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Hillary Clinton: a letter to America

by Philip Roddis, August 3, 2016

I’ve seen numerous FB posts by liberal American friends saying it’s vital to back Hillary. It isn’t, and I’ve Facebooked several times to say so. Usually my comments are ignored but I keep at it because these are good people I’ve had a deep connection with, though our worldviews are now far apart, and because the question is vital. The other day I Facebooked a link to my previous post, and had this from someone I’m fond of.


I replied 

My dear friend

Here’s my detailed reply on the question of HRC as the ‘lesser evil’.  You say I’m “taken in by negative press” on her. Er, no.  That’s an assumption on your part, and an inaccurate one.  You do not already know what informs my views on this, and it’s unfair of you to suppose otherwise.

I claim moral right to critique HRC as one affected by her policies.  I also claim intellectual right.  While no expert, I’ve read Hard Choices and, more to the point, studied her record.  I dare say I’ve spent more time on this than most Americans; that’s how important it is.  My concerns are her neoliberal proximity to big capital, like Exxon-Mobil, whose support is always conditional on payback, and her hawkish imperialism.  The latter affects me more directly so in this reply to you I’ll focus on that. Note though that the case for saying both Clintons are venal is strong.  Did you see the Clinton Cash film linked from that previous post?  It can’t be dismissed as ‘negative press’ when it makes specific accusations which are either true or false.  If false, why no libel suit?  While there are few smoking guns here, circumstantial evidence of financial wrongdoing by and for the pair is damning. Circumstantial evidence is not inferior evidence: it just needs to be looked at with extra care.  A good analogy is insider trading: here too there are seldom smoking guns but offenders are successfully prosecuted where contingent facts point beyond reasonable doubt to their guilt.

So too with the Clintons, who in truth cannot be separated on many things, such as their Nigeria dealings and links with Frank Giustra, not least the Kazakh uranium connection as reported in the New Yorker.  These and other examples are far from exhaustive; just what prosecutors call specimen charges.  I have no a priori  desire to see HRC damned but came to my assessment on the back of hard evidence, not rumour or bad press.  For instance I discount GOP and rightwing sources as untrustworthy on these matters, but do not dismiss the Panama Paper revelations or PunditFact as unreliable.  (Though at least one pundit does find the latter unreliable due to pro  Clinton bias!)  We should also note that the revolving door, a growing threat to democracy, is especially significant with Bill and Hillary due to the intimate relationship between past and present senior politicians, and between both and seriously big money.

That said, should counter-evidence emerge on Clinton venality I’ll adjust my view.  It wouldn’t be the first time.  But American friends who promote HRC, some in adulation, others with sober ‘realism’, have yet to address my points as set out on FB, in this and in other posts.  I sense projection here.  That silence suggests it is well meaning defenders of Hillary, not I, who are locked into a stance informed by little more than impressionism and ‘gut feeling’.  That’s quite understandable given the horrendous Donald but we need more than ‘gut feel’ and Trump aversion here.

Again though, the above is in passing.  My focus is less on HRC as venal than as warmonger.  I do see the two as inextricable, with that Nigeria trail – oil loot, Clinton Foundation, Boko Haram – a case in point, but to back this up I’d need a few thousand words on really existing capitalism in the globalised, post Soviet era.  I’ll pass, and for now simply review the record on foreign policy.  On this and much else Hillary and Bill can’t be separated.  In battle with Obama then Sanders, Hillary bigged up her stint as First Lady to show her greater experience.  That’s odd – the role is traditionally associated with Good Works on uncontroversial causes – but makes sense once we factor in the problems posed by other aspects of her CV.  Her reign as senator, 2001-08, was unremarkable – can you cite a single memorable piece of legislation she saw through? – while that as Secretary of State earned her, this side of the Atlantic, the Queen of Chaos moniker.

In Hard Choices she brags of urging Bill, March 1999, to bomb Belgrade.  You and I may differ on what motivated Washington to destroy Yugoslavia.  Many take at face value the “humanitarian intervention” talk.  I do not but you might, so, unless you request it, I won’t go into the why, begging as it does a class and anti-imperialist perspective you may not share.  I’ll focus instead on results.  The Kosovo “rescued” by the first bombing of a European capital since WW2 is one of the most corrupt nations on earth; its main exports, chiefly to Western Europe, being sex slaves, criminal gangs and heroin from the opium output of another part Clintonian legacy; Afghanistan.  In this, Kosovo anticipates other chaos inflicted directly on her watch.  I mean Iraq’s devastation, for which she voted and enthused over to the delight of Gingrich and Kissinger.  I mean Libya, for whose mayhem and birth of ISIL she bears prime responsibility.  (And who could forget her grotesquely joyous pastiche, on Gadaffi’s sodomisation by knife blade, of Julius Caesar’s veni vidi vici – ‘we came, we saw, he died’?)  And I mean Syria, where her hawkishness pushed her more cautious boss, Barack Obama, into the devastation of that country in the name, as ever, of democracy.

