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

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech 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.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs