Advocating America's deeper involvement into global affairs, Hillary Clinton distances herself from Obama's foreign policy course and demonstrates willingness to fight for presidency.
"Great nations need organizing principles, and [Obama's statement] “Don’t do stupid stuff” is not an organizing principle. It may be a necessary brake on the actions you might take in order to promote a vision," said Hillary Clinton in an interview with The Atlantic.
"Yes, Hillary Clinton is running for president, and she is running away from President Barack Obama's record on foreign policy," writes CNN regarding Clinton's latest interview, which the media outlet considers a "very clear message" from the potential presidential candidate to Americans.
Clinton's general line, however, does not differ fundamentally from President Obama's views on foreign policy, expressed in his West Point speech. The main US strategic imperatives, pointed out by Obama, particularly, deeper international engagement, America's exceptional role in global affairs and military predominance remain unchanged in Mrs. Clinton's message.
Hillary Clinton criticizes Barack Obama for hesitancy and indecisiveness: "When you're down on yourself, when you're hunkering down and pulling back, you're not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward," warns Clinton as cited by The Atlantic. She points out Obama's unwillingness to arm the "moderate" Syrian rebels at the very beginning of the standoff in Syria which led, in her opinion, to Jihadi movement's growth in Syria and Iraq.
Remarkably, Hillary Clinton invokes the concept of containment and deterrence, which had proved their efficiency during the Cold War era. According to Mrs. Clinton, after the collapse of the USSR, Islamic extremists have become the main ideological rival of the United States. It should be noted that the concept of containment has always been popular with the American policy-makers, as well as the idea of a mighty external enemy the US should liberate the world from.
"One of the reasons why I worry about what’s happening in the Middle East right now is because of the breakout capacity of jihadist groups that can affect Europe, can affect the United States," she said, as quoted by The Atlantic. "Jihadist groups are governing territory. They will never stay there, though. They are driven to expand. Their raison d’etre is to be against the West, against the Crusaders, against the fill-in-the-blank—and we all fit into one of these categories. How do we try to contain that? I’m thinking a lot about containment, deterrence, and defeat."
Mrs. Clinton is not alone in beating a war drum regarding the Islamic terror threat. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the outgoing chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, believes that today the US faces a greater danger from jihadists than before the 9/11 attacks. He has repeatedly criticized Obama's administration for its reluctance to eradicate all al-Qaeda's branches, left after Osama bin Laden's death.
"Today, there are 41 Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 24 countries. A lot of these groups have the intention to attack Western interests, to include Western embassies and in some cases Western countries. Some have both the intention and some capability to attack the United States homeland," he said in an exclusive interview with Breaking Defense.
The US President has become a prime target for America's international leadership critics. It should be noted that the recent AP-GfK poll has indicated that Obama's foreign policy approval rating in the US has dropped to 43 percent since the beginning of this year. Thus, unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton is using the "Obama's weak foreign policy" card in her own political game. Being apparently more hawkish than the US president, Mrs. Clinton emphasizes that Obama's view "is cautious, inward-looking, suffused with a sense of limits, while hers is muscular, optimistic, unabashedly old-fashioned," The New York Times underlines.
The Christian Science Monitor, sarcastically notes that "on some level, of course, there’s a certain amount of absurdity in Clinton criticizing the foreign policy of an administration that she was not only a part of, but in which she played a key role in shaping that very foreign policy."
Some experts believe that the stance demonstrated by Obama's ex-Secretary of State and ex-Secretary of Defense can only undermine the US President's international image. Thus, the foreign leaders will look "past him [Obama] as they try to understand where US policy is headed in the medium term," writes the American Interest.
If Mrs. Clinton is really getting prepared for the 2016 presidential run she will have to overcome the serious challenge posed by America's right-wing electorate, still blaming the former Secretary of State for the violent Benghazi incident, political analysts admit.