Factsheets

Hillary Clinton: Building Coalitions to Tackle Tough Issues

“In a world that is ever more complex, turbulent and dangerous, Secretary Clinton, 64, has made a singular contribution to strengthening this country’s relationships with allies, partners and friends; rallying other countries to join us in dealing with challenges to the global order, from Libya and Iran to the South China Sea; and reaching out to people in scores of countries to demonstrate that America cares about them.”Fmr. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates  

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton worked tirelessly to restore America’s leadership and relationships around the world after they were badly eroded by eight years of the Bush administration’s foreign policy. From strengthening relationships with our most trusted allies, to cobbling together unlikely coalitions to confront our adversaries, Hillary Clinton consistently used diplomacy and smart power to make the world a safer place.  

  • After the 2008 election and Hillary Clinton’s selection as Secretary of State, our standing around the world was drastically improved, and we maintained that increased support despite incredibly high expectations – Three-quarters of countries surveyed viewed the U.S. more positively in early 2009 than they had a year earlier (Pew 2013, BBC 2007/2008, BBC 2009), and 82 percent of countries surveyed by BBC had a more positive view of U.S. influence at the end of Secretary Clinton’s tenure than they did around its beginning (BBC 2009, BBC 2013).
  • Hillary Clinton engaged in back-channel diplomacy with Iran, dispatching senior aides for secret talks that led to international negotiations. She understood that unilateral sanctions were insufficient, so she went to work to create an international coalition. She twisted arms to convince even the Chinese and Russians to join the global regime and put into place crippling sanctions that eventually brought Iran to the negotiating table, leading to a historic deal that blocks their pathways to a nuclear weapon.
  • Hillary Clinton also met and spoke repeatedly with Russian leaders to secure their support, along with the support of China and the rest of the UN Security Council, to impose unprecedented nuclear sanctions against North Korea. 
  • In Libya, Hillary Clinton’s support for joining the intervention in Libya to confront their ruthless dictator, Muammar Qaddafi, was in concert with our allies’ desires. Our closest European partners, Britain and France, were calling forcefully for us to act, as were our allies in the region. In the end, the UN Security Council passed a resolution with a unanimous vote, Qaddafi was removed, Libya held its first election in over 40 years, and all without putting a single pair of American boots on the ground. And she backed the UN Support Mission in Libya to attempt to create stability in what was bound to be a tumultuous transition to a post-Qaddafi Libya.
  • Hillary Clinton made climate change a key part of her foreign policy, and worked to foster international cooperation to address the issue. At the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Clinton “was the point person…in compelling the Chinese to commit to cutting carbon emissions” for the first time, a crucial step forward in global climate efforts.