Earlier this year, before it went out of print, Newsweek featured Hillary Clinton on its cover with the title “The Most Powerful Woman in American History.”
There is no question that Hillary Clinton has been a global champion for human rights before and during her time as Secretary of State. She is also very inspirational to women throughout the country and the world. This is all true, but it’s important to take a closer look at the person many consider a top presidential contender in 2016.
The conservative media has mercilessly scrutinized her handling of the attack of the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya and subsequent lack of candor from her and the Obama Administration. Instead of accepting responsibility, Clinton dismissed the GOP’s concerns, asking “What difference does it make?” when pushed by a congressional committee to discuss the event and subsequent false explanations offered by the Obama administration.
Conservatives must also remind the public that, as Secretary of State, she was completely ineffective in managing the geopolitical trends that may have serious consequences for America in the future.
Recent events that have not garnered much media coverage have highlighted the Secretary of State’s deficiencies as the nation’s chief diplomat. These events, while less salacious, could have significant impact on our nation and the world down the road.
First, the Chinese push to become the dominant military force in Asia-Pacific region (if not the entire world) has mostly flown under the radar. The Wall Street Journal reports that a dispute with Japan over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea is inching towards “armed conflict.” Beijing is also increasing its aerial presence, and the rapid emergence of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force is also a source of concern. Just last month, China unilaterally announced the creation of an “Air Defense Identification Zone” over the islands it and Japan have both claimed. Unarmed American B-52 planes flew into the zone without requesting permission from Chinese officials – creating more tension in an already tense dispute. Additionally, Fiji, which underwent a military coup in 2006 and has been under military dictatorship rule since, has been a destination for Chinese aid and development recently. Beijing has publicly denied rumors of plans to build a base there, but such a base would give them a lot of leverage in the Pacific and explain Beijing’s economic aid to a military dictatorship.
An effective diplomat would have asserted U.S. interests in a stronger way and addressed these threats by confronting China. Secretary of State Clinton cannot claim such an accomplishment. In fact, during Clinton’s last official visit to China in September of 2012, then-vice president and now President Xi Jinping didn’t even meet with Clinton — America’s alleged “most powerful woman.” The trip, as expected, failed to produce any major changes in the regional frictions between Chinese and American interests.
None of Clinton’s Chinese forays seem to make any impression in the region. That the future president did not even meet with Clinton was a disturbing fact mostly ignored by the American media.
Next, there’s the specter of Russia in the global arena. In September of 2013, Syria used chemical weapons against its own people — crossing President Obama’s infamous “red line” said to justify American intervention. Subsequent negotiations, led by Russian President Vladimir Putin, resulted in the agreement by the Syrians to turn over their chemical weapons to a third party.
Clinton herself warned in 2012 of the Russian intent to “re-Sovietize” much of Eastern Europe and Central Asia — threatening human rights advances in those regions. Unfortunately, Clinton was apparently unable to do much more than warn about impending danger.
In light of this evidence, perhaps the nagging question about Hillary Clinton is exactly what her accomplishments are that prompts such effusive praise and respect. Indeed, if she is “the most powerful woman in American history,” one might expect a record that goes beyond philanthropy and speeches about human rights.