Hillary Clinton, who is widely perceived as the most likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, is sharply distancing herself from President Obama’s foreign policy.
“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton said in an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, which was conducted prior to the president’s authorization of airstrikes against Islamist militants in Iraq.
Obama’s foreign policy doctrine was too slow and too passive as global crises unfolded from Ukraine to the Gaza Strip, according to Clinton, who served as secretary of state during Obama’s first term as well as his chief rival for the 2008 nomination.
Clinton has always been more warlike and willing to use military force than Obama, and she is asserting herself as a leader prepared to take deadly action.
“You know, when you’re down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you’re not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward,” she said. “One issue is that we don’t even tell our own story very well these days.”
“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against (Syrian President Bashar) Assad — there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle — the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” said Clinton.
“This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards,” said Obama.
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