Hillary Clinton in Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton


On Principles & Values: Resignation in 2013 ended 20 years of government roles

On February 1, 2013, my final day in Foggy Bottom, I sat down at the desk in the small cherry-paneled inner office for the last time and wrote John Kerry a letter. I left it in the same place I had found Condi's note to me four years before that. Then I signed my letter of resignation to the President. For the first time in twenty years, after serving as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, I no longer had any role in government.

My final act was to go down to the lobby--where I had been greeted on my first day back in 2009--to say good-bye to the men and women of the State Department and USAID. Thanking them seemed inadequate for all their dedicated service, but I did my best. I knew I would always be grateful to have had the chance to lead such a team and to represent America around the world. I had learned anew the goodness of our people and the greatness of our nation, and I would face the future with a full and open heart.

Source: Epilogue to Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton Apr 10, 2015

On Principles & Values: Sings to baby granddaughter, but can't carry a tune

On September 26, 2014, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky famade her grand entrance, [and Bill and I became] newly-minted grandparents. In many ways, taking care of a baby has gotten a lot more complicated since we did it more than three decades ago. But some things never change. When Chelsea was little, Bill and I read to her nonstop. Pediatricians now advise parents to start engaging verbally from the day babies are born because it does so much to develop their brains and cognition. In our house, Goodnight Moon was a particular favorite. I also tried to sing lullabies and old favorites, despite the fact that carrying a tune has never been one of my strengths. That lasted until Chelsea was about 18 months old, when she reached up one tiny finger during the middle of my rendition of "Moon River," touched my lips and said, "No sing, Mommy, no sing." All these years later, I've mostly learned my lesson. But occasionally, I still sneak in a song or two and Charlotte has yet to complain.
Source: Epilogue to Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton Apr 10, 2015

On Foreign Policy: Political restraint against Iran's Ahmadinejad was a mistake

Mrs. Clinton said the Obama administration's decision to offer a muted response to the political demonstrations that broke out against former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election in 2009 was a mistake:

"In retrospect, I'm not sure our restraint was the right choice. It did not stop the regime from ruthlessly crushing the Green Movement, which was exceedingly painful to watch. More strident messages from the United States would probably not have prevented the outcome and might even have hastened it, but there's no way of knowing now if we could have made a difference." (Page 423)

Source: Wall Street Journal on Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton Jun 17, 2014

On Foreign Policy: 2011: we abandoned Egypt's Mubarak too readily

Mrs. Clinton argues the White House moved too quickly to pull U.S. support for former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011:

"Like many other young people around the world, some of President Obama's aides in the White House were swept up in the drama and idealism of the moment as they watched the pictures from Tahrir Square on television. I shared the feeling. It was a thrilling moment. But along with Vice President Biden, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, I was concerned that we not be seen as pushing a longtime partner out the door, leaving Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the region to an uncertain, dangerous future. (Pages 339-340)

Source: Wall Street Journal on Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton Jun 17, 2014

On Foreign Policy: 2012: Take a harder line with Russia's Putin

Clinton said she urged Obama to take a tougher line with Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly before she left office in 2012: "With all this in mind, I suggested we set a new course. The reset had allowed us to pick off the low-hanging fruit in terms of bilateral cooperation. And there was no need to blow up our collaboration on Iran or Afghanistan. But we should hit the pause button on new efforts. Don't appear too eager to work together. Don't flatter Putin with high-level attention." (Page 244)
Source: Wall Street Journal on Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton Jun 17, 2014

On War & Peace: Don't demand complete moratorium on Israeli settlement

Mrs. Clinton said it was a mistake in retrospect to demand in 2009 a complete freezing of Israeli settlement construction as a precursor to peace talks. This allowed the Arab states and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to essentially stand back from negotiations until the U.S. could deliver on Obama's demand:

"That made it very hard for either one to climb down or compromise. The Arab states were happy to sit on the sidelines and use the dust-up as an excuse for their own inaction. And Abbas, who had consistently called for a halt to settlement construction for years, now claimed it was all our idea and said he wouldn't come to the peace table without a moratorium on settlement construction." (Page 316)

Source: Wall Street Journal on Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton Jun 17, 2014

On War & Peace: 2012: We helped Syrian rebels, but we should have done more

Mrs. Clinton argues that President Obama made a mistake by not more aggressively arming the moderate Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's forces:

"As more parts of Syria slipped free from the regime's control, we would also help local opposition groups provide essential services, such as reopening schools and rebuilding homes. But all these steps were Band-Aids. The conflict would rage on. (Page 464)

Source: Wall Street Journal on Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton Jun 17, 2014

On Energy & Oil: $100B per year by 2020 for climate change mitigation

[At a climate change summit, I said] the US was prepared to lead a collective effort by developed countries to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 from a combination of public and private sources to help the most vulnerable nations mitigate the damage from climate change--if we could also reach a broad agreement on limiting emissions.

