Hillary Clinton’s has been a steadfast proponent of aggressive war throughout her career in national politics. The interesting thing is how she has justified this in the language of liberalism, humanitarianism and human rights.
As unofficial adviser to her husband, President Bill Clinton, she pushed for military intervention in the former Yugoslavia. As a U.S. Senator, she joined with Senator John McCain in pressing for military confrontation with Russia. As Secretary of State, she talked President Obama into the disastrous intervention in Libya.
Unprovoked attacks on foreign nations were defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal as a war crime. But Clinton and other militaristic liberals have found a way to justify such crimes in terms of preventing crimes against humanity.
Diana Johnstone, an experienced American freelance journalist living in Paris, has written a new book, QUEEN OF CHAOS: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton, which is about Clinton’s foreign policy record. I read it last week.
Johnstone has one chapter each on Secretary of State Clinton’s support of a brutal military coup in Honduras, the destruction of Libya and military confrontation with Russia.
But the heart of the book is her account of the Bill Clinton administration’s intervention in the former Yugoslavia, and how this constituted a field test of methods used by subsequent administrations for leading the American and European publics into support of war.
The key step on the path to war, according to Johnstone, is Hitlerization—designating an enemy as a new Hitler who has to be dealt with as the original Hitler was. This goes along with charges of genocide.
Western public opinion agrees that the Holocaust of the Jews was the ultimate crime. Public opinion mostly agrees that all the mass killing in World War Two was justified because it was necessary to prevent the ultimate crime.
But what the crime consisted of was the attempted extermination of a people based on their race, religion and culture.
It follows from this that any attack on an ethnic or religious group is in a different and higher category of evil than, say, killing labor leaders or bombing cities because the latter are not potentially genocidal.
It also follows from this that, once you have identified a situation as genocide, any attempt at peacemaking represents appeasement, as at Munich.
If one side, such as the Hutus, is equivalent to the Nazis, and another, such as the Tutsis, is equivalent to the Nazi’s victims, compromise is not only impossible, but wicked. Fighting has to go on until Nazi-equivalent side is crushed.
Furthermore, since the nations of Eastern Europe, the Near East, South and Southeast Asia and Africa are patchworks of different nationalities and religions, often lumped together within arbitrary boundaries down by colonial powers, there is always some ethnic conflict going on almost anywhere.
The path to war includes (1) a propaganda campaign against a foreign leader, who is identified as the equivalent of Hitler, (2) funding and arms for discontented groups, who are identified as victimes of genocide, followed by (3) economic sanctions and maybe (4) protests from human rights organizations or (5) some sort of resolution from an international body.
Any international body will do, but the best outcome would be an indictment by the International Criminal Court (even though the USA does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC) because diplomacy becomes a matter of law enforcement.
Economic sanctions almost always fail, and rebel groups almost never win, so next comes (6) a “no fly” zone and then (7) a bombing campaign. If and when they fail, as is probable, there seems to be “no choice” but to send in troops, rather than give up.