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David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the author of “Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making” and “Running the World: The Inside Story of the NSC and the Architects of American Power,” over the weekend asked the following question:
It’s 3 a.m. Do You Know Where Hillary Clinton Is?
Rothkopf writes that “She’s not answering those crisis calls at the White House. But she’s quietly revolutionizing American foreign policy.” Excerpts below:
[…] what is Clinton actually doing? Only overseeing what may be the most profound changes in U.S. foreign policy in two decades — a transformation that may render the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush mere side notes in a long transition to a meaningful post-Cold War worldview.
The secretary has quietly begun rethinking the very nature of diplomacy and translating that vision into a revitalized State Department, one that approaches U.S. allies and rivals in ways that challenge long-held traditions. And despite the pessimists who invoked the “team of rivals” cliche to predict that President Obama and Clinton would not get along, Hillary has defined a role for herself in the Obamaverse: often bad cop to his good cop, spine stiffener when it comes to tough adversaries and nurturer of new strategies. Recognizing that the 3 a.m. phone calls are going to the White House, she is instead tackling the tough questions that, since the end of the Cold War, have kept America’s leaders awake all night.
“It is still early, and a president’s foreign policy legacy is often defined less by big principles than by how one reacts to the unexpected, whether missiles in Cuba or terrorism in New York. Promising ideas fail because of limited attention or reluctant bureaucracies, and some rhetoric eventually rings hollow, as the self-congratulatory “smart power” already does to me. Nevertheless, there is evidence that, seven months into the job, Obama’s unlikely secretary of state is supporting and augmenting his agenda effectively. Not as Obama’s “other wife,” not as Bill Clinton’s wife, not even as a celebrity or as a former presidential candidate — but in a new role of her own making.”
Read whole thing here.