Amidst the welter of commentary on Hillary Clinton’s June 2 foreign policy speech in which she allegedly eviscerated Donald Trump as the most unreliable leader since Caligula (projection?), I couldn’t avoid thinking of Karl Marx’s oft-quoted line from The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.”
I’m no Marxist, but there’s no question the bearded Prussian inadvertently was accurately describing not Trump’s erratic remarks but Hillary Clinton’s actual outrageous actions regarding Libya when writing, in 1852, of Louis-Napoleon’s coup of the previous year.
What Hillary instigated in that North African country, with the obvious acquiescence of Barack Obama, is the most absurd American foreign policy blunder of my lifetime from which the damaging fallout (thousands of drowning refugees in recent weeks, a possible ISIS takeover of that now essentially lawless country, replete with beheadings of Christians, etc.) is just beginning. Only our complaisant media could conclude anything but the obvious — that the perpetrator of such a disaster should be totally disqualified as president of the United States.
But let’s go back to 2002 or so during the ramp-up to the Iraq War to see how Hillary’s Libya became the “second time as farce,” both tragedy and farce, in this case. Back then Mrs. Clinton — unlike Donald Trump, who waffled — was among the clear majority of American decision-makers of both political parties who favored the war. Many criticize that position now, but in those days immediately post-9/11 it made considerable sense. Something had to be done about the Middle East, which was stuck in that other middle (the Middle Ages or earlier ) when it came to social development and even a semblance of modernity. Those benighted lands were now bringing their unremitting primitivism, violently, to our shores. (Unfortunately, they still are.)
Forget the existence or not of weapons of mass destruction, dominating most everyone’s hearts and minds at that time was the hope that we could — with minimal force if possible — overthrow the execrable Saddam, bring modern democracy to Iraq and — who knows — by example to other countries in the region.
It was a burst of idealism. Remember the slogan “Democracy! Whiskey! Sexy!”? Even the New York Times approved of it. Much as it saddens me to admit because I went eagerly along, we were all dead wrong. We hadn’t reckoned on that cocktail of tribalism and Islamic ideologies, Sunni and Shiite, that makes those cultures so intransigent and resistant to change. And we weren’t ready to “go to the mattress,” killing hundreds of thousands as we had in Germany and Japan, to overcome that resistance. And even if we had, who knows if it would have worked with those backward lands? It’s no easy thing.
But that didn’t stop Hillary Clinton from trying it again a few years later, in Libya, against Muammar Gaddafi, an admittedly crazy despot but one who had agreed to abjure nuclear weapons because of Iraq. (Ironically, Gaddafi was the only serious victory from the whole thing.) Acting partly under the advice of the sniveling sycophant Sidney Blumenthal (paying attention to Blumenthal should disqualify anyone from anything), Hillary decided to push for a second go-round of a failed policy before the first failure had even come close to resolution. Talk about the second time as farce. Result? As Colin Powell said, you break it, you own it.
Hillary Clinton broke Libya.
So this is the person who is now telling us that Donald Trump is dangerous. Well, it makes sense, because this is the same person who told the parents of the Benghazi victims at their children’s funeral that their sons died because of the response to some amateur YouTube video nobody watched and not from an organized terror attack by an al Qaeda affiliate — in other words, an absolutely immoral liar.
Whether Trump would be a great leader on the international stage is impossible to say because it always is before that person is in that leadership position. That’s the inconvenient truth of foreign policy, which, with notable exceptions, is more often about situational reactions than about planning in the great, ahem, laboratories of the State Department.
We do know, however, how Hillary Clinton would perform. We have already seen it. And not just in the emails or the opera bouffe of the Russian reset or the backing of Islamists like Erdogan and Morsi or the horrifying mess of Syria or the even more horrifying, non-existent Iran deal, but, most of all, in Libya. That was her baby.
h/t: Hugh Hewitt
Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His next book – I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already – will be published by Encounter Books on June 14, 2016. You can read an excerpt here. You can pre-order the book here.