Hawkish Hillary bashes 'dangerous' Donald in foreign policy speech

Hillary Clinton took aim at her Republican rival for the presidency, calling him unfit for the office and ignorant about America and the world. The ex-secretary of state talked about her foreign policy experience, but failed to mention Benghazi even once.

The Democratic front-runner delivered a much-heralded speech in San Diego, California, on a stage decorated with seventeen American flags, and preceded by a repeated rendition of John Philip Sousa's famous march Stars and Stripes Forever.

Clinton’s half-hour scripted address painted Trump as a dangerous man, ignorant of the world and out of touch with America, while playing up her tenure at the helm of the State Department.

“I’m proud to run on my record,” Clinton said. “I’ve offered clear strategies for how to defeat ISIS, strengthen our alliances, and how to insure Iran never gets a nuclear weapon.”

“I believe in my heart that America is an exceptional country,” she told the applauding audience. “America’s network of allies is part of what makes us exceptional, and our allies deliver for us every day.”

Clinton pointed out how she negotiated with China on climate change, talked nuclear weapons reduction with Russia and Iran, and stood up for the rights of women, minorities and LGBT people around the world.

“Making the right call takes a cool head and respect for the facts. It takes a willingness to listen to other people’s points of view with a truly open mind. It also takes humility,” Clinton argued, reminiscing about her advice to President Barack Obama in 2011, as he prepared to authorize the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.

“It was a decision only a president could make. And when he did, it was as crisp and courageous a display of leadership as I’ve ever seen,” she said.

The speech made no reference to Clinton’s involvement in the 2011 intervention in Libya, though she famously quipped “We came, we saw, he died” when she received news that Colonel Gaddafi was killed by the US-backed rebels that year. Likewise, she did not mention the deaths of a US diplomat and another State Department employee in the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.

The main purpose of the address, however, was to go after Trump – and Clinton did so, in very personal terms. Trump’s ideas “aren’t just different, they are dangerously incoherent,” she argued. “They’re not even really ideas – just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies.”

“He believes America is weak, and an embarrassment,” she said. “Those are the words of someone who doesn’t understand America and the world. They’re the world of someone who would lead us in the wrong direction.

Trump “is not just unprepared, he is temperamentally unfit” to hold the office, she said, noting that he should not be given the nuclear launch codes. “It’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because someone got under his very thin skin.”

“There’s no risk of people losing their lives if you blow up a golf-course deal. But it doesn’t work like that in world affairs,” she said, taking a shot at Trump’s real-estate empire.

“This isn’t reality television, this is actual reality,” she added later, mocking Trump’s TV show The Apprentice.

Clinton also accused her opponent of harboring a “bizarre fascination with dictators and strongmen” and “affection for tyrants” best left to psychiatrists to explain.

“We are not a country that cowers behind walls. We lead with purpose, and we prevail,” she added, taking aim at the GOP candidate’s famous proposal to build a border wall with Mexico.

Trump was quick to fire back on Twitter.

Trump’s vision for America is “one that’s angry, afraid, and based on the idea that America is fundamentally weak and in decline,” Clinton said. “The other is hopeful, generous, and confident in the knowledge that America is great – just like we always have been.”

There were plenty of appeals to fear in the the Democratic front-runner's speech, however – fear of what might happen to the “exceptional country” if Trump carries the election in November.

“If America doesn’t lead, we leave a vacuum – and that will either cause chaos, or other countries will rush in to fill the void. Then they’ll be the ones making the decisions about your lives and jobs and safety,” Clinton argued. “That is not an outcome we can live with.”

“Moscow and Beijing are deeply envious of our alliances around the world, because they have nothing to match them,” she added. “They’d love for us to elect a President who would jeopardize that source of strength. If Donald gets his way, they’ll be celebrating in the Kremlin. We cannot let that happen.”