The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power

The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power

Kim Ghattas

Language: English

Pages: 400

ISBN: 1250044065

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In November 2008, Hillary Clinton agreed to work for her former rival. As President Barack Obama's secretary of state, she set out to repair America's image around the world―and her own. For the following four years, BBC foreign correspondent Kim Ghattas had unparalleled access to Clinton and her entourage, and she weaves a fast-paced, gripping account of life on the road with Clinton in The Secretary.

With the perspective of one who is both an insider and an outsider, Ghattas draws on extensive interviews with Clinton, administration officials, and players in Washington as well as overseas, to paint an intimate and candid portrait of one of the most powerful global politicians. Filled with fresh insights, The Secretary provides a captivating analysis of Clinton's brand of diplomacy and the Obama administration's efforts to redefine American power in the twenty-first century.

Populated with a cast of real-life characters, The Secretary tells the story of Clinton's transformation from popular but polarizing politician to America's envoy to the world in compelling detail and with all the tension of high stakes diplomacy. From her evolving relationship with President Obama to the drama of WikiLeaks and the turmoil of the Arab Spring, we see Clinton cheerfully boarding her plane at 3 a.m. after no sleep, reading the riot act to the Chinese, and going through her diplomatic checklist before signing on to war in Libya―all the while trying to restore American leadership in a rapidly changing world.

Viewed through Ghattas's vantage point as a half-Dutch, half-Lebanese citizen who grew up in the crossfire of the Lebanese civil war, The Secretary is also the author's own journey as she seeks to answer the questions that haunted her childhood. How powerful is America really? And, if it is in decline, who or what will replace it and what will it mean for America and the world?

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could not have had more different lives or been more different in personality and outlook. But when Hillary and Aung San Suu Kyi came face-to-face for the first time after years of reading about each other’s struggles and dreams, there appeared to be a moment of instant recognition. By coincidence, they wore matching outfits for the occasion—white Asian-style jackets, their hair tied at the back, Suu Kyi’s low ponytail pinned with flowers. Hillary had, perhaps for the first time ever, met her

bring Assad around. They had met and spoken to the Syrian leader repeatedly at the start of the uprising, counseling dialogue and reform, but Assad had said one thing and done another. By the end of 2011 Erdoğan felt personally let down. The Turks started calling for action, in vague terms. When American officials had asked exactly what they envisaged, it appeared that Erdoğan and Davutoğlu had not exactly consulted their generals. Once they actually looked down the barrel of military action,

Riyadh and then on to Cairo, where his prose enchanted the crowds. He promised again to work hard for peace, telling the crowds that “all of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear.” And he promised a new beginning with the Muslim world, which had grown weary of being lumped together in the same group as Osama bin Laden. With every lofty line, expectations rose higher and higher, in the halls of the

sweep in and deliver a solution without them having to do all the hard work. Yet they resented American power and didn’t want to be seen as American lackeys. Hillary, Jake, Jeff, and George Mitchell were drained by the two-hour-long conversation with the Palestinian leader, the six-hour flight, and the busy day they’d already had in Islamabad. When they returned to their hotel rooms, on each of their beds sat a big chocolate race car, in honor of the upcoming Formula One car race. Everything in

shopkeeper; stockbrokers on the trading floor—all of these Americans offered their greetings to China. Wild applause. In the next room, courtesy of Citicorp, a giant Hillary was projected on the wall. “Ni hao,” she said, “I’m Hillary Clinton.” Warm applause from the crowd and excited “woo-hoos.” “As you explore the pavilion, you will discover American values in action: diversity, innovation, and optimism,” Hillary said in the video. A film meant to be about the creative power of children

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