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 »
"The Senate was expected to be back in session at noon, while House lawmakers were told to return to work for a 9 a.m. session. Mr. Trump on Friday had canceled plans to travel to his private resort on Palm Beach, Fla., where a celebration had been planned for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office."
"A stopgap spending bill stalled in the Senate Friday night, leading to a government shutdown for the first time since 2013. The continuing resolution funding agencies expired at midnight, and lawmakers were unable to spell out any path forward to keep government open. The Senate on Friday night failed to reach cloture on a four-week spending bill the House had already approved."
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.
"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."