THE SECRETARY: A JOURNAL WITH HILLARY CLINTON FROM BEIRUT TO THE HEART OF AMERICAN POWER by Kim Ghattas

At a time when the rumors surrounding the candidacy of Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 seems to permeate every news cycle Kim Ghattas presents the public with a marvelous book that describes not only her personal journey from the civil war in Lebanon in the 1980s to the present, but allows the reader to enter the decision making process of the State Department. THE SECRETARY: A JOURNAL WITH HILLARY CLINTON FROM BEIRUT TO THE HEART OF AMERICAN POWER provides a unique perspective as the author, the BBC State Department correspondent shares with the reader her world- wide travels over hundreds of thousands of miles with Secretary of State Clinton. What emerges is an understanding of the motivations and the limitations of American power. Entering office the Obama administration set as one of its major goals a corrective foreign policy designed to repair the damage caused to America’s reputation abroad that resulted from Bush administration policies. In the book Ghattas described Clinton’s strategy, which at times differed from President Obama, in trying to restore trust in the United States among allies, and improve relations with those countries that were skeptical about working with Washington. Interwoven in this journey are the author’s memories and emotions related to her upbringing in war torn BeIRUT and how she relates her personal observations and emotions to American actions be they in Libya, Syria, dealing with China, or a myriad of other topics. The conclusion that Ghattas has reached is that Clinton has been successful in laying the foundation for the reorientation of American policy where “working with the United States is once again desirable” (333) It is no longer “you are with us or against us,” the mantra of the previous administration. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the intricacies of the development of American “smart power,” and the implementation of Hillary Clinton’s style of personal diplomacy.

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