Notes on US election – What can be hoped for?
By Peter Ewart
A choice is being put forward in the upcoming US presidential election – some might call it a trap – between what is presented as a so-called moderate, progressive, and peaceful Hillary Clinton and an extreme, reactionary and war-mongering Donald Trump. But does this choice really reflect reality?
Indeed, it can be argued that Hillary Clinton is the creature of and chosen war candidate for the US defense industry (1) (2). It is a fact that her campaign has collected more donations from defense corporations than any other Democratic or Republican candidate, not to speak of the millions of dollars donated to the Clinton Foundation over the years by these same corporations and their client states such as Saudi Arabia (3).
Then there is her track record of support for US military intervention and aggression abroad. She was a cheerleader for the bombing of Serbia when her husband Bill was president and is said to have played a key role in convincing him to undertake this aggressive action. She supported George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq.
And, when she was Secretary of State in the Obama administration, it is well known that she led the charge to commit aggression against the sovereign country of Libya, resulting in the torture and murder of its leader Qaddafi, and plunging the country with the highest standing of living in Africa into chaos and disorder. Cackling in a notorious media interview, to this day she shows no regrets for the disaster she wreaked upon the country (4).
In addition, she supported Al Queda and ISIS linked terrorist forces in their ongoing attempts to overthrow the Assad government in Syria (5). This is not to speak of her active support, as Secretary of State, for coups against elected governments in both the Ukraine and Honduras. Nor of her ongoing war mongering rhetoric and ramping up of tensions against Russia, China, Iran and other countries.
It is not surprising that, in this election, a number of prominent Republican neo-conservatives, notorious for engineering and promoting the invasion of Iraq, have moved over to support her (6). Unfortunately, some prominent “peace” activists have also.
The irony in all this is that, unlike war hawk Clinton, Donald Trump has, at least to some extent, questioned the “regime change” efforts and endless foreign wars of both Republican and Democratic administrations that have plunged the Middle East into chaos, prompted an immigration crisis in Europe, and heightened tensions everywhere.
This is not to suggest that Trump, as president, would necessarily be less dangerous than Clinton. He also makes extreme chauvinist and war mongering statements, along with actively promoting racism against the millions of undocumented Latin American immigrants in the US, people of Muslim religion and so on.
But it does highlight the danger of claiming that Clinton is the “lesser of two evils” when it comes to launching unjust and aggressive war.
It also highlights that the issue of aggressive war is not a “left” or “right” position. What has become clear is that there are many Americans voting Republican and many voting Democratic who are sick of the endless wars and foreign interventions of the US government and the Defense industry. Whole countries and regions have been devastated, and, in addition, many US soldiers killed or wounded. All the while, health, education, transportation, and other infrastructure in the US suffers from an acute lack of funding.
Nor is the issue of aggressive war a matter of being pro- or anti-business. Even a U.S. business leader like Peter Thiel is fed up with the huge resources being handed over to Defense industry and war-profiteering corporations and the resulting ballooning of the national debt. “Instead of going to Mars,” he said at the Republican Convention, “we have invaded the Middle East. … It’s time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country.”
Whatever the result of the US election, a positive factor will be the emergence of a strong antiwar movement that will provide a check to the war mongering of whichever party ends up in power.
And we need a strong antiwar movement in Canada also. The Trudeau government and the other parties in Parliament gave standing ovations to Obama (who despite all his “peace” rhetoric has escalated war preparations, drone assassinations, and other interventions) when he visited Canada recently and to his requests for more Canadian troops being sent to Eastern Europe and Syria.
Will the parties in Parliament also give standing ovations when a new US administration (which may very well be headed by Hillary Clinton) calls for the even further ramping up of war preparations and “regime change” in the world?
The world is closer to a major, potentially catastrophic war than many politicians and media pundits will admit. The main factor that can avert such a war is a strong antiwar movement. In the wake of the US election it seems that is what needs to be built everywhere – for the sake of the planet and future generations.
Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vlahos, Kelley B. “Hillary Inc. The military industrial candidate.” The American Conservative. Nov. 20, 2014. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-military-industrial-candidate/
- Cohen, Alexander. “Defense contractor employees give the most to Hillary Clinton.” The Center for Public Integrity. April 1, 2016. https://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/04/01/19496/defense-contractor-employees-give-most-money-hillary-clinton
- Schatz, Bryan. “Hillary Clinton oversaw US arms deals to Clinton Foundation donors.” Mother Jones. May 28, 2015. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/hillary-clinton-foundation-state-arms-deals
- “’We came, We saw, He died.’. Revisiting the incredible disaster that is Libya.” Zero Hedge. January 2, 2016. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-07/we-came-we-saw-he-died-%E2%80%93-revisiting-incredible-disaster-libya
- Baldwin, Chuck. “Hillary Clinton admits US created Al Queda, ISIS.” NewsWithViews.com. May 26, 2016. http://www.newswithviews.com/baldwin/baldwin910.htm
- Khalek, Rania. “Robert Kagan and other Neo-Cons are backing Hillary Clinton.” The Intercept. July 25, 2016. https://theintercept.com/2016/07/25/robert-kagan-and-other-neocons-back-hillary-clinton/