Clinton’s Welcome Candor

Hillary Clinton has spoken her mind. Barack Obama’s former secretary of state says, in essence, that foreign policy during the Obama years has been a muddle and a mess, with no evidence of a coherent strategy.

Bravo! This kind of talk will inspire weeping and gnashing of teeth among the president’s true believers on the left-most fringe of the Democratic Party. But it needed to be said. Check that: It needed to be said by one of Mr. Obama’s fellow Democrats.

Democrats can’t dismiss Ms. Clinton’s criticism as partisan sniping. No doubt some of her fellow party members will accuse her of disloyalty and opportunism. If she is planning to run for president in 2016, she will enter the race having alienated a sizeable chunk of primary voters.

All the more reason to admire her candor. She had to know she would gain very little politically by speaking so bluntly about the president’s lack of leadership in world affairs. But it’s clear that she is deeply concerned as she watches entire regions disintegrate into mindless violence while the White House tries to figure out how not to make a mistake.

“Great nations need organizing principles,” Ms. Clinton said. “‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

Precisely. But here’s what makes matters worse: The Obama White House has, in fact, done stupid stuff. It has alienated the West’s only ally in the Middle East, Israel. Worse, the White House and State Department don’t realize just how stupid this is. In fact, some officials seem to think it is not stupid at all.

Ms. Clinton correctly points out that in the absence of firm American actions in the Middle East, bloodthirsty jihadists have stepped in to fill the void. That’s the thrust of our cover story this week and the result is painfully obvious in Syria and Iraq. Psychopaths rule entire swaths of those two countries. In recent days, a woman has been stoned to death, an ancient Christian community is threatened with mass death, and beheadings have become commonplace in towns where the odious ISIS terrorist group has taken hold.

In assessing Ms. Clinton’s break from her former boss—and former bitter primary rival—consider what leftist economics writer Doug Henwood pointed out on his Facebook page: “James Carville once said about the two of them: ‘if she gave Obama one of her cojones, they’d both have two.’”

Ms. Clinton understands that evil is on the loose in the Middle East, and that the current administration has been far too cautious in saying just that—and then taking action. Her clear-eyed analysis is a welcome relief from the dangerous relativism so prevalent in the White House and Foggy Bottom these days.