By offering a concrete commitment, I hoped to breathe new life into the talks, put pressure on China and the other "emerging emitters" to respond, and win support from developing countries.

In the end, the leaders fashioned a deal that, while far from perfect, put us on the road to future progress. For the first time all major economies, developed and developing alike, agreed to make national commitments to curb carbon emissions through 2020 and report transparently on their mitigation efforts. The world began moving away from the division between developed and developing countries that had defined the Kyoto agreement. This was a foundation to build on.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.498-500 Jun 10, 2014

On Energy & Oil: $100B per year by 2020 for climate change mitigation

[At a climate change summit meeting] I told the crowd that the US was prepared to lead a collective effort by developed countries to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 from a combination of public and private sources to help the poorest and most vulnerable nations mitigate the damage from climate change--if we could also reach a broad agreement on limiting emissions.

By offering a concrete commitment, I hoped to breathe new life into the talks, put pressure on China and the other "emerging emitters" to respond, & win support from developing countries who would welcome this new assistance.

In the end, after lots of cajoling & debating, the compromise put us on the road to future progress. For the first time all major economies, developed & developing alike, agreed to make national commitments to curb carbon emissions through 2020. The world began moving away from the division between developed & developing countries that had defined the Kyoto agreement. This was a foundation to build on.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.498-500 Jun 10, 2014

On Energy & Oil: The steady march of climate change is obvious in the Arctic

In 2005, I joined Senator McCain, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins for a trip to Alaska. We met with scientists, local leaders, and First Nations elders to hear from them about the effects of climate change. Flying over the vast coniferous forests of the Yukon, I could see huge brown swaths of dead spruce trees, killed off by the infestations of bark beetles that had moved north because of warmer temperatures. Those dead trees became kindling for forest fires that were happening more frequently.
Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.502 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: 2009: Chose Japan as first destination to emphasize alliance

I first visited Japan with Bill as part of a trade delegation from Arkansas during his governorship. The country then was an object of growing anxiety in the US. Japan's "Economic Miracle" came to symbolize deep-seated fears about US stagnation and decline.

In those days there were legitimate concerns about America's economic future. [But by our visit in] summer 1993, we could already see that America was regaining its economic strength. Japan, by contrast, faced a "Lost Decade" after its assets and credit bubble burst, leaving banks and other businesses loaded down with bad debt. Its economy, once feared by Americans, slowed to an anemic pace--which caused a whole different set of concerns for them and us. Japan was still one of the largest economies in the world and a key partner in responding to the global financial crisis. I chose Tokyo as my first destination to underscore that our new administration saw the alliance as a cornerstone of our strategy in the region.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p. 47-8 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Some world leaders are still misogynistic

At Ewha Woman's University in Seoul, South Korea, I saw how reaching out to young people was going to take me into territory beyond traditional foreign policy concerns. As I stepped onto the stage at Ewha, the audience erupted in cheers. Then the young women lined up at the microphone to ask me some highly personal questions--respectfully, but eagerly.

"Is it difficult to deal with misogynistic leaders around the world?"

I responded that I would guess that many leaders choose to ignore the fact that they're dealing with a woman when they're dealing with me. But I try not to let them get away with that. (Nonetheless, it is an unfortunate reality that women in public life still face an unfair double standard. Even leaders like former Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia have faced outrageous sexism, which shouldn't be tolerated in any country.)

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p. 50 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Get China involved with North Korea diplomacy

Many of North Korea's 25 million people live in abject poverty. Yet the regime devotes most of its limited resources to supporting its military, developing nuclear weapons, and antagonizing its neighbors.

In my public remarks [in Feb. 2009] in Seoul I extended an invitation to the North Koreans. If they would completely and verifiably eliminate their nuclear weapons program, we would be willing to normalize relations, and assist in meeting the economic and humanitarian needs of the North Korean people. If not, the regime's isolation would continue. It was an opening gambit that was not one I thought likely to succeed. But we started off with the offer of engagement knowing it would be easier to get other nations to pressure North Korea if and when the offer was rejected. It was particularly important for China, a longtime patron and protector of the regime in Pyongyang, to be part of a united international front. [The opening failed, as have numerous others since then].

