Recently, U.S. President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton successively admitted their errors in the Middle East, indeed a novel event. They coincidentally share many oddities, and it is difficult not to be suspicious.
On April 21, Hillary publically admitted, “My greatest regret was voting to give President Bush authority in Iraq.”* She believes this was an incorrect decision. Some days earlier, on April 10, Obama said to the media that the most terrible mistake of his career as president was “failing to plan for the day after, what I think was the right thing to do, in intervening in Libya.” At the same time, he mentioned allies England and France, criticizing them for not giving full effort.**
Their “admissions” share two common points: One is that both have their eyes set on the general election. Hillary is pointing her spear straight at the Republican Party, since it was during George W. Bush’s term that the incorrect decision to utilize troops in Iraq was made. Obama fastened the failure to manage the problem in Libya on himself, carrying responsibility for the then-Secretary of State Clinton, because the election opponents have given her a hard time over this issue.
The second common point is that they are making superficial admissions, evading major responsibility while dwelling on the minor. In the debates, Hillary said of her vote to support Bush Jr. sending troops to Iraq that what she “expected according to President Bush’s words, and what really happened, were not at all the same”; the implication being that she was deceived, and most of the error was on her lack of foresight.*** Obama mentioned casually that his own error in dealing with Libya after the fact was his lack of a plan. This fundamentally inverts cause and effect. Today’s disintegrated Libya, in an unceasing state of war, was completely brought about by Obama’s mistaken policies. America’s armed overthrow of the Gadhafi regime was a stab at the hornets’ nest; Libya entered a state of extreme chaos, and when the situation did not appear to improve, [America] left in a hurry, leaving behind an absolute mess. Regardless of this, merely saying that the aftermath work management was not great — what kind of confession is this?
At present, the American presidential election is developing as fast as a raging fire. In the Democratic Party, Hillary is galloping ahead, her superior position clear, casting her opponent far behind. But she is also not yet willing to say victory is in her grasp; American presidential elections do not lack examples of dark horses leaping out and later taking the lead. The Republican Party’s Trump, using universally shocking campaign tactics, has played his hand quite well, with great likelihood that he will become the Republican candidate. Hillary is aware that in order to defeat the opponents both inside and outside her party, she must work out more creative, sensational moves. Actively admitting her error is one such move. This lets her stand taller and cover her opponents’ mouths.
What is somewhat worrying for Hillary is that her opponents have associated her with the [rise of the] Islamic State group. The Islamic State group provokes great fear in American hearts; although America is under strict guard, and the Islamic State group has not been able to commit as serious acts there as it has in Europe, it is still difficult to say whether or not it will eventually, suddenly arrive. Americans were truly scared by 9/11. Thus, dealing with the Islamic State group has become the burden to bear for the election. It is common knowledge that the Republican Party’s Bush Jr. sent troops to Afghanistan, used military force to exterminate Saddam, and incited the Arab Spring — thoroughly annihilating the age-old structures of political equilibrium. Since then, the chaos has been unending, and adding arms has made it all the more barbaric; terrorist groups of every color, like the Islamic State group, have arisen and are taking advantage of the situation. But although the Islamic State group was born during the Bush era, its maturation came during Obama and Hillary’s time in office. Trump accuses Hillary of having “created ISIS,” and although this is somewhat oversimplified and bombastic, it is not just a false accusation. Were she to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, she would want to take the Islamic State group problem and pin it on the Republicans.
Hillary studied how Obama actively admitted his mistake, thinking it to be a smart move, but it’s very possible she is running a risk herself. It’s hard to say whether or not she will eventually burn, playing with such fire.
*Translator’s Note: The actual quote differs from the Chinese translation: “My biggest political regret was voting to support America initiating war in Iraq as a member of Congress.”
**Editor’s Note: This criticism was implied by Obama in an article by Jeffrey Goldberg in the April 2016 edition of The Atlantic.
***Editor’s Note: The original quote, although accurately translated, could not be verified.