The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Missing Words at the Democratic National Convention

I’m speaking, of course, about “ISIS” or “terrorism.” On the one hand, this extraordinary. The Democrats, after all, are trying to sell America on voting for a former Secretary of State, the person at the helm of American foreign policy during President Obama’s first term. She presided over America’s withdrawal from Iraq. She presided over the administration’s response to the Syrian Civil War. She helped embrace the Muslim Brotherhood when it came to power in Egypt. She pushed Obama to intervene in Libya.

Come to think of it — that’s exactly why the Democrats didn’t mention terrorism. As I argued yesterday, Hillary’s foreign policy helped destabilize the world, and speaking about terrorism after a two-week stretch that has featured a bus attack, a bombing, knife attacks, an ax attack, and a mass shooting in Europe serves only to highlight her many failures. So the Democrats played a cynical game, hoping that their convention and their rhetoric would drive actual world events from the front page. 

But the real world keeps intruding, and last night ISIS terrorists executed a priest in France — moving that nation one step closer toward the instability of an actual Islamist insurgency. 

In many ways, the convention simply took a page from the Obama administration’s public relations playbook. After pledging to end wars, the administration is bombing more countries than Bush ever did. After promising no boots on the ground in Iraq, Americans have faced ground combat in Iraq and Syria (and remain in Afghanistan). Yet it’s all been done incrementally — away from the headlines — while the administration does all that it can to minimize the public’s perception of the terror threat. It’s no big deal. Only 500 more troops here — 300 more troops there. 

Stealth escalation is better than no escalation, of course, but Hillary wasn’t a stealth Secretary of State. Her record exists for all to see, even if the Democrats prefer to focus on anything but the most consequential job that Hillary ever had.

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

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