General Principles

Mrs Clinton occupies an unequivocally Wilsonian position as regards America’s place in the world: one of moral, military, economic and developmental leadership on the world stage. This is illustrated by remarks she made in a speech as Foreign Secretary in 2010:

“Solving foreign-policy problems today requires us to think both regionally and globally, to see the intersections and connections linking nations and regions and interests, to bring people together as only America can. I think the world is counting on us today, as it has in the past. When old adversaries need an honest broker or fundamental freedoms need a champion, people turn to us. When the earth shakes or rivers overflow their banks, when pandemics rage or simmering tensions burst into violence, the world looks to us.

“I see it on the faces of the people I meet as I travel -- not just the young people who still dream about America’s promise of opportunity and equality, but also seasoned diplomats and political leaders who, whether or not they admit it, see the principled commitment and can-do spirit that comes with American engagement. And they do look to America -- not just to engage, but to lead. And nothing makes me prouder than to represent this great nation in the far corners of the world … And now, after years of war and uncertainty, people are wondering what the future holds at home and abroad. So let me say it clearly: the United States can, must and will lead in this new century. Indeed, the complexities and connections of today’s world have yielded a new American moment, a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways, a moment when those things that make us who we are as a nation -- our openness and innovation, our determination and devotion to core values -- have never been more needed. This is a moment that must be seized through hard work and bold decisions, to lay the foundations for lasting American leadership for decades to come.

But now this is no argument for America to go it alone -- far from it. The world looks to us because America has the reach and resolve to mobilize the shared effort needed to solve problems on a global scale, in defense of our own interests but also as a force for progress. In this we have no rival. For the United States, global leadership is both a responsibility and an unparalleled opportunity.”

Clinton has also stated that “We should maintain the best-trained, best-equipped, and strongest military the world has ever known.”

North Korea

Mrs Clinton has proposed toughening sanctions against North Korea to force it to abandon its nuclear program, using the recent Iran deal as a model. While she was secretary of state from 2009 until Feb. 1, 2013, the Obama administration had mixed success in cracking down on North Korea.

Her strategy for dealing with Kim Jong-un appears to rely on the traditional formula of tightening sanctions against the government to pressure it to enter into multiparty negotiations on its nuclear program.

She has described Mr Trump’s proposal to engage in direct talks with North Korea’s leader as ‘reckless’.


Mrs Clinton has been a constant critic of China’s human-rights record. She has called the current US/China dynamic “one of the most challenging relationships we have,” but she has also said the two countries share a “positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship.”

During her time as secretary of state, Mrs Clinton said she pushed hard for China to agree to new greenhouse-gas emission standards. She also gave a 2010 speech that focused on internet freedom and criticized China, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan for having “stepped up their censorship of the internet.” She was one of the US officials in 2009 who launched an annual meeting between the US and China focused on strategic and economic issues.


In contrast to Mr Trump, Mrs Clinton speaks frequently about supporting US allies in Europe. But she has also said Europeans should do more to monitor the flow of foreign fighters back to Europe from Iraq and Syria, saying it poses terror threats. She made more than 50 visits to European countries as secretary of state, and has numerous relationships with leaders and diplomats there. Mrs Clinton warned against the UK exiting the European Union, as her campaign had said Europe needed to remain united and that the British voice is an essential part of the EU.


Mrs Clinton has called Mr. Putin a “bully,” and has described the relationship between the US and Russia as complicated. During the 2008 presidential election, she said Mr. Putin “was a KGB agent, by definition he doesn’t have a soul.”

Her campaign website states: “Hillary has gone toe-to-toe with Putin before, and she'll do it again. She'll stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our European allies and help them decrease dependence on Russian oil. With our partners, Hillary will confine, contain, and deter Russian aggressions in Europe and beyond, and increase the costs to Putin for his actions.”


Mrs Clinton voted in 2002 as a senator from New York to authorize the use of military force against Iraq, a decision that opponents have used to attack her for years and that she has since apologized for. She visited Iraq just once as secretary of state, in April 2009. She has criticized the Iraqi national army for not doing more to secure the country and deter Islamic State, and praised Kurdish forces fighting in the north of Iraq. She has called for pressuring Iraq to “get its political house in order” and the creation of a national guard.


Mrs Clinton has struck a tougher stance than Mr. Obama with Iran. She has said she supports the recent nuclear agreement, but she criticized the Iranian government for its treatment of sailors who were detained after allegedly drifting into Iranian waters. She has said Iran continues to violate U.N. Security Council resolutions through its testing of ballistic missiles, and she has called for new sanctions against the country.

Mrs Clinton was in the Obama administration during a historic thaw of relations between the US and Iran. Mr. Obama wrote letters to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during Mrs Clinton’s time in office, and she has taken credit for beginning negotiations. She was also part of a historic increase in sanctions against Iran during the early years of the Obama administration, which supporters say helped force Iran to negotiate on its nuclear deal.