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p. 53-4 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: China never fits neatly into category like friend or rival

The US-China relationship is still full of challenges. We are two large, complex nations with profoundly different histories, political systems, and outlooks, whose economies and futures have become deeply entwined. This isn't a relationship that fits neatly into categories like friend or rival, and it may never. We are sailing in uncharted waters.

[In 1998], I came home from the trip convinced that if China over time embraces reform and modernization, it could become a constructive world power and an important partner for the US. But it was not going to be easy, and America would have to be smart and vigilant in how we engaged this growing nation.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p. 65-6 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: China never fits neatly into category like friend or rival

The US-China relationship is still full of challenges. We are two large, complex nations with profoundly different histories, political systems, and outlooks, whose economies and futures have become deeply entwined. This isn't a relationship that fits neatly into categories like friend or rival, and it may never. We are sailing in uncharted waters.

[In my 1998 China trip as First Lady], I came home from the trip convinced that if China over time embraces reform and modernization, it could become a constructive world power and an important partner for the US.

I returned to China as Secretary in February 2009 with the goal of building a relationship durable enough to weather the inevitable disputes and crises that would arise. I also wanted to embed the China relationship in our broader Asia strategy, engaging Beijing in the region's multilateral institutions [based on] agreed-upon rules. [But] we would not sacrifice our values or our traditional allies in order to win better terms with China.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p. 65-7 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Embed China within broader Asia strategy

I returned to China as Secretary in February 2009 with the goal of building a relationship durable enough to weather the inevitable disputes and crises that would arise. I also wanted to embed the China relationship in our broader Asia strategy, engaging Beijing in the region's multilateral institutions in ways that would encourage it to work with its neighbors according to agreed-upon rules. At the same time, I wanted China to know that it was not the sole focus of our attention in Asia. We would not sacrifice our values or our traditional allies in order to win better terms with China. Despite its impressive economic growth and advances in military capacity, it had not yet come close to surpassing the US as the most powerful nation in the Asia-Pacific. We were prepared to engage from a position of strength.
Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p. 66-7 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: 1998: organized women's peace conference in Northern Ireland

In 1995, Bill became the 1st US President to visit Northern Ireland when he and I traveled to Belfast, and turned on the lights of Belfast's Christmas tree in front of a vast crowd. I returned to Northern Ireland nearly every year for the rest of the decade and stayed actively involved as a Senator in the years that followed. In 1998 I helped organize the Vital Voices Conference of women in Belfast who were pressing for a peace agreement. Their whispers of "Enough!" had become a rallying cry that could no longer be ignored. As I spoke from the podium, I looked up and saw Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, and other leaders of Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, sitting in the front row of the balcony. Behind them I saw leading Unionists who refused to talk with Sinn Fein. The fact that they were both there--at a women's conference for peace--exemplified their openness to compromise.
Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.224 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: 2009: Northern Ireland shows any adversaries can make good

I urged Northern Ireland's leaders to continue disarmament by paramilitary groups and take the final steps of devolution, especially on putting the vital areas of policing and justice under the control of the Northern Irish government.

Addressing a full session of the Northern Ireland Assembly, I reminded them, "There have been many moments in Northern Ireland's peace journey when progress seemed difficult, when every route forward was blocked, and there seemed to be nowhere to go. But you have always found a way to do what you believed was right for the people of Northern Ireland." Because of this perseverance, "Northern Ireland stands as an example to the world of how even the staunchest adversaries can overcome differences to work together for the common and greater good. So I encourage you to move forward now with that same spirit of unstoppable grit and resolve. And I pledge that the US will be behind you all the way, as you work toward peace and stability that lasts."

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.225 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Putin's annexing Crimea plays outdated zero-sum game

Putin's worldview is shaped by Russia's long-standing interest in controlling the nations on its borders, and his personal determination that his country never again appear weak or at the mercy of the West, as he believes it was after the collapse of the Soviet Union. To achieve these goals, he seeks to reduce the influence of the US in areas that he considers part of Russia's sphere. All of that helps explain why Putin first pressured Ukraine to walk away from closer ties with the European Union in late 2013, and why Putin invaded and annexed Crimea.

Putin sees geopolitics as a zero-sum game in which, if someone is winning, then someone else has to be losing. That's an outdated but still dangerous concept, one that requires the US to show both strength and patience. To manage our relationship with the Russians, we should work with them on specific issues when possible, and rally other nations to work with us to prevent or limit their negative behavior when needed.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.227-8 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Push Russia on press freedom; they've killed 20 journalists

Among the most egregious developments in the new Russia were the attacks on the press. Newspapers, TV stations, and bloggers faced intense pressure to toe the Kremlin line. Since 2000, Russia has been the 4th most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist--not as bad as Iraq but worse than Somalia or Pakistan. Between 2000 and 2009 nearly 20 journalists were killed in Russia, and in only one case was the killer convicted.

