Unless the Benghazi scandal consumes her, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is virtually a shoo-in for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination if she wants it. And she’s outpolling her GOP rivals.
The question is: why?
It can’t be because she was a great secretary of State. She did travel more miles (956,733) to more countries (112) than any of her predecessors. She handled herself on public occasions with poise and dignity, speaking almost always in measured tones.
But what did she accomplish? Other than speaking forcefully for the rights of women — who are probably now more endangered than ever in the Muslim world — it’s hard to name a single foreign policy breakthrough that the Obama administration or its chief diplomat has achieved.
Palestinians and Israelis haven’t even been brought to the negotiating table, let alone moved toward peace. Russia and China are at least as hostile toward the United States as they were in 2008, and more assertive. Iran is closer to having a nuclear weapon. North Korea is more belligerent. Iraq is becoming an Iranian ally.
The “Arab Spring” is replacing pro-Western despots with anti-Western despots. We are about to abandon Afghanistan to the Taliban. And in Syria, either the brutal Assad regime will survive, an ally of Iran and Hezbollah, or the resistance, now dominated by Sunni jihadists, will win.
And then there is Benghazi, Libya. Gregory Hicks, the former No. 2 man in the Libyan embassy, testified that he called Clinton at 2 a.m. to report that the U.S. consulate was under terrorist attack and that his “jaw dropped” when Obama, Clinton and U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice said that a video caused the riot. Now, he said, he’s been demoted for talking.
In 2016, Clinton will certainly be able to claim that she has more foreign policy experience than any of her Democratic or Republican rivals. But she won’t be able to say she achieved much of anything.