Readings – Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy speech

~  Readings highlights content from elsewhere on the web.  ~

hrc foreign policy speech screen shot from cnn video


Yesterday, in San Diego and standing in front of nineteen United States flags, Hillary Clinton delivered a widely anticipated speech on foreign policy in which she lambasted Donald Trump.  But as the New York Times noted, “the speech was devoid of new policy prescriptions, and she skipped over difficult episodes during her tenure as secretary of state.”


CNN has video of the speech, and in addition, Time has posted a transcript:

Some reactions from around the web:

Hillary roasts Trump: Clinton’s foreign policy speech was an effective takedown of Trump’s dangerous ignorance

By Simon Maloy, Salon, June 3, 2016

“Once it became clear that the 2016 general election matchup would be between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, one of the big unanswered questions was how the Democrats and the Clinton campaign would approach their politically exotic adversary. And it was looking a little dodgy there for a bit. Early reports indicated that the Clinton campaign was going to attack Trump as a heartless businessman whose ruthless tactics had screwed over normal people – an attack that worked perfectly well against Mitt Romney but risked feeding into Trump’s self-styled image as a cutthroat hard-ass. Then came the nicknames: “Dangerous Donald,” “loose cannon,” “risky,” etc. It seemed like Hillary and the DNC were determined to attack Trump in ways that also helped validate his shtick about being an outsider who will go to Washington and break things.

But it looks like Hillary and her team have figured out how to effectively hit Trump… What made [her speech] so effective is that Hillary pegged Trump as petty, ignorant, and weak. She called Trump’s foreign policy ideas “dangerously incoherent” and “a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies.” She poked fun at his obvious lack of basic knowledge about foreign affairs. “He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia,” Clinton said, letting the absurdity of that real Trump statement do her work for her. “Donald Trump doesn’t know the first thing about Iran or its nuclear program,” she said. “Ask him. It’ll become very clear very quickly.”… ~ Continue reading


Where Hillary Clinton’s Heavy Attack Was Light on Specifics  

by Mark Landler, New York Times‎, June 3, 2016
“Hillary Clinton on Thursday delivered her most robust attack yet on her likely republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, declaring him temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief. But although her campaign had described the speech as a major foreign policy address, Mrs. Clinton spent more time ridiculing and dismantling Mr. Trump’s statements than she did elucidating her positions. Here are a few key issues she did not discuss.”
Continue reading for discussion of Clinton’s previously stated positions on Syria, Vladimir Putin, Libya, ISIS, and Kim Jong-un.


The Clinton Anti-Trump Speech

John Podhoretz, Commentary Magazine, June 2, 2016

“Hillary Clinton just gave the speech of her life in attacking Donald Trump on foreign policy. I’ve been watching and listening to her for 25 years and wrote an entire book in 2006 warning America about the dangers of a Clinton presidency (a book almost as unsuccessful as her 2008 presidential bid, now available for $.01 on Amazon, and I’m not kidding). Never before has she pulled off a coup like this one — an extremely well-crafted and well-delivered broadside against Trump’s willful ignorance and ill-considered policy prescriptions, as well as a coherent presentation of a liberal internationalist approach to foreign affairs. (It was likely written by Jake Sullivan, who would likely be her secretary of state or national security adviser should she win in November.) …

Now, there will be untold thousands of words of analysis devoted to this address, and much of it will properly center on the areas in which she factitiously and falsely defended her and Barack Obama’s foreign-policy choices from the Russian reset in 2009 to Syria in 2012 and, most especially, the Iran deal. But in its immediate aftermath, what is most striking is how determinedly Clinton decided to move herself to the center, edging to the center-right, on foreign policy matters and most especially on the complex issue of American exceptionalism.

With a few deletions and emendations here and there, this could have been Marco Rubio’s stump speech….” ~ Continue reading


Hillary’s ‘major’ foreign policy speech shows how clueless she is about Trump

By K.T. McFarland, Fox News, June 03, 2016

“Hillary Clinton has begun the policy wars with Donald Trump. She gave it her best shot Thursday with what was billed as a major foreign policy speech. I’ll save you the effort to read the transcript. She said in essence, nothing.

Most of her time was spent trash-talking Trump saying he’s neither smart enough nor stable enough to be president.

