Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hillary And War

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, shakes hands with Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya during the 39th General Assembly of the Organization of American States, OAS, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Tuesday, June 2, 2009. The following month Zelaya was ousted in a US backed coup - Eduardo Verdugo - AP
During a wide ranging interview with the editorial board of the New York Daily News (transcript here) Hillary Clinton said Hondurans followed the law when they ousted President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya in 2009.

Her answer wasn't reported in the mainstream media but was important, not so much for Clinton's lying to get this issue behind her and get herself elected, but in that it's a reminder of what her foreign policy has been, and what kind of world we'll live in under a Clinton presidency: one with more wars, more regime changes, more US imperialism. More death. Less money in the budget for the important things, like life. The lives of America's vast working class that has been left to fend for itself while our political establishment caters to moneyed elites.

The coup of Mel Zelaya isn't a central issue in the campaign and most Americans know nothing about it. I followed news of that coup and its aftermath daily on Pacifica Radio. Hondurans were in the streets protesting, and being killed, while President Zelaya tried to return to the country, which Hillary, in her book Hard Choices boasts of preventing.
The US wanted Zelaya out as president for two main reasons. 1. He was trying to gain back control of the country's one good airport, at the Soto Cano military base, also known as Palmerola, from the US military, which has historically used it for things like supporting the Nicaraguan contras and other covert imperialism in the area. Zelaya wanted it mainly for commercial reasons and because larger airliners were crashing at the smaller Tegucigalpa international airport. 2. To fund the transition, which required building a passenger terminal and a highway to it, Zelaya had gone to ALBA, the South American replacement for the US dominated OAS created by Hugo Chavez, after the US refused to help.
Chavez, during the Bush administration, had become the US government's, especially the state department's, enemy #1, and it initiated efforts to topple him, which the Obama Administration had continued. The Honduran elite, meanwhile, was outraged at Zelaya, a big landowner, rancher and logger and one of their own, because after campaigning as a centrist he had moved to the Left during his presidency and was implementing policies that helped the country's poor. Like the US government, it didn't like it that Zelaya was in general moving closer to Chavez and his policies of Latin American integration and away from US domination. 

It's not come out yet what, if any, direct role Clinton played in the Zelaya coup, but the usual US state department suspects, when covert operations, CIA involvement and the death squads long used by the US in its Latin American policy, are concerned, people like John Negroponte and Robert Ford, were heavily involved in this. Then, after the coup, the Obama administration, and Clinton, while publicly calling for Zelaya's return, refused to call it a coup and immediately recognized the coup government, and, as Hillary boasted in Hard Choices, prevented Zelaya's return.
With Hillary Clinton as president we can expect this kind of imperialist policy to continue unabated. She's also largely responsible for the disastrous regime change operation that destroyed Libya, one of the Middle East's most prosperous countries, and turned it into a dyfunctional dead zone being fought over by three warring factions, and also a center of operations for ISIS.  She's also largely behind the route the US took in Syria, that has destroyed that country and which President Obama has belatedly realized was a mistake and is trying to backtrack from, while Clinton, on the campaign trail, is calling for ramping things up in Syria and getting the US more heavily involved there.

On foreign policy Clinton is considered by many on the Left to be little better than a Neocon, and indeed some of the main Neocon Republicans have stated that they prefer her over Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. And on domestic policy, of course, the former Wal Mart board member is a true Neoliberal. A "New Democrat." Conservative in economic policy while remaining liberal on a few social issues to keep the party's "identity politics" based voters happy.

Outside reading:

Mel Zelaya was interviewed about the coup and Hillary Clinton's role in it in July on Democracy Now. Amy Goodman writes about it and provides a transcript.
Hillary Clinton emails -- her "damn emails" -- reveal how she sought back channel communications with the coup leaders. Examples and analysis by The Intercept. 
Hillary more dangerous than Donald Trump contends Rania Khalek. A good overview of the vast amount of blood Clinton has played a role in spreading over the world.

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