Hillary Rodham Clinton

 

 

The information presented below reflects the 2008 election season and is not representative of changes in titles, roles, or policy views expressed since then.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Even before her historic run for the presidency, Hillary Clinton had set precedent by becoming the first presidential spouse elected to the U.S. Senate. Sen. Clinton (D-NY), who took office in 2001, was criticized in conservative quarters as a staunch liberal, an image arising in part from her failed effort to pass a universal health care plan through Congress in 1994 and her many years as a children's rights attorney. Following 9/11, Clinton fell from favor in the eyes of some liberals for her 2002 vote authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, which they called evidence of hawkishness. If elected, she would be the country's first woman president. A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Clinton emphasized her desire to end the Iraq war and drawdown U.S. troop levels. She also pledged to refocus U.S. foreign policy away from the unilateralism that critics say has characterized the Bush administration. Clinton also said she would attempt to ease tensions with countries like Iran and Syria through direct engagement, while upholding her longstanding support for Israel.

Clinton suspended her campaign for the Democratic nomination in June 2008. She endorsed her main opponent, Barack Obama.


Campaign Issues

Military Tribunals and Guantanamo Bay

Sen. Clinton (D-NY) says the prison camp at Guantanamo should be closed. Clinton is a cosponsor of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) bill to close Guantanamo and transfer the prisoners either to their home countries, to an international legal tribunal, or to a civilian or military facility in the United States. The bill also mandates that the prisoners must be charged formally if they are brought to the United States.

Clinton voted against the Military Commissions Act because, she said, "in the process of accomplishing what is essential for our security we must hold onto our values and set an example we can point to with pride and not shame."

U.S. Policy toward India

Sen. Clinton (D-NY) enjoys strong support from the Indian-American community (NY Sun). Indian Americans for Hillary 2008, founded by prominent hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal, plans to raise at least $5 million for the Clinton campaign (Hindustan Times).

With Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Clinton announced plans in April to form a Senate India Caucus (The Hindu), which she would cochair.

In June 2007, the Barack Obama campaign sparked controversy by circulating a memo accusing Clinton of pandering to the Indian-American community. That memo notes the "tens of thousands" Clinton has received from companies that outsource jobs to India.

Clinton voted for the United States-India Energy Security Cooperation Act of 2006.

U.S. Policy toward Africa

During her candidacy, Sen. Clinton (D-NY) pledged to visit Africa during her first term as president "to see the progress of our efforts and to assess first hand the necessary strategies to combat disease and poverty."

Clinton stresses the importance of education in ameliorating the rampant poverty throughout Africa. She proposed the Education for All Act in 2007, which would amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to include provisions for financial assistance specifically for promoting universal education in developing countries. She told Vanity Fair that if the act did not pass before her inauguration, it would have been her "first priority."

Clinton advocates a no-fly zone over Darfur, enforced by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, but said in a June 2007 Democratic debate that she does not believe U.S. troops should be sent there. She also says there should be unilateral airlift and logistical support for peacekeeping operations in Darfur from the United States or NATO. In February 2008, Clinton called on President Bush to appoint a "single, dedicated Administration official who would have final authority on Sudan policy."

In May 2008, Clinton cosigned a statement with fellow presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama condemning the Sudanese government as "chiefly responsible" for the violence in Darfur, and demanding that the Khartoum regime adhere to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Clinton cosponsored Sen. Joe Biden's July 2007 resolution calling for the immediate deployment of an international peacekeeping force to Darfur. She also cosponsored Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback's 2005 Darfur Peace and Accountability Act. That bill would have placed sanctions on officials who are complicit in the killings in Darfur.

Clinton supports the bipartisan renewal of PEPFAR, and said she would have expanded the program, had she been elected. With Biden, Clinton cosponsored the HIV Prevention Act of 2007. Clinton has also said she would set the goal of ending malaria deaths in Africa by the end of her second term.

In February 2008, Clinton praised the compromise reached between Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, but warned that the agreement is "a very fragile step forward." The United States must "continue to work closely with Kofi Annan, the African Union, and other international partners to ensure compliance with the agreement," she said.

