Hillary Rodham Clinton was approved as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State Wednesday, by a Senate vote 94 to 2. The confirmation came a day after Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) called for further debate over former president Clinton’s foreign business relations. Cornyn, ironically, went on to praise Clinton and voted in her favor.
Following her confirmation, Obama joined Clinton at a press conference at the State Department. Signaling a resurgence of cooperative American diplomacy in the world, Obama and Clinton announced the selection of George Mitchell as the special envoy to the Middle East. They also announced the selection of Richard Holbrooke as a special representative, whose focused regions will be Afghanistan and Pakistan.
There’s been much speculation on the relationship between Clinton and Obama. They had one of the most competitive primary seasons in recent history. Furthermore, the often analyzed effect of the presence of Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, has persisted.
At the State Department press conference, Obama and Clinton presented a united and genuine friendly front.
Together, they spoke of ushering a new era in American foreign policy and the role of American diplomacy abroad.’ ‘ ‘
Clinton received an enthusiastic welcome accompanied by applause and cheers, at the State Department.
Addressing the crowd of employees at the State Department, Clinton said, ‘There is nothing I welcome more than a good debate and the kind of dialogue that will make us better. We cannot be our best if we don’t give that to ourselves and each other.’
However, it doesn’t go unnoticed that in selecting Clinton, Obama has confirmed a secretary of state whose intelligence, capacity and popularity contributes to her political and international capital. Both former lawyers, President Obama and Clinton share a similar approach to problem-solving and critical thinking.
Together, they have the potential to institute tangible and significant change in American foreign policy. In order to do so, they will have to work as a team, free of personal ego.
For Clinton, the position as chief diplomat of America will allow her the opportunity to play a vital role in the make-up of the Obama administration.
Clinton also warned employees gathered at the State Department that the challenges they face are daunting and will prove to be extremely difficult. As Secretary of State, Clinton has the opportunity to be at the forefront of resolving conflicts that have waged for decades. The first months of her post, as well as the Obama presidency, represent the short window of time to capitalize on the potential for effective diplomacy and reform.
The international community’s attention is now focused intently not only on Obama but also on Clinton.
A primary focus of Clinton’s agenda, and has been an ardent and longtime champion for women’s and children’s rights, is the treatment of women at home and abroad.
‘Our foreign policy must reflect our deep commitment to help millions of oppressed people around the world. And of particular concern to me is the plight of women and girls, who comprise the majority of the world’s unhealthy, unschooled, unfed, and unpaid,’ said Clinton during her Senate confirmation meeting.
Clinton went on to emphasize that women worldwide remain the most vulnerable to being marginalized in political and social discourse and action. Clinton pledged the support of the Obama administration in standing firmly as an ‘unequivocal and unwavering voice in support of women’s rights in every country on every continent.’
In understanding that women’s rights are human’s rights, and pledging her support to help end inequalities and oppression, Clinton will be a female secretary of state for women and men everywhere.