Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential nominee, has derided "Don't do stupid stuff" as a worthless organizing principle of President Barack Obama's foreign policy.
But her substitute of "Doing stupid stuff" is even worse.
As Secretary of State during President Barack Obama's first term, Ms. Clinton single-handedly compounded problems of international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, war, refugees, and human rights from North Korea and China to South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa to Europe and Russia.
In sum, Ms. Clinton foreign policy makes former President George W. Bush look like a Talleyrand, Metternich, or Bismarck.
Emblematic was her imbecilic orchestration of war against Libya in 2011 to overthrow anti-jihadist Muammar Gaddafi. The secular Libyan leader had recently abandoned weapons of mass destruction, had paid billions in compensation to the victims of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, and had been removed from the United States list of state sponsors of terrorism. He was no threat to any national security interest of the United States.
Secretary of State Clinton should have rewarded Gaddafi with economic, trade, and investment incentives. Such diplomatic savvy would have encouraged North Korea and Iran to abandon their nuclear ambitions which were fueled by worries that the United States would otherwise overthrow their respective regimes by force and violence.
Instead, Ms. Clinton chose war--a monumental blunder that continues to haunt the United States.
1. Clinton's justification for war was Gaddafi's human rights violations in Libya. That casus belli invited wars of aggression everywhere because no nation is without warts. Thus, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea under the pretest that Ukraine was oppressing its Russian ethnic citizens. It could use the same pretext to invade the Baltic States. That is why the United Nations Charter prohibits war except in self-defense under Articles 2, paragraph 4 and Article 51. Clinton flouted that international prohibition.
2. Clinton's war justification was a stupendous lie known to one and all. On her watch, the United States maintained amicable relations with numerous countries beset with human rights records as bad or worse than Libya's, for instance, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, China, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia.
3. Clinton lied to Russia in denying that an ulterior motive for the United States military intervention in Libya was regime change and the killing of Gaddafi. Strutting like Julius Caesar, Clinton clucked, "We came, we saw, he died." Clinton's lie gratuitously alienated Russia, and invited a new Cold War.
4. Clinton's war splintered Libya into hundreds of tribal, ethnic, sectarian, or personal militias. The nation was thrown into an ongoing hydra-headed civil war, which gave birth to ISIS in Sirte and rival governments in Tripoli and Tobruk. Gaddafi's cache of conventional arms fell into the hands of international terrorists throughout the Middle East. The lawlessness and chaos Clinton's war created fueled the terrorist assassination of our Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens; and, the flight of millions of refugees from Libyan shores to Europe and tens of thousands of drownings in the Mediterranean Sea.
5. Clinton's war fortified the determination of North Korea and Iran to develop, maintain, or expand nuclear arsenals to deter the United States from invasion. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, recently testified to Congress that negotiating nuclear disarmament with North Korea is now a pipedream. Additionally, Clinton's so-called "Pivot to Asia" antagonized China and ended any possibility of its necessary cooperation in stopping North Korea's nuclear adventurism. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated by President Obama with Iran only postpones fulfillment of its nuclear ambitions for ten years.
Hillary Clinton's Libyan war is the very definition of doing stupid stuff. The multiplicity of calamities that ensued was as predictable as the force of gravity. Libya had never practiced democracy. It had never embraced democratic norms. It sported 140 tribal networks. Civil society was embryonic. Its political development was pre-Magna Charta. And corruption was endemic.
Depend upon it. If Ms. Clinton is elected President, her "doing stupid stuff" foreign policy will find expression in wars with Syria, China, and Russia with consequences far worse than the disasterous fallout from Libya.