For millions of liberals, Hillary Clinton’s defeat of Bernie Sanders was devastating. Not only had she drastically shifted to the left during the primary, but her conversion was blatantly insincere. And then too, it was obvious that Democratic National Committee officials – led by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz – were virtual members of the Clinton campaign.
During the general election campaign, it seemed to many voters--liberals among them--that Hillary Clinton would be more likely to get us into war than Donald Trump. A long-time hawk, Clinton had been aggressively supporting military intervention at least since the second Gulf War that began in 2003.
Over the last few days, Susan Sarandon created quite a stir when she asserted that had Hillary Clinton been elected, our nation would be at war. The actress and strong Bernie Sanders campaigner observed that as President Barrack Obama’s Secretary of State, Clinton strongly supported his stealth interventions in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere. And that she had pledged, if elected, to continue --and even build upon--Obama’s record of military intervention.
Donald Trump campaigned unabashedly as someone who placed “America first.” We needed to pull back from some of our foreign involvement, and to devote more of our resources to our own nation’s needs. Had he not been fixated on calling his opponent “Crooked Hillary,” he might otherwise have settled upon labeling her, “Hillary the Hawk.”
OK, so far, so good. Like most other liberals, I fully agree with Sarandon’s conclusion. Up until the time that Trump took office, it did appear much more likely that she would get us into war.
But once he assumed the presidency, Trump did not follow the script. First, he continued--and possibly expanded --the stealth military interventions begun under Obama and Clinton.
Then, after making a deal with Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, Trump increased our involvement in the Syrian civil war, while possibly intensifying our fight against ISIS in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Had she been elected, Clinton might well have done the same.
But there is no way that Clinton could have come close to Trump’s vicious schoolyard brawl with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, whom he began calling “little rocket man.” Although both leaders have backed down somewhat, the possibility of a nuclear war continues to hang over us.
Sarandon was probably right when she said that our nation would be at war had Clinton been elected. But there are big wars and small wars. Getting into a war with North Korea would be a very big war – a war that few would begin.
So yeah, Sarandon makes some good points about Hillary Clinton’s hawkish tendencies. But whatever else might be said about her, Hillary Clinton is no Donald Trump.
About the Author
Steve Slavin has a PhD in economics from NYU, and taught for over thirty years at Brooklyn College, New York Institute of Technology, and New Jersey’s Union County College. He has written sixteen math and economics books including a widely used introductory economics textbook now in its eleventh edition (McGraw-Hill) and The Great American Economy (Prometheus Books) which was published in August