Hillary's legacy at State: A hawk with clipped wings

Mrs. Clinton wanted to arm the rebels fighting the Assad regime in Syria at an early stage in the conflict, but was rebuffed by a president wary of deeper involvement in another messy Middle Eastern conflict. She was at odds with more junior White House aides over the proper U.S. response to the tumultuous protests in Egypt that swept aside an old U.S. ally, President Hosni Mubarak.

House Republicans, meanwhile, will spend part of the summer ramping up a new inquiry into an unhappy chapter in her record: the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 that killed four Americans, a tragedy that continues to dog her. She has accepted responsibility for the event, calling it her “biggest regret,” but also has said Republicans have exploited it for political gain.

Another flash point has been her department’s decision—later reversed—not to put Boko Haram, the Nigerian group behind the mass kidnapping of schoolgirls, on a list of foreign terror groups.

Within the constraints laid out by the White House, Mrs. Clinton achieved some of her goals. In particular, she used the State Department’s far-flung offices to promote the interests of U.S. businesses in hopes of speeding economic recovery at home.