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Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton's selection to serve as Barack Obama's secretary of State follows her strong race for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination against him. Clinton was among a number of top national security officials named by Obama on December 1, 2008. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 21, 2009. At hear confirmation hearing on January 13, she said the State Department under her leadership "will be firing on all cylinders to provide forward-thinking, sustained diplomacy in every part of the world, applying pressure wherever it may be needed."

Her eight years as first lady and nearly equal amount of time as senator from New York have given her broad exposure to U.S. foreign policy. In the Senate, Clinton followed U.S. military moves in Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the Armed Services Committee. She has worked on climate change issues while serving on the Committee on the Environment and Public Works, and has also been closely involved in homeland security issues.

Clinton has projected a pragmatic but tough approach on national security issues. Her stance toward Iran is a case in point. She has called for a revival of diplomacy with Iran, while at the same time warning the Iranian regime in strong terms about the consequences it would face in the event of an attack on Israel. During the presidential primaries, Clinton proposed that the United States extend a nuclear deterrent to U.S. allies in the Middle East, as a response to Iran's suspected program to develop nuclear weapons technology.

Clinton voted to authorize the war in Iraq in 2002, but has since become one of the harshest critics of the Bush administration's foreign policy agenda, promising throughout her presidential campaign to end the war. Other areas of national security emphasis during...

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