On Wednesday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all but formally anointed herself heir to President George W. Bush, invoking Ronald Reagan before declaring her steadfast commitment to “American exceptionalism.”
For those who don’t know, American exceptionalism is the underlying justification for US imperialism and lawlessness around the world. It relies on a claim that the US is beyond international law and has been chosen by God to tell everyone in the world what to do. Though in practice the American empire serves Big Business, the rhetorical justification for the interventions is based on America’s unique destiny to provide “global leadership.”
Clinton’s foreign policy advisors are mostly made up of former Bush strategists and she has championed herself as a liberal interventionist (code for neoconservative) using American exceptionalism as the rationale.
President Obama, to his credit, pushed back on the notion of American excepitionalism when he said in 2009, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Which is really to say he doesn’t believe in widely understood definition of American exceptionalism, especially the kind espoused by his predecessor President George W. Bush, which was stated in blatantly religious terms.
Bush said American-style freedom “is not America’s gift to the world, freedom is the Almighty God’s gift to every man and woman in this world.” Therefore, it was a sacred duty to fight for freedom around the world using the US military.
Of the two approaches, Clinton’s is undeniably closer to Bush’s. When questioned during a MSNBC town hall on her support regime change, she defended her position by claiming regime change could have stopped Hitler.
Her record makes her views even more clear. It includes a vote for the Iraq War and driving the Libyan intervention to overthrow Gaddafi, as well as her current support for a no fly zone in Syria, which would involved shooting down Russian aircraft.
Even the Clinton-friendly New York Times published a piece making it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hillary Clinton is a tried and true hawk, much closer to President Bush’s way of thinking than Obama’s.
With Wednesday’s speech, there can be no doubt that a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for imperialism and war.