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Hillary Rodham Clinton on Strategic Interests, Values, and Hard Choices

HBO History Makers Series with Hillary Rodham Clinton

Speaker: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Author, Hard Choices; Former Secretary, U.S. Department of State; Former Senator, U.S. Senate (D-NY); Former First Lady of the United States
Presider: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
June 12, 2014

Event Description

Following the recent publication of her memoir, Hard Choices, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton joins CFR President Richard N. Haass to reflect on her tenure at the State Department. Clinton recounts some of her major foreign policy initiatives including the strategic rebalance toward Asia and her efforts to promote a more rules-based international order. She also offers her thoughts on the continuing political instability in the Middle East, the U.S.-Afghan relationship, and other current foreign policy challenges.

The Home Box Office History Makers Series focuses particular attention on the contributions made by a prominent individual at a critical juncture in international relations.

Event Highlights

Hillary Clinton on her support for the military and diplomatic rebalance toward Asia:

"There is certainly no doubt that much of the history of the 21st century is going to be shaped in Asia, and the United States has always been a Pacific power. But when I became secretary, there was a widespread feeling among our friends and our competitors in Asia that the United States had basically vacated the field, and there was a great pent-up desire that we begin once again to demonstrate our concern for and involvement in the Asia Pacific."

Hillary Clinton the importance she placed on building personal relationships with foreign leaders:

"I do think the personal relationships matter, which is why I stressed building them, expanding them, trying to understand the point of view of the other party. But at the end of the day, leaders are going to do what they think is in the best interests of their states. Part of building that relationship, though, is perhaps to open the window a little wider about how to define those interests."

Hillary Clinton on the post-Mubarak transition in Egypt:

"I had a lot of apprehension about just throwing Mubarak out of office not knowing what was going to come next or not helping to prepare a more orderly transition. And I was the one who suggested—I, along with Bill Burns—that we send Frank Wisner, who knew Mubarak well. I also called the sultan of Oman, who knew him well. I was trying to urge other voices to tell Mubarak to move more quickly to demonstrate, number one, he would not run again, number two, his son would not run again, number three, there would be a process of inclusive consultation that could lead to reform. We couldn't persuade him to do that. And at a certain point, you know, the president and other leaders spoke out and said he had to go, but I remained apprehensive about what would follow."

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