Ideology and Hillary’s Foreign Policy by Richard Sale


     The Founding Fathers “saw Americans as essentially no different from the general run of human beings; subject to the same limitations, affected by the same restrictions of vision; tainted by the same original sin or, in a more secular view by the same inner conflicts between the flesh and spirit, between self-love and charity.” Thus writes the American political thinker, George Kennan in his magnificent book, “At the Century’s Ending.”

     The historian Arthur Schlesinger said that “the unity of the United States was an experiment – not an easy one, not one whose successes were automatically assured,” but an experiment “undertaken in defiance of history, fraught with risk, problematic in outcome.” The great theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, whose books I used to pore over, warned, “No nation is sacred and unique.” All nations stood before God.

     The most pervading fear of the Founders was a fear of democracy. Their view was a direct anthesis of modern American democratic faith. The Founders revered the idea of liberty, but it was their view that democracy menaced liberty. To their minds, liberty was not linked to democracy but to property. Freedom for property would bring liberty, not to all men, but to worthy men. Just as the individual’s capacities were unequal, the amounts of property that men owned would correspond to their unequal gifts of intellect and capacity.

     The Founders were actually a studious bunch. They studied the history of Greek city-states, medieval history, the Renaissance, and what they concluded was the history “displayed perpetual vibrancy of extreme liberty and anarchy,:” in the words of Alexander Hamilton. The dread of the propertyless masses was universal. The Federalists felt that the greater danger came from the majority of ordinary people. Of all the factions, a majority would pose the greatest danger to national stability, they said. Once in power, the majority would be eager to launch its own “oppressive schemes” to the detriment of the welfare of the nation, according to James Madison. (He probably would have fainted if he ever listened to Trump.)

     Whatever their faults, the Founding Fathers were part of the “realistic school” of foreign policy, but in the wings there hovered another group that had, not a realistic view of America but a “messianic” view of it. This group saw America “as fulfilling a predetermined destiny…American was a wonder work of Providence…a journey of the elect…a salvation beyond history,” said Schlesinger. In other words, like the Hebrews, Americans were a chosen race. America, the nation, had been built by the Almighty who had created a nation that was “unique in virtue and magnanimity, exempt from the motives that governed other states,” Schlesinger said. The messianic view of history was last embodied by President Ronald Reagan. But Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, also holds such views. God has made us great.

     For the messianic school, American excellence in moral or diplomatic matters is a given. American virtue and motives are not to be questioned. The goal of foreign policy is to gain power over other nations, to be sure, but this expansion is only done for their own and America’s good. We don’t wish to injure others, but if they are stubborn and resist American power and ignore what’s good for them, it is their own fault for whatever happens next. The histories of other distant countries, their aspirations, their national epics, their events, their national pride, their history and failures are going to have to give way for a vast, new American democracy that will bring peace and prosperity to all, whether the world wants it or not.

     The messianic outlook asks the American public not to think of failures (indeed, it barely admits them,) and reminds them that you only gain strength by remembering and elaborating on your successes. Of course, anything as blameless and good as the America nation, will draw envious enemies to it, and American political leaders must get in the habit of increasing their support or obtaining more public unity by braying that America is encircled by a terrible, remorseless, pitiless enemies capable of inflicting massacre, genocide or any brand of ghastly atrocity on unsuspecting American citizens. The threat posed by such nations can only be erased by toppling their leaders, using unbridled American power. such a nation will only enjoy peace under American-backed leadership. Such toppling of foreign leaders is called “regime change.”


     It is interesting that the chief bond shared by Hillary and her Republican enemies is the worship of brute force as the only reliable agent that can establish peace in the world. In other words, Hillary and her Republican rivals are hawks — they are basically ideologues, not realists, and they have earned the name “neocons.”

     Who are the neocons?

   Stephen Walt is professor of International Affairs at Harvard University. Recently he wrote, “I think the neocons have a dubious understanding of the Middle East. Mike Ledeen, Judy Miller, Jim Woolsey Max Boot do not reason soundly about the region because they are wedded to the idea that coercion and brute force provide the fundaments of policy, rather than diplomacy.

     “They believe that military force is key to obtaining results because the states in the region are weak and unable to stand up under U.S. military pressure. If American force is displayed with full ferocity, they will soon fold in the face of it. They can be bullied. If America beats its chest and threatens and hurls sanctions or other coercive measure, they will submit.” In other nations are to shrink in fear at the mention of American might.

     There is another factor. One of the features that disfigure the messianic, neocon outlook is its total subservience to Israel’s interests. For any years, Syria and Iraq headed Israel’s target list along with Iran. The neocons believe that U.S. and Israeli national interests are identical, which is stupefyingly wrong-headed. A more fat-headed illusion cannot be imagined.

     Of course, this messianic stance of the neocons exhibits a lack of any understanding of the complex, idiomatic cultures which the hawks see as bizarre and un-American and which basically hostile to our national interests. The necons argued that the countries of the region were made up of inferior and flabby characters, and if they really wanted to improve, they would “man up” and be more American. The brutal dictator Iraqi Saddam Hussein murdered and terrorized his own people, and the neocons believed that if America toppled him, the region would submit peacefully to American goals and priorities.

