Friday, August 5, 2016


I Ran the CIA. Now I'm Endorsing Hillary Clinton. Michal J. Morell, NY Times, August 5, 2016:

"I also saw the secretary’s commitment to our nation’s security; her belief that America is an exceptional nation that must lead in the world for the country to remain secure and prosperous; her understanding that diplomacy can be effective only if the country is perceived as willing and able to use force if necessary; and, most important, her capacity to make the most difficult decision of all — whether to put young American women and men in harm’s way."     M.J. Morell

"In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."     M.J. Morell
* * *
As the wave of opposition to Trump swells, beware a dangerous undercurrent. 

More and more Americans are appalled at the notion that Trump could make it to the White House. A smashing defeat for Trump and Trumpism  — still not assured — would be a historic rejection of racism, xenophobia, and a potential "law and order" dictatorship. Now there is an undertow in the growing number of ultra-conservative and neocon power-brokers embarrassed by Trump to the point of panic. They seek to rescue their policies and political fortunes from a Trump-GOP debacle. This takes a variety of forms: the Koch brothers putting their wealth into trying to "save" Congress, more and more neocons and war hawks endorsing Hillary in the hope she will promote their aims in foreign and military policy.

The most dangerous proposition, bluntly stated by former CIA Director Morell, and more than hinted at by Hillary's campaign (and the media), is that Trump is Putin's pawn. In Trump's incoherent flood of comments, he has suggested trying to get along with Russia and has questioned NATO expansion. This doesn't turn his 'Fortress America' military bombast into a song of peace, nor make him less of a bully, nor make him a sane custodian of the 'dooms day' button. But to suggest that questioning renewed allegiance to cold war policies is un-American, that criticism of military policy is "aid and comfort" to a foreign power, surely brings back dismal memories of McCarthyism.

The fact remains that Hillary, who has embraced many progressive values in her domestic agenda and has been impacted by the Sanders uprising, has not budged from commitment to a failed and increasingly perilous foreign policy. What Morell chooses to endorse is precisely what should be feared, opposed, and changed. What the country does not need is reinforcement of the illusion of "the exceptional nation" charged with the mission of "leading" the world, "willing and able" to use force and engage in endless wars, with a president capable of deciding to "put young American women and men into harm's way".

We don't want a president whose vision of the world is based on which nations accept US preeminence and which do not. The priority should be to seek and promote the common interests of humanity, most of all preventing nuclear war and meeting the challenges of climate change. In today's torn and turbulent world, problems abound and short term fixes are rare. But people are sick and tired of commitment to endless and expanding wars. If Hillary isn't moved toward a more flexible, realistic and peace-oriented approach in foreign affairs, if the neocons and hawks are allowed to dominate, she may invite unintended consequences. Not a few Americans may see her as a president who would expand our wars and pursue the role of world policeman.

Then, the crowning travesty in this bizarre election, Trump might appear to some as the "peace candidate", not the Manchurian candidate conjured up by operatives of the CIA.


  1. The really disturbing thing to me is that Trump got this far. What does this say about bigotry in the US?

  2. You have exactly articulated the fear that Clinton will spread danger and death in her foreign policy.

  3. I agree with Jon Gordon. Also, I think you, Leon, are doing a bit of fear mongering yourself here. Morell came out in support of Hillary because he is seriously frightened of a Trump presidency, otherwise he never would have. Diplomacy and a peace oriented approach should and will be emphasized by a Hillary presidency, which she has said but certainly agree she needs to emphasize more in her campaign, specifically in regard to Putin. Post GW Bush era, she has improved relations around the world precisely because of who she is and would continue to do so. she is not going to let the neocons and hawks dominate...that is and example of the fear mongering in this post. How about writing to her campaign and encouraging her to build up her talking points on diplomacy and the seeking of common interests as priority in improving relations w/Russia? Barack just spoke about this in his press conference the other day...she should and can do more of the same. Best, Pam Z.

    1. Pam: I understand, respect and share your focus on beating Trump. I will vote for Hillary and will try to convince whomever I can to join in smashing Trump and the GOP’s turn toward an “American-style” fascism. I'm sure we both feel the same urgency about issues like planned parenthood, criminal justice and immigration reform, and the future of the Supreme Court.
      I would hope you could respect the seriousness of my fears on foreign and military policy and not scold me for "fear-mongering". I don't think the election of a president is the time to take a vacation on big concerns over foreign policy and ongoing wars. I think it would help, not hinder, Hillary's prospects if she emphasized commitment to diplomacy and peace efforts, thus distancing herself from the war-loving neocons. Her flexibility on domestic issues, in response to aspects of the Sanders campaign and to her supporters among people of color, didn't hurt her. It made her a better candidate and made for a successful Convention and post-convention boost.

  4. many do see Hillary as the candidate who is likely to declare war somewhere, someday in her a woman she might have to show that she has the same "cullions" as any man.. This may be seen as sexist....but I stand by my fear of her in this regard.

  5. Should Hillary carry along both houses of Congress, an unlikely outcome to be sure, it might open the way to a shift from oligarchy, bigotry and war if we get enough progressives in Congress and among the progressive forces into the battle after the election.