Politics & Policy

Will Clinton Face Her Foreign-Policy Failures in Philadelphia?

(Chris Bergin/Reuters)
Her actions helped destabilize the world.

To understand the sheer scale of the Democratic national-security collapse, ponder this horrible fact: In the 2012 presidential election, for two months the key debate was whether the murder of four Americans in Benghazi meant that President Obama was exaggerating his success against al Qaeda. In 2016, the news cycle has already moved on from the murder of 49 Americans in Orlando six weeks ago.

It’s moved on in part because of terror attacks that have killed more than 100 men, women, and children in France, Germany, and Turkey. In the last two months, terrorists have used guns, axes, knives, bombs, and even a truck to snuff out the lives of innocents in great cities on three continents. In the last year, jihadists have killed or injured Americans in Tennessee, California, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

Terror has become the new normal. We can’t dwell on the Chattanooga shootings because San Bernardino happened. We can’t dwell on San Bernardino because Orlando happened. In Europe, we can’t dwell on Paris because Brussels happened. We can’t dwell on Brussels because Istanbul happened. We can’t dwell on Istanbul because Nice happened. We can’t dwell on Nice because Munich happened.

And to think, last week the media actually mocked Republicans for emphasizing the terror threat. Yet the media is only following President Obama’s lead. This is a man, after all, who minimizes terrorism so much that he’s fond of describing bathtubs as a greater threat than ISIS.

Meanwhile, Jihadists are laughing all the way to the bloody bank. Grant them safe havens, and they’ll use their resources to recruit, train, and inspire the next wave of jihadists. Open borders to migrants, and they’ll infiltrate the ranks of refugees. Treat any concern about terror as “Islamophobia,” and they’ll exploit the resulting complacency and political correctness.

RELATED: What Does Hillary Want?

This is what happens when a nation replaces the Bush doctrine with the Obama/Clinton doctrine. After 9/11, President Bush vowed to deprive terrorists of their safe havens, to take the fight straight to the enemy. The result? Exactly three Americans died in Islamic terror attacks on American soil after the Twin Towers came down.

After his election, Obama — with Hillary Clinton’s help — pulled back from the Middle East, squandering gains previously made against the Jihadhist threat. The result? Syria and Iraq have been bleeding for years, ISIS has arisen, a wave of refugees have destabilized Europe, and terrorism has returned to our shores with a vengeance. In the last year, America has averaged one terrorist mass killing every four months, with other attempted mass killings in Texas, California, and Pennsylvania thwarted by alert and courageous law-enforcement officers. There are more jihadist terror cases now than at any time since 9/11.

Clinton is the candidate of the status quo, and that means she’s the candidate who owns the administration’s failures and her own.

The Democratic National Convention will be a key test of Clinton’s seriousness. As the terror threat escalates, will her party spend more time condemning “Islamophobia” or detailing Clinton’s plan for defeating ISIS? As innocent men, women, and children bleed at night clubs, office parties, fast-food restaurants, concerts, and airports, will the Democrats continue to claim that President Obama’s strategies are working? As it becomes increasingly clear that immigrants from jihadist conflict zones present a clear national-security risk, will Clinton keep insisting that we allow tens of thousands more within our borders?

Or will the Democrats deploy their typical overwrought “war” rhetoric to decry simple domestic-policy differences even while an actual war rages across the globe? It’s hard to take seriously domestic “war on women” hysterics when ISIS keeps sex slaves. It’s hard to take seriously the notion that conservatives “dehumanize” gay people when jihadists toss them from roofs and gun them down on American soil.

#related#There are signs that the Obama administration is finally aware of the Democrats’ political peril. Over the weekend, reports emerged that Obama may now be “rushing” efforts to take retake Mosul before the election, perhaps pushing Iraqi forces into battle before they’re fully prepared. A sense of urgency is welcome, but if that sense of urgency is politically motivated and leads to an under-resourced, under-supported military offensive then the administration will be risking exactly the wrong kind of “October surprise.”

Elections are rarely decided on national-security issues, but if the current ISIS terror offensive continues — or if, heaven forbid, it intensifies — then the body count will be too high to ignore. Clinton is the candidate of the status quo, and that means she’s the candidate who owns the administration’s failures and her own. She helped throw away victory in Iraq. She responds to vicious terror with meaningless platitudes. And now she needs answers that are better than Donald Trump’s. That’s a low bar, but we should never overestimate Hillary Clinton’s ability to underperform.

— David French is an attorney, and a staff writer at National Review.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Most Popular

White House

Another Warning Sign

The Mueller report is of course about Russian interference in the 2016 election and about the White House's interference in the resulting investigation. But I couldn’t help also reading the report as a window into the manner of administration that characterizes the Trump era, and therefore as another warning ... Read More

What’s So Great about Western Civilization

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Redacted: Harm to Ongoing Matter), One of the things I tell new parents is something that was told to me when my daughter still had that ... Read More
White House

The Mueller Report Should Shock Our Conscience

I've finished reading the entire Mueller report, and I must confess that even as a longtime, quite open critic of Donald Trump, I was surprised at the sheer scope, scale, and brazenness of the lies, falsehoods, and misdirections detailed by the Special Counsel's Office. We've become accustomed to Trump making up ... Read More
Film & TV

Jesus Is Not the Joker

Actors love to think they can play anything, but the job of any half-decent filmmaker is to tell them when they’re not right for a part. If the Rock wants to play Kurt Cobain, try to talk him out of it. Adam Sandler as King Lear is not a great match. And then there’s Joaquin Phoenix. He’s playing Jesus ... Read More

Screw York Yankees

You are dead to me. You are a collection of Fredos. The cock has crowed, you pathetic sniveling jerks. The team I have rooted for since 1965, when I first visited the House that Ruth Built, where I hawked peanuts and ice cream a lifetime ago, watched countless games (Guidry striking out 18!), has gotten so ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Trump Can’t Cry ‘No Fair’

If I may jump in, I take Charlie’s point and I think he’s largely correct. I also think David is correct. There’s not that much of a contradiction in that because I think to some extent they’re talking about different things. And this reflects a larger frustration I have with many of the ... Read More