It’s the subject that separates the men from the boys. Or, to put it more fairly in these politically correct days, the winners from the also-rans. Want to prove to the voters that you should have access to The Button? You’d better have a good grasp of the globe. You’d better be able to explain how the U.S. will interact with the world when you’re calling the shots. And as the heir-in-waiting for Obama’s Oval Office, Hillary Clinton owes America a glimpse at her stance on foreign policy.
Instead, we hear mostly silence.
In an era where the president makes reckless deals with a rogue nation, has little response to Chinese hackers, and thinks the little problem in Iraq and Syria will just magically solve itself, it doesn’t take a genius to impress Americans in the realm of foreign policy. We are starved for leadership of almost any kind. Yet even with so many opportunities to shine, Clinton seems reluctant to address anything beyond America’s borders.
It’s not a matter of ignorance; Clinton may not have a long list of accomplishments, but she has been in the mix for quite some time. She knows the players (after all, she had to know who to hit up for Clinton Foundation donations, didn’t she?) and she knows the game. One can then surmise that her silence is due to something else. Could it be that she intends to use Obama’s term as a blueprint? Or does she see foreign policy as a kind of electric rail that she would be better off avoiding until it’s absolutely necessary?
What we have heard from her thus far has given few clues as to the direction she’ll take if elected. She has remained firmly grounded in soft platitudes that could literally mean almost anything. In her official campaign kickoff, she said she would call for her country “to maintain our leadership for peace, security, and prosperity.” That sounds nice and all, but it’s hard to imagine a presidential candidate advocating for war, insecurity, and poverty. Either way, it doesn’t mean much without some specifics.
Clinton’s record suggests a more hawkish take on foreign policy than Obama’s, but her specific vision for Iran and ISIS has yet to be unveiled. ISIS, in particular, represents a threat that needs to be addressed by all the major candidates. Obama isn’t going to do anything about them, so we’d better start there. Clinton said that America was “better-equipped” to deal with that threat than any other country, but that’s hardly a policy. That’s merely a fact. And considering how we’re dealing with that threat now, it’s apparent that “better” equipped does not mean “well” equipped.
Clinton’s critics have warned that a vote for her is a vote for a third Obama term. Domestically, that’s a given. When it comes to facing America’s challenges overseas, though, Clinton has a chance to set herself apart from the current administration. Whether she actually will or not, we’ll have to wait and see.