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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs