In what is being considered her “most public step away” from the Obama administration, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed the White House’s foreign policy and called the White House’s response to the crisis in Syria a “failure.”
Syria has been ripped apart by civil war. At least 160,000 people have died as a result of the war since it broke out three years ago.
In an article published in The Atlantic, Clinton who many experts have said is a potential 2016 candidate for president, says, “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the Jihadists have now filled.” The Jihadist group ISIS, is believed to have moved fighters out of Syria and is now currently waging a deadly campaign of terror in Iraq. The United States launched airstrikes against the group in Iraq last week.
It’s a substantially significant statement from the former first lady who also served as Secretary of State during President Obama‘s first term, a time when the ongoing crisis in Syria was beginning to unfold. She also ran unsuccessfully against Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries.
During the interview when asked about the president’s slogan of “Don’t do stupid stuff” to describe his foreign-policy thinking, Clinton replies, “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”
Clinton also distanced herself from the current administration by taking a firmer stance on Iran’s nuclear program.
The United States and the other P5+1 nations have expressed a willingness to allow the Middle East nation to have a limited nuclear enrichment program.
In The Atlantic magazine interview, she also expresses strong support for Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose relationship with Obama can best be described as frosty. While White House officials agree that Israel has the right to defend itself, they have condemned the killing of civilians as a result of the shelling from Israeli rocket fire on the Gaza strip.
Clinton noted that the United States also tries to be careful to avoid civilian casualties in war but sometimes mistakes are made and it is “impossible to know what happens in the fog of war.”
Sources close to the Clintons, however, deny that she is moving strategically to distance herself from President Obama’s views arguing that she had already expressed these same opinions in her book, Hard Choices released a few months ago.
According to Politico, “A source familiar with the interview said Clinton’s team gave the White House a warning that it had taken place.”
You can check out the complete interview with The Atlantic here.