- - Monday, September 5, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her allies, and others have declared Donald Trump unfit for the presidency because of his lack of national security credentials. American voters should carefully look through that smokescreen to see the global damage resulting from President Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton’s “smart” foreign policies, and how she behaved in office before casting their presidential ballots.

On the surface, Mrs. Clinton’s resume appears impressive. She served the nation as first lady for eight years, as twice-elected U.S. senator from New York for eight years, and as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State during President Barack Obama’s first term for four years. She is also the first woman ever nominated for the presidency by a major political party. And, if elected, she would become the first secretary of state to be elected president since James Buchanan in 1856.

As U.S. senator, her most important and controversial votes were in favor of the Afghanistan and Iraq war resolutions. Those wars, to date, have resulted in 6,888 American troop fatalities, 49,897 American troop injuries, at an estimated cost to the American taxpayer of between $4-6 trillion. And despite the enormous American sacrifice of blood and treasure during the Bush and Obama administrations, these two nations remain among the most dangerous places on earth, infested with radical Islamic terrorists who continue to threaten U.S. citizens and U.S. national security.

As secretary of State (the executive branch of U.S. Government’s third highest position after the president and vice president), Mrs. Clinton dutifully carried out President Obama’s foreign policies and served as a key member of his National Security Council, providing advice and assistance to him on the most important and urgent foreign policies and national security matters. She promised to move the country in a new direction with “smart” foreign policies designed to make the United States more secure and the world more peaceful.

Some significant examples of where those policies led and how she handled her secretary of state duties follow:

• The 2016 Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Peace Index Report provides an assessment of the current global landscape. It shows a decade-long decline in peace with terrorism at an all-time high, battle deaths from conflict at a 25 year high, and the number of refugees and displaced people at a level not seen in sixty years. Since 2009, terrorism-related deaths have more than tripled; battle deaths from conflict have more than tripled; and refugees and internally displaced persons almost doubled to 60 million people.

• The 2016 U.S. State Department’s 2016 annual report on terrorism lists 59 foreign terrorist organizations (about 75 percent of them which gestated and operate in Muslim-majority countries) that threaten U.S. citizens and security — a growth of 34 percent since its 2009 report. IntelCent (a private firm which collects and disseminates up-to-date global terrorist activity) currently ranks Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Libya and Somalia as the world’s most dangerous countries, and the Islamic State (which evolved from al Qaeda in Iraq) and the Taliban among the most dangerous terror groups.

• The 2016 Freedom House reports on global and press freedom shows that global freedom declined for the 10th consecutive year and that press freedom at its lowest point in 12 years. Of the world’s 7.3 billion people, only 40 percent live in freedom and only 13 percent enjoy a free press.

• The Federal Bureau of Investigations and State Department Inspector General officially confirmed in 2016 that Secretary Clinton used an unauthorized private, unsecure computer system to store official government communications, some containing very sensitive, highly classified information. Use of the private system prevented Congress from promptly overseeing, and the media from legitimately reporting on, her official activities and possibly exposed U.S. state secrets to skilled Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and North Korean cyber-thieves engaged in espionage.

• The Associated Press recently reported that more than half the people (85 of 154) outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of State gave a total about $156 million — either personally or through companies or groups to her family’s Clinton Foundation. She also met with at least 16 representatives of foreign governments who gave another $170 million to it. The revelation raises serious ethical and conflicting interest issues.

In sum, Hillary Clinton has wrapped herself in President Obama’s foreign policy mantle to facilitate her rise to the presidency. However, that mantle and the ‘smart’ policies it purports to represent have made the world more dangerous and less free. And her conduct as secretary of state arguably shows someone who may have placed her self-interests above the nation’s best interests.

Conversely, successful international businessman and non-politician Donald Trump offers American voters a new direction away from the failed President Obama and Secretary Clinton globalist policies, and the established D.C. national security and crony capitalism order which have caused U.S. and global security so much harm. The world will be anxiously awaiting the voters decision on which way America will go.

Fred Gedrich is a foreign policy and national security analyst. He served in the U.S. departments of State and Defense.

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