The world is a better place because Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Here’s why.
There’s a reason (or seven) the world’s leaders think Hillary was one of the all-time greats as secretary of state.
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She’s been called one of the finest secretaries of state we’ve ever had.
And someone who once held the same job as Hillary Clinton—former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright—says she’s never met anyone more prepared to be president.
We asked world leaders what made Hillary’s four years as America’s chief diplomat so consequential. Here’s what they had to say.
1. She restored America’s reputation in the world.
In 2009, our credibility overseas had been badly damaged after years of unpopular American-led wars in the Middle East. Hillary went to work to restore America’s reputation around the world. She visited 112 countries, brought smart power—coupling diplomacy with the threat of force or sanctions—to U.S. foreign policy, and shaped the global conversation “through her engagement with so many leaders but also the caliber of her intellect,” says former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard.
2. She championed the rights of women and girls around the world.
“Hillary knew in her head that if we wanted to build peaceful, economically prosperous nations, then we have to educate girls,” says Prime Minister Gillard. Hillary worked to bring down barriers that stop women and girls from reaching their potential—standing up against sex trafficking; helping women gain access to markets, credit, and training; and leading the fight for a U.N. Security Council resolution to combat sexual violence against women and children in conflict zones.
3. She negotiated the toughest sanctions Iran has ever faced.
With Iran at risk of becoming a nuclear nation, Hillary played a critical role persuading Russia, China, and nine other U.N. Security Council countries to impose the toughest sanctions in Iranian history. It was “a remarkable effort,” says former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. “And it paid off.”
4. She negotiated a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
In 2012, conflict between Israel and Hamas was escalating in Gaza, and another war in the Middle East seemed imminent. Hillary flew to Jerusalem, convening meetings with leaders in Ramallah and Cairo, and in 24 hours negotiated a ceasefire—ushering in the quietest year Israel had seen in a decade.
5. She stood up for LGBT rights.
Hillary’s boldness in standing up to countries that pushed anti-gay legislation “transform[ed] the way countries perceive and react to homosexuality,” in the words of one U.N. official. And when she declared to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva that gay rights are human rights, commentators called her words “the strongest defense ever in terms of gay rights.”
6. She reinvigorated American diplomacy with Asia.
Hillary renewed the United States’ relationships with Asian and Pacific nations, including Japan, South Korea, and Australia. “That’s going to be remembered for many, many long years to come as a diplomatic breakthrough for the U.S.,” says Prime Minister Gillard.
7. She took on the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.
During Hillary’s tenure, the U.S. extended antiretroviral therapy—which helps HIV/AIDS patients live longer, healthier lives—to 78 countries. Dr. Eric Goosby, a U.N. public health official, says that action alone is helping to save the lives of millions of people around the world. And it’s bringing us one big step closer to achieving an AIDS-free generation.
Learn more about Hillary Clinton’s plans for national security.