By now, it is clear that Hillary Clinton is in the race for the presidency seat come 2016. As a result, she needs to establish some significant distance between her camp and whatever is infuriating the public supporters of the Obama presidency.
In a recent Interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Hillary made a step towards this direction by indirectly criticizing the current president’s inability to support the military’s efforts of moderating Syrian rebels earlier on. She sites this as the major reason behind the rise of the ISIS movement, which now simply calls itself the “Islamic State.”
Mr. Goldberg and a host of other newspapers portray Mrs. Clinton’s criticism of the current president’s administration as harsh; but it is not as harsh as they say. According to Andrew Sprung, the entire of Clinton’s interview sounds like guarded where she openly agrees to not knowing whether arming rebels would have made a difference ultimately, whereas Francis Wilkinson believes her criticism of Obama’s administration was hedged at each and every turn.
During the early stages of the Syrian civil war, Mrs. Clinton was the secretary of state and she was barely free of duty for the country’s policy towards this war. However, it is clear that she pushed for a stance that was more aggressive than Obama did; she has always been inclined towards interventionism with respect to foreign policy than the president. And restating this, especially when many Americans are in a dilemma regarding the state of things in Syria and Iraq is very appropriate. It is also a very appropriate time for those unwilling to offer military support to Syrian opposition then to stand out and explain why this was such a terrible idea that would have eventually helped accomplish nothing. It is obvious that had the state agreed to offer military support to Syrian rebels, the situation would have been no different from now. Or if it could, then it would have been worse. However, the difference of what is happening now and what would have happened had the US offered support to these rebels is that the United States would be deep stuck into this matter than it is now.
Numerous studies and academic research have been carried out by different institutions and individuals and what they reveal is quite amazing. It is understood that external support offered to any rebellions usually elongates the duration of wars; making them bloodier and more complicated to solve. However, in some cases where rebels and their sponsors/donors have a common interest, this support can at times be helpful. But this is evidently not the case that was present in Syria back then in 2012. The three major donors of these rebels – America and Europe, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries – were all with different cross-purposes. America and Europe were after protection of civilians and countering the Assad regime. However, prioritizing one of these two objectives became a problem.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states were engaged in a nasty proxy clash that extended to Egypt where Qatar was in support of the Muslim Brotherhood; a group that Saudi Arabia considered as a deadly enemy. These inter-Arab conflicts were staged in Syria with private groups raising huge sums of money to send to jihadi and Islamist groups of varied lines. The rebels were fond of shifting ideologies and alliances and fluidly adapting to deadly circumstances which ended in a host of those described as “moderates” forming allies with jihadists of the Islamic State. Arming and entrusting these moderates with modern ammunition had very little sense in it. It would have provided solid support to the jihadists and their global ideological recruitment efforts.
The rise of the Islamic State as well as other radical groups that followed the collapse of government authority in Iraq can be traced back to 2003. However, beyond this; Mrs. Clinton argues that it is almost impossible to genuinely say how the policies of the country have impacted anything. The desire to see America fail at every international tragedy can be understood and at times applauded. This is because it is a testimony to a sense of responsibility. It also provides room for self-criticism.
There is an awkward belief that the rest of the world has no sense of urgency, it is full of unreal people who are different from Americans with their capacities and goals, and are responsible for their personal situations. This belief that America is the causal agent of all global crises is actually the flipside of the belief that America holds all solutions to any crisis. The past decade should be a lesson learnt the hard way. We need to set objectives that are in line with our abilities and capabilities and ensure the modest goals are set than what we used to do before.