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Welcome back to the fox -- here from the State Department on your host James Rosen I -- freshly returned.
From secretary of state John Kerry's first overseas trip in that office -- marathon across the capitals of Europe and the mideast.
That took us to by my count ten countries in eleven days.
It was dominated in large part the trip behind the Syrian civil war which has been going -- -- some two years.
And which has claimed upwards of 70000.
Lives -- no real end in sight.
The Obama administration as you may know has resisted supplying arms directly to the Syrian rebel forces there but secretary of state Kerry organized big conference in Rome.
Earlier this month in which you know some nonlethal direct -- from the United States to the Syrian rebels that a first.
For this administration.
We are joined today by someone who knows the State Department well about us as well as a reporter.
Can cost us it was the State Department correspondent for the BBC.
Joins me here on the mezzanine level of the State Department knew we know well yes informally as the hall of flags again.
And Kim is the author of a brand new book it is just out and you're gonna want to pick it up it's called the secretary.
A journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the heart of American power its -- can Hopkins joins me now -- what did you -- this -- I would Detroit this book because I find myself -- -- quite unique position I grew up in Beirut as the title suggests.
I grew up in Beirut in the middle of a civil war.
Where everybody was always waiting to see what America was going to do.
Because there was a sense that America has.
This super -- the biggest superpower was perhaps pushing all the buttons that help us explain the chaos around does somebody have to be responsible.
I would have to help us or whether to make our life more difficult someone was responsible.
And then I became a journalist in the release in five years ago I moved to the US and I found myself on the other side of -- story.
With a front row seat to American diplomacy in the making American foreign policy in the making trotting around the world with Hillary Clinton as secretary of state I covered.
Condoleezza Rice for when you're first but.
The bulk of my were -- the State Department was covering Hillary Clinton are both sides of that story and I thought it was great to bring them together into one book.
So this book is part memoir you would say and park history of secretary Clinton's tenure as the America's top diplomat.
It is it's part memoir it's my own story growing up in Beirut coming to the US trying to answer some of those questions that I ask myself when I was a child in Beirut.
Questions that many people around the world still have about how much American powerhouse how how much power America has.
What its limits are what -- possibilities are.
And it's also on the part biography of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state if you're looking for salacious details about her relationship with -- husband this is not.
The book for you and of course it is also an expiration of American power -- so.
It is a serious book in some ways but I try to tell the story in an accessible way take people by the hand my readers by the hand and take him on a tour.
The world I want to begin just by reading the first two paragraphs of this book which touches on some of the -- the things that you've addressed here today.
I grew up in Beirut can process rights on the front lines of -- civil war.
My father always said if America one of the fighting to end the war would be over tomorrow.
He waited fifteen years -- the guns to fall silent from 1975.
To 1990 everybody waited while 150000.
Did America not care that people were being killed did -- not have the power to stop the bloodshed were we just the pawn in the hands of the neo colonial imperial power.
And why re all blaming this distant land for our war anyway as a child.
-- got this continues I never imagined I would one day live in that distant land and would be able to put some of those questions to the American secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
As a reporter in the State Department press corps.
I would even fly from Washington to Beirut with her.
On an aging American government plane.
Which contrasts somewhat with my image.
The and the undisputed superpower I think I was on that trip if you didn't have socially aware -- -- got to -- this first question I didn't Terry in that news avail.
So tell us broadly speaking.
What your view of Hillary Clinton is or her role as secretary hurt her conduct as secretary what what what judgment you come to him about her.
But I try to paint a very up close and personal portrait of this woman -- is already very well known to the public of global cigar.
I with a global stature -- very much public figure in the US and a politician.
And whether people like her or not I think that they'll find new details about her in the spoke they'll get to know her from a different perspective in her new role.
Her latest incarnation as diploma as an -- another round -- find out about her that they didn't.
What if you you know lightweight moments where you know you'll see -- -- a great sense of humor.
That she knows how to crack a good joke that she knows how to relax on the road with a drink.
That she has an incredible ability.
To connect with people whoever they are whether there -- leaders whether -- Ngo workers she's able to relate to them from an emotional intelligence perspective.
-- to understand where they're coming from you know in a way you know walk a mile in their issue.
-- -- how she can get them on board so.
It's also very much a political skill right it's she's she's a politician.
-- you -- moments where you know she goes off script where she isn't on message in the way that the administration would have liked it upsets the White House.
But sometimes it pays off in the end to ask you correct its course or -- people get to understand what it was -- was really trying to say.
And why she said it and sometimes it just stays there is an issue like her comment about human rights to launch in China and the very beginning of her tenure it's.
-- that diplomacy is the art of letting other people have your way and that is very much a political skill and this very much her approach.
She was we now know from testimony before the senate.
One of three voices if you also -- CIA and the Pentagon.
The United States should indeed on the Syrian rebels.
And we now know from this senate testimony the President Obama rejected that idea.
How often do you think based on your study of her and her time in office.
