Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton

free essayHillary Diane Rodham Clinton represents an American politician and is currently the US presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the elections to be held in 2016. Hillary is an influential figure and has been a part of the US political environment for a long time. Over the years, she served as Senator, First Lady, and Secretary of State. The position was characterized by many travels, issues, achievements, and controversies that are described in the essay. The paper covers Hillary Clinton from the period when she served as the US Secretary of State.

Nomination and Confirmation

Clinton was President Obama’s choice of Secretary in the 2008 presidential elections. She was hesitant about accepting the position, but finally conceded to Obama’s request. One of the reasons that Clinton had voiced in rejection of the offer was her husband Bill Clinton and financial considerations of her husband’s post-presidential undertakings that would violate any decrees regarding conflict of interest for serving cabinet individuals. Considering that both Obama and Hillary were earlier contenders on the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries and the nature of their campaigns and accusations, it was not an easy task for Hillary. Despite their bitter, aggressive, and prolonged animosities during elections, their political differences were nonetheless not that considerable.

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Taking Clinton as a choice was significantly influenced by the respect that the two had developed for each other. The hard decision that Hillary made of accepting the offer was partly fueled by one of her character traits that when she is required to serve, she serves, which is why she agreed to accept the request. Since her President asked, she accepted (Myers, 2012). Nomination for Hillary was formally made by then President-elect Obama in December of 2008 and the confirmations hearing kicked off in the following year, i.e. 2009. Her confirmation was concluded on January 21, 2009, and the Senate confirmed her by a vote of 94 supporters against 2 opponents. Clinton undertook the oath of office and effectively resigned from the Senate.

First Half of Tenure

Clinton spent her first weeks as the State Secretary calling global leaders and notifying them that the American policy would take a different course. Her priorities included universal fiscal issues where she championed for their extended roles and the necessity for an enhanced US diplomatic presence in areas where the Department of Defense had undertaken some operations. In this first half of her tenure in office, she announced the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review that entailed the most determined reform in her diplomatic career. The review was crafted after a similar process and established clear aims for diplomatic missions of the State Department abroad. The report represented a conservative approach to reacting to global problems and ending crises. The review further championed to have aims institutionalized and ensure that women would be empowered globally, which was Clinton’s desire and initiative to facilitate successful attainment of this goal.

As the State Secretary, she played a significant role in the Afghanistan war where she supported the military decision for a maximum Afghan surge. Success was achieved despite the Vice President’s opposition. Clinton also revived ties with Russia under then President Dmitry Medvedev. The policy came to be recognized as the Russian reset and was followed by enhanced relations in numerous fields. Unfortunately, his successor Vladimir Putin would worsen the relationship during his tenure. It is during Clinton’s first half of tenure that she successfully brokered a deal between Armenia and Turkey, creating a political bond that resulted in the opening of the border between the two hostile countries. The lasting bad perception of the US by the Pakistani would ease when Clinton embarked on a campaign to change the US image through discussions with students and meeting with elders. Additionally, she was instrumental in the organization of diplomatic isolation and universal sanctions against Iran in 2010 due to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It is during this first half of tenure that together with President Obama Clinton treated foreign policy as a significantly non-ideological and rational undertaking.

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Second Half of Tenure

Clinton’s second half in office as the Secretary of State commenced with dealing with the Egyptian protests in early 2011. She was essential in advising the President on the matter, as well as organizing and personally connecting people behind the scenes to respond to changes. The Arab Spring saw Clinton tested beyond limits when she backed certain regimes, while supporting demonstrators against others (”U.S. advocates for peaceful dialog between governments and protesters in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria,” 2011). The Libyan military intervention had its backing from the Secretary of State who had to overcome opposition from the administration, particularly from the Secretary of Defense, counterterrorism advisor, and security consultants. Clinton was categorical before the Congress that the government required no consent from the Congress for an armed intervention in Libya.