The rest of the time was telling us about all her many self-proclaimed successes and ending with how she and President Obama were responsible for killing Usama bin Laden. I give her full credit for that, as well as Obama. But that’s not the only issue in American foreign policy over the last two terms…” ~ Continue reading


Why Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy speech is almost impossible to analyze

Daniel W. Drezner, Washington Post, June 3, 2016

“There are two big problems in trying to analyze Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy speech.

The first echoes a conundrum I mentioned back in November. The core theme of Clinton’s speech on Thursday was pretty simple: I’m a grown-up, my opponent is a thin-skinned child, and who do you want to be sitting next to the nuclear codes?

…The thing is, this speech was almost entirely about Trump and very little about Clinton. Sure, she referenced her foreign policy experience, but as other commentators pointed out, politicians ranging from Bernie Sanders to Marco Rubio could have said 95 percent of that speech without any alterations whatsoever. It was not so much a speech about Clinton’s positive attributes as Trump’s negative qualities.

This leads to the second problem: Commentators are already saying that Clinton is to the right of Trump on foreign policy, following up on previous pundit claims that Clinton is more hawkish than Trump on matters of national security….” ~ Continue reading


Clinton pillories Trump’s foreign policy, but history says it won’t help

By Lesley Clark, McClatchy DC, June 2, 2016

“WASHINGTON – Presidential contenders often tout their foreign policy credentials. But that may matter little to voters.

In a speech Thursday, Hillary Clinton mocked and pilloried Donald Trump and charged that the real estate magnate is a dangerous threat who can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons. But history shows that in the past 40 years, the candidate with the robust foreign-policy portfolio often has lost to the one with the arguably thinner international résumé….” ~ Continue reading


Hillary Clinton’s Flat and Misleading Foreign Policy Speech

By William Astore, Huffington Post, June 3, 2016

“Yesterday, Hillary Clinton gave a foreign policy speech in San Diego that was notably flat and misleading. It’s been getting decent reviews in the mainstream media for the zingers she tossed at Donald Trump. But when you listen to the speech (you can watch it [above]) and think about it, you realize how insipid and unoriginal it really was….” ~ Continue reading


Hillary Clinton’s evisceration of Donald Trump

By Stephen Collinson and Dan Merica, CNN, June 3, 2016

“There’s a new Hillary Clinton in town.

“A speech that was billed as a major foreign policy address instead unfolded as a savage, mocking evisceration of Donald Trump Thursday as the former secretary of state adopted an aggressive new campaign persona designed to repel the unpredictable challenge posed by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

“In one of the most striking speeches of her political career, Clinton dispensed with the sober diplo-speak that has characterized her previous national security addresses and went straight for the jugular, unleashing a series of biting attacks on Trump….” ~ Continue reading


Sanders jabs at Clinton’s foreign policy credentials following speech

By Harper Neidig, The Hill, June 2, 2016

“Bernie Sanders took a swipe at Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy credentials on Thursday in the wake of the Democratic presidential front-runner’s speech attacking presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s proposals.

“”I agree with Secretary Clinton that Donald Trump’s foreign policy ideas are incredibly reckless and irresponsible,” Sanders said in a statement. “But when it comes to foreign policy, we cannot forget that Secretary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq, the worst foreign policy blunder in modern American history, and that she has been a proponent of regime change, as in Libya, without thinking through the consequences.”” … ~ Continue reading


The Latest: Trump Says Clinton Now ‘Lyin’, Crooked Hillary’

AP/ABC News, June 2, 2016

…”She made up my foreign policy,” Trump said Thursday night in San Jose, California. “She’s Lyin’, Crooked Hillary.”

… “My temperament is so much tougher, so much better than hers.”… ~ Continue reading


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15 Responses to Readings – Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy speech

  1. Queries says:

    Candidate Clinton’s big foreign policy speech seemed a bit thin, short on substance, heavy on hyperbole, and flat jokes that could frankly cut both ways.
    I’m not sure making accusations on subjects against her opponent in which she has feet of clay doesn’t seem like a winning strategy.
    And what is with the il duce style nod of self satisfaction after statements, kind of a creepy affectation frankly
    I’m not very confident, not at all….

