News / USA

Clinton's Years as Top US Diplomat

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who steps down as America's top diplomat Friday, has repeatedly been seen by the public as the world's most admired woman, according to surveys by the Gallup organization.

Clinton steps down from her State Department post, having worked to rebuild relationships damaged by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while pivoting U.S. assets to the Asia-Pacific. But she says the cause of her life is empowering women.

"It is just foolish to try and build a strong economy or a stable democracy while treating half the population as second class citizens at best, as some other species at worst," she said. "And yet in too many places that is exactly how women are treated, they have few or no political rights, they are subjected to terrible violence, their health, even their lives are disregarded."

Human Rights Watch deputy Washington director Sarah Margon says Clinton put women's rights at the center of foreign policy.

"Her willingness and, in fact, eagerness to meet with civil society groups is a real indication that foreign policy is no longer just about government-to-government relations. It's about engaging all kinds of groups," said Margon.

In sub-Saharan Africa, Center for Strategic and International Studies analyst Jennifer Cooke says Clinton pushed for accountability for abuses against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

"She leaves a strong legacy of diplomacy whether it's in Kenya, whether it's in Cote d'Ivoire, whether it's in Senegal, tackling these big issues in DRC," Cooke said.

But Clinton also has detractors.  In the case of Syria, she has been criticized for not doing enough to help opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.

And she has drawn criticism for security failures in Libya -- at the U.S. mission in Benghazi where four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack last September.

"Certainly, the loss of American lives in Benghazi was something that I deeply regret and am working hard to make sure we do everything we can to prevent," Clinton said. "When you do these jobs, you have to understand at the very beginning that you can’t control everything."

On balance, says Cato Institute analyst Malou Innocent, Clinton's time at the State Department will be an asset if she makes a second run for president.

"Certainly as foreign policy wonks in Washington D.C. we can sort of dissect here and there, but for the majority of the American people they are going to look at her resume, which has been stunning. So certainly that will help her in 2016," Innocent said.  

Having lost her party's nomination in 2008, Clinton says she is not thinking about running again.

"It is up to me to make a decision on my own future," Clinton said. "I right now am not inclined to do that, but I will do everything I can to make sure that women compete at the highest levels not only in the United States, but around the world."

Clinton jokes that the first thing she will do after she leaves Washington is catch up on 20 years of sleep deprivation.

  • State Department employees welcome Hillary Clinton to the State Department building in Washington, January 22, 2009.
  • Former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea during the ceremonial swearing-in for Hillary Clinton, February 2, 2009, at the State Department in Washington.
  • Clinton is accompanied by Turkish talk show hosts during the taping of a show for the Turkish news channel NTV in Ankara, Turkey, March 7, 2009.
  • President Obama and Clinton tour the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, June 4, 2009.
  • Hillary Clinton greets students upon arrival at the flood-stricken Malanday National High School at Marikina city, Philippines, November 12, 2009.
  • Clinton poses with U.S. Army soldiers during a brief visit to the U.S. camp at the military airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, November 19, 2009. Clinton visited to attend the inauguration of President Hamid Karzai.
  • Secretaryn Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama share a laugh during their participation in the 2010 International Women of Courage Awards at the State Department in Washington, March 10, 2010.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Clinton in Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 25, 2010, during the Women's History Month celebration. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson applauds at left.
  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Clinton, and other foreign ministers pose for a group photo after the Kabul International Conference at the Foreign Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 20, 2010.
  • Clinton pauses to put on lipstick while talking with Turkey's President Abdullah Gul (R) at the start of a United Nations Security Council meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 23, 2010.
  • President Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton walk together off stage at a holiday reception for diplomats at the State Department in Washington, December 13, 2010.
  • Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli, Libya October 18, 2011.
  • Clinton tours the Shwedegon Pagoda, a Buddhist temple founded between the 6th and 10th centuries AD, in Rangoon, Burma, December 1, 2011.
  • Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi with Clinton after a meeting at Suu Kyi's residence in Rangoon, Burma, December 2, 2011.
  • Clinton walks with Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boiko Borisov (R) and members of his cabinet before a news conference in Sofia, February 5, 2012.
  • Clinton is pictured in the U.S. delegation as President Barack Obama meets with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon in Los Cabos June 18, 2012, to attend the G20 leaders summit.
  • Secretary Clinton embraces Triza Lapani after the teen helped Clinton put on a chitenje cloth, a traditional skirt, after speaking at Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) run by the Peace Corps, in Lilongwe, Malawi, August 5, 2012.
  • Clinton is dressed by Emmie Phiri, chairperson of the dairy farmers during her visit to Malawi, August 5, 2012.
  • Clinton meets with Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, at his home in Qunu, South Africa, August 6, 2012. During his 94th birthday celebration in July, the leader met Hillary's husband and former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
  • Clinton adjusts her black pearl necklace, a gift from Cook Islands' Prime Minister Henry Puna (L) during a sustainable development and conservation event in Rarotonga, August 31, 2012.
  • Secretary Clinton at a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 5, 2012.
  • Actress Meryl Streep uses her iPhone to get a photo of her and Clinton following the State Department Dinner for the Kennedy Center Honors gala December 1, 2012 at the State Department in Washington.
  • Clinton holds up a football helmet with the State Department logo on it, presented by Deputy Secretary Thomas Nide, who joked that "Washington is a contact sport," January 7, 2013.
  • Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill, January 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify Power Base

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
February 01, 2013 6:39 PM
Hillary Clinton is right to initiate a foreign policy for the priority for women's liberation and their education in foreign countries to have a stable modern society and government. This foreign policy initiative will produce better results in the long run than the short term military assistance to many of the African countries and Middle East.

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 01, 2013 1:50 PM
The Clinton era as the Secratary of State has come to an end; she will certainly be missed. Her incredible efforts, stamina at trying to better the world, her strong stand on equality, her principled approach to women's emancipation issues, and her flawless diplomatic skills, have left a very positive impression on all. She has a real ability to push hard without causing/giving offense, a very difficult characteristic to achieve, as examplified by her dealings with the leaders of many of the islamic countries, were competent and capable outcomes resulted. Overall a very good experience for her, she demonstrated high intellect, strong character fibres,openess, frankness, credibility, all the attributes for the making of the great next president.

by: NVO from: USA
January 31, 2013 11:40 AM
Oh, but there is more!What most Americans believe to be ‘Public Opinion’ is in reality carefully crafted and scripted propaganda designed to elicit a desired behavioral response from the public.” Bilderbergers, Trilaterists, and CFR leaders back it as another step toward global integration and won’t “stop until the entire world is unified under the auspices and the political umbrella of a One World Company, a nightmarish borderless world run by the world’s most powerful clique” – comprised of key elitist members of these dominant organizations. Bilderbergers held their annual meeting in Vouliagmeni, Greece, and according to Daniel Estulin have dire plans for global economies.

According to his pre-meeting sources, they’re divided on two alternatives:

“Either a prolonged, agonizing depression that dooms the world to decades of stagnation, decline and poverty (or) an intense but shorter depression that paves the way for a new sustainable world order, with less sovereignty but more efficiency.”

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs