Home / 2008 democratic primary / Hillary: Hawk

Hillary: Hawk


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We know Clinton’s positions have been more hawkish than her rivals (marginally so than Edwards, much more so than Obama.) It would, as Michael Crowley suggests, seem worthwhile to compare her advisers as well:

Hillary Clinton still talks regularly with her husband’s senior foreign policy team, whose generally hawkish slant may help to explain why Hillary has been far slower than her Democratic rivals to shift left on the war. (It’s telling that the three well-known former Clinton foreign policy officials who have signed up with Obama’s campaign–former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, State Department African affairs expert Susan Rice, and Greg Craig, a lawyer and onetime adviser to Albright–are more dovish than many of their old colleagues.) Hillary’s campaign still lacks a formally structured foreign policy team, perhaps in part because her lasting personal friendships provide much of the advice she needs. A month after Hillary’s election to the Senate in 2000, for instance, Holbrooke hosted a gala dinner for her at his private residence in Manhattan’s Waldorf Astoria Towers, featuring attendees like Robert DeNiro and Harrison Ford. When Hillary traveled to Munich in 2005 for a speech about the United Nations, Holbrooke was there, taking notes in the front row. He’s also inside enough to have recently solicited recommendations for a new full-time foreign policy aide to join Clinton’s campaign. “He’s obviously gunning for secretary of state,” a Democratic foreign policy expert told me. “He’s putting all his eggs in this basket.”


Newer additions to Hillary’s fold also suggest that her hawkish profile is about more than just polls. One is her Senate foreign policy staffer Andrew Shapiro. The 39-year-old Shapiro is affable but charged with nervous energy. (Sitting in the audience at a recent Clinton speech on the military, he rocked steadily back and forth like Rain Man at Wapner time.) A Gore-Lieberman campaign aide and Justice Department lawyer, Shapiro was also briefly a research assistant at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a center-right think tank. Shapiro is “a mainstream foreign Democratic policy establishment moderate,” says a congressional foreign policy aide. “He’s hawkish on defense issues and Israel.” It is Shapiro, Hillaryites say, who is in the room for most of her important foreign policy decisions.

He has a lot more. As I’ve said before, trying to establish whether her support of the Iraq War was “calculating” or “sincere” is on some level beside the point; it’s not as if political conditions would somehow vanish if she got elected (although, since foreign policy tends to produce more sui generis problems, I suppose it’s slightly more relevant than with domestic policy.) But I think the evidence is overwhelming that her foreign policy is likely to be substantially more “hawkish” than Obama’s.

[Via Yglesias, who has another excerpt here.]

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