Bill Clinton, the neocons, and Indonesia: What could go wrong?
If you ever wanted to remember why Clintons don't belong in higher office, get a load of the brief history Steve Hanke has written in a Forbes column describing their disgusting shenanigans in Indonesia, home of some of Bill Clinton's top campaign donors.
Hanke found himself in the maelstrom of it all back in early 1998, when the Great Asian Financial Crisis was taking down the Pacific Rim's finest tiger economies, all American allies, one by one. One of them was Indonesia, which held special significance for Clinton due to all that campaign cash.
To get what he wanted, Clinton got in with a group of neo-cons who had regime change on their minds and the press and multilateral muscle to back them up. Their aim was control of the greater Middle East. Clinton went along with it, and suddenly, the International Monetary Fund found itself hating currency boards (they liked them before that), and Hanke found himself branded some evil speculator with cash on his mind instead of an economic adviser – a real sliming from the press that has never been backed up with facts. The IMF saw itself as the instrument of regime change itself, too, making the argument right there against one-world government.
Look how disgusting and dishonest the proposed Clinton regime change plan was:
Why all the fuss over a currency board for Indonesia? Merton Miller understood the great game immediately. As he said when Mrs. Hanke and I were in residence at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta, the Clinton administration's objection to the currency board was "not that it wouldn't work, but that it would, and if it worked, they would be stuck with Suharto." Much the same argument was articulated by Australia's former Prime Minister Paul Keating: "The United States Treasury quite deliberately used the economic collapse as a means of bringing about the ouster of Suharto." Former U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger weighed in with a similar diagnosis: "We were fairly clever in that we supported the IMF as it overthrew (Suharto). Whether that was a wise way to proceed is another question. I'm not saying Mr. Suharto should have stayed, but I kind of wish he had left on terms other than because the IMF pushed him out." Even Michel Camdessus could not find fault with these assessments. On the occasion of his retirement, he proudly proclaimed: "We created the conditions that obliged President Suharto to leave his job."
The bad thing is that Clinton got away with it, Suharto was thrown out, and the regime change pattern was extended to Iraq and Libya, much to America's despair.
Now Trump's got the mess to clean up. Hanke's compelling account tells us a lot about why it happened in the first place.