3 qualities that could make Clinton memorable

Hillary Clinton, Oct. 26, 2009 | JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images   In a recent Time magazine article, journalist Joe Klein lists three qualities that could make Clinton “a memorable Secretary of State”: 1. “She brings a vision of departmental reform — the need to elevate foreign aid programs to the same status and rigorous scrutiny as diplomacy — ...

577414_091106_Clinton0910262.jpg
577414_091106_Clinton0910262.jpg

 

In a recent Time magazine article, journalist Joe Klein lists three qualities that could make Clinton "a memorable Secretary of State":

1. "She brings a vision of departmental reform -- the need to elevate foreign aid programs to the same status and rigorous scrutiny as diplomacy -- that could change striped pants into chinos in the developing world."

Hillary Clinton, Oct. 26, 2009 | JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton, Oct. 26, 2009 | JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
 

In a recent Time magazine article, journalist Joe Klein lists three qualities that could make Clinton “a memorable Secretary of State”:

1. “She brings a vision of departmental reform — the need to elevate foreign aid programs to the same status and rigorous scrutiny as diplomacy — that could change striped pants into chinos in the developing world.”

2. She is also the first elected politician to hold the office since Edmund Muskie briefly did during the Carter Administration, which has enabled her to better understand and interact with the politicians who run places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

3. “But most important, she is an international celebrity with a much higher profile than any of her recent predecessors and the ability — second only to the President’s — to change negative attitudes about the U.S. abroad.”

And change negative attitudes she has. During her recent visit to Pakistan, she visited a Sufi mosque that been attacked by Sunni extremists. It made quite an impression on many moderate Pakistani Muslims, including one who told Klein, “We saw her praying there, and, for the first time, I’m thinking, ‘The Americans have hearts.'”

Clinton also made herself available for students, talk-show hosts, and Pashtun elders, who asked her all sorts of difficult questions, and as Klein puts it, “her candor, her willingness to listen to and acknowledge criticism, had begun to undermine the prevailing Pakistani image of the U.S. as arrogant and bossy.” A government spokeswoman and member of Parliament told Klein:

In the past, when the Americans came, they would talk to the generals and go home. … Clinton’s willingness to meet with everyone, hostile or not, has made a big impression — and because she’s Hillary Clinton, with a real history of affinity for this country, it means so much more.”

Although Klein offers constructive criticism for Clinton (saying that the controversy she sparked about settlements shows she needs “a few lessons in Middle East Haggling 101”), he does praise her as “the second most popular American in the world, an eternally compelling and supremely talented character, … a walking headline.”

Klein writes that with her “three qualities,” Clinton could become a memorable secretary of state. But for her fans worldwide, she already has become one.

Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/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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