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Saturday November 22, 2008 6:18 am

Barack Obama to tap Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton

With Inauguration Day less than two months off, President-Elect Barack Obama will tap former First Lady and current U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) to be Secretary of State in his administration.  She is expected to accept the post, which will be announced after the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

A recent AOL readers poll showed Clinton’s nomination to be a popular choice with 73% giving it a thumbs up rating, 21% gave it a thumbs down and 6% weren’t sure. A total of 32,148 participants took part in the poll.

Clinton will face some daunting tasks right from the get go - ending the police action in Iraq, repositioning troops to face ongoing terrorist activity in Afghanistan, repairing alliances with European allies and expanding American alliances to include China and possibly Russia. If election issues are an indication, arranging for timely troop withdrawals from Iraq and addressing the Afghan situation would seem to be at the top of Obama’s foreign policy agenda. Although the topic hasn’t been broached since the election, finding and either capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, head of the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, also seems to be a top priority.

Read More | New York Times

European alliances have long been a mainstay of U.S. foreign policy. While many European nations were involved in the Iraqi police action at its onset—notably England, Germany and Poland—many have since withdrawn advisors and support from Iraq. This has been a continual sticking point in U.S.-European relations. America’s continued military presence in Iraq has damaged its credibility in the European community.

The new figure on the foreign relations radar is China, whose economy has been growing in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Most of the current U.S. foreign debt is owned by China. China has been a major U.S. supporter since the late President Nixon’s historic visit in 1972 opened the door to Sino-American relations. How China will figure into world politics is still speculative, but it seems to be a safe bet that they will act in a police role to reduce the threat of terrorist activity in the Middle East and Far East.

How Clinton plans to address these issues is still on the horizon. Clinton gained a wealth of knowledge in foreign affairs both as First Lady and as a U.S. Senator. Each of these challenges will require superior diplomatic skills. Details are sure to emerge as Inauguration Day approaches.

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