The Road to the Presidency

Updated: 2015-04-13 10:11

By Shen Dingli(

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Such errors of judgment and arrogance have marked Ms. Clinton’s career. At the primary debate during her last presidential campaign, she blamed the CIA for “being misled” to vote for the war on Iraq. She didn’t think why the CIA would fail to mislead her then-rival Barack Obama. In fact, during the last two presidential elections, all the serving senators who ran for the White House – Hillary Clinton, John McCain and John Kerry – failed on this issue. This has much to do with their past support of the Iraq War as part of the war on terror. But for Ms. Clinton, it also demonstrated her arrogance in not regretting her mistake, in sharp contrast with Barack Obama who has been consistent in opposing the Iraq War, which demonstrated his rightful judgment and leadership.

For Chinese, Ms. Clinton’s positions and personality have been controversial to say the least. On the one hand, from time to time she has presented her warmth toward China, especially in co-presiding over the annual bilateral High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange. On the other, she has often shown her tough and even emotional character. She is a strong voice on China’s internal affairs on the grounds of defending US values. However, her position on human rights in China looks hypocritical in the face of repeated killings of black people by white American police officers. Her stance on China’s position on Syria and the South China Sea seem more confrontational, and short of diplomatic grace.

Thus far, Ms. Clinton has been the most successful female American politician, enjoying tremendous respect and popularity. If elected, she will usher in a new chapter for the US presidency, becoming the first American woman commanding the White House. Nevertheless, her road to the presidency is destined to be bumpy, as she has to clear many hurdles she has set for herself. Moreover, she will also be learning how to avoid creating new barriers ahead.

The winds are changing. At home, Americans are ready for a non-WASP president, but Ms. Clinton needs to be moderate as well as determined. On the international stage, there is no reason why the world would not be positive in welcoming America’s first female president, but Ms. Clinton has to understand that US domination is neither welcome nor effective anymore.

The author is a professor and associate dean of the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University

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