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Clinton’s Hawkish Admirers

Eliot Cohen reminds us at length that he can’t abide Trump, and then tries to make the case for Clinton:

On foreign policy, Hillary Clinton is far better: She believes in the old consensus and will take tough lines on China and, increasingly, Russia. She does not hesitate to make the case for human rights as a key part of our foreign policy. True, under pressure from her own left wing, she has backtracked on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a set of trade deals that supports American interests by creating a counterbalance to China and American values by protecting workers’ rights. But she might edge back toward supporting it, once in.

Think about how screwed-up one’s foreign policy priorities have to be to say this. Cohen believes it is “better” to have a president willing to confront and possibly clash with both nuclear-armed authoritarian powers, and he is holding out hope that Clinton is such a cynic that her newfound opposition to TPP is just for show. He’s right about Clinton being more aggressive in dealing with China and Russia, and I agree that her trade skepticism is pure pandering, but it takes a genuinely warped view of the world to believe that these are desirable traits.

As for human rights, it’s true that Clinton is happy to invoke them in certain instances to justify meddling in the affairs of some other countries (see Libya), and she also pays no attention to the violations committed by our allies and clients. According to her adviser, Jake Sullivan, Clinton is positioning herself to be even more accommodating to the Saudis than the current administration and wants the Saudis to know that “we are there for them.” Clinton promises to take most of what’s wrong with U.S. foreign policy and make it worse, and she is now winning over quite a few Republican hawks precisely because her foreign policy has been and will be reliably bad just like theirs.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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