June 9, 2015

CNN: “Hillary Clinton Has Another Libya Problem”

CNN reported yesterday that Hillary Clinton’s Libya problems are not going away, noting that Clinton’s biggest challenge, confronting the aftermath of post-Gaddafi Libya, is yet to come. The aftermath not only includes two rivaling governments, but also the presence of terrorists, such as Islamic State.

Hillary Clinton has another Libya problem.

She’s already grappling with the political headaches from deleted emails and from the terror attack that left four Americans dead in Benghazi.

But she’ll face a broader challenge in what’s become of the North African country since, as secretary of state in 2011, she was the public face of the U.S. intervention to push out its longtime strongman, Moammar Gadhafi.

Libya’s lapse into the chaos of failed statehood has provided a breeding ground for terror and a haven for groups such as ISIS.…

So Clinton must be ready to explain why she backed a military operation in a region laced with extremism without effective planning for the aftermath. … Clinton has little choice but to own what happened in Libya.

Clinton’s ownership of the situation in Libya today is unavoidable. A top Clinton staffer said she had “leadership/ownership/stewardship” of U.S. policy in the country and that Clinton was also “the public face of the U.S. effort in Libya.”

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The report also points out that Clinton’s decisions on Libya bring more attention to a broader problem:

Gathering questions over Libya also point to one of the central complications of Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination, due to formally launch on Saturday: the fact that she must own a record at the State Department that lacks clear-cut diplomatic triumphs.

Given yesterday’s report, Hillary Clinton staffers might reconsider pointing to her tenure as Secretary of State as providing “credibility with voters on foreign affairs.”