When I visited Moscow in 2009, I thought it important to speak out in support of press freedoms and against the official campaign of intimidation. I met with journalists, lawyers, and other civil society leaders, including one activist who told me that he had been badly beaten by unidentified thugs. These Russians had seen friends and colleagues harassed, intimidated, even killed, yet they went on working, writing, and speaking, refusing to be silenced. I assured them that the US would publicly and privately raise human rights concerns with the Russian government.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.229 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Integrate with Latin America but focus on income inequality

[In 2009], economic inequality in Latin America was still among the worst in the world. I argued that a key challenge in the years ahead would be to make sure that the benefits of economic growth were broadly shared and that the region's democracies delivered concrete results for their citizens. "Rather than defining economic progress simply by profit margins and GDP, our yardstick must be the quality of human lives," I suggested, so we should be measuring "whether families have enough food on the table, whether young people have access to schooling, whether workers have safe conditions on the job."

A number of Latin American countries, notably Brazil, Mexico, and Chile, had already found success in reducing inequality and lifting people out of poverty. [Some successful policies include] "conditional cash transfer" programs; cooperation on energy and climate change; and on linking different national and regional electrical grids from northern Canada all the way down to the tip of Chile.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.254-5 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Idealistic realism: embody hybrid rather than categorizing

[In the] running debate between so-called realists and idealists, the former place national security ahead of human rights, while the latter do the opposite. Those are categories that I find overly simplistic. No one should have any illusions about the gravity of the security threats America faces, and as Secretary I had no higher responsibility than to protect our citizens and our country. But at the same time, upholding universal values and human rights is at the core of what it means to be American. If we sacrifice those values or let our policies diverge too far from our ideals, our influence will wane.

There are times when we do have to make difficult compromises. Our challenge is to be clear-eyed about the world as it is while never losing sight of the world as we want it to become. That's why I don't mind that I've been called both an idealist & a realist over the years. I prefer being considered a hybrid, perhaps an idealistic realist. Because I, like our country, embody both tendencies.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.566 Jun 10, 2014

On Free Trade: Global trading system isn't up to standards of fairness

America worked to create a global economy. The current global trading system is distorted not only by barriers to entry in developing and emerging economies, but by the power of special interests in developed countries, including the US. To make trade fairer as well as freer, developing countries have to do a better job of improving productivity, raising labor conditions, and protecting the environment. In the US, we have to do a better job of providing good jobs to those displaced by trade.
Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.509 Jun 10, 2014

On Free Trade: China benefits from WTO and should play by WTO rules

We should focus on ending currency manipulation, environmental destruction and miserable working conditions [in China]. I acknowledge the challenge of lifting millions of people out of poverty. China argued this outweighed any obligation to play by established rules. I countered that China and other emerging economies had benefited greatly from the system the US had helped create, including their membership in the World Trade Organization, and now they needed to take their share of responsibility.
Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.513 Jun 10, 2014

On Homeland Security: Balance lower military & higher diplomacy budget

[Defense Secretary Bob Gates] believed it was time for balance among what I was calling the 3Ds of defense, diplomacy, and development. The easiest place to see the imbalance was in the budget. For every dollar spent by the federal government, just one penny went to diplomacy and development. Bob said the foreign affairs budget was "disproportionately small relative to what we spend on the military." There were as many Americans serving in military marching bands as in the diplomatic corps. We became allies, tag-teaming Congress for a smarter national security budget.
Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p. 24 Jun 10, 2014

On Homeland Security: NATO essential for evolving threats of the 21st century

The long war in Afghanistan had taxed NATO's capacities. Some allies were slashing their defense budgets, leavings others (mostly the US) to pick up the slack. Everyone was suffering from the economic crisis. There were voices on both sides of the Atlantic asking whether NATO was still relevant 20 years after the end of the Cold War.

I thought NATO remained essential for meeting the evolving threats of the 21st century. America can't and shouldn't do everything by ourselves; that's why building partnerships around common interests and goals was so important. NATO was still our most capable partner.

In 2011 we were able to show what a relevant 21st-century NATO looks like as the Alliance led the military intervention to protect civilians in Libya. The US provided unique capabilities but our allies--not us--flew 75% of the sorties. That was a reversal of the distribution of labor a decade before, during NATO's intervention in Kosovo, when the US was responsible for 90% of the bombing.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.225 Jun 10, 2014

On Immigration: Immigrants keep America young and dynamic

In 2009, more than 55 million Americans were immigrants or the children of immigrants. These first- or second-generation Americans were valuable links back tot heir home countries and also significant contributors to our own country's economic, cultural, and political life. Immigration helped keep the US population young and dynamic at a time when many of our partners and competitors were aging. Russia, in particular, faced what President Putin himself has called a "demographic crisis." Even China, because of its "One Child Policy," was headed toward a demographic cliff. I only wish that the bipartisan bill passed the Senate in 2013 reforming our immigration laws could pass the House.
Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.550 Jun 10, 2014

On Principles & Values: Religious freedom is a human right unto itself

Some Muslim-majority nations have resolutions that threatened freedom of expression in the name of preventing "defamation of religion." I thought we could break the impasse by recognizing that tolerance and freedom are values that need protecting. We needed a partner. We found the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Its chair agreed to work with me on a new resolution at the Human Rights Council that would take a strong stand for freedom of expression and worship and against discrimination and violence based on religion or belief.

Religious freedom is a human right unto itself, and it is wrapped up with other rights, including the right of people to think what they want, say what they think, associate with others, and assemble peacefully without the state looking over their shoulders. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes clear that each of us is born free to practice any religion.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.574 Jun 10, 2014

On Technology: Developing world cell phones open up education & opportunity

I understood that new technologies would reshape how we practiced diplomacy and development. We discussed how these tools were value-neutral. We had to act responsibly to maximize technology's benefits while minimizing the risks. Technology was opening up new avenues to solve problems and promote America's interests and values. We would focus on helping civil society across the world harness mobile technology and social media to hold governments accountable, document abuses, and empower marginalized groups, including women and young people.

There were nearly 4 billion cell phones in use in the developing world, many of them in the hands of farmers, market vendors, rickshaw drivers and others who had historically lacked access to education.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.546 Jun 10, 2014

On War & Peace: Putin wants to reassert Russia's dominance in its own areas

Putin's worldview is shaped by Russia's long-standing interest in controlling the nations on its borders, and his personal determination that his country never again appear weak or at the mercy of the West, as he believes it was after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He wants to reassert Russia's power by dominating its neighbors. To achieve these goals, he seeks to reduce the influence of the US in Central and Eastern Europe and other areas that he considers part of Russia's sphere.
Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.227 Jun 10, 2014

On War & Peace: Putin's annexing Crimea plays outdated zero-sum game

Putin seeks to reduce the influence of the US in areas that he considers part of Russia's sphere. That helps explain why Putin first pressured Ukrainian President Yanukovych to walk away from closer ties with the European Union in late 2013, and why, after Yanukovych's government disintegrated, Putin invaded and annexed Crimea. If Putin is restrained and doesn't push beyond Crimea into eastern Ukraine, it will not be because he has lost his appetite for more power, territory, and influence.

Putin sees geopolitics as a zero-sum game in which, if someone is winning, then someone else has to be losing. That's an outdated but still dangerous concept, one that requires the US to show both strength and patience. To manage our relationship with the Russians, we should work with them on specific issues when possible, and rally other nations to work with us to prevent or limit their negative behavior when needed. That's a difficult but essential balance to strike.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.227-8 Jun 10, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Russian reset: Pushed Obama to keep Putin at a distance

Clinton writes about the memo she sent Obama in her final days at State on how to handle Russia going forward. "The reset had allowed us to pick off the low-hanging fruit in terms of bilateral cooperation. And there was no need to blow up our collaboration on Iran or Afghanistan. But we should hit the pause button on new efforts. Don't appear too eager to work together. Don't flatter [Russian president Vladimir] Putin with high-level attention. Decline his invitation for a presidential-level summit in Moscow in September."

This was months before Obama ultimately turned away from meeting with Putin, as Russia harbored NSA leaker Snowden. But by including this memo, she reminds readers that Clinton--who became the face of the Russian reset as the top spokesperson for the Obama administration--was more hawkish on Putin than others in the administration.

It's helpful to her at a time when Republicans have been lambasting her over Russian's aggression against Ukraine.

Source: Politico.com on Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton Jun 7, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Arab Spring: Egyptian uprising had destabilizing impact

Clinton writes that one of her envoys who she sent to deal with then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak displeased the White House when he said publicly that Mubarak should remain in power to "oversee a transition." Clinton was not among Obama advisers who wanted to side with the uprising instantly, and saw a potentially destabilizing impact if Mubarak left immediately.

"The President called me to express his unhappiness about the 'mixed messages' we were sending," she writes. "That's a diplomatic way of saying he took me to the woodshed."

There are some other instances throughout the book in which Clinton was in a different place than Obama, but this is the one of the only times in which she describes the president as genuinely unhappy with something that the State Department did.

Source: Politico.com on Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton Jun 7, 2014

On War & Peace: Invested in Israel: negotiate a ceasefire in Gaza

Clinton devotes many pages to her fealty to Israel, and to her understanding of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who fell from power then rose to it again: "I am not alone in feeling so personally invested in Israel's security and success," she writes. "Many Americans admire Israel as a homeland for a people long oppressed and a democracy that has had to defend itself at every turn. In Israel's story we see our own, and the story of all people who struggle for freedom and the right to chart their own destinies."

Clinton has long paid heed to her standing among Jewish supporters, and she was clear in public comments in the last several months she remains "skeptical" about Iran's commitment to a true nuclear freeze deal.

The many sections on Israel--and on her role in negotiating a ceasefire in Gaza--serve a political purpose. But they also reflect the significance of Israel for any secretary of State, especially as the Arab Spring protests were unfolding.

Source: Politico.com on Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton Jun 7, 2014

On Foreign Policy: End the Cuban embargo; that will shift onus to Castros

Hillary Clinton says she has urged President Obama to lift the US embargo against Cuba, arguing the policy has hurt citizens of both nations. "Since 1960, the United States had maintained an embargo against the island in hopes of squeezing Castro from power, but it only succeeded in giving him a foil to blame for Cuba's economic woes," Clinton writes in an excerpt from her new book.

Clinton said she told Obama the embargo "wasn't achieving its goals" and "was holding back our broader agenda across Latin America."

"I thought we should shift the onus onto the Castros to explain why they remained undemocratic and abusive," Clinton writes. But President Obama ultimately decided to maintain the economic restrictions, she said.

In 2011, the White House said it would allow students seeking academic credit and churches making religious trips to visit the island. Additionally, the administration expanded the number of US airports permitted to offer charter service to the island.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, A.P. pre-release excerpts Jun 6, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Eastern Europe in NATO keeps Putin from moving beyond Crimea

In the wake of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in early 2014, some have argued that NATO expansion either caused or exacerbated Russia's aggression. I disagree with that argument, but the most convincing voices refuting it are those European leaders and people who express their gratitude for NATO membership.

[Those making that argument] should ponder how much more serious the crisis would be--and how much more difficult it would be--to contain further Russian aggression if Eastern and Central European nations were not now NATO allies. The NATO door should remain open, and we should be clear and tough-minded in dealing with Russia.

If Putin is restrained and doesn't push beyond Crimea into eastern Ukraine it will not be because he has lost his appetite for more power, territory and influence.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, CBS pre-release excerpts Jun 6, 2014

On War & Peace: I wanted to arm Syrian rebels, along with regional partners

I returned to Washington reasonably confident that if we decided to begin arming and training moderate Syrian rebels, we could put in place effective coordination with our regional partners.

The risks of both action and inaction were high. Both choices would bring unintended consequences. The Presidents' inclination was to stay the present course and not take the significant further step of arming rebels. No one likes to lose a debate, including me. But this was the President's call and I respected his deliberations and decision. From the beginning of our partnership, he had promised me that would always get a fair hearing. And I always did. In this case, my position didn't prevail.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, CBS pre-release excerpts Jun 6, 2014

On War & Peace: I got it wrong on 2002 Iraq War vote

Many Senators came to wish they had voted against the resolution [authorizing the Iraq War in 2002]. I was one of them. As the war dragged on, with every letter I sent to a family in New York who had lost a son or daughter, a father or mother, my mistake became more painful.

I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn't alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, CBS pre-release excerpts Jun 6, 2014

On Families & Children: Our generation is blessed by extra years with aging parents

When I became Secretary of State, Mom was just about to turn 90. She had been living with us in Washington for the past few years, ever since being alone in her apartment overlooking the zoo on Connecticut Av. became too much. Like so many Americans of my generation, I felt both blessed to have these extra years with an aging parent and very responsible for making sure she was comfortable and well cared for. Mom gave me so much unconditional love and support when I was growing up in Park Ridge IL; now it was my turn to support her. Of course I never would have let her hear me describe it that way. Dorothy Rodham was a fiercely independent woman. She couldn't bear the thought of being a burden to anyone.

