Tuesday, October 21, 2014
11

Farewell Hillary, For Now

TOKYO – F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that “there are no second acts in American lives.” Hillary Clinton’s stunning (and, I trust, unfinished) career – from First Lady to United States Senator to presidential candidate to US Secretary of State in the administration of the man who defeated her – proves that Fitzgerald could not have been more wrong.

Today, as Clinton prepares to leave office, there is widespread speculation that she will seek to succeed President Barack Obama in 2016. She has had not only a second act, but a third as well – and millions of Americans want her to write a fourth.

Clinton’s four years as America’s top diplomat have given her iconic status around the world – and deservedly so. On her watch, two of the longest wars in US history have been wound down, America’s alliances have been reinvigorated, and young women everywhere have been encouraged to pursue their dreams – whether in academia, business, or politics. Hers is a record that ranks her among the great postwar US secretaries of state – Dean Acheson, Henry Kissinger, and James Baker.

The position of secretary of state is truly global in scope. It demands not only a coherent conception of how the world works and the place of US national interests within the international order, but also extraordinary political skill, stamina, timing, and, above all, courage. Clinton used all of these virtues to their highest possible effect.

In the midst of two wars and Asia’s rise, Clinton confronted the three great tasks that any US secretary of state must face: pinpointing the challenges at hand; developing a viable strategy that attracts the support of the entire US government and public opinion; and managing the actual practice of US diplomacy. Here, she was aided by the great confidence that Obama placed in her – a remarkable outcome, given their rivalry in the 2008 presidential campaign. Obama’s decision attests not only to his judgment, but also to her character.

Clinton’s primary challenge as secretary of state was to recast the very nature of US involvement in global affairs. The go-it-alone America of the years of the war on terror had alienated its closest allies, and had proven insufficient both to resolving the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to creating a structure of peace for an Asia struggling to cope with China’s new power and assertiveness.

With Clinton at the diplomatic helm, the US once again made its alliances – in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia – both a core principle and the key operational mechanism of its foreign policy. This renewed trust in allies has been particularly important in Asia and the Middle East, where the US has used cooperation with old partners like Turkey, Japan, and South Korea, and new near-alliances with India and Indonesia, to deter aggression.

Indeed, American foreign policy’s “pivot to the Pacific” could not be undertaken without the US having first reinvigorated its relationships with Asia’s democracies. But it also could not have been undertaken without Clinton’s resolve to make China part of the solution, rather than merely a target of recrimination or containment. As a result, China is being given the opportunity to preserve its dignity while receiving incentives to integrate into a stable regional – and ultimately global – order that welcomes it as an integral player, so long as it abides by multilateral rules.

Of course, Clinton’s efforts to revitalize America’s alliances made restoring confidence in US leadership an overriding priority, which she achieved without seeking to militarize every international problem. Her approach implicitly assumed that creating conditions of cooperative strength can make the search for lasting peace self-reinforcing. Moreover, even as she emphasized the importance of alliances, she did not neglect diplomatic engagement with adversaries, though never – particularly with respect to Iran and North Korea – as simply an exercise in splitting the difference.

Clinton, the one-time legislator and practicing politician, understood that a stateswoman’s real legacy is not found in today’s headlines and opinion polls, but in lasting policies and institutions. This effort, she knew, requires a willingness to achieve one’s goals in stages, however imperfect. In her own words, “The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.”

Finally, less noted but of real long-term consequence, Clinton made the cause of gender equality – and not only in the halls of power – a special focus of her diplomacy. Wherever she traveled, she spoke out for equal rights. “In too many instances,” she noted, “the march to globalization has also meant the marginalization of women and girls. And that must change.”

Clinton has helped to bring about such change, not only for women like her (and me), but, more important, for the world’s poor, disenfranchised, and silenced women.

Read more from our "Hillary's Legacy" Focal Point.

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  1. CommentedArne N. Gjorgov, MD, PhD

    To Yuriko Koiko
    Project Syndicate (P-S)
    E-mail: Message Box
    February 19, 2013

    Re: Comment on Hillary’s legacy. “Farwell Hillary, for now,” Project-Syndicate, Jan 28, 2013.

    Dear Madam Koiko:

    The Hillary Clinton legacy is long-term and multifaceted, of course, but what seems the most pronounced overall foreign policy objective has been the promotion of gender equality and empowering women and girls as a central element of (American) foreign policy. The gender equality and female empowerment policy of Hillary’s long political tenure is well summarized in the recent ‘Presidential Memorandum – Coordination and Programs to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women and Girls Globally,” the White House, of January 30, 2013, signed by President Obama, but obviously composed by the leaving Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton.