During the Libyan onslaught, Clinton employed US allies to enhance cooperation and unity among Libyan rebels as they toppled Muammar Gaddafi (Paquin, 2012). Though the aftermath of the Libyan onslaught led to a failed state, the Secretary of State was instrumental in the entire exercise. In continued efforts by the US government to fight global terror, there was a need to conduct a Special Forces operation inside Pakistan to eliminate the then Al-Qaeda strongman, Osama Bin Laden. Clinton adamantly supported the action though it would have worsened the already strained relation between the US and Pakistan (Glasser, 2012). Deteriorating circumstances were a result of incessant drone strikes inside Pakistan by the US military in pursuit of Al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents. Clinton also advocated for retaining the US residual force in Iraq in early 2011.

Gay rights were a subject of debate in the US and Clinton reiterated that gay rights represented human rights and, thus, the US would advocate for the rights and protection of gays globally. She instituted a record as the first Secretary of State visiting Burma since 1955. Last, but not the least, the State Secretary under Barack’s rule at first tried to convince the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to respond to widespread riots with reform during the Syrian Civil War. However, as the state violence increased, Clinton was at the forefront in requesting al-Assad to relinquish power. The move was followed by increased non-lethal military aid to rebels from the US and its allies.

Achievements

Many accomplishments of the Secretary of State were record performance that had not been attained before. During her tenure, Clinton became the most widely traveled Secretary of State. This is so since she was able to visit 112 countries during her period in office. The record demonstrates her legendary endurance (Calabresi, 2011). Additionally, Clinton significantly extended the State Department’s employment of social media in an effort to share information and empower citizens of other states vis-a-vis their administrations. It is during the Mideastern turmoil that Clinton found a prospect to advocate for welfare and empowerment of girls and women globally, which was one of her key themes in service.

Quite important is the Hillary Doctrine, a formulation in which Clinton perceived rights of women to be crucial for the United States’ safety interests as a result of the relation between gender inequality, instability, and violence against women, terrorism, and challenge to the global security of the country (Poloni-Staudinger & Ortbals, 2014). Finally, one of the major Hillary’s achievements is the smart power approach for asserting the US control and values in a domain characterized by different threats, weakened chief administrations, and surging essential non-state bodies. Smart power was achieved by joining diplomacy with the army’s shear strength, as well as the United States’ soft power strengths relating to growth assistance, universal economics, technology, and advocacy for human liberties.

Controversies

In as much as Clinton’s tenure was characterized with various achievements and landmark victories, the tenure was nonetheless connected with numerous controversies that questioned her incredibility. The woes began with the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi when American lives were lost in September of 2011. Queries were voiced regarding safety of the deceased consulate and later it was confirmed that the State Department’s officials were liable for neglect. Another controversy concerned Clinton’s exclusive use of private email accounts on a non-state, separately monitored server instead of those accounts managed on the federal government’s servers. As such, she was accused of violating federal decrees and regulations governing recordkeeping requirements. More of concern is that the data sent were classified and, hence, it was unethical to relay them over a non-classified medium. Nonetheless, Clinton denied the allegations and the court ruled in her favor.

Conclusion

Conclusively, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton has been defined as one of the most significant US Secretaries of State who instituted many landmark reforms during her tenure. Her nomination took place in 2008 and her confirmation before the Senate occurred successfully in the following year, 2009. During Clinton’s both terms in office as the Secretary of State, various activities were undertaken. The activities included visiting various global heads of states and defining the US foreign policy. It is during the tenure in office that the Quadrennial Diplomacy Review, the Afghan war, and the Russian reset showed her considerable input and influence. Other activities include the Libyan war, Egyptian protests, the Arab Spring, Pakistan terror operation, gay rights crusade, and involvement in the Syrian Civil War, whereby Clinton will be remembered for her commitment. Clinton achieved the record as the most widely traveled Secretary of State. Other achievements entail expanding the State Department’s use of social media, the Hillary doctrine, and the smart power approach. However, several challenges and controversies marred her tenures like the Libyan consular attack and the use of a private email account for classified activities.