Clinton vs. Obama – a Democratic divide

After the Russian warplanes started bombing rebels, last week, the Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged the White House to put more pressure on Vladimir Putin

Clinton v ObamaThe former Secretary of State HIllary Clinton stressed her support for humanitarian corridors and a no-fly zone over Syria. Claiming its importance to stabilize fighting and to try and stop the outflow of refugees, she added that without the Russians it wouldn’t work.

The White House, on the other hand, has rejected a no-fly zone for years and repeated its position recently. “It raises a whole set of logistical questions about how exactly — what would be enforced, what sort of resources would be used to actually protect that area,” said the White House press secretary. “So that’s why, at this point, we’ve indicated that that’s not something that we’re considering right now.”

On the other hand of the Democratic Party divide stands Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s chief rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. He opposes a unilateral American no-fly zone in Syria, saying it could get them more deeply involved in civil war, leading to a “never-ending U.S. entanglement in that region.” On that point, the former Secretary made clear that she is not inclined to support deploying ground troops to engage ISIS. “I would not put an additional person in for actual combat,” she said. “Our goal has to be to end the conflict, protect the people on the ground, go after ISIS, get a diplomatic solution that ends with departure” of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Even Mr. Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republicans, backed President Obama’s argument that the U.S. should stand aside as Russian President Putin gets more involved in the conflict in support of his ally, Assad.

For four years, they sat together in the Situation Room, mostly on the same page, sometimes decidedly not, but generally presenting a united front to the outside world.  Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are left in the awkward position of disagreeing and having different priorities for the moment. The president wants to defend his policy and deflect blame for his military choices. His former Secretary of State wants to show what she would do differently. “I am not running for my husband’s third term or President Obama’s third term,” Clinton declared. “I’m running for my first term.”

The Syria schism is just one of several challenge topics for Mrs. Clinton to define her own approach, probably anticipating what would come if she were to inherit the leadership in a few months. She previously said the Obama administration has “not done enough” to impose costs on Russia for its intervention in Ukraine. And she sponsored the plan to train moderate Syrian rebels -which recently proved to be a failure- way before the administration agreed to it.

“Hillary Clinton is not half-baked in terms of her approach to these problems,” Mr. Obama said. “She was, obviously, my secretary of state. But I also think that there’s a difference between running for president and being president, and the decisions that are being made…require, I think, a different kind of judgment.”

Let’s not forget that she lost the 2008 nomination to him partly for her vote in favor of the use of military force against Iraq. Will history repeat itself, or will it turn the tables, this time around?

Maria Felicita Ferraro

Pubblicato il 15 ottobre

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