On Dec. 21, Hilary Clinton appeared on Anderson Cooper to fawn over Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s trip to the U.S. and let a proverbial cat out of the bag. Just the night before, the Ukrainian President had given an impassioned plea to the U.S. Congress for humanitarian and military support in their fight against Russia. Beaming psychotically, Clinton almost said the quiet part out loud while responding to his address, proclaiming the Ukrainian war a “really good investment for the United States.” Initially seeming like a patented head-scratcher from a politician past her prime, this statement is unintentionally illuminating of how the sociopaths, criminals and grifters that run American society actually think – Clinton included. These elites have used Ukraine to enrich themselves financially as well as obfuscate a record that should have long ago discredited them with the help of a complicit media.
While Clinton was breathlessly singing Zelenskyy’s praises and drawing tenuous connections between Ukraine and our own 18th-century revolution, her former colleagues in the Senate and House were showing just how good an “investment” war can be – just not for us normies. Instead, it was the war industry who was clearly the beneficiary. Right before the holiday break, Congress approved $45 billion in Ukraine aid, which may sound big until you realize it is a mere sliver of the full $858 billion in defense funding that sailed out of the Treasury’s coffers faster than you can say “military-industrial complex.” For comparison’s sake, in 2020 federal spending for the entire Children’s Health Insurance Program was a paltry $17 billion.1 Funding for Head Start, the program that provides comprehensive early childhood services for some of the most vulnerable families in the United States, comes in at even less: $11 billion for the fiscal year 2021.2 Thoughts like that sure do keep you warm at night.
To see just how much defense contractors have benefited from the United States “investment” in the Ukraine war, all you have to do is look at the all-powerful market. Since Russia’s invasion about a year ago, the stocks of Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman have all, well, rocketed upward – with Lockheed’s, for instance, up 40% during 2022 alone.3 Such a massive bump comes during a year that saw the stock market fall off a 15% cliff,4 which makes it safe to say that they have also been making some prudent investments of their own. According to Open Secrets, the defense industry has spent “over $101 million on federal lobbying during the first three quarters of 2022,”5 which would be a return on investment of nearly 857,900.00% if they received every cent of our defense spending. While certainly not everything in the defense bill will flow onto corporate balance sheets, the point remains the same: Defense industry titans are some pretty shrewd investors. Their returns even put Nancy Pelosi to shame!
America’s “investment” in the Ukraine war has also been valuable for those looking to rehabilitate their reputations. For brevity’s sake and so that everyone can keep their latest meal down, we will look at how it has paid off for two former Secretaries of State: Condoleeza Rice and, of course, Hilary Clinton herself. Both women are tainted by toxic foreign policy legacies. Rice’s is probably the most spectacularly horrific. A top figure of the Bush administration, Condi’s place in history should be irrevocably tainted by the shadow of Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been rightly called some of the worst foreign policy blunders in modern American history. Yet Clinton has compiled a pretty impressive record as well. From her votes as a senator to greenlight the War on Terror to her disastrous advocacy of regime change in Libya to her insidious policies in Honduras,6 Clinton cut a bloody swath across the world for much of her time in public office. The fact that she has never appeared to understand the limits of America’s power or the moral gravity that must come with wielding it, should, by all accounts, have to led to her being excommunicated from power’s center of gravity in this republic of ours.
Yet wherever each woman has appeared lately, they have found a mediascape more than willing to completely pass over these previous blunders and reaffirm their identities as shrewd, professional and moral political actors. For instance, Rice recently appeared on Fox News to lend her so-called expertise to a segment on the Ukraine War. At one point, the interviewer stated, “when you invade a sovereign nation, that is a war crime” in a hilarious way that made it sound like it is the most obvious axiom in the world. Even funnier, however, was Rice’s reaction. Furrowing her bow and solemnly nodding along as if listening to a poignant eulogy, Rice does a passable job of conveying human emotion and real moral aggrievement. The fact those words also perfectly apply to the antics of Bush-era toadies like herself seems to go completely over both Rice’s and the interviewer’s head. So deep does this delusion appear to be, it is almost like both women in the interview are convinced that Rice was actually secretary at a small-town law office rather than the U.S. State Department from 2005-2009. Or maybe it is like she was merely observing the Afghanistan and Iraq wars on TV during those years rather than helping wage them.
The media’s complicity in enabling and rehabilitating people like Rice extends much further than right wing hacks that populate Fox. It runs all the way, in fact, to one of the aughts’ most iconic political comedians. About a month ago, Jon Stewart, who was once routinely antagonistic toward the Bush’s disgusting War on Terror, offered his show, The Problem with Jon Stewart, as an open platform for Rice and Hilary Clinton to comically distort United States recent history and their roles in shaping it. Both were allowed to tell bold-faced lies. Rice again advanced the infamous fabrication about how the Bush administration believed that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and didn’t just lie to justify the invasion of Iraq.7 Not to be outdone, Clinton told a juicy whopper about how the United States intervened in Libya in accordance with a U.N. security resolution. She conveniently left out how the U.N. security resolution was granted for an uncorroborated accusation and then later exploited for unsanctioned regime change, all while she was torpedoing negotiations that may have stopped the slaughter.8
Even when not technically lying, Clinton and Rice displayed rank hypocrisy and shocking hubris that would be funny if it were not so insulting. At one point, Rice started to lie about how the U.S. invaded Iraq for security concerns and not to spread Western “democracy.” Stewart offered some pusillanimous push back at this juncture, piping up that the war was sold to us on EXACTLY these grounds. In response, Rice employed some fancy rhetorical maneuvering, conflating the two concepts as being basically one in the same: where any country that lacks our definition of democracy is a security concern in and of itself.
“Democratic countries don’t invade their neighbors. Democratic countries don’t harbor terrorists. Democratic countries don’t use weapons of mass destruction,” she rattled off to a silent Stewart, clearly intending for us to then conclude that non-democratic countries automatically do these things and that democratic ones never do. As most people by now know, each one of these points are utterly non-sensical. There is ample evidence from United States history that proves our guilt on all three accounts, whether that be invading countries like Haiti,9 providing military assistance to 73% of the world’s dictators10 or vaporizing thousands of Japanese people via Fat Man and Little Boy.
As someone with an interest in taking a deep dive into institutional breakdowns, it is hard to understand why Stewart so utterly failed to push back on this dogma, deceit and rancid American exceptionalism. Perhaps it is the cultural hegemon, where even the most tepid critiques of the forces behind the Ukrainian war and other conflicts get someone branded a “Putin Puppet.” Maybe at this point, guests like Clinton and Rice won’t even sit for interviews if there is adversarial energy in the air. Whatever the case, Stewart failed to speak truth to power; instead, he reaffirmed it. Clinton and Rice were able to posture as being “experts” in global relations, international diplomacy and modern warfare. They weren’t grilled on their tactical blunders. They weren’t forced to answer for America’s myriad invasions, or the way it funds proxy wars with complete impunity.
Unfortunately, the real-world consequences of puff piece interviews like these couldn’t be clearer. They further entrench the noxious ideology that defines our discourse on foreign policy. In addition, they allow creatures like Rice and Clinton to continue influencing how America thinks about and uses its soft and hard power.
The foreign policy blob and defense industry cabal that dominates Washington D.C. is full of people like Rice and Clinton who should have been discredited due to their disastrous decision-making and all-in-all expelled from polite society. Instead, the opposite seems to have occurred, particularly recently as these figures capitalizes on the media’s hunger for Ukrainian war coverage and interview subjects who are household names. When you pair this with how our beloved defense contractors making money hand-over-fist, it becomes impossible to not think, once more, about Clinton and why someone like her would see Ukrainian bloodletting as a “great investment” for the United States. Why would they think anything different, even when the record shows that such perspectives are exactly why so many in this world live to suffer?