She was in fact as with the Syrian arms question on the losing end policy debates within a frequent thing.
I was probably half half but I wouldn't describe it something that restoration -- was on the losing.
And I would frame it mourn the question of having a debate and then coming to a consensus.
And deciding to present a united front to.
The outside world because that was very much sense within the administration the -- want any of their divisions to become -- public because there was a sense.
But it doesn't help America's credibility.
But only issue of the arming of the rebels.
I think the debate in Washington is being framed perhaps in two black and white terms.
I'm not -- that Clinton Petraeus and Panetta pushed very force but he.
To arm the rebels I think they put this on the table and they said this is one of the options it's not perfect this is -- that could work.
-- on the downfall -- and the president said not good enough.
In Washington as you know that can effectively be the same thing as advocacy of a given of course just in your putting that on the -- what -- did on Libya when you tell us.
Well -- only -- the other was very much -- but it was a moving.
Initially everybody administration said you know -- -- not when I'm gonna go there we don't see how this intervention is going to work she wasn't convinced that.
A no fly zone would be the most useful thing.
She didn't think that nothing had to be done either there was a sense that the US had to get involved somehow.
And -- -- -- trying to figure out how exactly what was the best way especially at a time when the US doesn't have all the money that it wants to throw -- problems.
So you have to be a little bit more.
Us you have to be smarter about where you spend your money and how you do winning have to get other people on board.
And so she goes on to this trip to Paris and she speaks to the British and French were very gung ho about wanting to go to war she sticks to the Arabs and -- if you want a no fly zone you're going to have to put your money where your mouth and you cannot then.
Criticized the US for going to war in with some country because that often happens as well.
And she speaks to the Libyan opposition leader to get a sense of -- who is this man what's his vision for that yet can we do business -- have.
There are never clear 100% guaranteed answers but -- not showing us.
Or perfect choices.
But -- -- she feel that she has enough.
To tip the balance in favor of military intervention.
With the UN resolution that calls for all -- measures to protect civilians and she weighs in but in the debate with the president in a conference call from Cairo where she.
Is on the next stop -- that trip and with the support of the Arab League which was important accidentally that was really what changed the debate within the administration.
All right we will be back with -- contests and more from her book the secretary her memoir of flying around with secretary of state Hillary Clinton and just a moment stay with us here.
In the fossil.
Welcome back to the foxhole we are still at the State Department and still your host James Rosen thanks so much for joining us.
We are alive with -- -- -- us who is the State Department BBC correspondent.
Questions -- the State Department correspondent BBC this happens in broadcasting clothes and she is still the author of a brand new book.
That is getting rave reviews called the secretary and journey -- Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the heart of American power.
Let's talk about your experiences and they reviewer -- did not -- -- correct your -- dollars -- prosperous -- correct yeah what did he do.
Com little does anyone know here in the US that actually there's a great market for smoked salmon -- -- -- Beirut.
Here's my father started this business before the warm.
And although obviously I did not grow up impoverished we did struggle it wasn't easy to keep the business afloat.
And my father comes from a modest I think cultural background and that the cough body.
Which you know people in the US mostly associate -- Hezbollah.
But he grew up there and I have to give him credit for a lot of things are very very brief aside.
He never once said anything to me.
-- signal that there was anything I could not do because I was a woman.
And it's really struck me very recently about you know this -- who comes from modest backgrounds who built himself -- in Beirut.
Kept his family alive through fifteen years of war with my mother of his stops.
Had this amazing.
Ability to recognize.
The skills and and the potential of his daughters because there's three girls and the Gaza sisters civil war.
-- -- -- -- Let me ask you before we returned it to Secretary Clinton and then some other issues I'm gonna push on the spot.
-- you come from Lebanon.
That -- -- there -- -- just one of -- number of Arab countries which has had its issues with Israel over the years.
You cover the State Department now and have for years now.
Surely you're familiar with this debate about the notion of there being in Israel lobby in the United States some quality Jewish lobby.
The new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had to apologize for using that term what is your view of that debate and what do you think it's -- where there's not enough of that are what is your view.
I -- a lot of normally is around did that.
Sort of overweight or overshadows the real issues of the human beings who are.
Living through conflict continuously.
In the Middle East.
And I also thing that we forget sometimes that the leaders on both sites.
The Palestinians the Israelis but also the Americans and everybody else in the region are human beings -- have their own.
Emotional -- their own history -- Their own domestic constituencies as as politicians.
And -- what in my -- her about the Arab Israeli conflict.
I mostly talk about the human interactions.
Between those different leaders and a president how -- who feels that.
You know he's in in -- in a constant Greek tragedy where nothing ever goes right where he never gets his way the Israelis who feel that they're being pushed around by the best friends the Americans who don't understand like.
Anybody's asking them to make concessions and the Americans who.
Are trying to get you both sides to -- and nor is budging -- the American stabbing the other side budged and it's not human interaction.
But I try to.
Bring to the reader because have been so many books by the Arab Israeli conflict I wanted to make sure.
But I tried to bring -- -- different perspective and broaden it to you know -- story which is what this book really is whatever issue like tackle like it would in an accessible way.
That makes it relevant to people here in the US who maybe don't understand widest -- by the Arab Israeli conflict or why they -- Care about Syria the book is called the secretary of journey without Hillary Clinton.
From Beirut to the heart of American power its authors came hot -- who is the State Department correspondent BBC can.
We need to when the Arab Spring is still unfolding.
Mean exactly which direction I don't think anyone in this building really knows for sure I don't see anybody in the Arab world knows what's your sense of -- whether it's been a good thing we're not so far.
It's very hard to tell James.
I'm hopeful person I've always maintain hope never give up never give up and hope because otherwise.
I would not have survived fifteen years of war and another fifty years of instability in Beirut and come out the person.
But I am it's not easy but you have to try.
-- -- -- wanna make it sound like you went -- was.
-- admissible in Lebanon and Beirut is also a party town something that people here don't associate necessarily with armed with a word Beirut but we divide and have fun and stay out away later -- than anybody.
As in Washington and call I can tell you that it's a comparison to the Middle East and and having been there but even briefly I can tell you to beautiful city depends on the water and has palm trees and it's just.
And but it's still -- cosmopolitan -- absolutely absolutely.
And so I think you know change.
Rapid change radical change always comes with of people with the ups and downs and I think history will tell.
Where the Arab uprisings are going to take us where the Arab reawakening.
It's going to take us for the -- praying you know you -- -- conjures up.
Images of you know maybe it's actually -- -- So I prefer to use the word uprising or awakening people waking up to.
The fact that they're not happy with you know the leaders that they have that they want a better life that they want justice that they want.
Freedom maybe don't democracy in the way that the US understands it but you know we have our own.
Vision of how we can move forward and get a better life and they are going to be many ups and downs and it's going to be scary for a lot of people it's going to provoke lot of angst.
It is a challenge for American officials a challenge for American in -- but.
You know I I saw this phrase once and I thought it was it was very good in -- top -- for a dictator is not a policy.
You know it's easy to say oh you know under the reign of custom of Arkansas -- -- her much easier there was thanks to then too there was I don't spend -- -- All the problems we're seeing today were created.
By the rulers in the Arab world to justify.
There -- grip on power.
Let me run something past you -- in about two minutes left.
The Arab Spring is in my view is principally about -- this is the largest -- -- award ever in that area of 100 million people under the age of thirty.
They all have access to FaceBook -- a lot of them do when they see how the rest of the west lives if you will.
And it seems to me the Arabic spring has very little to do with the Israeli Palestinian conflict it has to do the basic human aspirations.
As you've been talking about is that your sense -- that.
It sort of gives the lie the -- we've heard for so many years that if there were just.
Peace or justice or settlement or resolution of East Jerusalem there would be no problems in the region.
It doesn't it doesn't.
The Arab Israeli conflict will remain.
On the stage of international affairs but it's true that not all problems in the Arab world.
Would be solved our -- it's not only not conflict is resolved.
It would help in terms.
Getting the focus away from that conflict and putting all the resources of these countries -- to helping their own populations.
-- because it was used by lot of Arab leaders to justify their massive defense budgets.
I'm so a lot less goes into job creation.
But at the same time.
There is as you say the real issue with employment in the Arab world with people wanting a better life -- -- jobs wanting dignity.
You know things that.
Everybody wants around the world.
We've got to put you on the spot one last time and ask you since you are now you join the ranks and Hillary Clinton watchers that the Hillary Clinton experts.
Will issue -- won't -- Well just -- mind that it's not a full on biography of veterans and I don't discuss 2016.
I wish I could tell you that -- whispered the answer in my ear but she did not.
It is very tight -- I think you have observed that as well she's going to take some time to rest and recuperate and figure out what is best.
For her and for her country from -- perception of course because not everybody agrees that -- -- Clinton presidency.
Would be -- great would be great things such as Andrew Cuomo perhaps.
So you know she she is very high in the polls -- the moment but if she decides to step back into politics.
She will go back down and in the polls because that's just what happens when you're in politics.
As -- -- have to decide whether she wants to go through that again.
-- size up the competition in the Republican Party.
But also in the Democratic Party who else might be rising in afternoon when expect the senator -- Obama to run to the finish line to the White House.
And -- have to decide whether.
It's you know.
Despite the tired -- by the fact that she has said.
That she's done with a high wire politics with a perhaps the poll will be too strong but for the moment her friends say they want her to focus on beaches and speeches.
And they're hoping that'll be more beaches -- speeches.
Each is in speeches is not bad work if you can get.
Kim got us State Department correspondent for PC and my friend and colleague.
Thank you for visiting us here in the -- -- the -- of -- book is the secretary a journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the heart of American power is on sale now.
And it is worth your time if you care about America.
And her place in the world that's gonna do it for this edition of the foxhole live from the Department of State on James Rosen thanks much for joining us we'll see you.
In two -- right here.
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