Hillary’s “Goldilocks theory” of foreign relations
Maybe Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been hiding her sense of humor all this time, or maybe she was just feeling relaxed and relieved as her two-week tour of Asia reached its conclusion. But whatever the reason, she loosened up in a Nov. 7 interview with Australian radio hosts Hamish and Andy, pontificating on ...
Maybe Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been hiding her sense of humor all this time, or maybe she was just feeling relaxed and relieved as her two-week tour of Asia reached its conclusion. But whatever the reason, she loosened up in a Nov. 7 interview with Australian radio hosts Hamish and Andy, pontificating on gravy chips, the Kardashians, Chinese food, and her "Goldilocks theory" of how to deal with foreign governments.
"If you look at American TV as much of the rest of the world does, you would think we all went around wrestling and wearing bikinis," she told the radio hosts, who were asking her about the difficulty of explaining the United States to a world youth culture that gets its information from cable television shows, such as Keeping up with the Kardashians.
Clinton also described how she interacts with foreign governments who aren’t living up to their responsibilities to their own people. Too much pressure can be counterproductive, she said, but letting poorly performing governments off the hook is just as bad.
"I’ve got this Goldilocks theory of foreign relations," she said. "It’s not too hot; it’s not too cold. You’ve got to get it just right."
She also described the delicate discussions she often has with husband and former President Bill Clinton over their take-out dinner decisions.
"We practice different models of negotiation around important issues like that," she said. "Because if I were to say to him, as I have on many occasions, ‘What shall we have for dinner tonight?’ If he says to me, ‘Oh, I don’t care; you choose,’ I know that’s a really bad answer, because then I’m stuck with the responsibility."
The hosts pointed out that if those dinner negotiations were overheard and taken out of context, they could cause a diplomatic row.
"You want to make sure people don’t know that he had half of the conversation, because you’ve got [a] former president talking to the current secretary of state: ;‘How do you feel about Chinese?’ ‘I don’t know. I don’t really like Chinese.’ That could be catastrophic," one host said.
"That’s why we have our rooms swept [for listening devices] every day," Clinton shot back.
Read the whole interview here:
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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