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Obama-Clinton tandem: Success or failure?

Published time: January 29, 2013 04:03
Edited time: January 29, 2013 08:03

Barack Obama (R) and Hillary Clinton (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

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Once election rivals, but now a unique US foreign policy tandem, President Obama described his partnership with the outgoing US Secretary of State as a "great collaboration.”

­In a televised joint interview on CBS' “60 minutes,” the president could not hold back his affection for Clinton and her achievements as the chief diplomat in Obama’s first term in office. “I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretary of states we've had,” the president told American viewers as both touched on a wide range of US foreign policy issues.

In particular, Obama praised their effort in ousting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and playing a crucial role in Egypt’s transition to democracy.

“We helped to put together and lay the groundwork for liberating Libya. You know, when it comes to Egypt, I think, had it not been for the leadership we showed, you might have seen a different outcome there,” the president said.

Clinton, now aged 65, is believed by many to be the leading contender for the 2016 presidency, but a recent public opinion poll by Pew Global shows that the White House’s approval rating in terms of foreign policy has fallen during Obama's time in office.

In the period between 2009-2012, the overall European approval has dropped from 78 to 63 per cent, whereas the president’s boast of success in the Arab world has seen his rating plummet from 34 to 15 per cent.

Defending his policies in that part of the world, and particularly in Libya, Obama said “we are not going to be able to control every aspect of every transition and transformation” in conflicts around the world.

But both Obama and Clinton admit the conflict in Syria should be handled carefully, with the president hesitant on whether intervention would help resolve the crisis.

Journalist Afshin Rattansi told RT that Washington's handling of the Syrian crisis and many other international issues has been a disastrous failure.

“Across Africa, the United States seems to have a policy in utter disarray; China of course is having all the running in Africa, another great success of Hillary Clinton administration.” Rattansi said. “So, we had failures there, failures in Latin America and the biggest failure presumably Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. One could perhaps say that Hillary Clinton has succeeded in destroying and attempting to destroy pro-democracy movements in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.”

Syria has been another disaster in terms of US foreign policy, Rattansi said, “quite in tune with everything that this catastrophic US Secretary of State has done all around the world.”

Watch full interview with Afshin Rattansi


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