     It shouldn’t be forgotten that Hillary supported the Iraq war, “It was a mistake,” she said breezily. It was more than that. It was a catastrophic error from which we have never recovered. ISI sprang from the ruins of the Iraqi Army.

     As Director of Policy Planning for the State Dept., Paul Wolfowitz said in a 1991 draft that the first objective of U.S. foreign policy was to “prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. (the Soviet Union had just collapsed. ) To deter potential competitors for aspiring to a new global role, the United States would “maintain unquestioned military superiority and, if necessary, employ force unilaterally.” Wolfowitz added that it might be good to have some allies as “window dressing,” but the United States no longer considered them essential. This would soon be known as “The Bush Doctrine.” America would embrace overseas unilateralism. As it turned out, Wolfowitz had only a flimsy understanding of the secular, nationalist forces working within Iraq. He was not a good judge of forces that drove overseas events. Remember him declaring that American troops would be heralded as “liberators,” even as America was trying to subjugate the Iraqi people.

     But then a strange thing happened. In Iraq, a group surfaced that wasn’t afraid of America at all. They were Iraqi patriots; they despised America, and began to resist American military might, forming gallant and tenacious resistance groups which, in the end, cost many American lives. If you removed a nation that provided at least some stability for the region, other more homicidal groups would inevitably appear. They did. One of the results of the American invasion was the formation of ISIS. Another result of the American invasion was that our Arab allies withdrew a bit from us and became resentful of American high handedness.    

     The Despoiling of Libya.

     In Hillary’s handling of Libyan civil war, we see another example of the neocon ideology and the way it works. In news stories, Hillary said, “Well, we did have a plan, and I think it’s fair to say that of all the Arab leaders, Gaddafi probably had more blood on his hands of Americans than anybody else. When he moved on his own people threatening a massacre and genocide, the Europeans and Arabs, our allies and partners asked for American help and we provided it. And we didn’t put a single boot on the ground, and Gaddifi was deposed. The Libyans turned out for one of the most successful, fairest elections that any Arab country has had.”

This of course playing loose with the facts; it is the rankest nonsense, and it was soon rebutted.

     A Huffington Post article by David Bromwich* reported that Gaddafi did not have “more blood on his hands of Americans than anybody else.” Instead, Saudi support for Al Qaeda split much more American blood than Gaddafi ever did. Bromwich also rebutted Hillary Clinton’s assertion that Gaddafi threatened genocide, “no matter how slack your definition of genocide.”

     If one quality illustrates the tragedy of Hillary Clinton it is her self-will. She is stubborn, she is an hard-backed as a shellfish, and her resolve to get what she wants at all costs crowds out her powers of judgment. She ended up being a cheerleader for the Arab Spring, in spite of the fact that countries in the region lacked any sort of experience with democracy and were poorly organized. In addition, Hillary backed the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt, ignoring the more seasoned judgments of the U.S. intelligence community that no effective, pro-American government would emerge there. Another article about Libya from The Washington Times, made clear that “Hillary Clinton overrode US intelligence, outmaneuvered the Pentagon (where the Secretary of defense, Robert Gates, had opposed the NATO bombing unreservedly), while galvanizing the liberal-humanitarian and conservative pro-war opinion in the U.S. media.”

     She was a major voice urging President Obama to commit the US military to back our NATO allies who were attempting another regime change in another Middle East country. As the Bromwich put it, “Gaddafi was not ‘deposed.’ Gaddafi was tortured and murdered, very likely by Islamists allied with NATO forces. Bromwich added that the "radical elements" that are causing "a lot of turmoil and trouble in this arc of instability," are, in fact, “Islamists whom Clinton picked as allies in the region. Clinton, he said, “…pressed to supply them with arms in Syria as well as Libya. She really rates mention as an American mover of the instability’ in the region second only to Bush and Cheney.”

     Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, said in an article, "Somebody needs to ask Hillary Clinton, was it a good idea to topple Gadhafi in Libya? I think it's a disaster. Libya is a failed state. Someone ought to pay and Hillary Clinton needs to answer questions about it," Paul said this at an Iowa Republican Party Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines on May 16.

     The Washington Times published an article that contained the content of secret tapes which allege that Hillary had “developed tunnel vision and led the U.S. into an unnecessary war without accurately weighing the intelligence communities’ concerns.”

     The article said that “Gadhafi’s son and heir apparent, Seif Gadhafi (sic) told American officials in secret conversations that he was worried that Mrs. Clinton “was using false pretenses to justify unseating his father, and he insisted that the regime had no intention of harming a mass of civilians.” He compared Clinton’s campaign for war to that of George W. Bush administration’s now debunked weapons of mass destruction accusations to which were used to lobby Congress to invade Iraq.”

     Gaddafi died horribly. Could anything be more glib, facile or heartless than Hillary saying of his murder, “We came; we saw; he died.”

     The Wikipedia entry on Gaddafi is hard to read without feeling uneasiness. “He begged his captors not to hit him or kill him. One fighter demanded Gaddafi stand up, but he struggled to do so. Gaddafi can be heard in one video saying "God forbids this" and "Do you know right from wrong?" when being shouted at by his captors. In a video of his arrest he can be seen draped on the hood of a car, held by rebel fighters.

