- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a potshot at President Obama and his foreign policies during a recent question-answer session with The Atlantic — yet another sign of her walk toward the White House in 2016 and her attempt to distance herself from faltering administration practices.

Mrs. Clinton’s jab: She said Mr. Obama’s basic foreign policy mantra of “Don’t do stupid stuff” was a failure, and a big reason why the Middle East is erupting in Islamic State, or ISIL, violence.

“Great nations need organizing principle, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Mrs. Clinton said, the New York Post reported.

The phrase is reportedly used frequently by Mr. Obama’s aides and staffers to keep in check their foreign policy plans, the New York Post reported. But it’s not going over well with voters: Recent polls show that Mr. Obama’s popularity have fallen to around 40 percent, and Americans view his foreign policy as weak and ineffective.

Mrs. Clinton also called out Mr. Obama’s “failure” to arm Syrian rebels in the early days of their uprising against President Bashar Assad — and added that she tried to persuade him to do so, the New York Post said.

“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad — there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle — the failure to do that left a big vacuum which the jihadists have now filled.”

Mrs. Clinton further took a harder line on Iran than her former boss, saying that she’s “always been in the camp that held they did not have a right to enrichment. Contrary to their claim, there is no such thing as a right to enrich,” the New York Post reported. And she then sided with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his tense relations with Mr. Obama.

“Yeah, if I were the prime minister of Israel, you’re damn right I would expect to have control over security [in the West Bank] because even if I’m dealing with [Mahmoud] Abbas, who is 79 years old, and other members of Fatah, who are enjoying a better lifestyle and making money on all kinds of things, that does not protect Israel from the influx of Hamas or cross-border attacks from anywhere else.”

Mrs. Clinton is largely believed to be the Democratic Party’s choice for White House contender in 2016, but analysts say that part of her chances for a win depend on her ability to successfully distance herself from certain policy aspects of the Obama administration.

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