Surprise: Most Clinton Foundation donors got larger weapons deals from Hillary's State Department

Of 20 nations that donated to the Foundation, 17 had more robust weapons transactions in the three fiscal years that State was led by Hillary than in the last three years of the previous administration. How do you convince a president who got elected in 2008 on an anti-war platform repudiating warmongering cowboy George W. Bush to ramp up arms deals to unsavory regimes in the Middle East? Slipping a fat envelope into the Clinton slush fund’s collection box couldn’t hurt. And evidently didn’t.

Personally, I’m pretty excited to have every foreign-policy transaction the United States engages in through 2020, at a minimum, scrutinized after the fact to see just how much the president and her husband personally benefited from our partner’s largesse.

Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House.

American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012…

In all, governments and corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton’s State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records. The Clinton Foundation publishes only a rough range of individual contributors’ donations, making a more precise accounting impossible.

You can guess the coming spin from Team Hillary: U.S. military exports have been booming under Obama for years, and not just to Clinton Foundation donors. “There’s an Obama arms bazaar going on,” said one arms-control expert back in 2011. The next year, Obama set a record for weapons shipments to the Middle East. The year after that, after Hillary had left State, he relaxed military export controls further by shifting some of State’s duties to approve weapons deals over to the Commerce Department, which could be more “flexible” in approving sales to nations with dubious human-rights records. “After adjusting for inflation,” wrote arms-control wonk William Hartung last month, “the volume of major deals concluded by the Obama administration in its first five years exceeds the amount approved by the Bush administration in its full eight years in office by nearly $30 billion. That also means that the Obama administration has approved more arms sales than any U.S. administration since World War II.” And you can understand why, given the parameters of Hopenchange foreign policy: As we’re seeing right now in Iraq, Obama’s a fan of equipping foreign powers to defend U.S. interests, whether they’re truly able to do so or not, because it spares him from having to deploy U.S. military assets. Better that ISIS set up a terror state in the heart of Iraq and Syria than any combat units be sent in by a guy who got elected running against the Iraq war. It may seem counterintuitive but ramping up military exports makes sense for a White House that leans heavily on diplomacy (sometimes to a fault, a la Iran), strongly favors military disengagement, and needed a way to goose the economy in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Demand for weapons among Middle Eastern regimes was higher too during O’s first term thanks to jitters from the Arab Spring.

But none of that proves or disproves that donations made to the Clinton Foundation and the weapons that followed were matters of correlation, not causation. On the contrary, foreign regimes arguably would have had more reason to slip Bill and Hillary an envelope if they had reason to believe Obama was planning to turn on the arms spigot during his first term. They might have gotten more weapons whether they donated or not, but that’s true of many bribes; they’re insurance that a course of action will be taken even if independent motives to take that action exist. And of course, however Team Hillary spins this, the sober fact remains for the left that their next nominee will have presided over an unprecedented spree of weapons dealing, including to brutal authoritarian regimes, which complicates the tried-and-true Democratic narrative that Republicans are the party of warmongers. In fact, expect some of the sharper GOP candidates this time around to rebut that by wondering if one not-so-hidden reason why military exports ballooned under Obama is because the world became much less safe under his foreign policy. Of course Middle Eastern autocrats need weapons after Obama encouraged the Arab Spring by turning his back on Hosni Mubarak; of course the Saudis are frantic for the Pentagon to sell them massive amounts of arms while Obama’s new friends in Tehran terrorize Sunni populations in four different countries, the latest in the Kingdom’s backyard. That Hillary got paid from the aftermath just makes the stench that much more obnoxious.