The election of Hillary Clinton promises a more dangerous world

Joseph Camilleri @CatchNews | First published: 8 November 2016, 19:11 IST
Hillary Clinton

In a long and often exasperating presidential campaign, Americans and the world have been subjected to Donald Trump's odious and often incoherent rhetoric, and from both sides much vitriol and endless accusations of deceit, crookedness and sexual misconduct.

In this largely policy-free contest, Hillary Clinton's approach to the immense challenges facing the United States has escaped serious scrutiny. Yet, how America views its place in a rapidly transforming world has far-reaching implications not only for security at home and abroad, but for the economy, financial markets, the environment and much else.

How is it, then, that a former secretary of state, who loudly proclaims her intimate knowledge of world affairs, has given so little attention to the grave dangers looming on the horizon? Part of the explanation is that Clinton's campaign has judged the electorate as unwilling or unable to tune in to a serious discussion of international risks and opportunities.

Two other factors are worth noting. The positions Clinton has usually espoused, whether on Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya, have generally gravitated towards the use of military force. Nothing in her presidential campaign suggests a change of mind. But at the risk of alienating an increasingly war weary public, her minders have judged discretion to be the better part of valour.

Clinton has an acknowledged grasp of detail on many international issues. But neither her public utterances nor her stewardship of US diplomacy offer a compelling picture of a world in profound transition, or of the challenges this poses for both domestic and foreign policy.

Tension with Russia and other challenges

The first and most obvious challenge is the steady deterioration in Russo-American relations, which are now at their lowest ebb since the mid-1980s.