Domestic Intelligence

Sen. Clinton (D-NY) criticized (MSNBC) NSA surveillance of American citizens, saying the Bush administration should have gone through FISA provisions if they wanted to eavesdrop on domestic communications. Clinton voted against Michael Hayden's confirmation as CIA director.

Clinton has spoken against granting blanket retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies involved in domestic spying, saying it "undermines accountability." She opposed the FISA Amendments Act of 2007, but was not present to vote against the bill in February 2008.

Afghanistan

Clinton's team focused on addressing Islamic fundamentalism, making Afghanistan and Pakistan the major front with al-Qaeda, and preventing nuclear proliferation. The war in Iraq is "diverting attention and resources" from Afghanistan, Clinton wrote in a November 2007 Foreign Affairs essay. In May 2008, Clinton pressed Gen. David Petraeus to "refocus" U.S. military efforts on Afghanistan. "[I]f the U.S. is going to suffer another attack on our own soil, it will most certainly originate from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region," she said in a May 2008 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

In March 2008, Clinton released a plan for what she called the "forgotten front line" in Afghanistan. The plan included a larger role for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and U.S. allies in Afghanistan, and it said she would ask countries unable to sent troops to "instead increase assistance" to Afghanistan. Clinton also said she would seek "adequate funds" to bolster the Afghan National Army and police force. She planned to "make it a priority that the Afghans receive modern weapons and airlift capabilities to win their war, not hand me downs left over from the Cold War." Clinton also said she would appoint a special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan "to develop a regional strategy to defeat the Taliban and [al-Qaeda]."

Clinton disagrees with John Edwards' contention that the war on terror is simply a political slogan and said in the June 2007 Democratic debate that she believes Americans are now "safer than we were."

Clinton says the main priority in the war on terror should be in preventing "Iran, al-Qaeda and the like" from obtaining weapons of mass destruction. When the Jewish Press asked Clinton in October 2006 how she views the war on terror, she responded, "I don't think our strategy is working. Six years ago, North Korea and Iran were not as close as they are today to having nuclear weapons."

Democracy Promotion in the Arab World

Sen. Clinton (D-NY) says she supports efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East. "We want to continue to export democracy, but we want to deliver it in digestible steps," she said in reference to Iraq in a January 2007 interview with the New Yorker. Clinton has also criticized the Bush administration's democracy promotion efforts; at a speech given at CFR in 2006, she said "we've done a good job talking about democracy, but we sure haven't done a comparable good job in promoting the long-term efforts that actually build institutions after the elections are over and the international monitors have gone home."

Energy Policy

Sen. Clinton's energy policy focus has been reducing U.S. consumption of foreign oil. In May 2006, Clinton said that the United States should decrease its foreign oil consumption by 50 percent (WashPost), or eight million barrels per day, by 2025. In 2001, she voted against the Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) Act. That bill passed, allocating $15 billion for tax incentives for fuel production and conservation and creating an energy program for Native American tribal lands. Clinton initially supported the 2005 Energy Policy Act, but voted against it after it was revised in a conference report, saying that the bill "ignores our biggest energy challenges, subsidizes mature energy industries like oil and nuclear, and rolls back our environmental laws."

Clinton has proposed the creation of a $50 billion "Strategic Energy Fund" that would provide increased funding for clean coal technology and tax breaks for fuel efficient hybrid and clean diesel vehicles. The fund would be paid for by removing $50 billion in tax subsidies from the gas and oil industry. Clinton did not attend the vote on the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007. That bill passed.

Clinton advocates a 20 percent renewable energy standard for power companies by 2020. She says all federal buildings should be carbon neutral by 2030. In a Foreign Affairs article, she said there needed to be "formal links" created between the International Energy Agency and China and India to create an 'E-8' international forum modeled on the G-8.

Clinton called for a suspension of the gas tax (BosGlobe) during the summer months, and says oil companies should be required to pay an "excess profits tax."

