© REUTERS/ Mark Kauzlarich
13:53 29.07.2016(updated 14:12 29.07.2016) Get short URL
Hillary Clinton has clinched the Democratic Party's nomination. In her acceptance speech Thursday, Clinton singled out Russia as a threat, listing Moscow alongside the Daesh terrorists as the greatest threats to US national security. In other words, at first glance, what the former secretary of state seems to be offering is more of the same.Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. On Thursday, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state officially accepted her party's nomination for the presidency.
"…It is with humility, determination and boundless confidence in America's promise that I accept your nomination for president of the United States," Clinton said, speaking in Philadelphia on the final night of the convention.
The last-minute dump of WikiLeaks emails ahead of the convention proving the Clinton campaign's overt collusion with the Democratic establishment to cheat Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders out of the nomination turned out to be futile.
Clinton's speech could be broken into three parts: Preserving America's global hegemony, the economy, and those horrible, terrible, no good, very bad Republicans and their nominee, Donald Trump.
Focusing on foreign policy, Clinton quickly ran through the main bullet points of the theme discussed by Vice President Joe Biden the night before. In a rousing speech about American exceptionalism Wednesday, Biden vowed that "the 21st century is going to be the American century," with Washington set to lead the world "not only by example of our power, but by the power of our example."
"God willing, Hillary Clinton will write the next chapter in that journey. We are America, second to none, and we own the finish line! Don't forget it!" Biden added, to rousing cheers from the crowd.
Clinton continued on that track, praising President Obama and the vice president and vowing to face up to the present challenges to American greatness. "America is stronger because of President Obama's leadership, and I'm better because of his friendship," she said. "We heard from our terrific vice president, the one-and-only Joe Biden, who spoke from his big heart about our party's commitment to working people."
Who are the main enemies that a President Clinton would strive to defend America against? The list is surprisingly short actually. According to the Democratic nominee, they include the Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) terrorist group, and Russia. China comes in a distant third, with the former secretary of state mentioning only the economic threat that country poses to American workers.
In this sense, at first glance, Clinton's approach appears little different from that of President Barack Obama, who has repeatedly listed Russia, together with Daesh and other global problems such as Ebola, as the key threats to US national interests.
"I'm proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia," Clinton said. "I've laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS," she added.
"We will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so that we detect and prevent attacks before they happen. We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country. It won't be easy or quick, but make no mistake – we will prevail."
Who those 'local forces' are remains unclear, although judging by the comments of Clinton Campaign spokesman James Rubin, it won't be the Syrian government, which has been fighting Daesh and other Islamist extremists in Syria for years now. Previously, Clinton has advocated a no-fly zone in Syria, leaving some analysts worried that the US military might step into direct confrontation with Russia in the country. Russia deployed its air power in the country last September, at the request of the Syrian government, to fight Daesh and other Islamist groups on the ground.
Emphasizing her 'I'm with the Troops' message, Clinton also took the opportunity to rip into Republican nominee Donald Trump, saying he has no experience working with the military. "Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, 'I know more about ISIS than the generals do…' No, Donald, you don't," Clinton stated.
"He thinks that he knows more than our military because he claimed our armed forces are 'a disaster'. Well, I've had the privilege to work closely with our troops and our veterans for many years, including as a Senator on the Armed Services Committee," she added. "I know how wrong he is. Our military is a national treasure. We entrust our commander-in-chief to make the hardest decisions our nation faces. Decisions about war and peace. Life and death."
Indeed, there really is no sense arguing Clinton's wealth of experience in that department. In 2003, the senator from New York voted in favor of the Iraq War. In 2011, as secretary of state, she supported a US and European air campaign in Libya to topple Muammar Gaddafi. When the crisis in Syria erupted, Clinton advised President Obama to take a more aggressive approach toward Damascus.
In this sense, some analysts have warned that what Mrs. Clinton offers is not just a continuation of President Obama's foreign policy. According to investigative journalist Robert Parry, a Clinton presidency may result in the outbreak of more wars, more 'regime change solutions' and escalations, and "less engagement in reasonable give-and-take negotiations."
For her part, Clinton minced no words about her foreign policy positions, and on what separates her candidacy from that of Donald Trump. "America is once again at a moment of reckoning," she said. "Our country's motto is e pluribus unum: out of many, we are one. Will we stay true to that motto? Well, we heard Donald Trump's answer last week at his convention. He wants to divide us – from the rest of the world, and from each other…He wants us to fear the future and fear each other."
It was Trump, Clinton said, that was the hot-headed and provocative one. "Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons," she added.
Bringing it home, Clinton emphasized that "America's strength doesn't come from lashing out. Strength relies on smarts, judgment, cool resolve, and the precise and strategic application of power. That's the kind of Commander-in-Chief I pledge to be."
"Yes, the world is watching what we do. Yes, America's destiny is ours to choose," Clinton concluded.
Whatever else might be said, the former secretary's line about 'the world watching' is certainly true. The United States is the most powerful military and geopolitical force in the world, and the decision Americans make in the elections in November will be sure to have repercussions.