Right before the November 7 Democratic Presidential Forum, Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul went on MSNBC and said Hillary Clinton was a “neocon.” The host, Chris Matthews, responded by erupting into laughter, as if the comment had no merit. But is Rand Paul’s comment really so laughable?
For more than a decade, Clinton has been trying to explain away her vote for the war in Iraq – the quintessential example of neoconservative hubris. The war is commonly described as a “strategic blunder,” but a more accurate description would be to call it a war crime responsible for incalculable human suffering. Further, Secretary of State Clinton was reportedly among the most hawkish on President Obama’s foreign policy team when it came to military intervention in Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. During the recent MSNBC forum’s broadcast, Rachel Maddow twice used the word “hawkish” to describe Clinton, once as host of the forum during the Clinton interview, and again during a panel discussion after the event.
Whether Clinton fits under the “neocon” label is not what is important. But it is important for voters to understand the reality of Hillary Clinton’s hawkish record, which goes well beyond her support for the Iraq war. Ideally, this discussion should take place during the primary, while Clinton still has to answer to progressive voters. The conversation could also serve to educate the public about the sinister nature of US policy abroad and the Democratic Party’s complicity in these policies.
The History of Democrats and Neoconservatism
Many voters associate the word “neocon” with members of the George W. Bush administration, like Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz. But the Democrats played a major role in the emergence and growth of neoconservatism. Irving…