The “Student Blog Post” series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.
Most people believe that Hillary Clinton is a foreign policy hawk, and that as president, she would escalate U.S. military force in the Middle East and elsewhere, putting America back into more wars. Clinton has an extensive track record upon which one can evaluate her likely positions. By any reasonable measure, Clinton qualifies as a hawk. Though she has opposed uses of force that she believed were a bad idea, she has consistently supported starting new wars and expanding others. Some examples where Hillary Clinton had to decide whether to support the use of American military force are below:
- In 1994, Clinton opposed intervening in Haiti to reinstate the democratic Jean-Bertrand Aristide government.
- In 2002, as senator for New York, Clinton voted for the authorization for the use of military force in Iraq.
- In 2011, she endorsed the Navy SEAL raid into Pakistan that killed Osama Bin Laden.
- In 2012, she proposed to the White House a program to provide arms to Syrian rebel groups fighting Bashar al-Assad’s government.
In our presidential system, the executive and legislature branch are elected separately, with no legislative responsibility. Because of this, the executive branch has the power to influence the use of military force because the president is able to appeal to the public more than Congress could.
Some argue that Hillary Clinton will not be able to be a hawk on foreign policy because as a president her power would be limited by checks and balances. Checks and balances between our branches of government keeps government officials responsible and limits their power. These mechanisms arguably create laws or even remove office holders from office.
Hillary Clinton may not be as hawkish if her focus will be more on domestic issues rather than foreign issues. Additionally, as president, Clinton will be beholden to the American public and will have other priorities beyond foreign policy. I am almost certain that most Americans would rather have the U.S. reduce its appearance in international affairs and instead redirect that responsibility into our own country. Especially after the events of the 2002 Iraq War, I would doubt that most Americans would support Clinton with getting involved in Syria. It just would not make sense to most Americans to put our priorities into conflict in the Middle East when there are much larger priorities that need to be addressed in our country.
Daniel Raad is a fourth-year political science major who enjoys working out, traveling and music. After graduation, he wants to become a lawyer.