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The Afterparty Continues
ISIS in Libya Threatens Rome, Hillary Clinton Hardest Hit

After capturing the world’s attention with the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts, ISIS’s new Libyan branch is looking north across the Mediterranean to Italy. According to The Telegraph:

The Isil propagandist, who uses the alias Abu Arhim al-Libim, describes Libya as having “immense potential” for Isil. He points out with relish that it is awash with weapons from the Libyan civil war, when large quantities of Col Gaddafi’s arsenals were appropriated by rebels.

[…] He writes: “It has a long coast and looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat.”

He also cites “the number of trips known as ‘illegal immigration’ from this coast, which are huge in number … if this was even partially exploited and developed strategically, pandemonium could be wrought in the southern European states and it is even possible that there could be a closure of shipping lines and targeting of Crusader ships and tankers.”

Libya was a mess even before ISIS got in on the act; this is unlikely to improve matters.

Here’s something else that ISIS’s rise in Libya won’t improve: the prospects of the Democratic party’s heir apparent. Hillary Clinton’s claim to be a serious, credentialed candidate largely rests on her tenure as Secretary of State; at the top of her list of accomplishments in that office are the Libya campaign (which she lobbied a reluctant President Obama to undertake) and the reforms in Burma. Now Libya is very visibly sliding from bad to worse—and Burma doesn’t look good either.

Could Clinton’s 2016 chances be in greater peril than most people realize? The journalistic and foreign policy establishments increasingly are saying out loud what has been clear for some time: that the Libya intervention was a terrible disaster, poorly planned, poorly executed, poorly thought through — and abysmally followed up on. Under the circumstances, Camp Clinton has to hope that Libya will simply fade away as an issue in world politics. The appearance of ISIS in the anarchy that used to be Libya makes that outcome much less likely.

One issue rarely makes or breaks a presidential campaign, but foreign policy competence is an important pillar of Hillary Clinton’s current strategy. Developments in Libya and, increasingly, Burma threaten that narrative. The Clintons are survivors, bouncing back from scandals and misfortunes that would crush lesser political figures, so we advise readers to remember that the Clintons are a force of nature in American politics. Nevertheless, Republicans and Democrats running against Clinton in 2016 now have a real issue to use on the hustings against her. It will be interesting to see what they make of it.

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  • f1b0nacc1

    At this point, what difference does it make?
    Oh, wait….

  • qet

    Sorry, I just have to reiterate–Hillary Clinton has no more credentials for the presidency than has the current president. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Nor does Warren. The evolution of the Democratic Party to full New Left is complete, and they seem incapable of nominating a serious person to the office. Yet the media-conditioned drones in this country together with the tens of millions (and growing) who have grown accustomed to an ever-expanding suite of government benefits and who prefer to expend what little brain power they have on contemplating Kardashians and how many Facebook likes they have not only will dutifully vote for, but actually prefer whatever bag of rocks the Dems nominate in 2016.

    • FriendlyGoat

      So, by your reasoning, people who want “credentials” in the presidency must vote against mitigation of climate change, against any gun control, against voting rights, against collective bargaining rights, against Social Security and Medicare, against women’s reproductive rights, against environmental conservation, against federal standards for health care and education, against jobs (by allowing the GOP to railroad more high-end tax cuts), and against individuals’ rights (by allowing the GOP to put more corporate-leaning judges on the bench.)

      Your “credentials” argument just doesn’t justify giving up all these things. The Kardashian part is silly and beneath you.

      • qet

        No, you are confusing talking points–as in, talk is cheap–for political competence. Anyone can say they are “against this” or “for that.” That is insufficient. Being the chief executive of the United States entails more than just having a “position” on something. And it isn’t just political competence that Obama lacks (as do Hillary and Warren). It is political will, and the political experience needed to enact that will. Obama shows little interest in actually working, because he has no idea what to do, because his political career has been nothing but posturing and speechifying. He couldn’t be more different from LBJ, for example. I don’t want to see another LBJ in office for ideological reasons, but at least he knew what he was doing and wanted to be doing it and was effective at doing it. LBJ was a grownup. Why aren’t the Democrats supporting today’s LBJ instead of Obamas II and III–Hillary and Warren? What is the matter with the political Left in this country? I am not arguing that political competence is found only on the right. But I am arguing that the politically active Left media today–as evidenced by Slate, Salon, Vox, the WaPo and even the NYT, among others–devalue political experience and competence entirely. The Left today assimilates politics to entertainment and judges political actors by the same standards they judge actors and celebrities by. This is why every picture of Obama taking a selfie, every photo of him or someone in his administration responding to a foreign policy crisis via a selfie and a hashtag, is met with a fresh round of swooning and adoration by the Left in this country.

        As for the Kardashian reference, which I use as a reference to pop culture generally, I stand by it. It may not fit the people who frequent this place–all 10 of us–but it does fit the tens of millions of people, especially young people, who put Obama into office. Honestly FG–44th President of the United States of America Barack Obama goes on Jimmy Fallon as “the Preezy of the United Steezy” and is hailed for it, and you’re trying to tell me that my Kardashian reference is unworthy? Putin is flying his bombers close to NATO airspace and sending his nuclear subs into Nato waters on a daily basis, he has conquered Crimea and is doing the same to Ukraine; ISIS is burning hundred of captives alive, and Al Q has taken over Yemen and we had to evacuate our embassy; our ambassador to Libya was assassinated/murdered and his body dragged around for the cameras–all of this, and more, and our President goes on a late night TV show to play Preezy of the United Steezy. And you question my questioning of credentials?

        • FriendlyGoat

          I can’t imagine an LBJ-like character being electable in the 21st Century. He wasn’t really electable in 1960 which is why Kennedy got the nomination and Johnson did not. Due, in part to Kennedy’s assassination, though, AND a cooperative Congress, Johnson got a lot of great things accomplished. He also presided over disastrous and tragic—-for the servicemen—–error with Vietnam, (a sort of thing Obama has not been doing).

          In the age of 2016, ideology is everything (for me, anyway). The long negative tail of too many high-end tax cuts and too many wingnut judges just LASTS TOO LONG (generations) for young people to be “playing with”—-as they would be, for instance, if they mess around and elect Jeb Bush or Scott Walker. The alternative “benefit” they would get from one of these guys as Commander in Chief is effectively nothing—–because ANYBODY can prosecute wars if Congress and DoD are in the mood.

          I wish we had another younger candidate of Obama’s political talent rising on the left to become electable. As far as I know, we don’t for this next one less than 2 years out. So, I’ll be supporting Mrs. Clinton, or whomever the Dems nominate, and I’ll be doing so entirely on the justification of Dem platform vs. GOP platform.

  • Anthony

    Oh well more diversion for Clinton detractors as well as opportunity for reflexive political party castigation – where the voting public goes wrong is in whom it accepts as plausible candidates (not men or women of proven knowledge, ability, and purpose but men and women who appeal to various unexamined prejudices). People in general it appears are far more responsive to blandishments than to probity. Lastly regarding Presidential Credentials, ??? The President, we are informed, plays many roles: chief executive, commander-in-chief, head of state, party leader, and chief legislator. But most importantly, The President remains guardian and representative of capitalism. To that end, all who acquire nomination (sans subjective credential weighing) will have met that criteria – Hillary Clinton and anyone else despite party label.

    • qet

      Anthony, on this you are not well served by your even-handed persona. All politicians appeal to unexamined prejudices, some even to your own. Yet within the politician class there are still those who are more competent, those who are less competent, and those who are incompetent. Obama and Hillary both fall squarely in the last category (and I maintain that Warren does as well). It isn’t immoral or a personal failing not to be competent to perform the office of president of the United States. It is a moral and personal failing to vote such a person into the office.

      • Anthony

        I agree, we all may be subject to subliminal appeals (and those like you may acknowledge our human biases but we need more…). Regarding our political class (actually entrepreneurial class – PUBPOLS as defined by a late professor), yes some may be more capable than another but for me none are paladins for public interest (which is how they scrounge for our support and vote). Obama, Clinton, Bush 43, Reagan, and others generally all fit flexible criteria required for our electoral process (and I will stipulate your point about some appearing bemusingly more capable than others). At end of day (excluding competence quotient), the professional politician and his assigns knows what they want and usually get it (election); while the demoralized public remains in a kind of cat and mouse game. As far as deducing morality, personal failing, incompetence in execution, or immorality in voter or office holder behavior, I will only say that one could easily draw implication that a largely incapable public exercises its judgment electorally to its own disadvantage consistently while President of united States (whomever persona and or their perceived competence) systemically rolls on – as I said a sort of cat and mouse…

  • adk

    Libya is one of Hillary’s problems. Here’s another.

    Foreign Government Gifts to Clinton Foundation on the Rise

    Donations raise ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up expected 2016 bid

    The Clinton Foundation has dropped its self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments and is winning contributions at an accelerating rate, raising ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency.

    Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline.

    And this:

    Hedge Fund Co-Founded by Chelsea Clinton’s Husband Suffers Losses Tied to Greece

    Eaglevale Partners’ Main Fund Lost Money in Two of Past Three Years

    Among investors in Eaglevale’s main fund is Goldman Sachs Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, people familiar with the matter said.

    From the start, Eaglevale’s moves have been closely followed, investors said, partly because of Mr. Mezvinsky’s family connection. Ahead of the firm’s launch, Goldman Sachs hosted group sessions for prospective investors that drew standing-room-only crowds. The investment bank is one of the firm’s prime brokers, which help hedge funds execute trades and introduce them to potential backers.

    The founders’ pedigree helped raise them money, investors said. One of Mr. Mezvinsky’s partners, Bennett Grau, got his start at J. Aron & Co., the commodity-trading arm that produced many of Goldman Sachs’s current leaders, including Mr. Blankfein.

  • jeburke

    That ISIS threat may be an ominous warning of pirate attacks on shipping. Somali pirates have shown how easy that is. Imagine ISIS pirates taking a cruise ship hostage…

    • f1b0nacc1

      The Somali pirates where initially successful because they were operating in a area with almost no naval patrols. This would NOT be the case in the Med. I should point out that once the West began serious antipiracy patrols in the region, most of the Somali piracy disappeared.

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