Is Hillary Clinton too outspoken?

Hillary Clinton, Jan. 13, 2009   The Chicago Tribune reports today that Secretary Clinton’s outspoken style is “raising eyebrows,” a subject I touched upon in my post “Was Clinton too verbally hard on Pakistan?“ Some comments of hers that have stirred debate: In April 22, she said the Pakistani government was “abdicating” to the Taliban. ...

585769_090518_Clinton0901132.jpg
585769_090518_Clinton0901132.jpg

 

The Chicago Tribune reports today that Secretary Clinton's outspoken style is "raising eyebrows," a subject I touched upon in my post "Was Clinton too verbally hard on Pakistan?"

Some comments of hers that have stirred debate:

Hillary Clinton, Jan. 13, 2009

Hillary Clinton, Jan. 13, 2009
 

The Chicago Tribune reports today that Secretary Clinton’s outspoken style is “raising eyebrows,” a subject I touched upon in my post “Was Clinton too verbally hard on Pakistan?

Some comments of hers that have stirred debate:

  • In April 22, she said the Pakistani government was “abdicating” to the Taliban. (At the time, the Taliban was 60 miles from Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.) Her comments on Pakistan “really went over the top,” Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress told the Tribune.
  • On April 30, she said North Korea’s return to talks seems “implausible if not impossible.”
  • On May 1, she said that China, like Iran, has made “quite disturbing” gains in Latin America.

Basically, Clinton has been boldly telling it like it is when normally in the diplomacy world unpleasant facts aren’t addressed with such candor. “She’s saying the emperor has no clothes,” L. Gordon Flake of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation told the Tribune. “She’s saying the things that nobody else would say, but that 99 percent of the people in Washington agree with.”

Clinton might be stating her views “undiplomatically,” but perhaps such tough talk gets results. Regarding her comments on the Pakistani government, an unnamed State Department official told the Tribune “They weren’t doing anything before she said that. Then after she said it, they suddenly were taking it pretty seriously, and met with greater success. … I think she got their attention.”

So far, President Obama hasn’t told Clinton to tone it down, but Condoleezza Rice’s former speechwriter thinks the current secretary of state should hold her tongue.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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