NATIONAL INTEREST — An article about Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy instincts in last week’s New York Times Magazine (“How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk”) escaped widespread discussion on account of the New York and other Acela primaries last Tuesday. It deserves a second look in light of Clinton and Donald Trump’s resounding victories, and Trump’s foreign policy speech last week. Clinton is, according to the Times’ Mark Landler, “the last true hawk left in the race.” Why might that be?
Landler framed much of his analysis as a contrast between Barack Obama’s relative restraint vs. Hillary Clinton’s relative activism. He also emphasized the close ties that Clinton has cultivated with certain senior military officers, but especially those who affirm her faith in the military as an instrument of policy.
Clinton has, according to Landler, an “appetite for military engagement abroad” that far exceeds her few remaining GOP rivals, and that even surprised Defense Secretary Robert Gates and senior military officers during Obama’s first term. She was “a little more eager than they are,” explained Bruce Reidel, a long-time foreign policy hand, to get involved militarily around the world.