Of course, Clinton’s efforts to revitalize the US’ alliances made restoring confidence in US leadership an overriding priority, which she achieved without seeking to militarize every international problem. Her approach implicitly assumed that creating conditions of cooperative strength can make the search for lasting peace self-reinforcing. Moreover, even as she emphasized the importance of alliances, she did not neglect diplomatic engagement with adversaries, though never as simply an exercise in splitting the difference.
Clinton, a one-time legislator and practicing politician, understood that a stateswoman’s real legacy is not found in today’s headlines and opinion polls, but in lasting policies and institutions. She knew this effort requires a willingness to achieve one’s goals in stages, however imperfect. In her own words: “The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.”
Finally, less noted, but of real long-term consequence, Clinton made the cause of gender equality — and not only in the halls of power — a special focus of her diplomacy. Wherever she traveled, she spoke out for equal rights.
“In too many instances, the march to globalization has also meant the marginalization of women and girls. And that must change,” she said.
Clinton has helped to bring about such change, not only for women like her, but, more importantly, for the world’s poor, disenfranchised and silenced women.
Yuriko Koike is an opposition leader in the Japanese Diet and a former Japanese minister of defense, national security adviser and chairwoman of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Copyright: Project Syndicate