I’ll skip Honduras.  I mean no disrespect to those so cruelly treated on her say so – in defiance of the UN General Assembly – but want to keep things short.  (Do check out Honduras though.  Try this Al-Jazeera piece, a reliable source when Gulf State interests aren’t involved; but really, you’re spoilt for choice on what happened to Zelaya.)  I’ll even skip Palestine!  My number one worry concerns Russia, where the frighteningly maverick and philistine Trump actually looks the saner of the two front runners.  I’m no fan of Reagan but will give him this: he genuinely thought the cold war ended with the fall of the USSR.  Some of his key advisors – Russia experts like Stephen Cohen, and US Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts – thought so too.  Both were appalled by what they (naively in my view) saw as lost opportunities for rapprochement with Putin.  These began when the Clintons – again, no separation for the reason already given – took advantage of both Russia’s post USSR weakness and Yeltsin’s buffoonery to push NATO eastwards – breaking its promises not to “advance an inch” – in ways the USA would not for a moment tolerate anywhere near its own doorstep.  That push continued under Dubya with HRC’s vociferous approval.  And of course it was HRC who fast-tracked Victoria “fuck the EU” Nuland, a key mover in the Maidan coup that ousted Yanukovych in the name of – what else? – democracy, a claim flatly contradicted by the fascist make up of Ukraine’s current regime.

NATO, which is Washington, is playing an insanely dangerous game on and close to the borders of a nuclear power.  For all his bluster, Trump looks on this matter the more statesmanlike with his willingness to get real and talk to Putin.  Compare that with an all too likely scenario wherein Clinton tries to push through her no fly zone in Syria – which would in effect restore the status quo to before Russia entered the fray: i.e. ISIS, Al Nusrah and the ‘moderate’ head-choppers in the ascendant; Assad on the ropes.  Putin will say no because, having accepted mayhem in Iraq and Libya, Russia drew a line in the sand on Damascus.  Since Russia is a nuclear power she cannot be bullied the way most countries are by the USA.  So how many steps, do you think, before a HRC who loves to talk tough takes this to the unthinkable brink?  Scary or what?

That, in brief and with important omissions which only strengthen my case, is why I say HRC may not even be the lesser evil.  And if she is, it’s by so narrow a margin as to make it a non consideration in electoral choice.  Please don’t assume I back Trump.  He’s unleashed humanity’s basest instincts, as rightwing populists do.  But what would I do if I were an American?  I’d throw heart and soul into a real alternative to a phony democracy that threatens more of the same: warmongering and its legacy of chaos across the globe, the continuing export of American jobs to Asia, and the continual subordination of tackling climate change to the needs of profit.  It’s to the undying shame of Bernie that, as many foresaw, he urged his supporters to come behind Hillary when he could have begun the building of a real alternative, outside and inside the established machinery.  American democracy, even by Britain’s low standards, is broken and crying out for a real alternative.  That Hillary as president won’t advance it one iota goes without saying.  In the face of this appalling binary choice, American progressives should back Jill Stein and the building of strong grass roots movements for change.


  1. Kirk says

    It’s a shame your words were lost on the recipient since if they were at all inclined to take the time to read it, they would have already known they were the ones woefully taken by the negative press. LOL There’s a reason the former Secretary of State is not discussing her foreign policy experience. Absolutely, the most qualified if this were an election for leader of the Imperialist Nation of American Zionism but this is a race for president of the United States of America. Jill Stein is absolutely the ONLY choice for a Bernie supporter. She is the best of Bernie and Hillary times 10. I would love for her to have a voice at the table but she is NOT the best choice for the nation. Gary Johnson may actually be more unaware than Donald Trump. Donald Trump may be bombastic and too crude for the unaware, college-educated, indoctrinated segment of the American population but at this point, he is the ONLY hope of ending a policy of imperialism as well as the battle for language supremacy and distraction governance.

    • Brian Harry, Australia says

      “Like”………Thanks for that link.

  2. Daniel Rich says

    You are what you vote for.

    I don’t vote, so don’t blame me for all the future crap that is about to happen.

  3. John says

    I won’t pass over on Palestine.
    Bill Clinton sold the Palestinians down the river and – if she is able to – Hillary will complete the process of the utter enslavement of the Palestinians by Israel.
    I have absolutely no idea where Trump is on the question of Palestine, though the fact that both his daughter and Hillary’s are married to ultra-orthodox zionists does not leave much room for optimism for the Palestinians.
    They are both equally as bad as each other and whoever enters the White House it will make no real difference for the Palestinians.
    Netanyahu wins whoever the eventual winner is – with even more US arms and money going to Israel.
    Consequently, we have to presume that the unresolved question of Palestine will continue detrimentally to affect the Middle East and North America for up to another 10 years, at a minimum.
    What a vile prospect we and the American people are faced with: Trump or Clinton.
    Truly awful either way!
    January 2017 will be the bleakest month for many many many many people around the world.

