Terror in Paris and the Presidential Campaign

I disagree with analysts who say Hillary wasn’t being clear about her platform in the second debate. Hillary was being very clear about what kind of president she’ll be.

She was reminded that as Secretary of State she underestimated the threat of ISIS:

So you’ve got prescriptions for the future, but how do we even [know] those prescriptions are any good if you missed it in the past?

Clinton’s answer was that the United States doesn’t bear the bulk of the responsibility for the problems in Iraq. They are the fault of the Iraqis and the region itself, which was a mess before Iraq. And the problem with Syria is Assad’s determination to hang on to power with the support of Russia and Iran.

She does admit that her vote on the Iraq War was ‘a mistake’ but provides no assurance she will do it differently in the future. And when asked why they had no post-Gaddafi plan for Libya after seeing what happened in Iraq, she said they did have a plan. Then rather than explaining what that plan was, she defended the decision to take Gaddafi out.

How could anyone say she’s not being clear about what her approach will be as president?  As for how she came to this approach, that’s another question. Her own words may provide a clue.

CLINTON: I think with this kind of barbarism and nihilism, it’s very hard to understand, other than the lust for power, the rejection of modernity, the total disregard for human rights, freedom, or any other value that we know and respect.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard the word ‘modernity’ used in ways that don’t make sense to me, usually by people who would like us to believe that Enlightenment reason is a trouble-free concept.  Surely she knows that Muslim extremists are not the first people to object to aspects of modernity, and that the visible manifestations of it are not the worst of it.  Historians have observed that modernity itself exerts a subliminal effect on people, causing them to exhibit patterns of thinking and behavior that lead to disaster.

Now compare Hillary’s use of the word modernity with a phrase Bernie used later in the debate, ‘modern society’.

Dickerson was trying to get the candidates to say whether they use the term ‘radical Islam’.

SANDERS: I don’t think the term is what’s important. What is important to understand is we have organizations, whether it is ISIS or Al Qaida, who do believe we should go back several thousand years. We should make women third-class citizens, that we should allow children to be sexually assaulted, that they are a danger to modern society.

And that this world, with American leadership, can and must come together to destroy them. We can do that. And it requires an entire world to come together, including in a very active way, the Muslim nations.

My interpretation of his use of the term modern society is that Bernie isn’t thinking about this crisis in ideological terms. He’s grounded in reality.

My point?  The Paris attacks should not be seen as justification for putting an ideological hawk like Hillary Clinton in office.  Quite the opposite.

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