     “Several videos related to the death were broadcast by news channels and circulated via the internet. The first shows footage of Gaddafi alive, his face and shirt bloodied, stumbling and being dragged toward an ambulance by armed Islamic Extremists chanting "God is great!" in Arabic. The video appears to picture Gaddafi being poked or stabbed in the rear "with some kind of stick or knife" or possibly a bayonet. Another shows Gaddafi, stripped to the waist, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the head, and in a pool of blood, together with jubilant fighters firing automatic weapons in the air.[5][6] A third video, posted on YouTube, shows fighters "hovering around his lifeless-looking body, posing for photographs and yanking his limp head up and down by the hair." Another video taken, most likely after his death, shows him being stripped naked and jeered at by his captors.”


1. Hillary Clinton's Libya | Common Dreams | Breaking News …, Clinton's Libya. by. … © 2016 Huffington Post. David Bromwich. David Bromwich is editor of a selection of Edmund Burke’s speeches, On Empire, Liberty, …

2.    Exclusive: Secret tapes undermine Hillary Clinton on Libyan war.” Exclusive: Secret tapes undermine Hillary Clinton on, 29, 2015 ·

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98 Responses to Ideology and Hillary’s Foreign Policy by Richard Sale

  1. A. Pols says:

    Hillary Clinton is a succubus. Yes, that’s a bit hyperbolic, but I see her as a person
    whose judgments about anything other than advancing her personal ambitions are universally faulty. Those who said Reagan was merely an actor had yet to meet this woman. As president she would be an appalling disaster whose will to power, once confronted by pushback on the international stage, could result in some bad mojo…

  2. A brilliant and helpful post. IMO, HRC took the job as SoS to ticket punch for a Presidential run. Few aspects of her tenure have been closely examined so this post is helpful.
    IMO the littoral of the Mediterranean Sea is about to become a Russian area of de facto dominance. The only question is will Russia get there first before US.
    Putin effectively controls a number of seas and the Arctic Ocean. The Russian navy is not dead but different.

  3. Dubhaltach says:

    She did a bit more than just say: “We came; we saw; he died.” She said it and then laughed.

  4. Linda Lau says:

    I think perhaps the biggest problem is that so many Americans find this vision so appealing.

  5. SmoothieX12 says:

    IMO the littoral of the Mediterranean Sea is about to become a Russian area of de facto dominance. The only question is will Russia get there first before US.
    Putin effectively controls a number of seas and the Arctic Ocean. The Russian navy is not dead but different.
    To “control” Med, Russian Navy needs restoration of the full blown 5th Operational Squadron (5 OPESK) as it was in 1970s and 1980s. But, as you correctly noted, Russian Navy is “different” in sense that its predominantly Sea Denial force, unlike the US (and NATO) Navy, which is Sea Control and Power Projection force. Russia is yet to reach, let alone surpass, old Soviet 5th Op.Squad. (of course adjusted for time) capabilities but the movement started. But again, I simply do not see Russian Navy as Power Projection force as it is viewed in the US. Just to illustrate this–cancellation of the delivery of these French glorified Mistral “ferries”, properly called in Russian Navy “Menstruals”, was received across the board, yours truly included, with the sigh of relief.

  6. John Minnerath says:

    Excellent essay. I dread the idea of seeing HRC as POTUS more than just about anyone I can think of.
    And to Linda Lau, I believe not as many as you think.

  7. Jackrabbit says:

    There are major problems with this article.
    1) Neocon ideology differs from the Providence of the Founding Fathers. Neocons strip individual liberty in favor of ‘philosopher kings’ that are encouraged to lie to the people – supposedly for the good of the people (though they actually put ruling-class interests first).
    Conflating US Founders and US history with neocon ideology is actually a neocon device for convincing Americans to accept their program.
    2) “In other words, like the Hebrews, Americans were a chosen race.”
    More conflating. “American” is not a race and I don’t think many in US history thought that way. Yes, Americans had a different way of thinking (“ideology”) than their European cousins – but that doesn’t constitute a “race”.
    This statement, coming after the author’s focus on the ‘messianic school’, makes ‘exceptionalism!’ seem as American as apple pie.
    3) The article makes Hillary into some kind of evil mastermind. But she merely implementing 2006 neocon planning as describe by Sy Hersh in “The Redirection” ( ).

  8. ked says:

    I think it is an error to describe the source motivation for “modern” leaders like Hillary being messianic. At best, that’s an affectation that “works” in our present Western culture. Leaders like Hillary are more bought-into “might makes right” via our domination of technology (including applied behavioral sciences & information, beyond the usual material sciences & applied scineces) rather than old school appeal to God (even if they rationalize things with Him in tow). For them, realism is the recognition of power as central, & ideology (including theology) is a construct for explaining or justifying it.
    People make a big deal about her Iraq War Vote – bigger than it was. As a Senator in the party out of power, and the WH being able to do just about any damn thing it wanted to, what was the (political) point of voting against the WH? Especially, with “we break it, we own it” calculus in the air (we being the GOP, from a Dem Senator’s pov)? It was “patriotic” to support the GOP pres, & she couldn’t be held responsible for whatever that gang wanted to do with its authority… that’s the Executive’s purview (not to mention, that Unitary Presidency shtick). Give ’em all the rope (authority & $$$) they want to hang themselves. {and they sure did, & us too, without apologies, thus begat Pres Obama.}
    Gaddafi’s Horrible Death. Nothing new about that kind of end for a brutal dictator… or even a sharp-dressed demagogue like Mussolini. War is Hell, & Civil War ain’t too civil. Score against her for her personal reaction (maybe she’s been hanging out to long in testosterone-rich enclaves?), but how & why connect her to the specifics of his capture & murder?
    None the less, food for thought, thank you (as always) for essaying forth, Mr. Sale.