    The ‘Memorandum’ contains the messianic intentions and zeal of Hillary for the oft-repeated ‘unfinished challenges’ cliché of gender equality and female empowerment policy, along with the created official bodies, administrative instruments and acts which professed this policy.

    However, the track record of the “third wave feminism” (‘Hillary’s back,’ by Naomi Wolf, P-S, November 28, 2008) and the ardent efforts of condomization of female sexuality, albeit not mentioned in her latest activities, has overshadowing her attempts of persuasion for gender equality and female empowerment policy around the globe. Hillary remained oblivious and indolent for the biological side of woman’s nature. No science no insight into the matter, just a pursuant policy. The unabated and excess breast cancer epidemic, the rampant anorexia-bulimia (‘eating’) disorders, the unprecedented prevalence of osteoporosis (in almost 40 percent) of third-life-span women, seems never bothered her much. The unprecedented in human history epidemic of a malignant disease(s), instead of contagious diseases, breast cancer along with accompanying gynecological tumors and other phenomena, reflects a misunderstood biology of intimate (sexual) microenvironment and primordial reproductive biosystem of woman-man relations. Could the state of women’s ill-health in her own country be projected as a role model to people around the world? The incidence, prevalence and death rates of female gender- (sex-) specific diseases and tumors (e.g. breast cancer) are higher in the U.S. than in all other countries in the world.

    To a practicing physician and researcher in women’s health, assumptions could help. Who is Hillary as a wife and a woman? What is her personal experience in pursuing a global policy of gender equality and female empowerment, based on or incomplete birth-control know-how? Did the gender equality and female empowerment helped or damaged women at large in their search for political, social and other women’s rights? It seems that the experience of reported subfertility in her marriage has delineated the scope and goals of Hillary’s activity. As the evidence from the research practice has consequently showed, a woman in such a marital situation has never used and has never had any need to use any birth-control method. Instead, such a woman almost continuously strives for pregnancy. Figuratively, it is a state of ‘hypoxia’ for biological support in the reproductive history of a woman, comparable to a great extent to the use of barrier methods, condom or withdrawal, which result in absolute or partial ‘semen-factor deficiency.’ And yet, the latest public debate indicates, with nostalgia, that the Hillary’s legacy of gender equality and female empowerment is yet to be desired (‘Why gender equality stalled,’ by Stephanie Coontz, the NY Times, Feb. 16, 2013)

    Most likely, it is time to shift the emphasis of the reproductive and gender policy from sterility / infertility to fertility, womanhood and reasonable, non-barrier contraceptive practice. The primary goal of contraception is protection of the woman herself, ensuring her normal marital and sexual life, and protection against the ultimate, end-results of neoplastic and degenerative diseases. President Barack Obama and his energetic wife, Michele, with their apparently successful marital experience in terms of fertility-control and family-planning, should replace the existing, grave women’s policy with a new, livelier policy. (For an experienced eye, Michele so to speak, ‘carries’ biologically her husband, Barack, in her innermost being.) The marital and birth-control experience of the First Family could help tremendously not only their two adolescent daughters but generations of American and other women and girls to avoid the minefields of errors or ignorance in years to come. Theretofore, only the American President could impose and solve the search to end of the current breast cancer epidemic in the country and beyond.

    In addition, the new Secretary of State, the Hon. John Kerry, with his wife, a breast cancer survivor, could also be of great help in the process of ending the on-going breast cancer epidemic, by a retrospect view of the gaps or errors in the otherwise enviable experience of Mrs. Teresa Heinz Kerry’s three-son motherhood and marital life.