Having her so close became a source of great comfort to me, especially in the difficult period after the end of the 2008 campaign. I'd come home from a long day at the Senate or the State Department, slide in next to her at the small table in our breakfast nook, and let everything just pour out.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Vogue Magazine excerpts May 31, 2014

On Principles & Values: We survive trauma by people showing kindness

Mom's own childhood was marked by trauma and abandonment. In Chicago her parents fought frequently and divorced when she and her sister were young. Neither parent was willing to care for the kids, so they were put on a train to California to live with their paternal grandparents

By the time Mom turned 14, she could no longer bear life in her grandmother's house. She moved out and found work. After graduating from high school Mom moved back to Chicago in the hopes of reconnecting with her own mother. Sadly she was spurned yet again.

When I got old enough to understand all this, I asked my mother how she survived abuse and abandonment without becoming embittered and emotionally stunted. How did she emerge from this lonely early life as such a loving and levelheaded woman? I'll never forget how she replied. "At critical points in my life somebody showed me kindness," she said. Sometimes it would seem so small, but it would mean so much.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Vogue Magazine excerpts May 31, 2014

On Principles & Values: I have loved & been loved; all the rest is background music

Mom was amazingly energetic into her 90s. But her health started to fail her. By 2011 I was growing worried about leaving her alone. On Oct. 31, I got the call. Mom was a fighter her entire life, but it was finally time to let go. I sat by her bedside and held her hand one last time. No one had a bigger influence on my life or did more to shape the person I became.

When I lost my father in 1993, it felt too soon, and I was consumed with sadness for all the things he would not live to see and do. This was different. Mom lived a long and full life. This time I wept not for what she would miss but for how much I would miss her.

We held a memorial service at the house with close family and friends. With Bill and Chelsea by my side, I tried to say a final goodbye. I remembered a piece of wisdom that an older friend of mine shared in her later years that perfectly captured how my mother lived her life and how I hoped to live mine: "I have loved and been loved; all the rest is background music."

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Vogue Magazine excerpts May 31, 2014

On Homeland Security: Dozens of Benghazi attackers had dozens of motives

On the Benghazi attack: "There were scores of attackers that night, almost certainly with differing motives. It is inaccurate to state that every single one of them was influenced by this hateful video. It is equally inaccurate to state that none of them were. Both assertions defy not only the evidence but logic as well."

On the President's actions during the Benghazi attack: Obama "gave the order to do whatever was necessary to support our people in Libya. It was imperative that all possible resources be mobilized immediately. When Americans are under fire, that is not an order the Commander in Chief has to give twice. Our military does everything humanly possible to save American lives--and would do more if they could. That anyone has ever suggested otherwise is something I will never understand."

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Politico.com excerpts May 30, 2014

On Homeland Security: Benghazi security was simply inadequate in a dangerous city

On the Accountability Review Board investigation into the Benghazi attacks: Clinton writes that the security upgrades to the Benghazi compound were "simply inadequate in an increasingly dangerous city." She notes that Benghazi compound personnel felt their requests for additional security were not given adequate weight by the US Embassy in Tripoli, a point Republicans have argued does not absolve Clinton since those officials report to her. Clinton reiterates that she never saw cables requesting additional security. The cables were addressed to her as a "procedural quirk" given her position, but didn't actually land on her desk, she writes: "That's not how it works. It shouldn't. And it didn't."

On the claim that the investigation of the attack was rigged since Clinton appointed some of the Board members and she was not interviewed, she writes that they "had unfettered access to anyone and anything they thought relevant to their investigation, including me if they had chosen to do so."

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Politico.com excerpts May 30, 2014

On Homeland Security: Benghazi talking points were written by CIA for Congress

[Hillary] defends UN Ambassador UN Susan Rice for describing the Benghazi attack as a "copycat" of the video-spurred Cairo protests. Rice, Clinton writes, was relying on existing intelligence. The talking points she used were written by CIA officials to help members of Congress address the attacks. CIA officials didn't know Rice would use them, Clinton writes.

The talking points have been a focus of Republican critics, who insist they stemmed from the White House [as spin on] a terrorist attack on the eve of Obama's reelection. "Susan stated what the intelligence community believed, rightly or wrongly, at the time," Clinton writes. "That was the best she or anyone could do. Every step of the way, whenever something new was learned, it was quickly shared with Congress and the American people. There is a difference between getting something wrong, and committing wrong. A big difference that some have blurred to the point of casting those who made a mistake as intentionally deceitful."