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Though her advocacy (NYT) for Palestinian statehood in the 1990s drew criticism from American Jewish groups at the time, Sen. Clinton (D-NY) generally has aligned herself with pro-Israeli interests throughout her political career. In a February 2007 speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Clinton said Hamas, which took control of the Palestinian Authority in January 2006 and formed a coalition government with Fatah in February 2007, should not be recognized "until it renounces violence and terror and recognizes Israel's right to exist." Clinton also supports Israel's "security wall," which divides Israel from the West Bank with the declared purpose of preventing terrorist attacks.

Clinton cosponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. She also sponsored a Senate resolution in 2007 "calling for the immediate and unconditional release of soldiers of Israel held captive by Hamas and Hezbollah." That resolution was approved. Since taking office in 2000, she has regularly supported military and financial aid packages to Israel.

In March 2008, Clinton condemned Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel, and stressed Israel's "right to defend its citizens." She also criticized the Bush administration, which she said should have "been taking a much more active role in bringing international pressure on Hamas to stop its attacks."

Martin Indyk, a former ambassador to Israel under the Clinton administration, was a foreign policy adviser to Clinton's campaign. Indyk is director of the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy.

North Korea Policy

In January 2006, Sen. Clinton said failure to hold direct talks with North Korea gave Pyongyang an "open invitation" to process plutonium. She advocates direct contact with North Korea and, in a letter she cosigned to President Bush in June 2006, described multilateral Six-Party Talks as "fruitless" in their goal of controlling North Korea's nuclear program. Still, in February 2008, Clinton said she would not meet with leaders from North Korea and other U.S. adversaries "without preconditions" (USA Today).

During a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations held weeks after the nuclear test, the senator said UN sanctions against Pyongyang are "not as tough as I would want."

Cuba Policy

Sen. Clinton supports the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Sergio Bendixen*, a pollster for Clinton's campaign, said in January 2007 that Clinton "is going with the status quo" on Cuba. In a 2000 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, Clinton explained why she was opposed to lifting the economic embargo (NYT) on an undemocratic Cuba.

Upon Castro's February 2008 resignation from power, Clinton called on the new Cuban government to release all political prisoners and "move forward towards the path of democracy." She also said if she was elected, she would have engaged U.S. partners in Latin America and Europe "who have a strong stake in seeing a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba."

In a Senate vote, Clinton supported maintaining funding for TV Marti, television programming that the U.S. attempts to broadcast in Cuba. The Castro government has been successfully blocking the signal for this programming, and viewership of TV Marti in Cuba is estimated to be extremely low.

*Sergio Bendixen joined Barack Obama's presidential campaign in July 2008.

U.S. Policy toward China

Sen. Clinton focused a significant portion of her campaign rhetoric on China's economic impact on the United States, which she says is causing "a slow erosion of our own economic sovereignty."

In February 2007, after the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 416 points as a result of a "scare in the Chinese stock market," Clinton wrote a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson urging them to take action to reduce Chinese-owned debts.

She is also concerned about China's economic practices, including the revaluation of the yuan, saying in a CNBC interview that she wants "the countries with whom we do business to have protections for intellectual property; I want them to have a rule of law that is enforceable; I want them to not manipulate their currency." She cosponsored the Foreign Debt Ceiling Act of 2005, which would compel Congress to impose limits on U.S. foreign debt. Clinton said that bill would mean the United States could "start breaking our reliance on China for not only what they provide to us in terms of the way they buy our dollars and buy our debt but also to be held to higher standards for what they import into our market."

In April 2008, Clinton released a plan to crack down on what she called "China's unfair trade practices." The plan included measures to adjust export prices "to account for the price distortion caused by currency misalignment." She also would have considered prohibiting the U.S. federal government from purchasing products or services from China and directing U.S. banks to "pause in issuing loans to China." Clinton also said she would consider "pressuring the IMF to consult with China" and imposing a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese goods.

In February 2008, Clinton responded to reports that Americans had died as a result of tainted blood-thinning medication Heparin imported from China. "When will the Bush administration finally get serious about the threat of unsafe drugs, food, and consumer products from China?" she asked. Clinton said if she was elected, she would have required the Food and Drug Administration to open "oversight offices" in "at-risk countries like China."

In March 2008, Clinton congratulated Ma Ying-jeou on his election to the Taiwanese presidency, and called for "cross-Strait dialogue" to reduce tension between Taiwan and China.

Clinton has been critical of China's human rights record as well. Throughout the campaign, Clinton touted her 1995 speech in Beijing on women's and human rights as evidence that she will not be afraid to confront the Chinese government. "The Chinese government wasn't happy; they pulled the plug on the broadcast of my speech. But I took that as a compliment. Because it was important for the United States both to be represented and to make absolutely clear that human rights is an integral part of our foreign policy and that women's rights is key to that," Clinton said in February 2008 regarding that speech.

Clinton spoke out against China's crackdown in spring 2008 on Tibetan protesters. She urged President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics "absent major changes by the Chinese government." She also commended British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for his pledge not to attend the Olympic opening ceremonies.

Defense Policy

Sen. Clinton (D-NY) sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee. In 2003, Clinton criticized the structure of forces in Iraq, saying that there was not the "right mix of troops" to succeed. Her main grievance at the time was a shortage of U.S. troops (Scotsman). That year, she also said more troops were needed in Afghanistan. "What the force structure (BosGlobe) is and where it comes from I'll leave to others to decide," she said.

In 2006, Clinton said in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, "I've joined with other Democrats and Republicans in proposing that we expand the army by eighty thousand troops, that we move faster to expand the Special Forces, and do a better job of training and equipping the National Guard and Reserves."

In February 2008, Clinton cosponsored legislation to ban the use of private security contracting firms like Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Clinton was one of six Democrats in 2004 to oppose blocking the national missile defense system, USA Today reported. In 2006, Clinton cosponsored a bill to alter the National Guard force structure, citing its lack of resources and its deployment overseas even though it is meant to be "America's militia." Clinton famously voted to approve the war in Iraq in 2002 and voted in favor of the $87 billion appropriation for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003.

In February 2008, Clinton expressed concern over reports that troops may have received deficient Kevlar helmets. In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Clinton requested that the Pentagon provide information regarding the efforts of the Department of Defense to investigate the allegations regarding that equipment. "We have a solemn obligation to provide our brave men and women in uniform with the finest equipment available, particularly when they are being sent into harm's way," she wrote.

In May 2008, Clinton voted in favor of an amendment to expand the veterans' benefits program (WashPost). That bill, which increased education benefits for soldiers who served in Iraq, passed.

Iraq

Sen. Clinton (D-NY) supported the invasion of Iraq at its advent, but now opposes it and claimed during her presidential campaign that she would have ended the war. Clinton opposed the 2007 escalation of the war. In early 2007, Clinton proposed the Iraq Troop Protection and Reduction Act. That bill, which would have prevented an increase in troops in Iraq above the level of January 1, 2007, had no cosponsors and never reached a vote.

Clinton also opposes the establishment of permanent military bases in Iraq, although she does expect there to be a need for a "reduced residual force," perhaps stationed in Iraqi Kurdistan, even after troop redeployment. Clinton cosponsored Joe Biden's Iraq War Policy resolution in January 2007. In 2002, Clinton voted in favor of the invasion of Iraq, and has been widely criticized for her refusal to apologize for that vote. Still, she has said, "If I knew then what I now know, I would not have voted that way." A new book by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. of the New York Times, excerpted here, criticizes her for failing to read the ninety-page October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report, which contained several caveats about Iraq's WMD capabilities.

In December 2007, Clinton urged President Bush to get congressional approval before signing off on a U.S.-Iraq security agreement that would stipulate the duration of U.S. presence in Iraq. She said it was "outrageous that the Bush administration would seek to circumvent the U.S. Congress on a matter of such vital interest to national security." She also introduced legislation that would require that Bush collaborate with Congress on the security plan.

