clinton knew or should have known her actions would have unintended consequences and that “spreading democracy” is a poor substitute for protecting vital U.S. national interests.

It doesn’t end there: Thousands of man-portable surface-to-air missiles and other weaponry looted from Libya’s weapons arsenals have vanished. Sadly, we can expect to see these in the news of downed U.S. aircraft or fallen service members someday. Moreover, terrorist groups worldwide have gained considerable power from gaining these weapons, especially in states like Mali, where Islamist terrorists destabilized the country by storming a Radisson hotel and murdering 20 innocents, and in countless terrorist attacks across the African continent. Oh yeah: The Islamic State now uses Libya as one of its primary bases of consolidation, training and strength. How convenient they happen to have a “vacant” state to occupy.

To call Clinton’s decisions “reckless” would be to understate the meaning of that word. In effect, “Madam Secretary” presided over the fueling and igniting of the entire Middle East region, and that conflagration continues to rage out of control even as she seeks the ultimate levers of American foreign policy in her bid for the presidency.

As her primary opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, wryly notes, “Secretary Clinton is too much into ‘regime change.’” Indeed, regime change for the sake of regime change isn’t foreign policy: It’s foreign lottery-playing, and Clinton has nothing but worthless lottery stubs to show for it. The real problem for Clinton with Libya is that it isn’t just Libya; it’s her entire tenure as secretary of state. The last thing America needs is to see it return on steroids, in the form of a Clinton presidency.

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