Hillary Clinton's Libya problem

By Mitchell Blatt
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, June 23, 2015
Adjust font size:

 [By Luo Jie/China Daily]

Hillary Clinton doesn't have an answer to the question, "What have you accomplished as Secretary of State?"

Asked during her book tour in 2014, she struggled to answer, comparing her role to that of a relay race runner, saying, "When you run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton."

It's not that Clinton didn't do anything as Secretary of State. It's just that the results of her actions haven't looked so triumphant in the years that have passed since she stepped down in February 2013. You won't hear her mention her "reset" with Russia now that Russia has essentially invaded Ukraine, nor has she talked about her advocacy for intervention in Libya since the Benghazi terrorist attack. A few years ago, though, Clinton and her staffers were trying to make Libya her crowning achievement.

"First, brava! This is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it," long-time aide Sidney Blumenthal said in an e-mail to Clinton on August 22, 2011, just after Tripoli fell. "When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation house. You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment. The most important phrase is 'successful strategy.'"

That was among a number of e-mails provided by Blumenthal to the Congressional committee investigating Benghazi that Congressional officials say were not provided by the State Department itself, suggesting that the State Department or Clinton herself might have withheld the e-mails. Since Clinton was running a private e-mail server in her home during her tenure and has admitted to deleting 30,000 e-mails which she claims were private, such a revelation makes her seem untrustworthy.

The problem for Hillary, however, is bigger than just credibility and Benghazi. The attack on Benghazi was just one of many incidents of violence following the fall of Muammar Qaddafi and the failure to establish a stable, democratic government in Libya. Whether or not Clinton could have done anything differently to prevent Benghazi, the larger American policy towards Libya and the Arab Spring was hopelessly naive and ill-conceived.

Another e-mail written in the aftermath of Tripoli that was released by the State Department also highlights Clinton's leadership on Libya. Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan had drafted a timeline highlighting actions Clinton took toward Libya and said it shows her "leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country's Libya policy from start to finish."

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
1   2   Next  

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter