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.
Clinton recognized that Asia was going to be an economic priority for the US as well as a predominant national-security consideration, Mr. Inderfurth says, and “she set the standard” for US involvement. He cites her attendance and “tireless participation” in gatherings of the region’s multilateral institutions.
While many diplomats and foreign-policy experts give Clinton high marks, the glowing evaluation is hardly unanimous. As one national-security expert with Democratic leanings (and who requested anonymity in order to be blunt) says, “She’s been a fairly effective spokesman for the US government, but what has she done as secretary of State?”