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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2526

Senator Hillary Clinton Considered Best Choice as Secretary of State

Sunday Discourse by Philip Fernando for Asian Tribune

As the Obama Administration continues to take form, most analysts predict that Senator Hillary Clinton would fill the position of Secretary of State quite well. She has not been given the appointment yet. It is clear that Clinton is considering the job. She has dispatched lawyers to assist in the vetting process, but she could, in the end, still say no. That seems very unlikely.

She has two options open: continue in the Senate as a leading figure or perhaps seek the governorship of New York later. Most predict that secretary of state would be the best of the choice. Obama seemed determine to pick the best possible people for the key jobs in his administration. Some warned him that the Clintons' penchant for ethical indiscretions may hurt his administration.

That is the reason why the vetting process is taking a long time. Every donation that Bill Clinton received for his Global Initiative project is being disclosed. Future donations would also be subject to scrutiny. If she is picked she would be working for the Obama team. Some believe that this was a better option than to have offered the Vice Presidency to her in which she could still operate as a government within a government. There is also the healing-old-wounds value to picking her. It certainly would win Obama media adulation.

One source point is that the Senate confirmation hearing to confirm Hillary as Secretary of State, would give Republicans another chance to Clinton-bash, but she would face no serious resistance in that chamber, and would probably get a majority of Republicans along with all Democrats.

The vacancy in the Senate seat vacated by Hillary would set off an interesting scramble. For one thing, it would give New York Governor David Patterson (Democratic) an opportunity to use an appointment to help his own cause. Patterson faces a possible primary from Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo (D). Rules allow Patterson to nominate himself to the Senate if a vacancy occurs.

The important issue is how well Hillary Clinton performs in her new job. The most advantageous position is that she is very well known throughout the world. The thorny issues of bringing back the prestige that USA lost under George Bush have to be faced head on.

It would take a great deal of professionalism and hard work to create that sense of respect in the international arena. Obama already has tremendous support throughout the world. The crowds that thronged to his meetings when he visited Europe, Iran and Middle East were unprecedented.

Obama during his election campaign stated that everyone must learn to discuss matters with those who are different to us. Not just people who agree with us but with somebody who is different. We need more conversation and less combat he repeated in many places.

This would be the Obama approach to problem solving. When we differ, we ought to offer an alternative. We should say what we are for and just not what we are against. We ought to look relentlessly at the long term and remind the people that the problems we have developed over a long period of time. We have to move beyond division and resentment to common ground. We have to go beyond cynicism to a sense of possibility.

- Asian Tribune -

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