Hillary Clinton had harsh words for a few foreign leaders this evening while speaking at the latest stop on her “Hard Choices” book tour. The sold out event at George Washington University was moderated by former Clinton speechwriter and staffer Lissa Muscatine.
Clinton criticized Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al- Maliki following days of unrest in the region for not committing to an inclusive government in Iraq and not cooperating with the U.S. sooner.
“The underlying problem though here is not one of military preparedness or security,” Clinton said. “The problem is the conception of leadership and governance that Maliki brought to the job of prime minister.”
The former Secretary of State said a failure at the government level combined with the extraordinary success of extremist groups in Syria, particularly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has made the crisis “especially dangerous.”
The Iraqi government appealed to the U.S. for help but Clinton said military support should not be considered unless Maliki is presented with a set of conditions. While support, in some form, is being considered, she said that’s a difficult task because “you’d be fighting for dysfunctional, unrepresentative, authoritarian government and there’s no reason on earth that I know of that we would ever sacrifice a single American life for that.”
This morning, President Obama said that he would not send troops back into combat in Iraq.
When asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin, Clinton said he is more focused on extending the country’s sphere of influence than pushing forward to create a modern economy.
“He is a determined, relentless pursuer of his vision of a Russia from the past,” she said.
She continued that whatever his vision it is imperative that the U.S. and the West ensure that he does not upset the stability established after World War II and the fall of the Soviet Union.
Audience members received a signed copy of “Hard Choices” and Clinton assured them that she signed each herself. Given the volume, she opted for first name only. Before leaving, she shook hands and took selfies with the eager crowd. The grandmother-to-be held an audience member’s baby on stage triggering applause, laughter and photographs from spectators.