Trade

In general a supporter of free trade, Sen. Clinton (D-NY) has parted ways with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on several trade-related issues. She has expressed skepticism about aspects of the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, which he supported, and has taken less enthusiastic positions on the benefits of globalization more generally. In a February 2008 Democratic debate, Clinton said she has "been a critic of NAFTA from the very beginning," but that she did not make her objections to it public because "I was part of the administration." She pledged to renegotiate NAFTA to ensure better labor and environmental protection. She said she would change NAFTA's "investment provisions that grant special rights to foreign companies" and will strengthen its "strengthening its enforcement mechanisms." She also said she would review NAFTA "regularly."

In March 2000, Clinton said NAFTA "was flawed," and that the United States "didn't get everything we should have got out of it." Four years earlier, the AP says Clinton described NAFTA as beneficial to workers. "That's what a free and fair trade agreement like NAFTA is all about," she said.

In her 2003 memoir, Living History, Clinton wrote, "Creating a free trade zone in North America—the largest free trade zone in the world—would expand U.S. exports, create jobs and ensure that our economy was reaping the benefits, not the burdens, of globalization. Although unpopular with labor unions, expanding trade opportunities was an important administration goal."

Clinton voted in support of the creation of FTAs with Chile, Singapore, and Oman. But she criticized the FTAs with Chile and Singapore for what she said was their weak enforcement of International Labor Organization (ILO) standards. She said "the labor provisions in the Chile and Singapore agreements should not be used as a model for future trade agreements." Clinton voted against CAFTA and the Trade Act of 2002. In 2004, Clinton voted for the United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, which she said "offers greater access to Australian markets for U.S. manufacturers." Clinton spoke out against the pending FTA with South Korea (Reuters), which she called "inherently unfair," particularly for the U.S. auto industry. She has also criticized FTAs with Colombia and Panama. Clinton expressed support, on the other hand, for the FTA with Peru, which passed in the Senate in December 2007.

In April 2008, Clinton said she disapproved of the pending U.S.-Colombia trade deal. "I oppose signing any trade deal with Colombia while violence against trade unionists continues and the perpetrators are not brought to justice," Clinton said. She pledged to vote against the FTA in Senate.

Clinton said she would have implemented a "time-out" on trade for the first several months of her presidency to "provide an opportunity to systematically review every trade agreement to ensure that it is delivering benefits to American workers," she said in November 2007.

Clinton also expresses concerns over U.S. trade practices with China. "We just can't keep doing what we did in the 20th century," she said in a March 2007 interview (Bloomberg). In a February 2008 speech, Clinton said China has the upper hand in trade with the United States. "China's steel comes here and our jobs go there. We play by the rules and they manipulate their currency. We get tainted fish and lead-laced toys and poisoned pet food in return," she said, promising to take a "consistent approach" toward China trade if she is elected.

Homeland Security

Since the 9/11 attacks, Sen. Clinton (D-NY) has repeatedly pressed for higher homeland security funding for anti-terror assistance for her state of New York and other "areas at greatest risk of attack." In February 2008, Clinton praised the Department of Homeland Security's allocation of $151.2 million for the Transit Security Program for New York. She said she hoped the increase in that funding by 50 percent was a sign that DHS and the Bush administration recognize "the threat that the New York City region continues to face and the incredible strain they impose on our law enforcement agencies and first responders who must maintain constant vigilance."

In February 2007, Clinton cosponsored the Risk-Based Homeland Security Grants Act of 2007, which, if passed, will amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002, establishing a Homeland Security Grants Board and would ensure that Homeland Security funding is distributed based on risk level and vulnerability of states.

Clinton cosponsored the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act in 2004, which created a Director of National Intelligence and provided for increased security on the northern border of the United States and increased transportation infrastructure security. In 2006, Clinton cosponsored the FEMA Amendment, which would have made the Federal Emergency Management Agency independent from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). That bill was rejected. Clinton voted in favor of the Patriot Act in 2001 and voted to adopt a conference report to reauthorize it in 2006.

>Iran

Clinton has offered a balance of revived diplomatic efforts with Iran as well as tough talk on the consequences of Iran's pursuing a weapons program. Clinton said that if she was elected, she would have immediately opened "a diplomatic track" with Iran, and says "no option can be taken off the table" with regard to U.S. policy toward Iran. "We need to use every tool at our disposal, including diplomatic and economic in addition to the threat and use of military force," she said at a February 2007 dinner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

In September 2007, Clinton came under fire from some of her Democratic counterparts for her vote in favor of a resolution labeling the Iran Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.

In October 2007, Clinton cosponsored a bill prohibiting the use of funds for military action in Iran without "explicit Congressional authorization." That bill has not yet been voted on. But criticism of her Iran stance intensified after the December 3, 2007 release of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, which said Iran appeared to have halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003. Clinton said during a subsequent debate that she continues to support vigorous diplomacy with Iran and defended her vote against the Revolutionary Guard, saying Iranian arms shipments to Iraq have slowed down since the Senate resolution passed. But her Democratic opponents criticized her for contributing to what they said was Bush administration saber rattling on Iran.

In an April 2008 Democratic debate, Clinton said the United States should try to create an "umbrella of deterrence" consisting of other countries in the region willing to "forswear their own nuclear ambitions." Clinton said in an April 2008 interview that if Iran were to "foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel" under her presidency, the United States could "totally obliterate them."

Climate Change

Sen. Clinton (D-NY), who sits on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has generally advocated for legislation to stop climate change. In a statement upon the release of the IPCC report in February, Clinton said, "I believe that action is both an environmental necessity and an economic opportunity." She cosponsored the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act of 2007, which would cut carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2000 to 2050 with a system of "tradable allowances." In this video, Clinton says she wants to create a program modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to deal with the threat of climate change.

Clinton signed on to the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, which would have created a "market-based framework" to reduce carbon emissions. That act was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works in early 2007 and has not yet been passed.

In April 2008, Clinton signed a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies calling for an investment of $70 million for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and $270.3 million for state and local air quality grants. The letter said such an investment would "go a long way toward helping states and localities meet the nation's clear air standards by encouraging the use of cost-effective emissions reduction strategies."

Immigration

As a New York senator, Clinton's voting record on immigration has been mixed. In May of 2006, she voted in favor of the Senate Immigration Reform Bill (PDF), which allowed for the establishment of a guest-worker program, increased border security, including a virtual wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. That bill, which never made it into law, also established criminal penalties for immigrants who illegally enter the country and those who employ undocumented workers. Clinton voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006 but against the separate amendment making English the country's official language. That bill, which was largely viewed as an anti-immigrant action (Washington Times), eventually passed.

Clinton opposed an amendment (FOX) to the 2007 immigration reform bill that would have prevented criminals from becoming citizens.

Although she initially said she supported a measure (BosGlobe) to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, she said in November 2007 that she opposes the idea. In a January 2008 Democratic debate, Clinton said giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants could put them "at risk, because that is clear evidence that they are not here legally."

United Nations

Sen. Clinton (D-NY) has praised the United Nations, and said in 2002 that "whenever possible we should work through it and strengthen it, for it enables the world to share the risks and burdens of global security and when it acts, it confers a legitimacy that increases the likelihood of long-term success." But, she said, the United Nations "often lacks the cohesion to enforce its own mandates." In the period before the Iraq war began, Clinton urged the Bush administration to allow the United Nations to complete weapons inspections before invading. Clinton has criticized Bush's decision to invade before that point, saying that UN inspectors were "the last line of defense against the possibility that our intelligence was false." In that February 2005 speech at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, Clinton also expressed support for then-Secretary General Kofi Annan's reform efforts.

In February 2008, Clinton called the United Nations "an essential arena for political debate among nations," but, she warned, the UN "we must not let it be misused as a forum for anti-Semitism or incitement against any group." She promised to "resolutely fight all efforts to inject anti-Semitism, hatred and discrimination" into the agenda of the UN Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa scheduled for 2009.

U.S. Policy toward Russia

Sen. Clinton favors diplomacy toward Russia with the goal of promoting democracy there and reducing nuclear stockpiles. In a November 2007 Foreign Affairs article, Clinton pledged to "negotiate an accord that substantially and verifiably reduces the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals."

She also called for engagement with Russia on "issues of high national importance," including Iran, loose nuclear weapons, and the status of the Serbian province of Kosovo. She said Washington's "ability to view Russia as a genuine partner depends on whether Russia chooses to strengthen democracy or return to authoritarianism and regional interference."

