This Friday, one of the strongest supporters of America’s many destructive wars in the Middle East will be visiting Trinity College Dublin.
It is rare for Trinity College Dublin to entertain a former politician with such deep connections to corporate America and Wall Street, connections which drew in tens of millions of dollars into the campaign coffers.
While Trinity has long prided itself as a bastion of progressive thinking, that reputation must surely be imperilled by the decision to honour a long-standing advocate of the death penalty, and one who spent years opposing marriage equality.
In spite of all of this, Hillary Rodham Clinton is destined to enjoy a very warm reception today. The question is, why?
Give War a Chance
Though she was once a youthful opponent of the Vietnam War, there can be no doubting Hillary Clinton’s commitment to using military force. Once Hillary had reached the higher echelons of American politics any reluctance to engaging in war was all neatly put aside.
As a senator for liberal New York in the early years of the Bush administration, Clinton was well-placed to oppose his plan to invade Iraq. Bush’s invasion was justified on incredibly weak grounds that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and there was no viable plan for how ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ were to be brought to Iraq once Saddam Hussein was deposed.
Nonetheless, public sentiment after the awful shock of 9/11 favoured war and Hillary was eager to present herself as a tough leader who could one day sit in the Oval Office. She voted to invade Iraq.
“This is probably the hardest decision that I have ever had to make,” she told the Senate. “Any vote that might lead to war should be hard. But I cast it with conviction.”
The consequences of that decision for the Iraqi people was horrific, and the broader Middle East region was badly destabilised as a result. An academic study released in 2013 suggests that almost half a million people died of war-related causes in the period from the invasion up to 2011.
This does not take into account the countless deaths which have taken place since 2011, particularly due to the rise of ISIS: a development which arose from the chaos unleashed by the original invasion.
Having shared responsibility for the deaths of so many, one would think that any human being, let alone a politician would develop an aversion to another war. Yet the longer Clinton continued up the greasy pole to high office, the more of a war hawk she became.
As President Obama’s Secretary of State, Clinton was a committed backer of increasing the number of US troops deployed on the pointless mission in Afghanistan; America’s longest war, and one which has yielded no success against the Taliban in almost two decades of fighting.
Worse was to come. When violent protests began in Libya in 2011, several European leaders began to moot the possibility of intervening in the conflict to dethrone Libya’s long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
Mindful of what the Iraq invasion had led to, President Obama was wary of becoming involved. Secretary Clinton, on the other hand, was adamant that America should once more go to war, and as former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has stated, her support was crucial in convincing Obama to commit to military action.
Everything which has occurred in the country since then, from the thousands of deaths, to the failed state that is now Libya, to the appalling refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, can be traced to that decision and to the Secretary of State who pushed so hard for it to be made.
Still, she did not learn. In 2011, Hillary was caught on camera laughing about the news that Gaddafi had been brutally executed. “We came, we saw, he died!” she exclaimed. Many others died too, but it is doubtful that Hillary lost any sleep about that.
Predictably, Clinton has spoken out in support of US airstrikes in Syria and the policy of arming Syrian rebels. She has not changed her stance since her electoral humiliation in November 2016, and has goaded President Trump in an effort to ensure America does become more involved.
Bought and Paid For
According to Time magazine, data from the Center for Responsive Politics showed that hedge funds and private equity firms gave more than $56 million to Clinton’s campaign and its supporting groups, with Trump’s campaign and related groups receiving a paltry $243,000 in comparison.
Goldman Sachs paid her $675,000 for three speeches given in the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign. These speeches, and Clinton’s repeated refusal to release transcripts of what was said, almost cost her the Democratic primary against Senator Bernie Sanders, and ended up being detrimental to her presidential campaign too.
Her refusal to come clean with the public about her corporate connections – combined with the FBI investigation into her mishandling of classified information – amplified the American public’s pre-existing view of Clinton as a fundamentally dishonest and untrustworthy career politician.
Ultimately though, her assembled audience in Trinity College today will be ignorant or indifferent to these matters. They will certainly not be brought up in conversation when she sits beside Trinity Chancellor Mary Robinson to discuss leftist talking points and social issues.
These so-called ‘social issues’ often constitute a get-out-of-jail-free card for dodgy establishment politicians looking to push their past dealings out of public view, and prove that they really represent all that is good and politically correct.
Yet in reality the woman who is to be feted by Trinity today is a blood-soaked warmonger, weighed down by the hefty sums of dirty money she has received from plutocrats, Wall Street bankers and the Saudi royalty.
While it is welcome news that the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Workers’ Party TCD intend to carry out protests against the visit. It is likely that many of Official Ireland’s liberal elite will flock to welcome arguably the only American politician unpopular and incompetent enough to have lost to Donald Trump in a presidential election.
It goes to show that our comrades in the hard left still have their principles. Full credit to them. If only the same could be said for the sycophants and hypocrites who will fill the Edmund Burke Lecture Theatre today, without having any idea of why they have come, or who it is they are applauding.