Hard-line right-wing war hawk Max Boot applauds Hillary Clinton in op-ed

Lifelong Republican Max Boot, the most hawkish of hawks, insists Hillary "Clinton would be far preferable to Trump"

Published May 9, 2016 7:55PM (EDT)

Hillary Clinton   (AP/Mike Groll)
Hillary Clinton (AP/Mike Groll)

A slew of prominent right-wing figures have joined Wall Street in supporting Hillary Clinton for president.

Max Boot, a hard-line war hawk and self-declared "American imperialist," lauded the Democratic presidential front-runner in an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times on Sunday, citing her as a much better alternative to presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"If I'm not for Trump, who am I for?" wrote Boot, a lifelong Reagan Republican, in the article.

"Hillary Clinton is a centrist Democrat who is more hawkish than President Obama and far more principled and knowledgeable about foreign affairs than Trump, who is too unstable and erratic," he answered.

"For all her shortcomings (and there are many), Clinton would be far preferable to Trump," he added.

Boot however stressed that, while he is a fan of Clinton, he is "not prepared to join the" Democratic Party, "because so much of it appears to be well to her left."

It would be difficult to find someone more hawkish than Max Boot.

Boot has openly expressed support for "American imperialism." He insists that there is no need to run away from the label "imperialism," arguing the "greatest danger is that we won't use all of our power for fear of the 'I' word."

A senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Boot worked as a foreign policy advisor to John McCain in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012 and Marco Rubio this year.

He has previously publicly declared that Clinton would be “vastly preferable” to Trump.

In his Los Angeles Times op-ed, Boot took his statements a step further and accused Trump of "killing" the Republican Party he so loved.

"I have been a Republican as long as I can remember," Boot wrote. "My allegiance to the GOP was cemented during the 1980s, when I was in high school and college and Ronald Reagan was in the White House."

Reagan "shaped my worldview," with his "pro-free trade and pro-immigration" views, and his belief in "limited government at home and American leadership abroad," Boot explained.

"For the time being, at least," he said, Reagan's "Republican Party is dead." The Tea Party "wounded" it, and Trump "killed" it.

Boot correctly identified Trump as "an ignorant demagogue who traffics in racist and misogynistic slurs," but his biggest reservations were with the GOP front-runner's foreign policy.

Trump has criticized the hyper-militarist U.S. foreign policy that has dominated in this country for decades. Boot embraces it.

The extreme war hawk Boot blasted Trump for threatening to "break up the most successful alliance in history — NATO" and for "champion[ing] protectionism and isolationism."

Hillary Clinton used very similar words in the Democratic presidential debate in Brooklyn in April. "NATO has been the most successful military alliance in probably human history," she declared, while applauding it for opposing "Russian aggression" (after the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO promised not to expand eastward, but later did so anyway).

Clinton is one of the most hawkish presidential candidates in years. Even the New York Times, which endorsed Clinton for president, called her "the last true hawk left in the race," acknowledging that "neither Donald J. Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has."

In his op-ed, Boot went so far as to call the risk of a Trump victory "the biggest national security threat that the United States faces today."

He also condemned grassroots progressives who support Clinton's opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist whom Boot characterized as just as much of a threat as Trump.

"I don't 'feel the Bern' and I can't make common cause with those who do," Boot wrote. "Nor do I support Obama and his 'lead from behind' foreign policy."

Boot expressed hope that a right-wing third party will arise to challenge Trump.

"I won't vote for Trump. My hope is that he will lose by a landslide, and the Republican Party will come to its senses, rejecting both his ugly, nativist populism and the extreme, holier-than-thou conservatism represented by Ted Cruz," he wrote.

As the November presidential election creeps closer, it becomes more and more apparent that Hillary Clinton is the preferred candidate of not just Wall Street, but also of unabashed warmongers like Max Boot.

By Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Max Boot Neoconservatives War