What’s Behind Hillary Clinton’s “Rightward” Foreign Policy Shift

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


1. Obama’s approval ratings on foreign policy, among other things, are in the toilet. Hillary Clinton rightly believes that she has to find a way to credibly distinguish herself from him. Foreign policy is the only thing she came away with from this administration.

If she can’t sell herself on foreign policy, she has no selling points left.

2. Hillary Clinton correctly anticipated that a crackup was coming and she got out the door before much of it arrived. Only Benghazi really tarred her. And while that’s bad, imagine trying to run for office while watching the mess in the Ukraine and Iraq.

The Bush era led to a leftward reaction. Hillary’s people are gambling that Obama will lead to a rightward shift and she has adjusted her positions to compensate. This may be a miscalculation on her part and it has already infuriated much of the left and Obama.

3. Hillary Clinton doesn’t actually know what’s coming. If she sounds erratic sometimes, it’s because she’s trying to anticipate the right position ahead of time.

She obviously has opinions, but she’s not really expressing them. The new “tough on terror” Hillary is an obvious fraud. But so is every other version of her. Instead of saying what she thinks, she processes everything through a committee.

And they’re all trying to anticipate the political and international climate a year from now. So Hillary has to hedge all of her positions leading to even more flip-flopping than usual.

It’s like a chess game in which you have to position yourself based on moves that a variety of other players ranging from ISIS to Rick Perry to Putin to Warren will make a year from now.

For example, Andrew Cuomo is now to the right of Hillary on Israel. Maybe he’s just trying to lock down a sure race for governor. Or maybe he’s planning to do to Hillary what he did to the last Democratic governor of New York.

4. Hillary is trying to distance herself from Obama… but there’s no distance there. In theory Hillary Clinton is slightly more interventionist than Obama.


But there’s really very little distance there. That makes it hard for Hillary to distance herself from Obama without making it personal. And that’s what happened now.

Hillary can’t talk too much about policy differences because she oversaw that policy. Instead she has to criticize Obama’s process, which is what she did. And that is a much more abrasive area.

So look for more explosions between Clintonworld and the White House.