The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy by Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl Columbia University Press, 2015
The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy, by Valerie M. Hudson & Patricia Leidl. (Columbia University Press)WHAT IT’S ABOUT
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton asserted that “the subjugation of women is a direct threat to the security of the United States,” and made women’s rights part of the nation’s foreign policy framework. Hudson and Leidl call this the “Hillary Doctrine” and ask whether the U.S. should still follow it now that Clinton is no longer at State. To answer this, they examine the idea’s origins, how it has influenced policy, how it has been employed, and what its future might be. They conclude that recasting the rights of women and girls as central, not peripheral, to democracy and international peace and security holds the potential to transform women’s lives—and the world—but not without passionate leadership.
TARGET D.C. AUDIENCE
Secretary of State John Kerry; international-development NGOs; readers interested in understanding Clinton’s worldview and why she places such a heavy emphasis on women and girls in foreign and domestic policy.
“Clinton is asserting that how women are treated is not epiphenomenal to the security of a given society—it is integral. For example, why is the Pakistani Taliban so terrified of the sight of a little girl attending school—so frightened that they would shoot a mere child in the face, as they did to Malala Yousafzai? Something is going on here; something very deep, very old, and very ugly.”
TO BE SURE
The authors are transparently pro-Clinton—they describe her as a “true political star,” her 1995 Beijing speech as “electrifying,” and her 2008 presidential bid as a showcase for a “powerful, accomplished, experienced” woman—and they are clearly rooting for the Hillary Doctrine to succeed. They don’t gloss over contradictions or failures, but they are gentle in their criticisms both of the doctrine as it has been employed in practice and its eponym.
ONE LEVEL DEEPER
Clinton skeptics eager to attack her on foreign policy should check out the sections of the book that highlight the Hillary Doctrine’s nonpartisan roots and lay out the quantitative and empirical evidence that supports its central proposition. These include the portion of Chapter 1 on George W. Bush’s “aggressive interpretation” of the theory behind the Hillary Doctrine in Afghanistan, and the part of Chapter 2 that presents Hudson’s original research around the idea that the level of violence against women is the greatest predictor of peacefulness within and between countries.
THE BIG TAKEAWAY
Big global problems—from the threat of terrorism to rising crime rates among impoverished young men in China and India—are linked to gender inequality and the mistreatment of women in ways most people never imagine.
What We're Following See More »
"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."
"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."
"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."
After initially promising it in August, "President Trump said Monday that he will declare a national emergency next week to address the opioid epidemic." When asked, he also "declined to express confidence in Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), his nominee for drug czar, in the wake of revelations that the lawmaker helped steer legislation making it harder to act against giant drug companies."