Hard Choices Book Summary By Hillary Clinton

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Get a glimpse inside some of the Obama administration's most important debates and negotiations with Hard Choices, by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In this telling memoir, you'll be right there in the room as many of these historical policy decisions are being made.

This book gives you an intimate look at the daily challenges faced by an American Secretary of State as well as keen insights into her own diplomatic triumphs and life-changing choices.

Take a journey through Mrs.

Clinton's complex and sometimes difficult years at the helm of foreign relations for our country!

Hard Choices Book

Book Name: Hard Choices (The memoir of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton)

Author(s): Hillary Clinton

Rating: 3/5

Reading Time: 21 Minutes

Categories: Book Summaries

Author Bio

The renowned author of "Hard Choices" is Hillary Clinton, a powerful political figure who has lived through a number of monumental moments in US history.

For twelve years she served as the Democratic Senator from New York, following her time as First Lady of the United States.

Additionally, during Barack Obama's first term she was appointed to be Secretary of State and remained in that position until 2013.

Throughout her decades-long career, Hillary Clinton has become an icon for female leaders around the world and published several New York Times bestsellers including "Hard Choices".

In it, she covers the complexities of diplomacy which she encountered while serving in public office and offers valuable insights into international politics.

What You’Ll Learn From The Foreign Policy Sections Of Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices”

Hillary Clinton's

In Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton provides insight into her time as secretary of state.

She recounts the Obama administration’s transition to ‘smart power’; a combination of both soft and hard power strategies used for global foreign relations.

During her term, she was faced with difficult partnerships from countries such as China and Iran—while also improving ties with US allies such as Mexico and Japan.

Furthermore, you will gain an understanding of how Hillary might proceed differently if she became president on topics ranging from the Benghazi incident to women’s rights around the world.

Overall, this book provides substantial context into not only what she experienced during that period but how it might shape how she governs if given the opportunity to lead.

The Obama Administration’S Shift Toward An Asia-Pacific Focus: Strategic Opportunities And Challenges

When President Obama assumed office, his administration set out to reassert US power in the Asia-Pacific region.

This was made a priority by increasing the number of allies it had within the region, reinforcing those ties and forgiving countries such as Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Alongside this came a recognition that East Asia offered huge economic and strategic opportunities for America.

To strengthen its presence within Asia, Obama’s foreign policy also focused on increasing diplomatic relations with emerging powers across the continent who maintained democratic governments, such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

These have now seen renewed political efforts from the US administration, including initiatives like proposed trade agreements like Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The US has even sent military support to countries in need – for example aircraft carrier USS George Washington was deployed to respond to North Korea’s threats against South Korea.

Support for the region has even extended all the way up to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – she made her very first official trip as Secretary of State straight to East Asia, at one point even visiting China 7 times during her first 3 years in office while participating in most ASEAN meetings.

It’s clear that at least when it comes to increasing America’s presence in Asia strengthening relationships was one of Obama’s top foreign policy goals.

The United States’ Complicated Relationship With China: Balancing Interest And Freedom

When it comes to dealing with China, the United States has had to balance its own conflicting interests.

On one hand, they have a strong interest in maintaining good relations with China due to their shared concerns regarding terrorism and nuclear weapon proliferation, as well as their intertwined economies.

China is even the largest foreign creditor of the United States and a very important trade partner.

On the other hand, China has a longstanding history of human rights violations, such as jailing activists for legally defending citizens’ rights against local authorities, as well as impinging on international borders by declaring an “air defense identification zone” over much of the East China Sea.

In response to this kind of duality, The Obama administration deftly walks this line by focusing on common ground while still exercising pressure: establishing dialogues like US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue focused on hard issues, proceeding with expanding trade between the two countries, but also encouraging Asian nations to join forces in opposition to Chinese territorial expansions and protect human rights activists when possible.

The Us-Iran Standoff: Decades Of Diplomatic Tension And Efforts To Contain Iran’S Nuclear Program

Nuclear Program

The Obama administration was committed to reducing the threat from Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

To do this, the United States consistently employed diplomatic measures to impede Iran’s atomic plans and issued ever-increasing sanctions against the country.

Iran’s construction of a large enrichment facility beneath Qom posed a serious challenge, as Western intelligence agencies discovered in 2008.

It was believed that the facility would bring Iran closer to building a nuclear bomb, and its size and configuration suggested malicious intent rather than peaceful purposes.

In response, when Iran requested fuel rods for medical isotopes in 2009, the United States offered them fuel rods in exchange for most of their uranium stockpile – a plan that could have delayed any suspected weapons program by months.

The international community responded with severe sanctions when Iran rejected this deal.

Once Hassan Rouhani became president in 2013, he negotiated another deal with the US and European countries which eliminated any highly enriched uranium present, leading to billions of dollars in sanctions relief for Iran.

By working diplomatically to reduce the Iranian atomic threat and provide incentives for compliant behaviour, the Obama administration was successful at lessening this major political issue between two nations that had historically been at odds.

Was Hillary Clinton Personally Responsible For The Benghazi Tragedy?

On the night of September 11, 2012, militants attacked the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans– including Ambassador Christopher Stephens.

After the attack, media and Congress pointed fingers at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for failing to keep her department safe.

However, subsequent investigations showed clear signs of miscommunication and inadequate security measures prior to the tragedy.

The Accountability Review Board’s report revealed that there was not sufficient coordination between different departments and their policies– Diplomatic Security office and State Department offices were not working together effectively.

In addition, American civil servants in Benghazi reported that they didn’t feel their security requests were given high priority.

Moreover, while some security upgrades were made to the compound (such as fortifying its outer walls), these weren’t enough to protect it against such an attack.

The Board concluded after making 29 recommendations.

It’s important to note that all cables sent to the State Department are typically addressed to the Secretary of State but she isn’t the primary recipient of them due to lack of time and expertise; instead it is handled by experts from other departments who have knowledge in staff security.

Furthermore, a local militia had been contracted by the State Department according to Vienna Convention– yet these groups ultimately failed to provide protection from fellow Libyans.

Lastly, budget restrictions meant that State Department couldn’t operate under maximum capacity which also contributed towards insufficient safety measures for diplomats in Benghazi.

Overall poor communication and inadequate infrastructure led this tragedy in Benghazi; not just Hillary Clinton alone being held responsible

How The Us And Mexico Worked Together To Fight Crime, And How A Creative Compromise Was Found For Cuba’S Membership In The Organization Of American States

The Obama administration was successful in achieving diplomatic success in Latin America.

In 2009, the US and Mexico devised a multi-pronged strategy to fight drug and gun trafficking by providing financial aid, training thousands of Mexican police officers, placing additional guards on the American side of the border, and extraditing more than 100 fugitives to the United States.

As a result of this collaboration, some two dozen high-level drug traffickers have been captured or killed.

Additionally, Obama’s team crafted a clever resolution to lift Cuba’s suspension in the Organization of American States (OAS).

Rather than a direct acceptance into OAS membership, the resolution proposed that Cuba be permitted to actively participate if it requested readmittance and improved its democratic standards.

This resolution was approved in June of 2009–a testament to Obama’s diplomatic prowess in resolving complex regional conflicts.

Under The Obama Administration, The Us And Russia Worked To Overcome Decades Of Strained Relations Through Dialogue And Cooperation


The Obama administration chose to “reset” relations with Russia, which marked a new chapter in U.S.-Russia relations.

This “reset” enabled the two countries to move away from the animosity that had been building up for over half a century and instead focus on their shared interests.

The reset was manifested through several agreements between the two countries: a treaty which would limit the number of nuclear weapons in both countries, cooperation on Iran, North Korea and counterterrorism efforts, as well as an agreement to allow American transport equipment to pass through Russia during Obama’s first visit there.

These developments gave people hope that things were looking up between these two former Cold War rivals – hopes further reinforced when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama developed a strong personal relationship that further facilitated this progress.

However, these hopes quickly evaporated with Medvedev’s announcement that he would not seek re-election in 2011.

How The Obama Administration Responded To Vladimir Putin’S Return To Power In Russia

When Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012, the common ground that had existed between Russia and the United States began to erode fast.

Putin was unwelcoming of any friendly overtures from the West, so much so that he even declined Obama’s invitation to the G8 summit.

On top of that, he announced plans in a newspaper essay to regain Russia’s lost influence on its former Soviet states.

In response to Putin’s actions, Obama’s administration changed strategies and focused less on finding common ground with Russia and their president.

US officials then refused an invitation from Putin for a Presidential-level summit in Moscow after his re-election.

Clinton even advised the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to strengthen ties with NATO, as well as fostering European energy autonomy, to prevent Europe from relying too much on Russian gas exports.

Hillary Clinton As President Would Take Steps To Stem Climate Change And Protect Women’s Rights Globally

Women's Rights

In Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton outlines the actions she would take regarding women’s rights and environmental policy if she was to be elected President of the United States.

She would focus on protecting women’s rights globally, as they currently make up the majority of those who are unhealthy, unfed and unpaid.

Women are often excluded from areas of paid work or from the political arena, and Clinton aims to end this inequality.

Clinton also wants to place importance on climate policies, understanding that emerging economies might be reluctant to divert funds towards environmental protection when dealing with poverty.

However, taking no action can lead to extreme weather events that threaten national and international security– something which is already happening in many parts of the world.

Ultimately, if elected president, Hillary Clinton would prioritize tackling these important issues concerning both women’s rights and our changing climate.

Wrap Up

At the end of Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the reader is left feeling that her time as secretary of state was a great success.

This book offers a glimpse into Clinton’s approach to tackling some tough international problems and situations with open-mindedness and fairness.

Over the course of her tenure as secretary of state, we get an understanding of how she navigated different nations, searching for areas of agreement rather than taking an adversarial stance.

Her efforts often brought successful resolutions on a global scale, making her time in office one of harmony and growth rather than strife and division.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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