You watched the US presidential debates. What is your opinion on foreign policy changes, if any, that will occur if, for example: Romney is elected president or Obama, or everything is pretty much the same?
I don’t think there is any substantive difference between the foreign policy orientations of the two presidential candidates. There is very little discussion about foreign policy in the second debate of earlier this week and most of it appeared to be Romney’s contention that he would call out and humiliate China for undervaluing its currency more than anything else. The one topic that was addressed however was Libya and that presumably only because the US Ambassador of the country, Christopher Stevens was killed Benghazi and there seemed to be an exchange between the two candidates Obama and Romney over responsibility for that action. But what was conspicuous by its absence, what was not discussed, which is to say, whether the 6 and a half months air-war, naval blockade against Libya last year was legitimate, in any manner, both candidates seem to agree that it was, at least they said nothing to the effect that it wasn’t, including the fact that the 1973 war powers resolution was not only ignored but, a fact one can argue, neutralized and destroyed in the process, when president Obama refused to appear before Congress after 60 days into the armed hostilities and seek continued authorization, or seek authorization at all for the military actions against Libya. So, there was no substantial difference between the two candidates.
That would be a violation of law, has that been anywhere in the public debate in the US regarding Obama, has anyone brought that up?
Everyone is ignoring it! There had been some discussion 60 days after the commencement of military hostilities against Libya last year which began on March 19, 2011. There were arm-chair analysts talking something or other about it, but there was no demand by the populace on their congressional representatives to take up the issue nor to the best of my knowledge was there any discussion in Congress except for outgoing Ohio democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich who did raise the issue, and I believe Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul likewise, but those are two other 535 members of the bicameral congress in the United States.
What do you make of the latest developments from the US State Department, if I can ask you a multi-pronged question here? Okay, Hillary Clinton admitted she was at fault for Benghazi, what do you make of that? Do you think that is going to change anything? How will the election results affect Hillary Clinton’s 2016 chances? And what do you make of Nuland’s statements saying that they would like more help from Russia regarding Syria?
You had written an article yourself, John, where you address all those issues very poignantly and perceptively in my estimate. The fact that Victoria Nuland, who is a former US Ambassador to NATO of course during the previous administration of George W. Bush, to demonstrate once again, how little meaningful difference there is between the 2 political parties and successive administrations in the United States when it comes to foreign policy issues. But the fact that Nuland made that right on the heels of her referring to Russia being, and I quote her, “morally bankrupt” because, ostensibly, allegedly something or other was shipped from Russia, or was being shipped from Russia to Syria and intercepted by Turkish war planes, and the Syrian passenger plane was forced down and so forth, with 17 Russian citizens on board who were mistreated. And Nuland had to acknowledge there was nothing illegal in the Russian action if any but that nevertheless it was morally bankrupt, so for her to turn around and entreat Russia to assist the United States in Syria seems odd to say the least.
In terms of Hillary Clinton accepting the responsibility for not providing adequate security measures to the US Consulate in Benghazi which resulted in the deaths of 4 Americans including the ambassador, who of course was Hillary Clinton’s employee, as she is the Secretary of State. I don’t understand the byzantine workings of Federal Government, you know, who out maneuvered whom on this one, but it certainly is Hillary Clinton getting a black eye and Obama getting off the hook for responsibility for that action, whether that is the actual chain of command, or not is questionable, I don’t see that it is, but ahead of a re-election bid by Barack Obama of course Hillary will take the fall as evidently she had with the expectation presumably, to segue into the other part of your question, that 4 years from now no one in the United States will remember what has occurred 4 years earlier.
You think so? Do you think Nuland’s admission was… I’m sorry, Nuland’s statement, was an admission of failure by the US regarding their policies in Syria?
Now I have to give credit where it’s due here, it was your own article that alerted me to her comment which I would not have been aware of. Certainly it resonates with the feeling of futility or defeat even, arguably that the US, try as it may, to not only bring about forcible regime change in Damascus but to, in the process isolate, back down, humiliate Russia over the issue is proven to be a signal failure, and now she has to go back to the very same power, the country, Russia that she hours before referred to as being morally bankrupt and seek their assistance, and maybe extricating the United States from a non- tenable situation in Syria right now. Your implication that that is what it is, I think is accurate.
What is your opinion on Benghazi?
This is another case where one questions the motives of those issuing appraisals or evaluations of what happened. It should certainly have been fairly apparent to the United States, through all branches of the American government, foreign policy establishment, rather, the United States. What had occurred in Benghazi within hours of the incident, and instead what you’ve seen is evasion, equivocation, efforts to try to attribute it to something for the most part extraneous and accidental which is, say, the videotape, or the preview, or the trailer for a low budget video on the prophet Mohammed, you know, causing a spontaneous uprising against the United States, somehow knowing that the US Ambassador would be in the Consulate at that point and so forth. That seems hardly credible. It seems rather that the very same Al Qaeda linked extremists forces that the United States and NATO supported last year against the government in Libya, had simply struck back at their former masters. They’d bitten the hand that fed them if you will. I think it is a much more likely scenario. What in fact has happened is that armed militias simply continued doing what they were doing beforehand.