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Tony Shaffer: Hillary Can't Run on 'Abysmal' State Dept. Tenure

By    |   Friday, 10 April 2015 03:45 PM

Hillary Clinton running for president on her record as secretary of state will be difficult to take seriously considering the shambles she made of U.S. foreign policy, says defense analyst and Special Ops combat veteran Tony Shaffer.

"She was an abysmal secretary of state with no real accomplishments," Shaffer, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a retired Army lieutenant colonel who fought in Afghanistan, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV on Friday.

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Clinton will officially declare her candidacy this weekend, possibly on Sunday, according to reports that have her easing into the 2016 presidential campaign with an announcement online and a campaign stop in Iowa.

Shaffer greeted the prospect of Clinton's long-awaited candidacy with a review of her 2009-2013 State Department tenure.

"She touts herself as someone fully qualified for the office of president," said Shaffer, countering, "OK, you served as the most-traveled secretary of state, but under your watch, Madame Secretary, you had a number of very catastrophic failures.

"First, the so-called reset with Russia," he said. "We all know where that went. And more importantly, the Middle East is now — from the mishandling of Arab Spring — completely on fire. So, if that's any example of what we can expect from a President Hillary Clinton, I just don't know what to say. I am speechless."

Shaffer also doubted that Clinton would put aside her ideological instincts to hire the most qualified and capable people in national security, foreign policy and defense. He pointed to the current post-holders in those critical areas under President Barack Obama.

"It's as if the high school debating team is in charge," said Shaffer. "You cannot afford to hire ideologues who simply agree with you politically but cannot think outside of that very minute box."

Shaffer said Obama might have hired Clinton in his first term thinking she would be "an adequate if not exemplary secretary of state."

"The contrary proved to be true," he said, adding, "Frankly, if you become president after having such an abysmal record, you would probably continue to pick people who are equally unqualified to help you."

Shaffer, author of a tell-all Afghanistan combat memoir, "Operation Dark Heart", cautioned that Republican presidential candidates will also need to get up to speed.

"Each candidate will have a blind spot regarding national security," he said. "A lot of folks have not served in this area — it is not quite rocket science, but it's pretty darn close. So, you have to have people [running] who are willing to be educated."

That means candidates bringing in "people who have real experience and real success, rather than the old political class who continue to say the same thing over and over," he said.

Shaffer also discussed Iran's supreme leader's slamming the tentative nuclear agreement  reached between his country and six world powers, led by the United States, hoping to prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

"This is all real," said Shaffer, rejecting the view that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is just negotiating in public ahead of a June 30 deadline by accusing a "devilish" America of lying about what Iran has agreed to and by insisting that all economic sanctions be lifted as soon as the deal is finalized.

"This is one of the things which this administration has just not been willing to accept," he said. "The Iranians are playing for time. It is to their advantage to continue to kick the can down the road."

He said negotiators have to "wise up here and quit basically giving in to every demand. They've got to come to a point of where they say enough is enough."

"President Obama keeps saying, 'well, the alternative is war,' " said Shaffer. "No, the alternative is not war. It is suing for a better agreement where you hold the Iranians accountable."

Shaffer said the Obama administration wants a nuclear deal so badly it is "purposefully" letting Houthi rebels backed by Iran run roughshod over Yemen. He called Secretary of State John Kerry's warning to Iran to back off in Yemen "meaningless."

He also said that if Iran does develop a nuclear weapon, expect Saudi Arabia to follow suit.

"We will see an arms race like we've not seen since the Cold War," he said.

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Hillary Clinton running for president on her record as secretary of state will be difficult to take seriously considering the shambles she made of U.S. foreign policy, says defense analyst and Special Ops combat veteran Tony Shaffer.
Tony Shaffer, Hillary Clinton, 2016 election
Friday, 10 April 2015 03:45 PM
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