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More headlines: Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy

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Obama: Her stature abroad meant she carries message further

The idea of choosing Clinton for secretary of state was first raised over the summer. Few remembered that when he was elected to the Senate in 2005 he gravitated to Clinton. She was the one who best understood how to arrive as a celebrity and still be effective with colleagues. When Obama said publicly in 2007 that they began the race as friends, he was being sincere. He found Bill Clinton exasperating but Hillary formidable, even when she was delivering the blows.

The selection, he said later, "was not a light-bulb moment," but it dawned on him that her stature abroad meant she could carry his message faster and farther than anyone else. He simply was not going to have time to travel to as many places and meet as many foreign leaders as he would like. Clinton was not just formidable; she was an international superstar who could advance American interests overnight. Then there was the "team of rivals" concept that Obama borrowed from Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about Abe Lincoln and his Cabinet.

Source: The Promise: Obama Year One, by Jonathan Alter, p. 67-68 May 18, 2010

FactCheck: Accomplished but exaggerated foreign experience

Clinton recently listed five foreign policy accomplishments to demonstrate her qualifications as commander-in-chief. The public record of her actions shows that many of Clinton’s foreign policy claims are exaggerated.
  1. Clinton claims she “negotiate open borders” in Macedonia to fleeing Kosovar refugees. But the Macedonian border opened before she arrived.
  2. Clinton’s activities “helped bring peace to Northern Ireland.” Irish officials disagree on her contribution, but agree that she wasn’t directl involved in any actual negotiations.
  3. Clinton has repeatedly referenced her “dangerous” trip to Bosnia, but fails to mention that the Bosnian war had officially ended 3 months before her visit.
  4. Hillary claims she privately championed the use of US troops to stop the genocide in Rwanda. That conversation with Bill Clinton left no public record, & US policy was explicitly to stay out of Rwanda.
  5. Clinton’s tough speech on human rights delivered to a Beijing audience is as advertised.
Source: FactCheck.org analysis of 2008 campaign advertisements Mar 13, 2008

Bill made deal with Kazakhs to bring in HIV drugs

Q: The NY Times reported that in 2005, your husband flew to Kazakhstan with a Canadian businessman, and he helped the businessman get a huge uranium deal by praising the Kazakh dictator, and then a few months later, that Canadian businessman made a $31 million donation to the Clinton Foundation. Are you going to tell your husband to knock off those kinds of dealings?

A: Well, that is a very one-sided and inaccurate description of what actually occurred. Let me set the record straight. He went to Kazakhstan to sign an agreement with the government to provide low-cost drugs for HIV/AIDS, a growing problem in central Asia. While he was there, he met with opposition leaders and certainly spoke out about the hopes that we have to have a good relationship with that country. I have been on record for many years against the anti-democratic regime, calling for changes, standing against efforts that would bring them into positions of leadership in the global community without their making changes

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: “Choosing the President” series Feb 3, 2008

Deeply involved with Bill Clinton’s foreign policy team

Q: When you traveled to China and then when you returned to the White House, did you advise your husband on Chinese foreign policy or on foreign policy in regard to any other countries that you traveled to? And conversely, if you were elected president, would he advise you?

A: I certainly did. I not only advised; I often met with he and his advisers, both in preparation for, during and after. I traveled with representatives from the Security Council, the State Department, occasionally the Defense Department, and even the CIA. So I was deeply involved in being part of the Clinton team in the first Clinton administration. And I am someone who want the best possible advice from as many different sources as possible, and that would certainly include my husband.

Source: 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR Dec 4, 2007

Advocated using force in Bosnia as Bill’s top advisor

Hillary became “an advocate for the use of force in Bosnia,” said one of Bill’s top advisors.
Source: For Love of Politics, by Sally Bedell Smith, p.215-216 Oct 23, 2007

US support & no-fly zone, but UN troops on ground in Darfur

Q: What about American troops in Darfur?

A: I agree completely that what we need to do is start acting instead of talking. That means accelerating the UN peacekeeping forces along with the African Union. It means moving more quickly on divestment and sanctions on the Sudanese government, including trying to use the diplomacy to get China involved. And, finally, it does mean a no-fly zone. We can do it in a way that doesn’t endanger humanitarian relief.

Q: How about American troops on the ground?

A: I think NATO has to be there with the no-fly zone, and I think that only the US can provide the logistical support and the air lift to make a no-fly zone and the actual delivery of humanitarian aid work.

Q: Does that mean no American ground troops?

A: American ground troops I don’t think belong in Darfur at this time. I think we need to focus on the UN peacekeeping troops and the African Union troops.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC Jul 23, 2007

NATO-enforced no-fly zone to end Darfur genocide

Q: Darfur is the second time that our nation has had a chance to do something about genocide in Africa. The first came in Rwanda in 1994, when we did nothing.

A: There are three things we have to do immediately. Move the peacekeepers--that, finally, the United Nations and the African Union have agreed to--into Sudan as soon as possible. In order for them to be effective, there has to be airlift and logistical support, and that can only come either unilaterally from the United States or from NATO. I prefer NATO. And finally, we should have a no-fly zone over Sudan because the Sudanese governments bomb the villages before and after the Janjiwid come. And we should make it very clear to the government in Khartoum we’re putting up a no-fly zone; if they fly into it, we will shoot down their planes. Is the only way to get their attention.

Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University Jun 28, 2007

1995: Spoke as voice of United States on Latin America trip

While I was dealing with Bosnia at home, Hillary was off on another trip, this time to Latin America. In the post-Cold War world, with America the world's only military, economic, and political superpower, every nation wanted out attention, and it was usually in our interest to give it. But I couldn't go everywhere, especially during the budget struggle with Congress. As a result, both Al Gore and Hillary made an unusually large number of important foreign trips. Wherever they went, people knew they spoke for the United States, and for me, and on every trip, without fail, they strengthened America's standing in the world.
Source: My Life, by Bill Clinton, p.674-675 Jun 21, 2004

Puerto Rico: Stop using live ammo at Vieques

There should be an immediate and permanent end to the bombing. The use of live fire on the island (Puerto Rico) has put the people of Vieques at risk, degraded the environment, and hampered economic development.
Source: Press Release Oct 19, 1999

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Page last updated: Dec 02, 2014