CSMonitor.com – Hillary Rodham Clinton is likely to be watched by foreign leaders and domestic observers alike for signs of adhering to – or straying from – the daylight rule.
No, not the time-honored rule of school dances, where chaperones want to see daylight between dancing partners. Rather, it’s the diplomatic rule that says there should be no daylight between the president and his secretary of State.
President-elect Obama was expected to announce Monday that Senator Clinton – his top rival in the Democratic primaries – was his choice for secretary of State. It presages a period of intense scrutiny for the two strong leaders’ relationship.
“People, and it goes for both friends and foes, are always questioning, ‘Is there any light between the two?’ ” says George Shultz, who was secretary of State to President Reagan. “People used to ask me, ‘What’s your foreign policy?’ and I’d say, ‘I don’t have one: The president has one. My job is to formulate that foreign policy and help him carry it out.’ ”
Few foreign-policy experts and policy¬makers question Clinton’s fitness for the job. They point to the stamina and intellectual capacity she demonstrated over a grueling presidential campaign, plus her years of experience dealing with foreign leaders and addressing international issues as first lady.
But where question marks do arise is over how Mr. Obama and Clinton will overcome the foreign-policy differences that arose over the course of a long, heated primary campaign. Those differences – sometimes sharp – ranged from the decision to go to war in Iraq to the wisdom of speaking to America’s enemies without preconditions.