News / USA

Hillary Clinton Issues Foreign Policy Memoir: 'Hard Choices'

Hillary Clinton Issues Foreign Policy Memoir: 'Hard Choices'i
X
Scott Stearns
June 06, 2014 11:23 PM
Hillary Clinton on June 10 releases a memoir of her time as Barack Obama's first-term secretary of state. It's an opportunity to put her stamp on her record as America's top diplomat ahead of a possible run for the presidency in 2016. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.
Hillary Clinton has released a memoir of her time as President Barack Obama's first-term secretary of state. It's an opportunity to put her stamp on her record as America's top diplomat ahead of a possible run for the presidency in 2016.

Clinton said she had a team of researchers to help with the diplomatic biography Hard Choices, but the final story is hers alone.

"I had to take responsibility for every word. I had to be the one who decided how I wanted to describe a situation, how I thought it fit in to my overall view about where America is in the 21st century," she said.

As secretary, she carried abroad Obama's message of change from the diplomacy of former President George W. Bush.

Public record

U.S. Institute of Peace analyst Steve Heydemann said, "I think she certainly succeeded in communicating to both publics and governments around the world that the Obama administration, when it comes to matters of foreign policy, is the anti-Bush, that there is a commitment to consultation, that there is a commitment to working through international institutions."

That made her Washington's most-traveled secretary of state, but limited individual diplomatic gains, according to American Enterprise Institute analyst Michael Auslin.

"The general rap on Clinton is that she really accomplished very little in her time as secretary of state, despite all of the frenetic, non-stop flying around the world. The one area that they could claim at least a policy break with the Bush administration was in Asia," said Auslin.

Clinton helped direct the Obama administration's so-called Asia Pivot of diplomatic, commercial, and military resources.

But Auslin said that pivot has withered under greater Chinese claims to disputed waters.

"Very little is being done to materially affect what is happening in the region, i.e., the territorial disputes and coercion and the like. So I think that she can make a claim that, 'We had the better idea.'I don't think she can make the claim that, 'We had the better outcome,'" said Auslin.

Clinton said her biggest regret is the 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. In her book, she said some "exploit" that attack as a political tool.

Clinton testimony

Clinton's Senate testimony on Benghazi was the most contentious of her tenure.

Republican Senator John McCain said, "There are many questions that are unanswered. And the answers, frankly, that you have given this morning are not satisfactory to me."

As she does now, Clinton then focused on bringing to justice those responsible.

"The fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they would go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again," said Clinton.

Popular uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East were diplomatic opportunities missed, said Heydemann.

"Nothing that Hillary Clinton did while she was in office really changed the perceptions of the U.S. within the Arab world, at least, where our popularity continues to be pretty low," he said.

On the war in Syria, Heydemann said that Clinton pushed for a harder line than the president. "Everything that we know about Secretary Clinton's tenure in office suggests that she was an advocate for more direct engagement by the U.S. in Syria, and that she supported efforts for example to provide weapons to vetted elements of the armed opposition."

Heydemann said the president may have been better served by taking Clinton's advice on Syria, a diplomatic difference she may use to distinguish herself from the president if she runs for the White House herself in 2016.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Steve
June 07, 2014 2:38 PM
Diplomatic opportunities missed, well that's easy to say, but for those folks in Zimbabwe, who were looking to the USA for help, none was forthcoming it was all but too obvious, they were "abandoned" and no visit was made?


by: Elena from: romania
June 07, 2014 12:09 PM
Once upon a time the latin poet Ovidiu wrote:
And the face you show to us never sleep with you.
and I think it is true for this lady too.


by: james george from: 81419
June 06, 2014 9:24 PM
"stupid choices" or "no choices" would be better titles.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid