Hillary Clinton’s Legacy at the State Department

  • Share
  • Read Later

Richard Wolf over at USA Today has a lengthy and comprehensive summary of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s legacy-to-date. I say to-date because Wolf leaves ample hints that her biggest role might yet be in the making. For example, he notes the numerous times Clinton is asked about a 2016 run — and her pat denials. His kicker from a Bangladeshi aid worker bidding Clinton goodbye: “Hopefully the next time you visit Bangladesh,” he said, “you’ll be on Air Force One.”

Wolf’s ultimate grade: “Indefatigable. Innovative. And indentured, some say, to a President who has made the major foreign policy decisions himself.”

From the story:

Eight months before her self-imposed retirement, Clinton is piling up awards and accolades faster than clear-cut achievements. She hasn’t done anything as momentous as opening the door to China like Henry Kissinger or assembling the first Gulf War coalition like James Baker. Still, the liberation of Libya, establishment of diplomatic ties with Burma and the assembly of a coalition against Iran bear her imprimatur.


What stands between Clinton and the great diplomats of the past, some say, are two things: a landmark accomplishment and a free hand from the White House to carve her place in history.

Perhaps the biggest omission from Clinton’s résumé is advancing Middle East peace. “She hasn’t picked up the ball, and neither has President Obama,” says Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “To me, it signals that they just don’t have a policy any longer when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians.”

Clinton’s biggest regret is not furthering the peace process in the Middle East. And that might just be an incentive for her to return to government in some form after her tenure at State is done.