A long profile on Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post earlier this week highlights the 2011 Libyan intervention as a key indicator of her approach to foreign policy. Clinton claims that the Libyan bombing campaign was an example of “smart power at its best.” If she actually believes that, it raises serious questions about her judgment, as well as about her ability to analyze foreign policy dispassionately and with the best interests of the United States at heart. If Clinton is willing to point to Libya as a “signature moment in her four-year tenure” as secretary of state, as the story says, then her resume is breathtakingly shallow.
The story doesn’t come off as uniformly flattering. The headline calls it “a tough call” that supposedly “still haunts” Clinton, and the subhead references Clinton’s ill-considered support for the war in Iraq in 2002. But all of the people quoted by name in the story are Clinton supporters or advocates for the operation that ousted Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi from power, and eventually resulted in his death. The Post should have searched harder for critics who believe that the decision to intervene was flawed at the outset. Instead, the story failed to include a single attributable quote pointing out that the war didn’t serve U.S. national security interests.