Farewell, Hillary

February 4, 2013 8:00 am

Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, waved goodbye to the state department today as she plans to take a rest after three decades of public service. Former Democratic presiHillary Clintondential candidate, John Kerry, will succeed her.

Hillary, the wife of former US president, Bill Clinton, was chosen by Obama as his Secretary of State on December 1 2008, just months after a bitter rivalry between the two caused by the fight for nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate.

She steps down weeks after it was announced she had a blood clot near her brain after a fall, back in December. Clinton may remain out of politics for a while, but many are speculating whether or not she will run for president in 2016. It has been said it’s likely she will if she is feeling well enough to. Clinton will turn 71 in 2016 and if she does win over the Democrats to become their presidential candidate and goes on to win the election then she will be the first ever female president. However, 2016 is a long way away, so let’s take a moment to reflect on Clinton’s time at the State Department.

She was formally appointed Madame Secretary by Barack Obama on December 1 2008 and immediately emphasised what she coined as “smart power”, or the use of “diplomacy and development alongside defense.” She had an extremely successful run at the State Department; her approach to foreign affairs enabled her to prevent Colonel Gaddafi’s massacres (despite critics saying she masked aggressive tactics as a humanitarian front), she also successfully convinced China and Russia – arguably the world’s two biggest superpowers – in the UN Security Council to help isolate Iran and North Korea, two countries likely to cause chaos in the future.

Not only has she been successful with international relations, but also in giving a voice back to the people, particularly amongst women by ensuring women’s rights around the world were satisfactory. This was reminiscent of her work as First Lady. She also gave nongovernmental organisations a chance to be heard.

Clinton/ObamaAll of this seems trivial to her landmark work in the Arab Spring. She did a fantastic job of allowing these revolutions to happen, letting protestors do their work. Clinton ensured the US stayed on the sidelines until it was necessary to intervene,  as we saw in Libya. Her support of the protesters made a stark contrast to previous Secretary of States who would’ve supported the authoritarian regimes.

The US didn’t support every revolution. They ignored a few, including Iran’s Green Revolution. This shows that any that were supported were supported because they had political benefits for the Americans.

Her only failure was her handling of the Wikileaks exposure. She was, however, able to use her personal relationships with world leaders to her advantage, brushing aside the issues brought up by the Wikileaks revelations.

Her legacy’s impact will be demonstrated in the next few months, as we see how Syria develops. Assad continues to murder civilians and cause terror amongst the Syrian people, so how the whole Syria affair turns out will show the world how much, or how little of an impact Clinton actually had.

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