My experience in decision-making has shown that patterns are tough to break. In the military we study an opponent looking for gaps, flaws, or weaknesses that can be exploited. Successful leaders at all levels in all disciplines conduct this kind of analysis.
It is quite clear, using that kind of analysis, that Hillary Clinton can best be described as an architect of failure when it comes to national security and international relations. The potential consequences of her flawed decision-making would be destructive to the nation if she were commander in chief.
The second presidential debate made that assessment even clearer when, in an exchange on Syria, Clinton denied being secretary of state when President Obama drew his red line against Syrian use of chemical weapons against civilians. Clinton's continued obfuscation, deception and shading of the truth went beyond the pale. "I was gone," she claimed. No, Madam Secretary, you were not gone. You were responsible for our government's foreign relations during that time.
Let's briefly review her qualifications to be commander in chief and focus on key international decisions considered to be, by her supporters, a strength. Clinton's policy decisions have affected thousands: decisions that resulted in the loss of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines; decisions that have cost this country trillions of dollars; decisions that have destabilized the Middle East and decisions that demonstrate her decision-making quality (a quality that is sadly lacking).
Unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton was a sitting United States senator who voted for the war in Iraq. By that vote in 2003, she bears some responsibility for our involvement. Later, when the war was at a tipping point in 2007 and General David Petraeus advocated for a surge of U.S. forces to regain lost momentum, she voted against it.
As secretary of state she failed to negotiate a residual force that would have prevented Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from creating sectarian strife. The ensuing strife led to the creation of an irregular war between Sunni and Shia with the Islamic State growing from that turmoil.
Each decision point was a critical event in U.S.-Iraq relations, and each a significant failure. Each have Clinton's fingerprints on them. The latter two clearly demonstrate arrogance and a a disdain for military recommendations.
Clinton considers the 2011 overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya to be one of her finest hours as secretary of state. President Obama considers it one of his worst failures. As secretary of state, she pushed for U.S. and NATO involvement against Gaddafi. When he was overthrown, there was no plan for follow-up governance. The result was instability, a huge refugee flow into southern Europe and the Islamic State gaining a foothold in Libya.
Worse was the eventual loss of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in the Benghazi terrorist attack. It was the first killing of a U.S. ambassador in the line of duty since 1979. The response from our secretary of state? She claimed his killing was the result of an anti-Islamic video.
As secretary of state she proudly pushed the "reset" button on U.S.-Russia relations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in 2009. She couldn't even get the translation on the button correct: The Russian word emblazoned on the button actually meant "overload."
How prescient. The ensuing result was Cold War 2.0. After her reset, Russia took Crimea, invaded Ukraine, strongly supported Syrian President Bashar Assad, conducted airstrikes against civilians in Aleppo, Syria and significantly increased their military and political presence in the Middle East.
In Syria, while secretary of state, Clinton watched as United Nations resolution after U.N. resolution failed. She accomplished nothing except to repeat the refrain "Assad must go." She said in 2012 that opposition to Assad was the first step towards a better future for the people of Syria.
Tell that to the 500,000 Syrian dead or the 3 million refugees. When Obama drew a red line in 2012 against chemical weapons-use against civilians, Clinton stood by and did nothing as the Syrian regime used sarin nerve gas against civilians.
In 2009, Clinton called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his wife "friends of the family." Some friends. In January of 2011 they were gone, overthrown by an Arab Spring uprising Clinton openly supported. Even greater turmoil followed under the Muslim Brotherhood until a popular uprising resulted in their overthrow.
The new, popularly-elected President Abdel el-Sisi is considered by Clinton to be governing through what is "basically an army dictatorship." Egypt has always been critical to the stability of the Middle East pertaining to Israel. We need them with us for continued efforts to maintain peace in the region. Clinton's position denigrates a key ally in the Middle East.
Including Iran, potential North Korean nuclear proliferation, unceasing Middle East instability, Chinese incursions into the South China Sea and worsening relations with Russia, the need for strong leadership and a break from the past is clear. Our next president will be faced with numerous meetings with international leaders requiring great negotiating skills. It is tailor-made for a negotiator like Trump.
Time after time after time, Clinton's performance on national security has led to failure. During a Republican debate earlier this year, Carly Fiorina said, "If you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name an accomplishment of Hillary Clinton." Although she meant it to be somewhat humorous, it is not. National security and foreign affairs are not Clinton's strong suits. Using predictive analysis, the trend line is clear: she will continue to talk large, play small and fail.
Lieutenant General (retired) Keith Kellogg is a national security advisor to Donald Trump. Kellogg served in multiple combat tours during his 32-year Army career and commanded the Army's 82nd Airborne Division. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.