Let’s face it — there was never going to be a good time for a gaffe of this scale, but it’s hard to think of a worse time for it. In Iraq, where Hillary Clinton signed off on the zero option rather than push for Barack Obama to reach an agreement for residual forces, an al-Qaeda spinoff marches on Baghdad in its effort to establish a new Islamist caliphate. In Afghanistan, fifty people died in what is largely considered a successful election campaign. In Burma, which Hillary claims as one of her crowning achievements, the winner of an election from two decades ago has finally been released from home imprisonment while the military junta tries to balance its need for commerce with its desire for power. Syria just held a mockery of an election, which resulted in the continued despotism of the man Hillary once hailed as a “reformer,” Bashar al-Assad. The country to which she gave a “reset” button is overrunning Ukraine.
But you know which country has the most brutal politics? Er, the one her husband dominated for almost a decade:
“Who is the viable woman of either party who could win a primary nomination in 2016, if who not you?” CBS Sunday host Jane Pauley asked Clinton in yet another interview the former First Lady has given during the week of the release of her latest memoir, “Hard Choices.”
“Politics is so unpredictable,” Clinton responded. “Whoever runs has to recognize that the American political system is probably the most difficult, even brutal, in the world.”
Brutal. Hillary wants to run on her record as Secretary of State, in part based on the amount of travel she undertook in that role. It’s indisputable that she traveled around the world, but she doesn’t appear to have learned anything from her travels. Aung Sang Suu Kyi might have a different perspective on brutal in relation to political systems, or perhaps the anti-Chavistas in Venezuela could have informed Hillary of what the word actually means. For that matter, nearly everyone in Syria could have explained it to her back in 2011. In fact, Bob Schieffer tried to do so himself, but she apparently wasn’t listening:
Hillary needs to answer for Iraq too, writes National Journal’s Alex Seitz-Wald:
It’s not fair to blame President Obama or Clinton entirely for the lack of U.S. troops in Iraq, since Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to sign the Status of Forces treaty needed to maintain a military presence. But as America’s top diplomat during the failed negotiations, Clinton’s role is sure to be scrutinized.
In an October 2011 interview with CNN, the then-secretary of State downplayed the importance of keeping troops in Iraq, saying American forces would still have plenty of capacity to deal with situations that might arise. “We have a lot of presence in that region,” Clinton said. “In addition to a very significant diplomatic presence in Iraq, which will carry much of the responsibility for dealing with an independent sovereign democratic Iraq, we have bases in neighboring countries.”
Some analysts predicted al-Maliki’s crackdown on the Sunni minority in the country would revive a dormant insurgency, but on Thursday, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, Clinton said the insurgents’ success was unforeseeable. “I could not have predicted, however, the extent to which ISIS could be effective in seizing cities in Iraq and trying to erase boundaries to create an Islamic state. That’s why it’s a wicked problem,” she said.
Voters will have to debate that one, to determine if it’s a satisfactory answer for someone who likely wants to be commander in chief.
If Hillary argues that the American political scene is the most brutal in the world, then this question should be moot. This ignorance and flat-out whining should be a disqualifying event, in a rational world.