The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power
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THE FIRST INSIDE ACCOUNT TO BE PUBLISHED ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON'S TIME AS SECRETARY OF STATE, ANCHORED BY GHATTAS'S OWN PERSPECTIVE AND HER QUEST TO UNDERSTAND AMERICA'S PLACE IN THE WORLD.
In November 2008, Hillary Clinton agreed to work for her former rival. As President Barack Obama's secretary of state, she set out to repair America's image around the world―and her own. For the following four years, BBC foreign correspondent Kim Ghattas had unparalleled access to Clinton and her entourage, and she weaves a fast-paced, gripping account of life on the road with Clinton in The Secretary.
With the perspective of one who is both an insider and an outsider, Ghattas draws on extensive interviews with Clinton, administration officials, and players in Washington as well as overseas, to paint an intimate and candid portrait of one of the most powerful global politicians. Filled with fresh insights, The Secretary provides a captivating analysis of Clinton's brand of diplomacy and the Obama administration's efforts to redefine American power in the twenty-first century.
Populated with a cast of real-life characters, The Secretary tells the story of Clinton's transformation from popular but polarizing politician to America's envoy to the world in compelling detail and with all the tension of high stakes diplomacy. From her evolving relationship with President Obama to the drama of WikiLeaks and the turmoil of the Arab Spring, we see Clinton cheerfully boarding her plane at 3 a.m. after no sleep, reading the riot act to the Chinese, and going through her diplomatic checklist before signing on to war in Libya―all the while trying to restore American leadership in a rapidly changing world.
Viewed through Ghattas's vantage point as a half-Dutch, half-Lebanese citizen who grew up in the crossfire of the Lebanese civil war, The Secretary is also the author's own journey as she seeks to answer the questions that haunted her childhood. How powerful is America really? And, if it is in decline, who or what will replace it and what will it mean for America and the world?
followed: What was America going to do to help modernize Iraq’s agricultural sector? What was America going to do to empower women in Iraq? Could she send more American NGOs to Iraq? There was a deluge of requests, and, unusually, Clinton seemed to grow weary of the questions. America was the occupier and it had responsibilities toward the country, but the questions carried an abdication of initiative and an undertone of fatalism. After years of being told what to do and think by Saddam, Iraqis
weekend, and the embassy was having trouble finding hotel rooms. But there was good news: the secretary and her staff could be accommodated at the opulent Emirates Palace. Ground staff from the embassy were preparing to set up a secure floor with offices where Paul and his colleague could work on the next day’s briefing book, and Hillary’s aides would hold their morning meetings. Signs appeared on the walls with the State Department seal, and red arrows pointed to various rooms. A couple of
left little behind for people to feed on. The Chinese government may have made economic success available to a vast number of its citizens, but life for the middle class was still precarious, too dependent on the whims of the powerful. The gap between rich and poor in China was also bigger than in most of the other big economies, and much of the country’s wealth was concentrated in the hands of families all connected to the ruling elite. The image of America that the Chinese received inside the
cooperation to achieve results, the spirit and principles of communication, and the need to handle sensitive issues properly. It was all peppered with profuse use of the words “respect,” “mutual trust,” and “core interests.” “Only by helping each other out as passengers in this gigantic ship of the China-U.S. relationship will we be able to move forward, braving winds and waves,” he added. Meanwhile, China’s own, real ships had been causing waves in the high seas of the region. There was the
China, or America and the BRICs. It was America or no one. New rising powers pushing against American influence, asserting themselves on the world stage, were also pushing against each other. They may have resented America, but they disliked each other even more. So unless America maintained the edge, a multipolar world sounded like a recipe for global gridlock. Suddenly, the idea of American decline seemed utterly unappealing to me. But it seemed to be under way already or, at least, everyone