    • Thanks John. I meant no brushing aside of one of the burning issues of our age: both a moral and (given its wider toxicity in a middle east that has a zionist and a sunni bomb, and may soon have a shia bomb too) existential imperative. Nor do I overlook Israel’s significance – alongside Saudia Arabia and, prior to the revolution, Iran – as regional gendarme for imperialism.

  4. Jason Killbourn says

    An excellent piece that perfectly articulates the concern many of us have about a worrying trend in both US and British politics, namely the tactics of fear, as opposed to appeal, in the winning of votes for the neo-liberal elite’s preferred candidate, which boils down to fear of Trump in the US and fear of a lengthy Conservative administration in the UK.
    Clearly the DNC managed to remove Bernie Sanders from the running by distinctly undemocratic means, and are now redressing the problem of winning his supporters over to HRC with the bugbear of President Trump, but here in the UK, despite the best efforts of the NEC and a faction within the PLP, Jeremy Corbyn is still hanging onto his leadership, for the time being, though they’re currently trying to frighten supporters away from him with a relentless MSM narrative of his “unelectability” in a general election. The real struggle on both sides of the Atlantic is best described as one of trying to get a non neo-liberal administration in place against the opposition, and considerable hegemony, of powerful political sponsors. HRC is a rather conspicuous poster girl for corporate fascism, so it must have seemed like it would take an immense effort to find something so terrifying to democrats, that they’re prepared to overlook this, but (conspiracy ruminations aside) they’ve somehow come up trumps on that one.
    On our side of the pond, the left leaning MSM outlets are pushing a former big pharma, PR executive, as the sponsor’s choice, which is also a pretty tricky sell. However, they’ve got Theresa May looking quite menacing on one side and a rather tired old spectre of the “unelectable” Michael Foot years on the other, usually thrown in with some reference to the myth that the unions destroyed British industry/prosperity in the 1970’s (I do note with some amusement, just how quiet they go when you start talking about Jim Slater and what the City got up to in the preceding decade) However, in this case, they desperately need to keep the narrative running on conventional left versus right wing lines, as anything else would reveal the true nature of the struggle, which is one of neo-liberalism versus democracy.
    I’ve thought for a long time now that neo-liberalism has a serious remission at it’s core, in the sense that it is in the business of selling a raw deal to the general public by using PR, and it does so by pushing an angle relentlessly, that never makes much sense, but becomes accepted through forced repetition from multiple news outlets. The problem with this, is, though it works just fine in the short term, as time goes on it inevitably wears thin, if your product sucks, and there’s no escaping the painful logic of this. As a consequence, the sell gets harder with time and increasingly elaborate approaches, involving some quite impressive lateral thinking, become necessary simply to maintain control, which is just about where we are right now.
    It’s for this reason, I feel people should stop talking in terms of left versus right wing, or worrying about Trump in the Whitehouse, when the real issue is rescuing democracy and it should become a unifying principle, as alliances can be formed. So do throw your support behind Corbyn and Stein, as, in those terms, we’re not going to be voting neo-liberal, are we? And just maybe, we can achieve something the next generation will want to thank us for.

    • I agree with every word of this. Including your last paragraph. Like any thinking person I’m prone to bouts of appalled pessimism, triggered less by the shenanigans of our ruling classes than the low levels of reasoning evidenced by those who buy the most far fetched narratives in respect of said shenanigans. (One common and especially dismaying aspect is the way some of my fellow Brits see through the lies on Corbyn, and fairy tale rationales for privatisation and neoliberalism in general, but fail to see the same forces playing out on an international level. In particular I have in mind the successful demonising of Assad and Putin.)

      But you point, with your reference to the next generation, to a bigger picture. In my dark nights of the soul I’m minded of the fact I have children who may themselves have children. Giving up is not an option. At such times I’m also mided of that great crypto-marxist classic, The Bhagavad Gita;: specifically, the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna before the great Battle of Kurukshetra. Krishna, awed by the strength of the forces ranged against him, has his own moment of doubt but Arjuna puts him straight: “it’s not for you to know the outcome, nor to try and anticipate it. You have only one thing to focus on: giving yourself entirely to the battle.”

