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What next for H.C.?
“Not in a million years,” she apparently replied by e-mail in November 2008 when her political aide first told her that President-elect Barack Obama was considering her appointment.
It’s true that Hillary Clinton lacked the foreign-policy experience and that she personally was not specially close to Obama but she had energy and fame. Obama and Clinton share a vision of diplomacy and they have handled crises with /no public leaks intended to shape their private debates. They didn’t agree on everything but they seem to have worked fine together. They say she respects him and he has total confidence and trust in her.
Clinton might have lacked in scholarship and experience in foreign affairs but she has found a way to make up for it. People say that Clinton’s skill as a politician turned secretary is her appreciation that a foreign leader has his own constituencies to satisfy, his own political deals to make. She knows how to connect to with people as Madeline Albright said. “No question, she knows how to do what I think is essential: putting herself in other people’s shoes.”
She made some mistakes of course. As first lady Clinton developed a friendship with Suzanne Mubarak. When protests against Hosni Mubarak’s autocratic rule erupted in January 2011, Clinton’s initial response was to express support for Mubarak’s government. It was a misstep that took months to overcome.
After three and a half years in office her greatest legacy has been the remaking of American diplomacy that remains shaped by her own personality and philosophy. Today, even some Republicans in Congress acknowledge the skills she has brought to the job, though they remain critical of many administration policies.
There’s no sign of who might succeed Clinton. Clinton apparently plans to write another book and to pursue philanthropy. She probably simply wants a rest after four decades of public life.
She still is a secretary of state different than any other, kind of celebrity. Hillary Clinton has become brand and it will be interesting to see what will she do next.
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