  9. MRW says:

    Maybe so, but the one thing you can about about Trump: he doesn’t find this appealing.
    I found it interesting that ex-DIA Director General Mike Flynn, as reported last week or the week before that in “The Hill,” met with Trump to discuss Flynn’s recent outspoken views on ISIS, and Obama’s abysmal handling. Flynn said afterward that he was surprised by Trump’s “incisive” questions, and his ability to grasp the significance of the detail Flynn was giving him. Flynn said he walked away with an entirely different (and favorable) view of Trump than he had before. Sorry that I don’t have a link. I closed the tab without copying it then, and couldn’t find it when I looked just now.

  10. MRW says:

    Helpful necessary review. Thank you.

  11. Richard Sale says:

    I didn’t know that. Laughing makes it worse.

  12. Richard Sale says:

    We lack humility as a country. conceit breeds disaster.

  13. Babak Makkinejad says:

    We do know that war is Hell but Libya was a functioning country. Now it is no more.
    Who is responsible?

  14. LondonBob says:
    Trump has been remarkably consistent in his traditional America First/Isolationist opinions, repeatedly refusing attempts to make him recant his views when interviewed. Of course he is savvy enough to dress these opinions in ‘the most militaristic ever’ garb, as a fan of Ron Paul he saw what little traction he got when he ran. He might be an imperfect vessel but he is all we have got.

  15. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    First: excellent read/thanks for your work. Help: which of the Founding Father’s (hiding in the wings) does Schlesinger put in the “messianic school” of American excellence?

  16. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Richard Sale 10 February 2016 at 03:24 PM
    I agree with you it does make it worse. If you can swallow your disgust (and I would not blame you even a little bit if you choose not to watch) there’s a YouTube video of her doing it:

  17. Croesus says:

    The Mediterranean is going to get crowded
    Will Israel’s Natural Gas Fields Ever Get Developed?
    nb. Might be some poetic or editorial license in the title: at least some of the region in the Mediterranean that Israel claims actually belongs to Gaza.

  18. Croesus says:

    Madeleine Albright’s comment, that “there’s a special place in hell for women who do not support other women” might have been wistful thinking.
    Any place in hell has to be an improvement over the spot where a woman belongs who says that killing half-a-million of other people’s children is “worth the price.”

  19. rjj says:

    wonder why she said it so loud and why her voice broke as it went up a couple of notes approaching shrill.
    Anybody ever have that happen to them?

  20. BabelFish says:

    Richard, as always, thank you for the eloquence of your writing.
    A theme that the MSM has dared to broach is one that I picked up in talking with my younger cousins, sons and step-children. And, that is that the younger generation or generations believe that HRC is a liar. They find her part of the problem, not part of the solution. The laughed when Madeline Albright condemned any woman who did not vote for Hiliary to ‘a special place in hell’.
    I found in this election cycle that Bernie’s entry as a candidate was the spark that set off the display of these beliefs. It remains to be seen in the upcoming primaries but I believe that, when confronted with an opportunity to make a choice, many democrats finally give in to their disgust of Bill and Hilary. As they triangulate their little hearts out, their hubris seems to have kept them from realizing the truth of David Axelrod’s recent statement on their puzzlement. The problem is them. And God bless the younger adults in this country for realizing the truth of that statement.
    The ultimate issue, IMO, will continue to be the voting habits of the Democrats, in their various forms. Coming out for the beauty contest and staying on their living room furniture for the rest of the hard work that democracy truly is.

  21. MRW says:

    “And to Linda Lau, I believe not as many as you think.”
    I agree, John.
    Byron York wrote in “The Washington Examiner” today, 2/10/16:
    “What was extraordinary about the gathering was that I talked to a lot of people there, politically active Republicans, and most of them told me they personally didn’t know anyone who supported Trump. Asked about the Trump lead, one very well-connected New Hampshire Republican told me, “I don’t see it. I don’t feel it. I don’t hear it, and I spend part of every day with Republican voters.
    “Now, with Trump’s smashing victory in the New Hampshire primary, we know the answer. There really were a lot of Trump voters out there, and party officials could not, or did not want, to see them.”
    I think the rise of Trump AND Sanders is a positive. You’ll notice that the regular neocon voices, right and left, are reaching for the Charmin while they are shitting through their teeth. The attacks on both is a wonder to behold.

  22. MRW says:

    Erdogan is interested in support. But it seems the American people are fed up with these Jewish anti-Americans using the reins of power to start more wars. They’re just not saying anything. They’re voting.

  23. MRW says:

    So does an insular education.

  24. MRW says:

    Hillary is an opportunist, blows whichever way the wind blows from THOSE SHE CONSIDERS IMPORTANT, or necessary.

  25. Valissa says:

    I do not agree. I think most Americans are so disgusted with our war behavior that they tune it out… and compartmentalize their brains to avoid the cognitive dissonance that would occur it they took in the truth of our imperialistic foreign adventures and all the related deaths and injuries.
    Sure there are some who glory in gory-ness of it all, but I think many people are also not being realistic (due to ignorance) and are inhabiting a sort of videogame attitude about violence, or maybe a sports attitude of we’re number one and we’ll do what it takes to win.
    I have developed this opinion over the last 10-11 years, dating to when I first decided I wanted to know more about politics and everything at a deeper level than what the MSM provided. As I learned more and more truths and became a realist I tried sharing with various friends and family some of the things I had learned. Not a pleasant experience for the most part, as people would get angry at me for telling them what I had learned… or if I was lucky they might just tune me out or quickly change the subject. They had a worldview already built that wasn’t open to modification or re-evaluation/assessment.
    Only a few people showed any interest in hearing what I had to say, and even then it was a short attention span. I’m sure people at this blog realize what an exceptionally well informed and truth oriented group we have here and how rare that is in context with the larger society. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect most people to come anywhere close to our way of thinking about the world (in the broad umbrella sense which includes many differences of opinion on the details). It takes too much time, energy and mental work, not to mention the willingness to reassess one’s thinking and attitudes and beliefs in light of new evidence.
    But crowds do have a type of intelligence and right now most voters are choosing ant-establishment politicians, because they know deep down that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” even if they can’t articulate it very well. Most Americans, like most people everywhere, are anti-war in polling, most of the time. And both Trump and Sanders are the least war mongering candidates on either side. SO I think that says something.
    Sidenote… last night I was “forced” to watch the political results from NH and some of the speeches (due to overnight guests who had the interest) and I noticed something that surprised me. No foreign policy talk in any of the speeches I saw (may have been some in ones I missed). I pointed out to my Bernie loving guest that even Bernie made no antiwar comments other than maybe he didn’t vote for the Iraq war. Most Americans don’t vote based on foreign policy, they vote based on tribal affiliation and pet cultural issues and social identity… or they vote against their perceived enemies (even very otherwise smart people).

  26. rjj says:

    Anybody who has ever tried to override his/her better angels and “fake it” should recognize the thrashing around and strain in the voice on that footage.
    She’s a fucking idiot for having been persuaded to do what comes across as a really bad Pam Geller impersonation.
    She’s mired herself in an Authenticity Gap.

  27. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    Good read. Help with a couple of names..Schlesinger’s note re waiting in the wings were a group of Founding Fathers with a messianic view of mankind. Much appreciated if you can share a name or two from Schlesinger’s writing.

  28. Jackrabbit says:

    There’s plenty to hate about Hillary. But as MRW notes below, first and foremost, she is an opportunist and an elitist. She seeks to gain power by serving power, and the neocons and neolibs have had at least the time of Bill Clinton’s Presidency.

  29. leCashier says:

    John Adam’s epitaph ‘Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility of peace with France in the year 1800.'”.
    Hillary’s epitaph? ““We came; we saw; he died.”
    Rumsfeld’s epitaph? ““Liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.”
    To me this shows the difference between the founders and our present. Peace v War.

  30. Valissa says:

    Tru dat… except I would expand that a bit and call her a power loving opportunist. She’s a neocon because she’s an imperialist and she shares groupthink of the faction of the Borg that best serves her ambitions … not because she is a true believer.

  31. Jack says:

    If as I expect Hillary wins the Democrat nomination and the general will be a contest between Hillary and Trump, then I will have to change my long standing tradition of not voting for the duopoly.

  32. Carl Lazlo says:

    “It seems that in the advanced stages of stupidity, a lack of ideas is compensated for by an excess of ideologies.”
    Carlos Ruiz Zafon

  33. ked says:

    Gadaffi. He screwed the pooch & was fated to bring Libya down around himself. Typical. The point is that the U.S. feels obligated to take the lead role on every foreign event where money & power & prestige are in play… can’t let any other power screw things up … No one else is allowed – that’s our role! Hillary wasn’t the architect so much as the executive of the America (Screw It Up) First! If not us, then some other player(s) would’ve played while he danced to death.

  34. How many abused spouses have lived in the WH?

  35. DeWitt says:

    Excellent essay. One thought I’ve had lately is that the BENGHAZI! inquisition is a prophylactic that forestalls any deeper look into Hillary’s misadventures in Libya. I’m glad some people are paying attention at least, but it kills me that Americans have nearly zero understanding or appreciation of US foreign policy.

  36. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater to Hood Canal Gardner,
    I don’t think any of the seven that are considered to be “The Founding Fathers” would fit that “messianic” profile. Not, I will say, that at the moment I am entirely clear about this topic.
    But would Thomas Paine fit into the idea of a man with a larger, more universal and revolutionary view of things, his work ‘Rights of Man’, being an example?

  37. optimax says:

    Messianic is the wrong word in that the Founders and Reagan never mentioned the hope for a Messiah. The Puritans considered their coming to a New World as a re-enactment of the Hebrews escaping Pharoah to the Promised Land. The Puritans saw the Hand of God in their deliverance from oppression but they didn’t conflate America with a coming Messiah, a figure they did believe in. The Jews have always been good storytellers up until the mid-twentieth century and their biblical stories have been used as metaphores for political action and group solidarity–MLK’s mountaintop and Reagan’s city-on-the-hill speeches. Bill Clinton’s religious intonations always sounded fake to me, unlike Ted Cruz’s Baptist church speeches.
    American’s are under the illusion that one man or woman can fix the nation but more of a father or mother figure instead of celestial savior. The only way to change things is by mass movements, Americans are too fractured and complacent do much more than complain. Mass movements are usually co-opted by the Borg and end up powerless anyway. The tea party is an example.

  38. YT says:

    Aye, Madam.
    ‘Tis Sad Fact that others who are not American are viewed upon as “untermensch,” therefore their offspring are (contemptuously) regarded as little more than spawn…

  39. YT says:

    “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
    Proverbs 16:18

  40. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Croesus 10 February 2016 at 04:18 PM
    I watched that video again recently, it’s just as horrific and shocking today as it was then. Albright has tried repeatedly to pass it off as a mistake – that she misspoke and didn’t mean it. It must have been horrible for her when she realised that she’d accidentally spoken the truth.

  41. turcopolier says:

    Somehow your generalization from HC to all Americans sounds like BS to me. pl

  42. LeaNder says:

    ked, I read “messianic” as symbolic. Although, I find your first paragraph interesting. And it makes me wonder if you more generally feel too that religion in the US feels often misused purely for public display both by politicians and officials. As something like an artificial ethical cover.
    More generally, I once looked into early American Reform texts, still written in German. If I am not completely misguided, they gave up the return to Jerusalem for the US “city on the hill”.
    Thus I would support Richard’s point. You could even move beyond religion and point out there is parallel to the extend that both America and Israel are settler nations. Without doubt in a pretty different contexts. …
    Concerning the rest, that irritated me highly. Yes, I too would “make a big deal about her Iraq War Vote”. What are politicians good for, if they are only led by collective group pressure? Or base their decisions on “giving the other side enough rope to hang themselves”.
    Was it like that? Did they hang themselves or got many killed due to this decision.
    Sounds pretty cynical. …

  43. LeaNder says:

    HCG, would you be so kind and tell me, if I would find the quote here?
    It seems to be an interesting book anyway. But Schlesinger wrote a lot.

  44. Croesus says:

    “Gadaffi. He screwed the pooch & was fated to bring Libya down around himself. Typical.”
    “Screwed the pooch” is not very informative. Can you elaborate?
    Libya seems to have prospered under Gaddafi’s leadership, and by many accounts, a majority of the Libyan people were not opposed to his rule.
    “In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; by the time he was assassinated, he had transformed Libya into Africa’s richest nation. Prior to the US-led bombing campaign in 2011, Libya had the highest Human Development Index, the lowest infant mortality and the highest life expectancy in all of Africa.”
    And I may be mistaken but I thought it was the French who took the lead, under the tutelage of the renowned philosopher-without-buttons Bernard Henri-Levy

  45. LeaNder says:

    “The only way to change things is by mass movements … Mass movements are usually co-opted by the Borg”
    What specific things would you like to be changed?
    I have not taken a closer look at the Clinton campaign, but somewhere at one point I had the impression she stages herself as a force continuing the change Obama started.

  46. Croesus says:

    John Berry’s Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul
    compares Williams’ views on Biblical influences on formation of USA (i.e. messianism) with those of John Winthrop.
    Williams, a member of the clergy, was a student and proponent of Enlightenment thinkers Francis Bacon and Edward Coke. He argued for “separation of church and state” meaning that government should not be the enforcer of religious doctrine.
    Winthrop was not a clergyman but an accidental political leader. Winthrop is said to have declared in a 1630 sermon that the new colonies in the Americas would be a “light unto the nations, a city on a hill . . .”
    Winthrop threatened Williams with death if Williams did not recant his views; Williams was forced to leave Massachusetts; he found refuge with Indians and later settled in Rhode Island.

  47. The Beaver says:

    From what I read at that time, she was being interviewed by CBS and during that session, one of her assistants came in to announce the death of Gaddhafi.
    Hence that victory shrill.

  48. The Beaver says:

    @ Babak
    The Zionist self-proclaimed philosopher BHL who believes that he is another Colonel Philippe Leclerc and his buddy Sarkozy who was seeking re-election.

  49. rjj says:

    ooooh SHIT!
    thank you, Beaver.

  50. Jackrabbit says:

    I’m not sure what to make of your reply.
    I have cited “major problems” with the article. Is your comment meant to support that or reject it?
    Are you raising “City on a Hill” as messianic? Serving as an example to others is a far cry from neocon duplicity, elitism, and self-serving interventions.

  51. J R,
    The term race is flexible and describes groupings from all humans, i.e. the race of man, the main racial divisions (negro, Caucasian, Mongolian), sub groups such as Indo European and Amharic, and individual families. “The American race” is a common term, though it doesn’t seem to be used as much now.

  52. Richard Sale says:

    I find that all the more repulsive.

  53. Richard Sale says:

    I wanted to express my admiration and gratitude for such a splendid written essay.
    It took a lot of work. Thank you again.

  54. Richard Sale says:

    there are major problems with your reply, misused ideas, misused words and lack of coherence.
    I suggest you do your own.

  55. Richard Sale says:

    That was my point.

  56. Richard Sale says:

    The French did take the lead. Thank you.

  57. Richard Sale says:

    the use of Messianic is symbolical.
    You make excellent points.
    With thanks,

  58. Richard Sale says:

    Does that refer to HIllary or to me?

  59. Richard Sale says:

    Thank you.

  60. Richard Sale says:

    Will do.

  61. Richard Sale says:

    The Founding fathers were realists. They understood the operations of human nature is all of its contradictions and complexities. They were in no way messianic.

  62. SmoothieX12 says:

    The Mediterranean is going to get crowded
    Possible. But it depends on two major factors:
    1. The dynamics of Russia’s shipbuilding program for Black Sea Fleet and, most importantly….
    2. The dynamics of Russian re-industrialization, which is a euphemism for reduction (already in progress) of dependence on gas-oil export.

  63. Seamus Padraig says:

    Yeah. That was Michael Kinsley’s old definition of a Washington gaffe: when a politician accidentally tells the truth.

  64. optimax says:

    I believe the fewer laws the better. Taking laws like hate crimes off the books would be a start. Reduce the military/security budget by by closing most overseas bases, leave NATO, stop being policemen of the world, fire most, if not all, private security contractors.
    The changes I envision wouldn’t be too dramatic but would focus on security instead of hegemony, rebuilding the infrastructure and limiting the authority of the government.
    My idea of a utopia is anarchy, but because of human nature is impossible to consider ever existing.

  65. MRW says:

    Optimax, the Puritans were kicked out of England because they were messianic nutcases. This was explained in a PBS documentary at least three decades ago. The Founders were well aware of their nutcasiness influence in pockets of the 13 colonies and made sure to set up the country to guard against them.

  66. YT says:

    Mr. Sale,
    clinton gal & co.
    As well as those who “follow suit” after the bushes, etc.

  67. Jackrabbit says:

    IMO neocon thought differs substantially from the American tradition and the differences should be highlighted, not blurred. And Hillary when she is a symptom of the problem (not THE problem).
    I gave specific examples where my concerns were reflected in what you wrote.

  68. YT says:

    I thought Chancellor Otto from Bismarck guaranteed a special Providence for drunks, fools, children & the good ol’ US of A?
    I serious doubt “Colin, what’s the point if we can’t use it” albright is lucifer or satan’s emissary (or maybe she is…?! I bet the poor Iraqis think so) can damn younger women to hades for not voting for clinton gal.
    If I were to use a Dungeons & Dragons scale, Prince Otto is like Lvl. 20 Paladin.
    She who wants to “relegate” young female voters to hell however…
    “Lvl. 1 orc”
    (Female orcs having ‘cute’ names like ‘marie’ or ‘madeleine,’ oh my, we do learn something new everyday.)

  69. rjj says:

    my answer was meddling – trying to improve what you don’t understand.

  70. Jackrabbit says:

    I suspect that you were not aware of neocon efforts to legitimize their ideology anymore than you were aware of Hillary’s laughter.
    I wonder if you stumbled upon something that made the connection between the ‘messianic school’ and neocon thought. If so, was it something written recently? Neocon influence can be as subtle as it is pernicious.

  71. ked says:

    He was an autocrat that had no concept of transition upon his departure from the scene. Libya was all about him & to the extent he allowed institutional governance at all, it was centered upon himself. He actively suppressed any alternative to his ego-centric state. He didn’t structure the state, or position his kids to take over, a la other autocratic multi-generational families (NKorea, etc.).
    I appreciate that France played a big (& understandable) role in the “kinetics” of his demise. So, a) why was / is Sec Clinton given so much credit (blame), & 2) was there an as-yet un-divulged agreement between France & the US regarding roles & payment for the end-game of his rule?

  72. ked says:

    First, I am not endorsing her behavior by describing it, & we should all at least attempt to bring self- & partisan-serving politicians (& the political industry sector of the US economy!) to heel. They’ve blown it so badly for so long we’ve got the likes of Trump, Cruz & Rubio.
    The Messianic urge in American history is long & complex to put it mildly. Strictly, born of a form of cult-leadership of the Christian style in our New World so ripe for projection by driven charismatics (LDS, William Miller, etc). There is also the very early “problem of the second generation” that (I believe) contributed mightily to the First Great Awakening. The generation born & bred in the early Protestant settlements did not share the experience of transition from the Old to New (& short duration) that their parents did & clearly there was no Rapture on the immediate horizon. we still have that “problem”.
    American religous weirdness, like exceptionalism as a belief system, is our culture’s unique syndrome generated by complex causes (from geography to “luck” to timing, among the weighty one of being the fruit of Western Civ). The various threads of faith we experience in America today are a mix of indoctrination / manipulation & the human urge for clear & immediate transcendence. Oh, & making a decent buck out of all that too – that’s what Jesus would expect of us!
    However, I must admit, as a 3rd grader (@ MacArthur Elementary on Janneys Ln.) excelling in duck-&-cover lessons, I was enthralled with Billy Graham’s very impressive faith-healing on TV (did he ever slam a Pres in the forehead? would it have worked?) & Bozo the Clown’s afternoon show… I found them equally entertaining & meaningful. But I liked Shari Lewis best, for some reason… maybe I was born that way, along with the cynicism.

  73. optimax says:

    Thanks for the reply. We still have pockets of messianic nutcases dotting the country. Today they are cults without political power. God is invoked as the reason for everything from scoring a touchdown to winning a battle. Things haven’t changed that much. I don’t know how much the Puritans depended on the coming of the Messiah or hoped for it?

