WYNEN: Washington’s unsustainable thirst for regime change
Opinions Column: Reality Check
Most of us would like to think that the unmitigated disaster of Iraq under former President George W. Bush was a one-and-done deal. A colossal fiasco of Biblical proportions, trillions of dollars wasted, hundreds of thousands of lives lost and every other unpleasant externality created after a military intervention culminates in nation building, such a thing, we would hope, would not come to pass again.
Unfortunately this was not to be the case. President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not only botched the proposed de-escalation and cessation of American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they launched regime change projects of their own, with equally disastrous effects. In 2009, Hillary Clinton threw her support behind a coup of the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya. According to the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras at the time, there was no doubt that “the military, Supreme Court, and National Congress conspired on June 28 (2009) in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup.” Clinton still refuses to admit that it was a coup in the first place. To the New York Daily News, she said “we managed a very difficult situation without bloodshed”. However, International Business Times and the UN reported that murder rates in Honduras doubled following the coup, with military and police forces going through towns and performing executions as political reprisals.
Much like how Washington conducts business, Clinton’s (and by association, President Obama’s) support of the coup was swept under the rug by the mainstream media allies, who at the dawn of President Obama’s first term, were more than happy to bury any and all negative press of the administration. Unfortunately, the Obama-Clinton State Department was anything but “hope and change.”
Batting 0-for-1, but looking for a home run, Clinton’s attentions turned to Libya. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, much like Saddam Hussein, was a bad actor. No one would shed any tears if a U.S. Predator missile tore through his headquarters and rendered him dead. The State Department began banging the regime change drums, and a small international coalition formed to assist the anti-Gaddafi forces in the civil war with pinpoint airstrikes and on-the-ground intelligence. After the deposing of and execution of Gaddafi at the hands of his adversaries, Clinton said: “Well, we did have a plan, and I think it’s fair to say that of all of the Arab leaders, Gaddafi probably had more blood on his hands of Americans than anybody else.” Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the Middle East would know that Gaddafi being responsible for more American deaths than anyone else in the Middle East is intellectually dishonest at best and incredibly imbecilic at worst. The Saudis have more American blood on their hands bar none. Financial and political support of Al-Qaeda and indirect support of the Islamic State group has led directly and indirectly to the deaths of thousands of American servicemen and women, civilians, contractors, etc. If the United States must support regime change in a Middle Eastern country whose leader “had more blood on his hands of Americans than anybody else,” airstrikes should have been directed towards Riyadh, not Tripoli.
Equally as troubling is this Clintonian gem: “Now, there has been a lot of turmoil and trouble as they have tried to deal with these radical elements which you find in this arc of instability, from north Africa to Afghanistan.” Perhaps it would interest Clinton to know that the “radical elements” are the Islamist groups that she herself chose as allies for the international coalition. U.S. airstrikes and intelligence support were based around providing support for these groups. Libya is a failed-state, with several Islamist factions killing each other in the streets in their quest for political supremacy. None of these groups were interested in the democracy that the United States was selling. As Libya descended into chaos following 2012, again, Clinton faded back into the shadows, shielded by her media allies who buried negative press and painted Libya as a success story for the ages.
U.S. foreign policy has not seen any significant changes since 2001. It is likely that whoever is victorious in this embarrassing circus of an election, U.S. foreign policy will continue to remain a shambolic neoconservative doctrine. Both Clinton and the considerably less erudite Trump have advocated for more bombs and bullets in Syria.
It may behoove you to vote for Secretary Clinton to stop the unpredictable and shameful Trump from entering the Oval Office. Just remember that should a second Clinton inhabit the White House, don’t expect anything to change.
Steven Wynen is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in history and political science with a minor in economics. His column, “Reality Check,” runs on alternate Wednesdays.
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