Hillary Clinton is at it again — courting controversy and then trying to undo the damage diplomatically. In the latest such adventure, she rubbed President Barack Obama the wrong way by telling a journalist how his policies in the Middle East led to the sprouting up of Jihadi groups in Iraq and Syria. Hard Choices — her latest memoirs — are fresh on bookshelves and she is making hard choices. She made a clever choice in 2008, when after having lost the White House Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, she was offered the position of Secretary of State by none other than Obama. And there was Hillary, splashed across newspaper pages — seated with Obama in his aircraft, almost reaching over to listen — coffee mug in hand. The two were daggers drawn at each other days earlier, tearing into one another’s political acumen and credentials to lead the United States of America.
Though there are no permanent friends or foes in politics, many were taken aback by Clinton’s readiness to accept the offer. Before she could push herself headlong into the latest dispute with Obama, she tried to extricate herself out of it. Here was Clinton calling up the US president to tell him that her interview to The Atlantic wasn’t meant to be an attack on his foreign policy. After all, the astute Hillary had to promote her book the very next day at Martha’s Vineyard where Obama is holidaying away from the stresses of the world. There was speculation that the two would ‘hug it out’ when they meet but the White House declined to comment on if the leaders did actually hug.
As Secretary of State, Hillary was seen to be a successful diplomat who cleverly promoted US interests across the world. In her bid to reach out to the world, the ageing lawyer went to 111 countries, clocking over a million miles.
But it was the scourge of Benghazi that stained her reputation as the head of the US State Department. The attack on the US embassy in Libya’s Benghazi killed the ambassador leading to an uproar over the Obama administration’s handling of the crisis. Rejoining office after having a blood clot removed from her brain, Hillary looked wizened but in control. Her outburst at the Congressional hearing long after the incident showed that Hillary wasn’t one to be messed with.
The smart Yale graduate has played her cards close to her chest about her bid for the 2016 presidency. Though all indications suggest that she is aiming at the presidency, she hasn’t said that in so many words. This foggy trait underlines her personality.
Hillary looks transparent at times, wily at others. Her record has been clean but not completely above reproach. Such traits are not considered undesirable in politics. But if she would go for the US presidency, she needs to watch out for rivals trying to show that such qualities can become liabilities in office•