Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton champions wars to effectuate regime change. Their immorality, illegality and stupidity do not diminish Mrs. Clinton’s enthusiasm for treating independent nations as serfs of the United States.
As first aady, she warmly supported the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which made it the policy of the Unites States to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. As United States Senator, she invoked the 1998 policy in voting for the 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force Against Iraq. Saddam’s successors proved a cure worse than the disease. Shiite dominated governments allied with Iran, oppressed Sunnis, Kurds, and Turkmen, and created a power vacuum that gave birth to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Our national security has been weakened.
As secretary of state in 2011, Mrs. Clinton vocally supported the war against Libya to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi on the heels of his abandonment of weapons of mass destruction. She boasted with the dripping arrogance of Julius Caesar after Gaddafi’s death: “We came, we saw, he died.” She insisted that regime change in Libya was for humanitarian purposes. She agreed with President Barack Obama that to be faithful to “who we are,” we must overthrow governments that are oppressing their citizens by force and violence.
Libya predictably descended into dystopia after Gaddafi’s murder. (It had no democratic cultural, historical, or philosophical credentials.) Tribal militias proliferated. Competing governments emerged. ISIS entered into the power vacuum in Sirte, which has required the return of United States military forces in Libya. Terrorists murdered our Ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi. Gaddafi’s conventional weapons were looted and spread throughout the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled and are continuing to flee Libyan shores for Europe. North Korea and Iran hardened their nuclear ambitions to avoid Gaddafi’s grisly fate. Our national security has been weakened.
Like the French Bourbons who forgot nothing and learned nothing, Mrs. Clinton eagerness to initiate wars for regime change was undiminished by the Iraq and Libya debacles. She urged war against Syria to oust President Bashar al-Assad. She confidently insinuated that we could transform Syria into a flourishing democracy sans James Madisons, George Washingtons or Thomas Jeffersons because of our unique nation-building genius. She forgot South Sudan. We midwifed its independence in 2011. Despite our hopes and prayers, the new nation descended into a gruesome ongoing civil war including child soldiers between the Dinka led by President Salva Kiir and the Nuer led by former Vice President Riek Machar. More than 50,000 have died, more than 2.2 million have been displaced, and a harrowing number have been murdered, tortured or raped. South Sudan epitomizes our nation-building incompetence.
Wars for regime change are immoral. We have not been tasked by a Supreme Being to appraise foreign nations like a schoolmarm and to invade those to whom we have superciliously assigned a failing grade. As Jesus sermonized in Matthew 7: 1-3:
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.
“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
Thus, Thomas Jefferson wrote to President James Monroe in 1823: “The presumption of dictating to an independent nation the form of its government is so arrogant, so atrocious, that indignation as well as moral sentiment enlists all our partialities and prayers in favor of one and our equal execrations against the other.”
Wars for regime change also violate international law. Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter generally prohibits “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state….” Article 51 creates a narrow exception for wars in self-defense “if an armed attack occurs….” Regime change wars do not fit that narrow exception.
They are also stupid, like playing Russian roulette. We lack the wisdom necessary to insure that successor regimes will strengthen rather than weaken our national security taking into account, among other things, the staggering military and financial costs of propping up corrupt, incompetent, and unpopular governments.
Mrs. Clinton underscores in her memoir that she would rather be “caught trying” something kinetic than to try masterly inactivity like Fabius Maximus. She would rather be criticized for fighting too many wars for regime change than too few.