- - Sunday, July 31, 2016

Amid great fanfare at the Democratic Convention, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic candidate for president; the earth did not move. This wasn’t exactly a surprise since email revelations pointed to a rigged primary season. Her brief for this candidacy is based on the claim she is a woman who cares about the middle class. Of course, this is an odd construction since she hasn’t any experience as a member of this class.

Many journalists have commented on her various dissimulations from her opposition to the “surge” in Iraq, to her Benghazi testimony, to being fired on in Serbia, to her private server emails, to her financial return on a $1000 investment in the commodities market. But what remains largely unanalyzed is her foreign policy record.

After all, this subject is the basis for her professional experience. As secretary of State, she did have experience on an international scale. But what, if anything, did she accomplish? Mrs. Clinton argues that she put together the sanctions regimen that culminated in bringing Iran to the negotiating table. Since she cannot cite one example of a nation that went from instability to stability on her watch, the sanctions regimen is her claim to success. Curiously, this assertion hasn’t received very much attention, but it should.

During her years at State her peregrinations around the globe were unprecedented. She was a veteran of shuttle diplomacy. Many nations agreed with her position and some did not. Turkey, for example, engaged in a gold for oil deal with Iran in defiance of sanctions. China received a dispensation of 20 percent so that it could continue to buy Iranian oil. Russia sent centerfuges to Iran for hard currency. What might be said is that sanctions worked to some degree; they certainly had an adverse effect on the Iranian economy, but did they force or encourage Iran’s leaders to a negotiating posture on nuclear weapons?

On this point, the evidence is emerging from P5+1 negotiations and Iranian statements. Iran’s leaders clearly wanted sanctions lifted. The point that remains unclear is whether Iran would abandon its nuclear weapons ambition for the removal of sanctions. In every public comment Supreme Leader Khamenei has said there isn’t any action or gesture that will deter Iran from the pursuit of nuclear “energy.” Needless to say, he will not use the word “weapon.” However, the primary goal of enriched uranium for weapons production will not be deterred by the threat of sanctions. Alas, the violations of the treaty in the last year suggest he meant what he said.



This posture raises a curious issue about Mrs. Clinton’s “accomplishment.” If the partial sanctions regime could not sway Iranian leadership, what conditions accounted for President Ruhani’s presence at the Geneva and Lausanne negotiating table?

While no one in the Obama administration will say it and Hillary Clinton will not admit it, Iran’s leaders were eager for the P5+1 discussions in large part because they knew President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other world leaders were so eager for a deal that they would be able to secure approval of nuclear weapons and sanctions relief at the same time. Should one rely on the framework it is no longer a question of whether Iran will have nuclear weapons, but when they will have them.

As a consequence, the one Hillary achievement, the one that is highlighted on her resume, is questionable at best. She traveled a great deal; she met world leaders. But her deeds are remarkably shallow. During a campaign, resumes are blown up like helium balloons. Mrs. Clinton will need all the false air she can get; yet on the one area she considers most noteworthy, the evidence doesn’t justify the claims.

It is also obvious based on Peter Schweizer’s book, “Clinton Cash,” and other revelations about the Clinton family philanthropy that it has been a vehicle to enhance the reputation of the principals and their personal bank account as well. What has been overlooked in the revelations is not only the inappropriate foreign government contributions — which are possibly illegal and probably immoral — but the compromise of national security.

This condition is the tip of a proverbial iceberg that suggests a fundamental moral lapse and unconcern about the nation’s essential security questions. Suppose Mrs. Clinton is elected president of the United States, would the associations, email message trail, former employees, international ties, etc. compromise her foreign policy decisions? Of course, no one can answer this question, but it is natural for suspicions to arise.

The morally myopic behavior of Mrs. Clinton raises many questions about her ability to be president of the country. Truth telling is one issue, but by no means the only one.

Mr. Obama has discussed resetting the agenda with Russia. But a President Clinton would have her agenda reset by the Russians if they possess damaging knowledge about her actions as secretary of State. It is one thing to be an appeaser unable to stand up for American interests, but quite another matter to have all decisions constrained by the fear of exposure.

Recent history has indicated American presidents do not resemble St. Francis but rarely have Americans been subjected to a candidate so morally obtuse and so reckless in the performance of her public service.

Herbert London is president of the London Center for Policy Research.

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