Mrs Clinton has said Sunni Muslims and Kurdish forces should play a bigger role in combating ISIS, and has also called for expanding US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria to defeat the terror network. She has also called for combating Islamic State’s ability to use social media to recruit, train, and plan attacks, urging more cooperation from technology companies. She also has said the US should play a bigger role in helping resolve the humanitarian crisis caused by a huge wave of migrants fleeing Syria.

The biggest difference between Mrs Clinton and President Obama in this area is her push to create a no-fly zone over Syria, a move that would likely put the US in direct conflict with Russia, which has bombed anti-Assad forces in the area. Mrs Clinton has received criticism for comments she made in 2011 that suggested some US officials from both parties viewed Mr. Assad as a “reformer.” She later said she was representing the opinion of others, not herself or the White House.


Mrs Clinton has criticized Mr. Trump’s approach to Israel, aligning herself closely with Israeli leaders in their push for security. She has said her relationship with Israeli security officials spans more than 25 years, and she has defended steps the country has taken to protect itself from rocket attacks. She has called for boosting US support for Israeli missile-defense systems. She also supports helping Israel with technology to detect tunnels that Hamas uses to send fighters and bombers into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Islamic Extremism

Mrs Clinton has said banning the entry of Muslims into the US, or even proposing to ban them, will alienate Muslim allies in the Middle East and harm US relations. She has said the proposal is being used by Islamic State to recruit new terrorists. To help combat terrorism and detect the warning signs of radicalized youth more effectively, she said the government must do more to build alliances with Muslim community leaders in the US.


Mrs Clinton has said that leaving NATO would only embolden Moscow. She has praised the existence of the alliance and said the US should do more to strengthen allies, particularly against Russian aggression. She has said the US’s involvement with NATO serves US interests by enhancing relationships with European countries and creating a large bloc of opposition to Russian expansion. She has said that NATO allies rallied to the US’s assistance after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, and that the US should be prepared to do the same:

"On 9/11, NATO treated an attack against one as an attack against all," Clinton said. "Now it is our turn to stand with Europe. We cherish the same values and face the same adversaries so we much share the same determination."

Climate Change

Clinton has stated: “Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time. It threatens our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures. We can tackle it by making America the world’s clean energy superpower and creating millions of good-paying jobs, taking bold steps to slash carbon pollution at home and around the world, and ensuring no Americans are left out or left behind as we rapidly build a clean energy economy.”

Clinton’s campaign website states that “on day one, Hillary Clinton will set bold, national goals that will be achieved within 10 years of taking office:

Generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of Hillary’s first term.

Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.

Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships, and trucks.

Hillary’s plan will deliver on the pledge President Obama made at the Paris climate conference—without relying on climate deniers in Congress to pass new legislation. She will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent in 2025 relative to 2005 levels and put the country on a path to cut emissions more than 80 percent by 2050.

As president, Hillary will:

Defend, implement, and extend smart pollution and efficiency standards, including the Clean Power Plan and standards for cars, trucks, and appliances that are already helping clean our air, save families money, and fight climate change.

Launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy, including for low-income families.

Invest in clean energy infrastructure, innovation, manufacturing and workforce development to make the US economy more competitive and create good-paying jobs and careers.

Ensure safe and responsible energy production. As we transition to a clean energy economy, we must ensure that the fossil fuel production taking place today is safe and responsible and that areas too sensitive for energy production are taken off the table.

Reform leasing and expand clean energy production on public lands and waters tenfold within a decade.

Cut the billions of wasteful tax subsidies oil and gas companies have enjoyed for too long and invest in clean energy.

Cut methane emissions across the economy and put in place strong standards for reducing leaks from both new and existing sources.

Revitalize coal communities by supporting locally driven priorities and make them an engine of US economic growth in the 21st century, as they have been for generations.

Make environmental justice and climate justice central priorities by setting bold national goals to eliminate lead poisoning within five years, clean up the more than 450,000 toxic brownfield sites across the country, expand solar and energy efficiency solutions in low-income communities, and create an Environmental and Climate Justice Task Force.

Promote conservation and collaborative stewardship. Hillary will keep public lands public, strengthen protections for our natural and cultural resources, increase access to parks and public lands for all Americans, as well as harness the immense economic potential they offer through expanded renewable energy production, a high quality of life, and a thriving outdoor economy.”


Mrs Clinton has called for a comprehensive immigration overhaul, including a pathway to citizenship for those in the US illegally, aside from violent criminals. She supports executive actions under the Obama administration that seek to protect millions of people from deportation, including young people brought to the US illegally as children and parents of US citizens. Mrs Clinton has made positive remarks about NAFTA in the past but recently has been more circumspect, saying it helped some people and hurt others.

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