As the six-month mark of her tenure approaches and she recovers from a broken elbow, Secretary Clinton is getting her second wind this week as she prepares for a major foreign-policy speech Wednesday and trips to India and Thailand this weekend. It’s great that Clinton is now healthy enough to travel overseas after her canceled trips to Russia, Italy, and Greece.
The speech and trips — which include the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — are opportunities to raise her profile after some have said she “toils in the shadows.” Clinton “hasn’t been the face of America abroad,” said Ben Smith, the reporter for the Politico article “Clinton Toils in the Shadows,” on National Public Radio this weekend.
Smith said that there was an expectation that Clinton was offered the secretary-of-state job because Obama would be busy trying to fix domestic problems, namely the Great Recession. Instead, however, Obama has been able to travel abroad, and when he does, people go wild with Obamamania. Obama and his identity have been riveting symbols overseas — think about his speeches in Cairo and Ghana. “I don’t think you can upstage Barack Obama,” Wendy Chamberlin, a former U.S. ambassador and now head of the Middle East Institute, told Agence France-Presse.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had it easier when it came to her profile overseas. No one liked George W. Bush, so she had the spotlight all to herself. Nevertheless, it now looks like Clinton, with her second wind, is will be emerging into the limelight to make her mark and be another face of America abroad.
Photo (Clinton at NATO summit, April 3, 2009): MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images