Clinton Under Fire During Debate In Aftermath of Paris Attacks

Blogs & Opinion - Opinion

Tuesday, 17 November 2015 16:33 Written by Sami Mahdi

The second U.S democratic debate held in the aftermath of the deadly Paris attacks saw three leading democratic party members - Hilary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley - outline their agendas to the US in their quest to win next year's presidential race.

In his initial remarks, the debate host referred to the Paris attacks and said: "Our freedom has been attacked." Later on, the host asked each one of the candidates to convey their messages about the Paris massacre.

The three candidates then outlined their agendas on five key elements including foreign policy, national security, energy, climate and racial issues.

In the first part of her speech, Hilary Clinton prayed for the victims of the Paris carnage, but said that only praying wasn't the solution and there is a need for solid action to be taken against Daesh. She said that security still remains an important issue, therefore, the United States and its allies must take decisive action to wipe out the existence of Daesh.

But, rival candidate senator Bernie Sanders argued that the ongoing tragedy facing the Middle East and Paris were the result of wrong decisions taken on Iraq by the Bush and Obama administration in which Clinton also served as foreign secretary. Sanders mounted strong criticisms against Clinton because of her support for the Iraq invasion.

Later on, another rival candidate Martin O'Malley and accused the Obama and Bush administrations of adopting wrong polices. He said that these policies had also led to instability in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Libya.

But, questions in the minds of many people is what impact the Paris attacks will have on the US's strategy against Daesh? If Europe enters into all-out war against Daesh, is the U.S prepared to support such a move?

It is believed that the Obama administration is pursuing the policy of "strategic patience" toward countering Daesh and despite widespread attacks against Daesh by the U.S and its European allies, the U.S still hesitates to declare an all-out war against Daesh.

The White House, which also considers President Bashar Assad of Syria as an enemy, does not look set on taking resolute action against Daesh and the Russian air strikes against Assad's opponents and Daesh clarifies this fact.

There is a perception amongst U.S politicians and particularly the Democrats that participation in a war against Assad's opponents only benefits and supports the Syrian regime and it secures the interests of Assad's two key allies, Iran and Russia.

The Europeans also feel threats from two sides - on the east from Russia and in the south from Daesh. The influx of refugees has furthered added to European concerns. This issue is now forcing Europe to choose between two options and put one of them on their priority list.

Now that France has declared a state of emergency and announced the Paris attacks as acts of war, does the U.S still hold enough influence to convince Europeans to follow America's "strategic patience" stance or will the U.S leave Europe alone in this war? Both options are looking quite difficult.

Analysts believe that the current pressure will force Europeans to make a deal with Russia over Ukraine so that a united front emerges against Daesh. If this happens, then what would be the position of the U.S officials?

In light of this most of the debate was based on foreign policy issues.

In his remarks, Sanders said that the U.S was at war with Islamic radicalism. "The U.S and the west fight against Islamic radicalism," he said.

In response to Sanders' statement, Clinton attacked her rival candidate and said that the U.S was not at war against Islam but it is fighting Jihadists.

Following Clinton and Sanders' arguments, rival candidate O'Malley said that Muslims are fighting at the frontlines of terrorism, calling radical Jihadists as the main enemies.

Referring to the U.S role on counterinsurgency, Clinton said that the U.S should continue its leading role in this respect. She also rejected Sanders' recommendation for cutting the U.S military budget, arguing that today the U.S faces serious problems with the growing military buildup of China and the threats which are inflicted against the U.S by Russia.

"In view of current circumstances, it would not be logical to cut military spending," she said.

Democratic candidates also highlighted the migrant crisis and pointed out the responsibilities of the United States regarding the matter.

O'Malley said the U.S must offer asylum to at least 65,000 Syrians, while Sanders persuaded the U.S govt to complete its moral obligation regarding refugees.

A joint survey conducted by CBSN and Twitter shows that Clinton was the winner when she said that six percent of her donors were women.

Clinton won applause by noting that the majority of her donors were women who made small-dollar donations.

But in response to Sander's comments on her involvement in the Iraq crisis, she said: "He has basically used his answer to impugn my integrity, let's be frank here," she said.

Rival candidates also posed harsh attack on Clinton over her Wall Street ties.

"How would this be applicable to a candidate who receives campaign expenditures from billionaires to stand against political corruption overshadowing US elections," Sanders asked.

Sanders, who is known for his leftist ideals, said that more than one million of his supporters are those who belong to the poor and middle class.

Sanders also talked about a political revolution which he believes will remove political campaigns on the basis of corruption, he also promised free access to insurance and health and education. He said that current salary scale of $7.25 dollars per hour will be raise to $15 dollars per hour. O'Malley also agreed on a $15 dollar per hour salary range, however, Clinton said it should be $12 dollars per hour.

The conclusion of the joint survey revealed that Clinton dominated the second debate because of her close understanding of international politics with 49 percent of the people approving her popularity. 39 percent of messages were in support of Sanders, but only 12 percent of supports came in for O'Malley.

Source : tolonews[dot]com
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