by Daphna Whitmore
Hillary the woman politician and smasher of glass ceilings breezed into Auckland this week. The media coverage has ranged from gushy snippets on baby boutique shopping and gift exchanges with the pregnant Prime Minister to shallow takes on not seeing the real Clinton. That comes after a week of Royal Baby story headlines, so no surprises from the mainstream media.
No surprises either from the three thousand people who paid good money to hear Clinton speak at what was essentially a book launch. While they were lapping up the cliches about daring to compete and tweeting “feeling really inspired”, none seemed to reflect on Clinton’s actual record.
Not Clinton the hard done by faux feminist, but the establishment leader in the US imperialist-militarist system. Where was the commentary beyond children’s books and buzzy bees? Has Hillary the hawk, the supporter of US military adventures in Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo been forgotten? How about the Hillary Clinton who voted in favour of the invasion of Iraq in 2002, and promoted the weapons of mass destruction propaganda? Even later by 2007, when the whole world knew no such weapons were ever found Clinton supported continuing the war. “We cannot lose sight of our very real strategic national interests in this region” she said.
This is not ancient history, troops are still in Iraq, including New Zealand forces. Nor is it that long ago she was gloating over the extra-judicial killing of Gadhafi by US-backed rebel soldiers: “We came, we saw, he died”. Libya is now a failed state.
She supported the invasion of Afghanistan, and while she was Secretary of State for Obama she didn’t seek to end the war, instead the troop numbers increased in 2009. She always took a hardline against Iran and has given Israel and zionism unwavering support. She favoured increased sanctions on North Korea and she kept her reputation as a warmonger when she was quick to call for joint action from the west against Russia and gave support to the Ukrainian separatist movement. Similarly with Syria, her approach was always more military engagement.
Now Clinton is campaigning against the rise of China as an economic and political power. It was one of the key messages in her New Zealand visit: “Experts are sounding the alarm about Chinese efforts to gain political power and influence policy decisions. And it’s just getting started,” she said.
Ironic as her concern about foreign interference in domestic politics is, she is focused on preserving the status of the US as the number one world power. This is clear in an essay Clinton wrote in 2011 on the US strategic interest in the Pacific, “One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment — diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise — in the Asia-Pacific region.”
The message may not resonate so much as New Zealand imperialism sees its interests these days as best served by having a foot in several imperialist camps, and has its eye on the vast Chinese market.
While having used women’s rights to justify the invasion and occupation in Afghanistan Clinton was just as comfortable embracing friendly relations with theocratic regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
She epitomises how the Democratic Party of the US is just as committed to empire building as any Republican. She was without doubt the status quo candidate for US imperialism and her legacy is a lesson that breaking glass ceilings is over-rated.