  2. I was dismayed, Q. I was expecting a lot more foreign policy in a speech about foreign policy! Thumping on Trump is easy and has its place, but that does not tell us what her current thinking is on the great issues that will be facing the next president. And o.m.g., this, after what we now know about how she and her team ignored the state dept’s security and IT professionals:

    Making the right call takes a cool head and respect for the facts. It takes a willingness to listen to other people’s points of view with a truly open mind. It also takes humility – knowing you don’t know everything – because if you’re convinced you’re always right, you’ll never ask yourself the hard questions.

  3. “…more foreign policy in a speech about foreign policy…”

    That was deliberate. People came expecting one of those policy wonk speeches that make one’s eyes glaze over. Instead, she reached into her secret stash of whoopass and laid it on with a trowel. Or maybe a shovel.

    It was clear to me that she was having the time of her life, and the audience ate it up. They should have. It was worth the price of admission. Looks as if we got a glimmer of what the General Election campaign is going to look like. Real policy mixed in with some world class skewering. I have dealt with Yale-trained lawyers in the courtroom before. One should never underestimate them because they will hand your ass to you on a platter.

    Did anyone see the interview of Trump by CNN’s Jake Tapper this evening? Tapper tried to get a word in edgeways, but Trump kept shouting him down about the Mexican judge being biased against him. The question that should have been asked–if Jake had been able to ask it–was this: Just what in the hell does the ethnicity of a judge have to do with a New York financial fraud case? The case has nothing to do with race, heritage, birthplace (although the judge was born and raised in Indiana), or gender. It has to do with fraud and misrepresentation.

    A modest proposal. I think all the debates, if there are any, should require the candidates to be in soundproof booths, as they did in some of the old quiz shows. The mike could be turned on or off by the moderators.

  4. I have no objection to the can of whoop-ass, Chuck. But “Trump is a buffoon” doesn’t tell us what her positions are on various foreign policy issues.

    I do like the idea of turning off the mike when alotted time is up or while the moderator or other debater is speaking.

  5. Foreign policy issues are better served in policy papers than speeches for the most part. That is not so say there should be no speeches on the matter. Policy papers can be published in painful detail on the candidate’s web site. However, a speech like the one yesterday was both epic and well timed.

    If you want positions, take a look at the difference between Hillary Clinton’s positions as stated on her website.

    Now take a look at Trump’s positions as stated on Trump’s website. The contrast could not be more clear.

    And I am not even a big HRC fan. I am a Bernie guy.

  6. There are still two dem candidates, and from what I know of their respective foreign policy positions, I prefer Bernie’s. But I want to hear her articulate her stances. How can she explain the hard stuff to people as pres if she can’t do it as candidate? Boring to some, sure. But necessary, imo.

  7. We are still in the primary season for the Democrats. I have an idea campaigning style and substance will change dramatically after Labor Day. At the moment, the Orange Menace is only the presumptive nominee. He already has a horde of pitchforks and torches after him from the right. We need to wait and see what the situation looks like after July 21.

    Only a few minutes ago, I read that DWS may have thrown her payday lender buddies under the proverbial bus. Things are changing, much of that change being driving by Bernie.

  8. Chuck, do you still have the link to the DWS story? I’d like to see that.

    There are various ways things can play out with some combination of her refusal to cooperate with the FBI, DOJ indictment, presidential pardon, supers switching to Bernie at the convention, Biden stepping in after … And that’s just on the dem side!

    On a tangent, I believe Obama knew full well what he was doing when he selected Comey, who is widely regarded as having great integrity, to head the FBI.

  9. Hey all, here is a post with good collection of links for info on Clinton’s foreign policy as evidenced by past actions –

  10. Very good! Thank you, Chuck. This likely wouldn’t have happened without Canova primarying her, and Canova got a big boost from Bernie … Good news all around.

  11. ragnarsbhut says:

    Hillary Clinton would be a disaster as president.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      You certainly have a right to your opinion. However, I absolutely believe she couldn’t possibly have been as destructive, divisive and outright dishonest as the current orange occupant of the White House. Unlike him, she has a long history of public service, and has been much maligned by the Far Right and even members of the Left. A great deal of the anti-Hillary muck-raking, especially the endless investigations resulting in no viable claims against her, reek of bias against women in politics.

  12. ragnarsbhut says:

    Wordcloud9, look at the shit show of a situation in Benghazi, Libya. Hillary Clinton inquiring as to what difference it would make at this point is a heartless commentary. It makes a lot of difference because many people who were killed there have families and friends who they will never see again.

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