Clinton's memoir reveals Obama refused to arm Syrian rebels
Former secretary of state sheds light on political controversies Obama's administration dealt with, including Syria: 'the president’s inclination was to stay the present course and not take the significant further step of arming Syrian rebels.'
Former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton has begun paving the way to run for the most important office in the world, the US presidency. In a new memoir, Clinton reveals the differences she had with President Barack Obama, in an attempt to distance herself from him. The book, "Hard Choices," will hit the stores next week, but sections of it have already been released to US media.
One of the hardest controversies the incumbent president and former secretary of state disagreed on is US policy towards Syria; while Clinton supported arming the rebels, Obama feared it was risky and refused the move. "The risks of both action and inaction were high, (but) the president’s inclination was to stay the present course and not take the significant further step of arming rebels,” she said.
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"No one likes to lose a debate, including me. But this was the President's call and I respected his deliberations and decisions. From the beginning of our partnership, he had promised me that I would always get a fair hearing. And I always did. In this case, my position didn't prevail," she wrote.
Clinton, who ran against Obama in the democratic race for the nomination before the 2008 election, discusses her first meeting with Obama after he won the elections.
"We stared at each other like two teenagers on an awkward first date, both Barack and I and our staffs had long lists of grievances. It was time to clear the air. One silver lining of defeat was that I came out of the experience realizing I no longer cared so much about what the critics said about me," Clinton writes.
Despite the evolving relationship between Obama and Clinton, the latter proved she does things her own way without trying to pander to anyone; When Senator John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in the 2008 elections, the Obama campaign, that issued a dismissive statement about Palin's nomination, urged Clinton to follow suit, but she refused.
”I was not going to attack Palin just for being a woman appealing for support from other women. I didn't think it made political sense, and it didn't feel right," she wrote.
After Obama asked Clinton to join his cabinet, the relationship between the two became warm and friendly. But currently, Clinton is trying to have the cake and eat it too by both distancing herself from Obama, who is currently suffering from low public support, and on the other hand, avoiding pushing the envelope too much, so she could benefit from his superb election campaign alignment.
'Americans wouldn't accept talks with Taliban'
One of the hottest topics Clinton talks about in her book is the recent release of kidnapped Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in return for the release of five senior Taliban commanders, who were held in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
"The Taliban's top concern seemed to be the fate of its fighters being held at Guantanamo Bay and other prisons. In every discussion about prisoners, we demanded the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who had been captured in 2009. There would not be any agreement about prisoners without the sergeant coming home," said Clinton.
"I acknowledged, as I had many times before, that opening the door to negotiations with the Taliban would be hard to swallow for many Americans after so many years of war," Clinton continued.
Clinton writes in her memoir that when she replaced Condoleezza Rice at the State Department, Rice "made just one request: Would I keep on her driver? I agreed and soon became as dependent on him as Condi had been,"
But according to Clinton it was George Shultz (Secretary of State 1982–1989) "who gave me the best gift of all: A teddy bear that sang 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' when its paw was squeezed. I kept it in my office, first as a joke, but every so often it really did help to squeeze the bear and hear that song," Clinton wrote.
Within the endless amount of diplomatic and political memories, Clinton doesn't forget to reveal touching moments from her personal life, such as her daughter Chelsea's wedding in 2010.
"As mother of the bride, I was delighted to help in every way I could, including reviewing photographs of flower arrangements from the road and making time for tastings and dress selections back home. I felt lucky that my day job had prepared me for the elaborate diplomacy required to help plan a big wedding.
"Bill was as emotional as I was, maybe even more so, and I was just glad he made it down the aisle in one piece. ... Afterward Bill danced with Chelsea to 'The Way You Look Tonight.' It was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life.
“Our family had been through a lot together, good times and hard times, and now here we were, celebrating the best of times, " Clinton writes.