      • Jason Killbourn says

        That’s an excellent quote, as it does encapsulate an all too human weakness we have, when faced with a huge challenge, and, in this instance, the hegemony of neo-liberalism tends to attract the same response of “you’ll never change any of that, it’s just the way things are”, though we know that real power always resides with the people, and, if we make a start on the problem, keeping our focus on the task in hand, it can be broken in the long run. In fact, I would argue that it is, by its nature, doomed to break up anyway, it’s just the onus is on us really to try to speed up that process as best we can, in order to minimise the duration of the suffering it’s causing. Furthermore, we have to accept that it will still take a long time to tackle this thing in its entirety, quite possibly a couple of generations even, so our immediate task is to lay the foundations for reform, which brings me onto the unrealistic speed at which, those keen for change, want it all to happen. No matter who we vote into government right now, the power of the transnational neo-liberal sponsors is too great for any truly radical reforms. Just look at what happened in Greece, and Varoufakis was only trying to negotiate a workable repayment plan with the Troika on their existing IMF loan, whilst rejecting any further loans, and they had their banks shut in a fortnight. Yet still many people fail to appreciate the strength and international nature of this plutocratic opposition. US foreign policy, occasionally billed as NATO, is a painfully clear example of this, as war is an extremely lucrative business for those who profit from such things at a transnational level, because it affords them the chance to loot at least two sets of taxpayers, with the added bonus of considerable natural resource misappropriation. Naturally, those who are seen as throwing a spanner in the works, are soon labelled enemies and singled out for special attention. Putin and Assad are certainly both in this position, having somewhat inconvenienced the neo-liberal agenda in the Middle East arena, though it has to be said that neither of them are saints in their own right, but the accusations leveled at them are very much a case of the kettle calling the pot…

      • I agree. This is a war for democracy, comrades. We must be clear about what it is we’re fighting for. It’s democracy or barbarism. The tropes of the Great French Revolution and all that followed. As Sartre pointed out, rather too crudely I think, ‘Anti-communist is another name for a fucking bastard.’ A man of his times.

  5. reinertorheit says

    In Hard Choices she brags of urging Bill, March 1999, to bomb Belgrade.

    May this fucking American whore burn in Hell for all eternity.

    • Brian Harry, Australia says

      In this case, regrettably, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here”…..Shakespeare.

      • flybow says

        Thatcher privatised hell a few years ago dude.

        • Brian Harry, Australia says

          If there was a Devil, he wouldn’t let someone like Thatcher into Hell. He hates being ‘nagged’………………..

    • I agree with the sentiment but don’t believe in an afterlife and, more importantly, dislike the term “whore” in this context. It smacks of misogyny. If that’s an accurate reflection, address it! If it isn’t, why play into the hands of those who see all criticism of HRC as sexist? It’s a direct parallel to criticisms of zionism which make gratutitous use of the adjective, Jewish.

      • reinertorheit says

        So you drag in ZIonism too, right?

  6. I wish I’d written this, myself! This person expressed my concerns from every bit of research I’ve done on Hillary from way, way back. Robert Reich said that he’s known her for 50 yrs. Well, he obviously couldn’t see through her–as many of us can. You think things are bad, now—just wait until you get another Clinton in the White House to be another minion of the elite banksters.!! She’ll make those defense contractors and bankers a whole lot richer {her friends}, and we’ll all be much poorer. The world will continue to loathe our gov., and feel sorry for the people who couldn’t see her for who she is and for whom she’ll continue to work.!

    • Your reference to Reich touches on something that’s long fascinated me: the frequent mismatch between personal conduct and, in the case of public individuals, their dealings with the wider world. Most people who knew Hitler liked and were charmed by him (and to be sure, he showed greater personal loyalty than that other monster, Joseph Stalin.) I dare say friends of HRC wouldn’t recognise her in the picture I’ve painted. Either that’s because my picture is monumentally inaccurate, or because for the most part we go through life in intensely personalised and emotion driven ways that predisposes us to assess one another within a tiny and self serving perspective.

  7. rtj1211 says

    I think much of what you say is worthy of consideration. Also from the European side of the pond, I must say that I think Jill Stein may have challenges attracting the white vote, having chosen as a VP running mate a black man whose overt, public and repeated documented hatred of white people is such that, whatever you might think about his arguments, you tend to suggest with humility that not too many white folks in the USA are going to vote for that, thank you very much…….

    • I confess I know little about Jill – didn’t even know who her running mate is. My voting for her, if I could, would be a small token of my wider belief that we have to get out of the fear politics underpinning the HRC-as-lesser-evil meme.

      • Brian Harry, Australia says

        If I were an American, and facing the prospect of having to vote for either Trump or HRC, I would express my disgust by voting for Stein(I believe there’s another guy standing but he gets absolutely NO airtime, so I’m not sure). If a large enough “protest vote” is recorded(and the counting is ‘kosher”) Americans will register their dismay at the awful situation they find themselves in.

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