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Politico.com excerpts May 30, 2014

On Homeland Security: Benghazi: focused on rescue & prevention, not retrospection

[Writing about Benghazi in her book, Hillary] addresses her much-seized-upon remark before a congressional committee in January 2013, when she used the phrase "what difference at this point does it make." Republicans have claimed it betrayed Clinton's lack of interest in getting to the bottom of the attack. Clinton writes that her words were blatantly twisted.

"In yet another example of the terrible politicization of this tragedy, many have conveniently chosen to interpret" that phrase "to mean that I was somehow minimizing the tragedy of Benghazi. Of course that's not what I said," she writes. "Nothing could be further from the truth. And many of those trying to make hay of it know that, but don't care."

She adds, "My point was simple: If someone breaks into your home and takes your family hostage, how much time are you going to spend focused on how the intruder spent his day as opposed to how best to rescue your loved ones and then prevent it from happening again?"

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Politico.com excerpts May 30, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Smart power: combine civil society & traditional diplomacy

I approached my work with confidence in our country's enduring strengths and purpose, and humility about how much remains beyond our knowledge and control. I worked to reorient American foreign policy around what I call "smart power." To succeed in the 21st century, we need to integrate the traditional tools of foreign policy--diplomacy, development assistance, and military force--while also tapping the energy and ideas of the private sector and empowering citizens, especially the activists, organizers, and problem solvers we call civil society, to meet their own challenges and shape their own futures. We have to use all of America's strengths to build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries, more shared responsibility and fewer conflicts, more good jobs and less poverty, more broadly based prosperity with less damage to our environment.
Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, pre-release excerpts May 25, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Does US still have what it takes to lead? Yes!

I wrote this book to honor the exceptional diplomats and development experts whom I had the honor of leading as America's 67th Secretary of State. I wrote it for anyone anywhere who wonders whether the United States still has what it takes to lead. For me, the answer is a resounding "Yes." Talk of America's decline has become commonplace, but my faith in our future has never been greater. While there are few problems in today's world that the US can solve alone, there are even fewer that can be solved without the US. Everything that I have done and seen has convinced me that America remains the "indispensable nation." I am just as convinced, however, that our leadership is not a birthright. It must be earned by every generation.

And it will be--so long as we stay true to our values and remember that, before we are Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, or any of the other labels that divide us as often as define us, we are Americans, all with a personal stake in our country.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, pre-release excerpts May 25, 2014

On Foreign Policy: Distinguish inherited problems from new ones & opportunities

As Secretary of State I thought of our choices and challenges in three categories: The problems we inherited, including two wars and a global financial crisis; the new, often unexpected events and emerging threats, from the shifting sands of the Middle East to the turbulent waters of the Pacific to the uncharted terrain of cyberspace; and the opportunities presented by an increasingly networked world that could help lay the foundation for American prosperity and leadership in the 21st century.
Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, pre-release excerpts May 25, 2014

On Principles & Values: Life is about making hard choices; so is governing

All of us face hard choices in our lives. Some face more than their share. We have to decide how to balance the demands of work & family. Caring for a sick child or an aging parent. Figuring out how to pay for college. Finding a good job, and what to do if you lose it. Whether to get married--or stay married. Life is about making such choices. Our choices and how we handle them shape the people we become. For leaders and nations, they can mean the difference between war and peace, poverty and prosperity

When I chose to leave a career as a young lawyer in Washington to move to Arkansas to marry Bill & start a family, my friends asked, "Are you out of your mind?" I heard similar questions when I took on health care reform as First Lady, ran for office myself, and accepted Pres. Obama's offer to represent our country as Secretary of State.

What's true in our daily lives is also true at the highest levels of government. Keeping America safe, strong, and prosperous presents an endless set of choices

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, pre-release excerpts May 25, 2014

On Principles & Values: Making hard choices, I listened to both my heart and my head

In making [hard choices about key life decisions], I listened to both my heart and my head. I followed my heart to Arkansas; it burst with love at the birth of our daughter, Chelsea; and it ached with the losses of my father & mother. My head urged me forward in my education & professional choices.

And my heart & head together sent me into public service. Along the way, I've tried not to make the same mistake twice, to learn, to adapt, and to pray for the wisdom to make better choices in the future. When I began this book, I considered a number of titles. One reader proposed "It Takes a World," a fitting sequel to It Takes a Village. My favorite was "The Scrunchie Chronicles: 112 Countries and It's Still All about My Hair." In the end, the title that best captured my experiences on the high wire of international diplomacy was Hard Choices.

One thing that has never been a hard choice for me is serving our country. It has been the greatest honor of my life.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, pre-release excerpts May 25, 2014

The above quotations are from Hard Choices
by Hillary Clinton.
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Page last updated: Jun 17, 2015