The Clinton-Led State Department: Arms Dealer Extraordinaire

Yesterday this blog pointed out the utter hypocrisy of Democrats’ position on corporate subsidies, in which they make themselves out to be populist crusaders for the everyman, but then fight tooth and nail to preserve billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded welfare for some of the nation’s biggest companies. But today we learn of a more nefarious, and more morally corrupt, form of hypocrisy: Parading around as anti-war doves while funneling billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to questionable foreign regimes.

The issue comes up in the context of yet another Clinton-related scandal. An investigation conducted by the International Business Times’ David Sirota found that of the 20 nations that donated to the Clinton Foundation, 17 of them saw dramatic increases in their arms sales approved by the State Department. Sirota writes:

Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

The enhanced arms sales went to a significant number of authoritarian regimes, not typically known for their amicable relationship with the United States. Among the countries given clearance to purchase weapons were Algeria, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar. One notable example involves a $29 billion sale of Boeing advanced fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, a move that concerned Israel, our only true ally in the region, but was labeled a “top priority” for Clinton. Unsurprisingly, Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to Sirota’s report, while Boeing contributed $900,000.

If pressed (ha, right!) I’m sure Clinton would likely chalk the higher sales up to nothing more than just natural increases in year-to-year arms sales. And in some ways she may be right.

The Obama Administration has been the biggest wheeler and dealer of American-made weapons since the conclusion of World War II.

“After adjusting for inflation,” arms-control expert William Hartung wrote recently, “the volume of major deals concluded by the Obama Administration in its first five years exceeds the amount approved by the Bush Administration in its full eight years in office by nearly $30 billion.”

Perhaps most troubling is the destination of the Obama Administration-approved arms sales. Hartung finds that over 60 percent have gone to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, with Saudi Arabia being the single largest buyer. Other nations involved in large arms deals, such as Peru and Honduras, have long histories of human rights violations, including the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations.

Sadly, that was a feature, not a bug, of President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s foreign policy strategy. They believed that they could avoid direct military engagement, and finely tune the balance of power by simply dumping boatloads of weapons into the hands of purported friends (or, as was more often the case, the enemies of our enemies). But foreign policy, especially in a region as prone to destabilization as the Middle East, is much more complex than that. And if your friends don’t turn into your enemies after a regime change (Egypt) then they’re getting overrun by terrorist organizations (Iraq), which means that all those American-made weapons are suddenly being pointed at America.

So, as Allahpundit writes for HotAir:

[H]owever Team Hillary spins this, the sober fact remains for the left that their next nominee will have presided over an unprecedented spree of weapons dealing, including to brutal authoritarian regimes, which complicates the tried-and-true Democratic narrative that Republicans are the party of warmongers. In fact, expect some of the sharper GOP candidates this time around to rebut that by wondering if one not-so-hidden reason why military exports ballooned under Obama is because the world became much less safe under his foreign policy.

Good luck trying to sell that to a war weary public.