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Hillary Clinton departs State: What's her legacy as top US diplomat? (+video)

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During the town-hall meeting, Clinton coyly addressed the question of her future political ambitions by saying she is “not inclined” at this point to seek the presidency – though she certainly did not slam any doors shut. If she does eventually decide to make another White House bid, most political analysts say they would expect her to run on a theme of “Hillary can do it all,” in which her tenure as secretary of State would be an important highlight but not the focus.

For her protagonists, Clinton has effectively reestablished and reenergized America’s working relationships with allies and partners that had become estranged from the United States during the George W. Bush administration. Beyond that, she began implementation of Obama’s “pivot” to the Asian Pacific region, they say, by building dialogue and institutional ties with a rising China while at the same time strengthening America’s links with the Asian countries that are feeling the impact of China’s growing weight.

“Hillary Clinton has been highly successful and has left a very positive mark on American foreign policy,” says Karl Inderfurth, a former assistant secretary of State for South Asian affairs who is now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “In two areas especially” – stewardship of the Asia pivot and elevation of the role that women and girls play in political and economic development – “she will have a lasting legacy,” he adds.

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