    Respectfully yours,

    Arne N. Gjorgov, M.D., Ph.D. (UNC-SPH, Epidemiology, Chapel Hill, NC)
    Author of ♦ “Barrier Contraception and Breast Cancer,” 1980: x+164

    ♦ “Breast Cancer Hypothesis 1978: Shift of the Conceptual Framework.” Contributions (‘Prilozi’) Soc Biol Med Sci MASA, (2011 Dec.); XXXII, 2, 299-306. (Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts), Web: http://e20.manu.edu.mk/prilozi/22g.pdf

    ♦ "AIDS Changed America with the Twin Breast Cancer Epidemic: Exploring the Consequences of Condomization," Ch. 22 (2011 Oct). Editor: Nancy Dumais, InTech, Vienna, Austria.
    http://www.intechopen.com/articles/show/title/aids-changed-america-with-the-twin-breast-cancer-epidemic-exploring-the-consequences-of-condomizatio

    ♦ “Reproductive Health of Women: An Attempt to Define Breast Cancer Prevention.” Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, 2010 Jun. 15; 3(2): 169-179. Web:
    http://www.mjms.ukim.edu.mk/Online/MJMS_2010_3_2/MJMS.1857-5773.2010-0104v.pdf

    ♦ “Breast cancer risk assessment to barrier contraception exposure. A new Approach.” Contributions (‘Prilozi’) Soc Biol Med Sci MASA, (2009); XXX, 1, 217-233. (Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts), Web: http://e20.manu.edu.mk/prilozi/16ag.pdf

  2. CommentedPhilip Palij

    It is difficult to overstate the disastrous consequences of her policies, influence and activities on the souls of the people she has come into contact by drones, proxy armies, proxy wars, funding the very people they are sending their armies to fight.

    It is difficult to understand the warmth Yuriko Koike shows to a woman who has participated in the most deadly and hypocritical demonstration of double standards driving American foreign policy in recent times.

    Beyond the law, beyond accountability, the American version of Democracy in a nutshell.

  3. CommentedPaul A. Myers

    Clinton's record simply lacks the "achievements" necessary to support the thesis of "great" since the principal diplomatic achievement was to stabilize US prestige around the world after its calamitous decline during the Bush years.

    It is impossible to say that there has been some breakthrough improvements in either South Asia or the Middle East.

    The "pivot" to Asia is mostly empty sloganeering, a public relations gambit to remind everyone that the US has important interests in the region.

    Clinton has been a capable steward during a period of transition.

  4. CommentedRenny RC

    The role of propaganda in creating a political discourse upon which professional politicians are elevated to an historical category, seems to be one of the primary reasons behind the impossibility of putting into context today politics. The personification of history in individuals who happen to be in positions of power, rather than being actors of profound social or moral change, is arguably one of the main pathologies of the current structures of democracy. Public opinion and participation can’t be made upon panegyrics, but by truthful research and active mechanisms of participation of humans into political affairs. No. Hillary Clinton is unfortunately not an icon.

  5. CommentedAshok Rao

    Dean Acheson, Henry Kissinger, James Baker, and Thomas Jefferson*.

      Commentedjim bridgeman

      Not to mention James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, William Seward, John Hay and George Marshal;

  6. CommentedIan Arbuckle

    Sorry but Mrs. Koite, is certainly reflecting the attitude of LDP towards the US. According to them Clinton and Obama cannot do anything wrong..... but they're not bothering to consult the people of Japan on that or especially the people of Okinawa.

    Clinton has been the worst Foreign Secretary for the US. Not even Condi was was worse, despite her treachery and lies on renditions through Europe.

    A Russian "new start" button, couldn't even get the name right.... The follow up and the relations with Russia have seldom been worse since. The US has never in its history been involved in more meaningless military conflicts, mostly stirred up by a completely irrational and incongruous foreign policy, brought home in the glorious failure with the destabilization and total fiasco of Libya which of course is spun as as a success, but has lead on to the disasters in Syria, where the terrorists the US armed in Libya are now being employed. Perhaps global destabilization was the centre of the Obama regimes foreign policy. Contagion of weapons and fighters to Mali and Algeria has been another direct consequence. It is certainly confusing to any rational human being, how Clinton's foreign deplomacy can be seen anywhere as a auccess. Middle East peace? More illegal settlements have never been built faster and Hamas has never been more representative of Palestinian people. I just wish Ms. Koike could have explained some of these anomalies and contradictions of US policy and action more clearly rather than joining the ra ra ras pompom waving cheerleaders.

    Perhaps a more rational evaluation was given on RT this morning:
    http://rt.com/news/obama-clinton-praise-libya-919/

  7. CommentedClaudia Carmen de Sierra Lepori

    Good article Mrs Koike, hope Mrs Hillary Clinton will be the first woman president of the EEUU. She is smart, wise, diplomatic, know what is politics about, so she can be a great president for the EEUU. The problem is the american society mature to have that choice? hope it will be, her carer can't be finish yet !!! Go Hillary 2016.!!!

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