Clinton used three strategies to defer in tonight’s debate:
Argue that things could’ve been worse: Earlier tonight, Clinton argued that if we hadn’t intervened, then Libya would be Syria now, saying, “If we had not joined with our European partners and our Arab partners to assist the people in Libya, you would be looking at Syria.”
Argue that it’s ISIS’s fault: ISIS has certainly benefited from the chaos and instability in Libya, but arguing that they are the cause of that chaos and instability is something of an innovation. But Clinton laid the majority of the responsibility for Libya’s current state at the group’s feet when pressed on the intervention she helped lead in 2012.
Argue that it’s Libya’s fault: When asked if she should bear responsibility for Libya’s troubles, Clinton said that we did our “due diligence” in Libya and offered more help—but that the Libyans wouldn’t take it.