On Sunday, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume said the case that Hillary Clinton has been a “great” secretary of state is “exceedingly weak.” This could be dismissed as mere right-wing dissent, but Hume is not alone. The New Yorker’s John Cassidy similarly argues today that Clinton is a “great ambassador, not a great secretary of state.”
Both Hume and Cassidy acknowledge that Clinton wasn’t exactly given the room for “greatness.” She was meant instead to be “a rockstar diplomat,” as Stephen Walt, a professor of international relations at Harvard, wrote in the Times Magazine, and she achieved that.
“The fact that Hillary didn’t bring peace to Palestine, or redefine the relationship between the United States and China, doesn’t mean she was a failure,” Cassidy writes. “Far from it. In carrying out the task she was allotted, she was a big success. It’s just that the nature of her job was very different from the ones that Acheson and Kissinger held. In reality, she wasn’t directing American foreign policy, or anything close. At times, she wasn’t even the Administration’s chief troubleshooter—a niche occupied by a series of special envoys: Richard Holbrooke, George Mitchell, and Dennis Ross. The post she really had was that of U.S. Ambassador to the world, and she made a pretty good fist of it.”