Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Statescraft
The Christian Science Monitor has a cover-story about the State Department under Hillary Clinton and it’s a good read. Here are some excerpts:
…For most of the young Africans in the hall, especially the women, it was a thrill to be so intimately addressed by Clinton.
Clinton’s speech that early August afternoon was a small affair among the hundreds of talks she has given, the thousands of miles traveled, and dozens of fraught issues addressed as secretary of State – from crafting a “reset” with Russia to addressing China’s military rise with East Asian allies. But there she was, expounding on the role she sees development playing in US foreign policy, with special emphasis on a favorite theme – women.
In that sense, it offered a glimpse into how this reluctant chief diplomat with the unique curriculum vitae – former first lady and senator from New York, and onetime chief political rival of the president she serves – culls from personal narrative in her approach to shaping US foreign policy.
It is Hillary Clinton the politician who returns to villages in Africa she last visited as first lady and addresses people by their first names. It is Hillary Clinton the woman and mother who takes alleged mass rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a personal affront. And it is Hillary Clinton, the once-assumed and later vanquished future president, who opened the formal return to Middle East peace talks in Washington this month by urging the Israeli and Palestinian people to rise above “the disappointments of the past” to become “champions” for peace.
Seventeen months into a job she resisted accepting, Hillary Rodham Clinton is seen by many longtime analysts as making a quiet mark on US statecraft through hard work and by reaching down into the well of personal experience.
They see her patiently rebuilding America’s image in the world and expanding US diplomatic reach by securing more resources for the State Department from former colleagues in the US Congress. While some still question her creative vision and negotiating skills – a hallmark of successful secretaries of State – others laud her for embarking on a redefinition of American foreign policy that gives new weight to diplomacy and development alongside defense…
Definitely go read the whole article at the link above because I only highlighted the very beginning of it. There are also some great photos of her travel.
What I like about the article is not only is it a largely positive profile of Secretary Clinton, but more importantly, it is a substantive profile that recognizes the hard work she has been doing not only in the public eye, but perhaps more importantly, behind the scenes. There are always going to be naysayers but for the most part this article focuses on the more subtle aspects of statescraft.
As I said in a previous post, Secretary Clinton is a work horse, not a show horse and the media needs to stop focusing so much on trying to define the relationship between Secretary Clinton and Obama and on such nonsense as hair clips, but instead focus on the difficult task of promoting U.S. foreign policy at a time when much of the world had turned their back on us (as a result of the Bush years). There is no magic wand and those that want instant results aren’t being realistic, but there is no doubt that Secretary Clinton has done more to promote the diplomatic interests of the US than any other Secretary of State in recent memory- and she has done it by reaching out to average citizens in places like Pakistan, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, China etc. She seems to fundamentally understand that the wheels of the world are not moved solely by the rich and the powerful but rather by everyday men and women who work, hope and struggle to improve their situation and lot in life.
Here are a few of the photos from the article: