M D Nalapat
FROM the middle of the 1990s, Hillary and Bill Clinton have been the favourites of the Washington Beltway. Both work as a team, at least while at work, and are known for rewarding their admirers and punishing their critics. After having been in close proximity to the Clintons for the eight years that the couple were in the White House, the Democratic Party 2000 presidential candidate Al Gore was not any more a Clinton admirer, which is why the Clinton machine within the Democratic Party went at less than full throttle so as to get him defeated. Gore lost to George W Bush and the country was plunged into war in Iraq, a conflagration that changed global geopolitics and severely impacted the US economy, intensifying inequalities initiated during the Clinton years and creating the social fissures that have seen the simultaneous rise of both the Left as well as the Right in the country’s politics. Bill Clinton ensured that George W Bush remained a friendly occupant in White House.
This was through skilful cultivation of the individual he had defeated in the 1992 presidential polls, George H W Bush, the father of George W Bush. Such access assisted the growth of the Clinton Foundation, whose rise accelerated when newly-elected President Barack Obama ignored warnings from his loyal associates and brought in numerous Clinton supporters into his team in 2009, led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had been recommended for the job by Vice-President Joe Biden. As a consequence of the dominance of Clinton supporters in what was nominally the Obama Administration, the Clinton Foundation grew to sizeable proportions. There has never been an investigation as to why, how and when the Clinton Foundation became so filled with cash during the Bush and Obama years, nor is there likely to be, so complete is the control of acolytes of the family within the Washington Beltway.
Were the Clintons to get exposed, the officials who assisted them would be as well, given that many prominent office-holders were complicit in helping the Clintons to reap sufficient funds to live a lavish lifestyle that included (in the case of Bill Clinton) charter travels around the world to locations where there would invariably be stimulating company to divert his attentions. Once elected on a platform that was explicit on the need to “lock up” Hillary Clinton, President Trump heeded the advice of friends in New York who knew the Clintons well and declined to launch an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
That gave an opening for the Clintons to ensure that from then onwards, Trump began to be harassed as no other President has been by a slew of inquires and allegations, that are set to continue so long as he is in office. For Trump, re-election in the 2020 polls is a requisite to keep out of jail, for if he loses, what is certain is that he will be prosecuted for “criminal conspiracy” on the shaky charge that he and Vladimir Putin were working in secret and in unison to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Clintons would like Donald Trump to be the first US President to be jailed upon leaving office, so they ensured that Special Counsel Robert Mueller collated a trove of documentation with the intention of being used in a future trial against the 45th President of the US. For that trial to happen,Trump has to lose the 2020 polls, for if he wins, the stature of limitations on the crimes he is being alleged to have committed would be over towards the midpoint of a second term (2121-2025).
Interestingly, Clinton followers do not wish to impeach the President, which is why their trusted allies such as House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi are firmly against an impeachment process. The Clintons wish to see not the impeachment of President Trump but the imprisonment of ex-President Trump. For this to happen, they need to ensure that the Democratic Party remains within their control, and for this, they need a supporter of Bill and Hillary to be the 2020 Democratic Party candidate and defeat Donald Trump. Former Vice-President Joe Biden fits this description, and he has entered the lists with the backing of the Clinton machine within the Democratic Party. The Power Pair (nicknamed “Billary” within the Beltway) needs to ensure that a completely reliable politician be Biden’s running mate, and both Amy Klobuchar as well as Beto O-Rourke meet such a specification. Both can be expected to be responsive to the needs of the Clintons.Indeed, a Biden White House would ensure that the Clinton Foundation resume the high growth high cash trajectory it was on before Trump took the White House in the last presidential polls. In contrast, both Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have independent minds, and are unlikely to dance to the tune set by the Clintons through their supporter in the White House, Joe Biden.
Given such a choice, the Clintons would rather have Trump back in the White House than Bernie Sanders, especially if the Vermont Senator chooses the attractive and dedicated Kamala Harris as his running mate. Which is why an effort has been launched to discredit Sanders. Such Clinton favourites as Pete Buttegeig are saying that there is hardly any difference between those who back Trump and those who root for Sanders, a proposition that may be grotesque, and yet in the febrile world of US politics, be believed by many. Had Sanders not been cheated of the nomination in 2016, he would have beaten Trump, a feat that Hillary Clinton proved incapable of achieving. Should Sanders overwhelm the sabotage operations of the Clinton machine and secure the 2020 Democratic Party nomination, he is very likely to beat Donald Trump, given that the US is among the most unequal societies on earth. Rather than competition having increased, from the 1990s Clinton years onwards, monopolies have grown, including in the tech sector.
Meanwhile in the US, the question is whether the Clintons will succeed in gifting Biden the Democratic Party nomination, and subsequently getting him elected. If Sanders were to overcome sabotage by the Clintons and win the nomination, the Clinton machine would prefer that the 2020 winner be Donald Trump, a President who has talked a lot against the Clintons but who has done nothing against them. Nothing.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.