President Barack Obama lavished praise on Hillary Clinton, calling her one of the best secretaries of state in US history. But journalist Don Debar wonders if the Libya takeover can be dubbed Clinton’s “biggest success” after the Benghazi deaths.
Obama and Clinton appeared together at a press conference as America’s top diplomat prepares to step down next month.
A joint interview of praise aired Sunday speculations that President Obama may prefer Clinton to succeed him in the White House after the 2016 elections.
The two however batted away questions about the future in US politics.
"And I don't think, you know, either he or I can make predictions about what's going to happen tomorrow or the next year," Clinton said.
"I was literally inaugurated four days ago. And you're talking about elections four years from now," answered Obama.
Barack Obama called the incumbent secretary of state a friend and an extraordinary talent and paid tribute to "her discipline, her stamina, her thoughtfulness, her ability to project."
But journalist and human rights activist Don Debar says the praise is gratuitous.
RT: You saw this interview – the president may have praised the secretary of state. But what is your sentiment on her achievements in the position, including the Middle East policy?
Don Debar: Well, look at the condition of the world right now, and know that Hillary Clinton has been active for four years. A really disheartening thing about the show – which is what it was, shown for 60 minutes exclusively in the United States – they spent a lot of time trying to explain to people how these two former primary campaign 2008 adversaries could work together for four years. When most of the rest of the world has the coalition government, or all kinds of adversarial interests, sitting down and hashing things out, and making things go forward. Hillary Clinton’s the biggest achievement was the takeover of Libya, and Barack Obama said if it wasn’t for Hillary Clinton, we wouldn’t have achieved success in Libya, which now, of course, being used as the excuse for fresh intervention in Mali, and laying out the groundwork for much more aggressive action.
RT: You mentioned that this was a bit of a show. What do you make of the timing of this interview? Just last week, Clinton took responsibility for the deadly attack in Benghazi, you were just mentioning the situation in Libya acknowledging the mistakes of American foreign policy there?
DD: You know, she avoided testimony or testifying in the hostile Republican committee. The American ambassador to Libya post-Jamaharia was killed. He was identified by people all over of Libya for a long time, and as being one of the CIA’s point people. And in fact, this country, which was bombed through eight months by NATO, by the US and its allies, with thousands of people dying, many homes, the infrastructure that’s been built in the last 40 years, being devastated in front of the people, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there would be people that were angry over that, that might want to kill those they identify as being responsible. Yet the entire presentation here and over the last couple of weeks has been something quite different.
Clinton avoided the actual testimony, so everyone else had testified but her – and then you can’t be contradicted by any subsequent testimony. And at this point in time, she is leaving with glasses, we were reminded several times, that are consequence of brain injury she suffered that didn’t allow her to testify. And now she’s being patted on the back by Obama for success in Libya that she didn’t account for the failure of! It’s like watching teenagers.
RT: Obama has declared it a success that his administration has wound down two wars and dismantled the Al-Qaeda leadership. What’s your take?
DD: The United States is now at war with more nation states than it’s been since 1945. And whether you consider drone attacks and active war under the old rules, certainly drone attacks are taking place in countries that are not included in that total, so the world is more at war than it’s been since 1945: in terms of the number of people who die every day, in terms of they get blown up, in terms of assertion of one extrinsic national interest over other national interests on the ground. So for him to claim that, you know, “I’ve wrapped up a war and things are okay” is a joke. But it makes sense, too, because the two things that mobilized Democrats against the Bush administration were the two wars, primarily, the Iraq war, also the Afghanistan war, and now that those are moving off the radar, anti-war Democrats are going to slip, and that allows these people broad movement across the world to continue wars as long as they don’t make Democratic activists upset.
RT:And, briefly, some Republicans see Hillary Clinton as a very strong candidate. If she is to run for the next presidency of the United States, what would be your opinion?
DD: I hope they’re wrong. I don’t want to see a Republican president elected, but I also don’t want to see Hillary Clinton elected, which would be again a Republican president. I have a friend who’s a Republican; he reminds me when a Republican runs against a Republican, a Republican always wins. Hillary Clinton’s husband was the premier Republican president of the late 20th century. He did away with welfare as we knew it, he started war again in Europe, he did away with possibility of keeping down the military after the fall of the Soviet Union. And Hillary Clinton is all the same, with her tenure as the secretary of state.