Geopolitical Notes From India
M D Nalapat
DESPITE the abuse showered on him, that the 45th President of the United States was a misogynist, Donald Trump acted the gentleman in refusing to investigate and subsequently prosecute Hillary Rodham Clinton on the numerous charges that had been levelled against her for months during 2016. This was a statesman-like decision, for vindictive action against a former rival for the Presidency could have set up a precedent, where each President sought to get either his election rival or his predecessor in legal jeopardy. Had a prosecution been launched against Hillary Clinton, it would have been that rather than the Clinton-inspired charges against Trump that would have dominated television and print coverage in the US. Instead, now that the barrage of criticism of Trump seems to be having an impact on voters, Hillary Clinton has begun the process of coming out of the shadows of silence, beginning by giving an interview to a correspondent wo since the 1990s has been a fervent booster of the Clintons and their policies, Christiane Amanpour of CNN.
Graciously, the former First Lady did not accuse FBI Director James Comey of having taken bribes from the Kremlin in order to, in her view, poison the minds of voters about her. Such an assertion makes little sense, for all that Comey did was to reveal the truth, that there were unanswered queries about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for official correspondence. This would have made even the most confidential of communications of the then Secretary of State accessible to employees of the family-controlled Clinton Foundation. This entity itself received more than a billion dollars from foreign governments who would have been delirious with joy were they to have access to some of the communications of Hillary Clinton, an official who was in the direct line of succession to the Presidency, were the President and the Vice-President to become incapacitated.
Because of what may be termed the Trump Amnesty to the Clintons, as yet the public are not in the know of the actual provenance of several hundred million dollars in the Clinton Foundation’s kitty. Those in Washington familiar with the workings of the Clinton political machine say that intensive efforts are ongoing to try and secure information on the activities of the Trump family (notably the sons, daughter and son-in-law of the President). The expectation is that one or more of them can be charged with an offence, even if these be technical in nature. Indeed, by agreeing to be appointed as Counsellors to the President in order to get the legal right to view classified information, both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have put themselves in danger of future prosecution, as the bar for action against such appointees is low.
Even technical breaches of the law may be sufficient to ensure a rough time ahead legally for the two individuals, of whom Ivanka is known to be an idealist and Jared a superbly efficient taskmaster. As was mentioned in these columns in June 2015, Hillary Clinton was as likely to lose to Donald John Trump as Bernie Sanders was poised to win. More than anything else, it was the way in which the Clinton machine pushed aside the Sanders campaign that resulted in the defeat of the Democratic nominee in the 2016 Presidential elections. It was not Vladimir Putin or Julian Assange who used every trick in the political repertoire to ensure that Sanders was denied the Democratic Party nomination. Ironically, the Vermont Senator was told to back Hillary Clinton loudly and often “in order to defeat Donald Trump”, when in fact the very nomination of Hillary Clinton made a Trump victory on November 8, 2016 all but inevitable.
Why Bernie Sanders did not keep his word to the people of his country and oppose Hillary Clinton on the convention floor remains a secret that perhaps this brilliant and dedicated fighter for the common man will some day answer. What put Trump across the finish line was that he was much more authentic in his outreach to the voter than Hillary Clinton. Subsequently, it became known that even questions asked in the Presidential debates were passed on to the Democratic nominee, so that she could give prepared answers to them that her focus groups were assured would resonate with the voter.
Unfortunately for the Democratic Party nominee, her prepared answers sounded the way they were, packaged in advance without reflecting her true views. In contrast, Trump came across as sincere, even when he made mistakes or gave answers that were sometimes seen as politically incorrect and even offensive to many. Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump held two aces, his wife Melania and his daughter Ivanka. Both were composed throughout, and presented a side of the Trump campaign that was appealing even to those who did not intend to vote for the Republican Party nominee. A visitor to Washington will not fail to absorb the fear that is caused by the power of the Clinton political machine. There are instances in plenty of the way in which the Clintons have wreaked revenge on those who they regarded as opposed to their political success.
Of course, even those who helped were not given much joy, unless they were part of the numerous cliques that were totally beholden to the Clintons. An example was the lady member of the House of Representatives who destroyed her political career after voting for a legislative measure that was hugely unpopular with her voters. According to insiders in Washington, the lady was simply left to her fate, despite the sacrifice of a promising political career just to give President Bill Clinton a legislative victory. Even in defeat, as evidenced by the silent but effective campaign post the November 8 election to ensure that Hillary Clinton got a Trump Amnesty, the Clinton machine is the most feared and ferocious in Washington.
The co-chair of that machine, Hillary Clinton, remains in denial about the fact that it was he personality and her actions that led to defeat on November 8,2016, and not a combination of Comey and Putin. This columnist has said before, and will repeat, that Hillary Clinton ought to have kept her desire to be President in check and allowed another nominee to face Trump in 2016,ideally Bernie Sanders. Subsequently, they could help elect Chelsea Clinton as a member of the House of Representatives and later as Governor of New York. The fact remains that Chelsea Clinton has a far better chance to be a lady President of the US than her mother, whose personality and actions made it possible for Donald John Trump to do the impossible and get elected President of the world’s most powerful country.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.