Still, she told the Boston Globe in October 2007, "I'm interested in what Russia does outside its borders first. I don't think I can, as the president of the United States, wave my hand and tell the Russian people they should have a different government."

Clinton said in April 2008 that she was "deeply disturbed" by Russia's move to strengthen links to Georgia's separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which she said undermined Georgia's "territorial integrity." Clinton called on President Bush to send a senior representative to Tbilisi to "show our support" for the Georgian government. She also criticized the Russian government for engaging in a "pressure campaign to prevent Ukraine from seeking deeper ties with NATO."

U.S. Policy toward Pakistan

After Pakistan's February 2008 elections, Clinton commended the people of Pakistan "for exercising their constitutional right to vote and choose their own leaders." She also said the Pakistani elections indicate that the United States should change its "one-dimensional" policy of focusing on Musharraf "to the exclusion of other important political actors in Pakistan and its civil society." She said the United States should increase its non-military assistance to Pakistan to "strengthen democratic institutions, build civil society, and improve economic and educational opportunities."

Clinton said she would appoint a special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan to develop a "regional strategy to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda."

Clinton criticized Barack Obama in August 2007 for his pledge to pursue al-Qaeda in Pakistan. She called it "a very big mistake to telegraph that and to destabilize the Musharraf regime, which is fighting for its life against the Islamic extremists who are in bed with al-Qaeda and Taliban." Still, Clinton said in summer 2007 that if the United States gains "actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden or other high-value targets were in Pakistan," she would "ensure that they were targeted and killed or captured" (ABC).

Clinton foreign policy adviser Lee Feinstein said in December 2007 that Clinton "opposed the Bush administration's coddling of President Musharraf, and stood steadfastly with the people of Pakistan in their struggle for democracy and against terrorism." He issued the statement in response to criticism from the Obama campaign that Clinton's initial support for the Iraq war in some way contributed to the current chaos in Pakistan (TIME).

In October 2007, Benazir Bhutto discussed the difficulties Clinton could face as a woman head of government in an interview with New York magazine. In early 2007, Clinton met with Musharraf in Lahore, Pakistan, to discuss cooperation on counterterrorism efforts in the region (Reuters). In November 2007, Clinton cosponsored a resolution condemning Musharraf's imposition of a state of emergency, and calling for an investigation into a prior assassination attempt on Bhutto.

After Pakistan's February 2008 elections, Clinton commended the people of Pakistan "for exercising their constitutional right to vote and choose their own leaders." She also said the Pakistani elections indicate that the United States should change its "one-dimensional" policy of focusing on Musharraf "to the exclusion of other important political actors in Pakistan and its civil society." She said the United States should increase its non-military assistance to Pakistan to "strengthen democratic institutions, build civil society, and improve economic and educational opportunities."

Nuclear Nonproliferation

Sen. Clinton (D-NY) wrote in a November 2007 Foreign Affairs essay that she would take "dramatic steps" to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal to boost support for international coalitions needed to "address the threat of nuclear proliferation and help the United States regain the moral high ground." Clinton said she would negotiate a U.S.-Russian treaty to "substantially and verifiably" reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to "send a strong message of nuclear restraint to the world." She also pledged to urge the Senate to approve the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by 2009, which she says would "enhance the United States' credibility when demanding that other nations refrain from testing." Clinton says she will support "efforts to supplement the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty," and advocates the establishment of an international fuel bank guaranteeing "secure access to nuclear fuel at reasonable prices." She also says she opposes building a new generation of nuclear weapons.

Clinton criticized (PDF) President Bush's refusal for much of his administration to hold direct talks on nuclear issues with Iran and North Korea. She also opposed the Bush administration's initial proposals to cut funding for the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program. In 2005, Clinton cosponsored the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Act.

In August 2007, Clinton cosponsored the Nuclear Policy and Posture Review Act, which would have required the president to conduct a review of U.S. nuclear policy to reinforce a U.S. strategy of nuclear deterrence. That bill never reached a vote.


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