  74. optimax says:

    What do you mean by what I don’t understand? I don’t understand.

  75. rjj says:

    not clear if RS’s “that”” refers to the “trogging it up” or the “off-the cuff” version of the response.
    both max out the repugnometer.

  76. rjj says:

    aargh! wasn’t clear. was expressing agreement with you.
    THEIR trying to improve what THEY don’t understand IOW catastropic statecraft.
    How’s that?

  77. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That he was an autocrat is not a point of dispute.
    I think the most salient feature of him was that he was an autocrat without nuclear weapons. The question:
    “Tripoli or Trieste?” – had he had nuclear weapons – would have had a wonderful way of concentrating the minds of NATO states, wouldn’t it?

  78. Jackrabbit says:

    I don’t believe that it was used in that ‘flexible’ way.
    The Founders’ Christian belief in Providence and God’s blessing, strikes me as very different than the belief that one is God’s ‘chosen’. Similar to the difference between a privilege and a right. The neocons believe that exceptionalism conveys a RIGHT to rule.

  79. ked says:
    Lest we forget, a weapon must be reliable & deliverable to qualify as useful on the Big Board. I am more concerned that here in the good ole USA we seem to edge closer to atomic trigger-happiness / forgetfulness even as we grow more comfortable with torture.

  80. optimax says:

    Thanks. Now I understand.

  81. optimax says:

    That clarifies much for me. Interesting discussion.

  82. Jackrabbit says:

    I understand what Richard Sale is getting at. There is an understanding, that arose before the Revolution and continued after, that America is different than other ‘civilized’ countries of the time and its people were special (having a certain initiative and spiritedness). But I think it is very misguided to connect American distinctiveness with “God’s chosen” or neocon thought.

  83. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are missing the point.
    I will rephrase the question:
    People’s Liberation Army General: “Taipei or Los Angeles?”

  84. Misanthrope says:

    If she thinks she’s going to do that to Vladimir Putin, we all have a big problem.

  85. Misanthrope says:

    I don’t really agree with the idea that owning property is a sign of virtue. For one reason, it underestimates the amount of luck which is involved in business success. Owning a lot of property is as likely to be a sign of luck as a sign of any particular virtue. In my experience when people succeed they attribute that to skill and when they fail they attribute that to bad luck. Often though it’s the other way round – when they succeed it’s due to luck and when they fail it’s due to incompetence.
    For another reason, the emphasis on accumulation of wealth tends to encourage sociopathic behaviour.

  86. ked says:

    Perhaps you miss the obvious… in the case of a fat dumb & happy PLA warlord, the answer is “sure, whatever pal, but you just threw in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Taipei, Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Shenyang, Hangzhou, and Chongqing… for starters. have a nice day!

  87. Babak Makkinejad says:

    So, if I understand you correctly, you are willing to see to the annihilation of the United States over Tai-Pei.
    Enough said.

  88. J says:

    It is appearing more and more that the White House is behind some of the Clinton email leaks.

  89. LeaNder says:

    “Oh, & making a decent buck out of all that too – that’s what Jesus would expect of us!”
    That’s what caught my attention first as an outsider. Some seem to be really good businessmen, while selling their religious variants. …
    I was trying to recall the triad on my mind once in an exchange somewhere else.
    religion – power – politics. Not sure anymore. Money?
    Seems Billy Graham had some influence over here. A friend, whose mother apparently was looking for salvation in the post 1945 universe and seems to have been fascinated by him, called him “God’s machine Gun”. Was that how he called himself?
    “(did he ever slam a Pres in the forehead? would it have worked?) & Bozo the Clown’s”
    explain, the passage between the brackets and Bozo, will you?
    We weren’t taught to duck and cover over here. But I once offered “to duck” under a table instinctively, when people wanted to get me out of a house in North Ireland. … In the end there was no bomb.

  90. In last night’s debate, Bernie pointed out Hillary’s description of Kissinger as a friend and mentor. In reply, she brought up Bernie’s apparent unwillingness to say who he goes to for foreign policy advice, if anyone. “Not Kissinger!”, he exclaimed. Hillary laughed.
    Sanders has at least done the minimum advised in
    Should he get as far as the nomination, the fear of retaliation by the Clintons, which is stated to be an important reason why he so far apparently has not recruited a foreign policy and national security “team”, may be diminished then.

  91. So does NATO have an effective opposition naval force in the MED?

  92. Richard! You know I think very highly of your experience and judgment as evidenced by your many fine posts. Have I missed something or have their been almost no questions to the many candidates asking directly their views ON REGIME CHANGE?

  93. IMO history will record HRC did not make it to the Presidency for two fundamental reasons [mistakes]! First, leaving the Senate. Second trotting out Bill as in an effort to be nominated.

  94. rjj says:

    IT IS WRITTEN: US electorate does not care about foreign policy.
    …… or its costs.
    …… or its fallout.
    By way of precedents, precursors, and geographic preconditions – there were 20 regime changes in Ukraine between 1917 and mid 1920s.
    Came across Pilsudski >> BZZZZZT (wetware circuit sound) >> Brezhinski
    Prometheism was mentioned once on SST in 2008 [google returns 13K] [google returns 65K]
    but it is making its way into general awareness …

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