Transcript: Hillary Clinton's Final Television Interview as Secretary of State


Clinton: Well, the use of chemical weapons, as President Obama said, is a red line, but I think if you look at the administration's effort on the political front, on the U.N. front where we still believe we need to get Security Council action on the humanitarian front, the president just announced a hundred million more on the humanitarian front. We have been very productive players in trying to deal with an extremely complex problem.

McFadden: Secretary [Leon] Panetta recently told my colleague Martha Raddatz that Assad had chemical weapons ready to go, locked and loaded, ready to go. The red line used to be when he moved those chemical weapons. Would the U.S. actually permit him to use them?

Clinton: No, no and President Obama has been very clear about that. And I think it's also important to look at this conflict which, yes, has horrifically developed and cost the lives of so many thousands of Syrians, but in all of my discussions with many of the countries in the region and beyond, everyone is facing the same dilemma. It is very hard to train and equip opposition fighters. It is very hard to know who is going to emerge from this and making the wrong bet could have very severe consequences. So there are certain positions and actions we've taken and we've also laid down the red line on chemical weapons because that could have far reaching effects beyond even the street to street fighting that is so terrible to watch and it could also affect other countries.

McFadden: The administration has been criticized by some as having what has been referred to as an 'ad hoc' foreign policy, a sort of whack a mole foreign policy. What is the Obama doctrine as you understand it as regards to foreign policy?

Clinton: Re-assert American leadership politically and economically in the face of a very severe crisis that we inherited and which called into question American leadership. Look for every way you can to bring together coalitions so that yes, America will and must lead, it is the indispensible nation, but other countries have to step up and start taking responsibility and they are starting to do that. We saw that certainly in Libya, we're seeing it in other places, in Africa and beyond. Make it clear that while we have to deal with the crisis, we have to take steps back and figure out more clearly what the consequences of actions that we and others are taking.

We've been subject over the last 30 or 40 years to a lot of actions taken by the United States from the Vietnam War to the War in Iraq that have had unintended consequences that have threatened us. We want to be more thoughtful and careful about the interventions we make. And finally, don't lose the trend lines. While we are focused on the immediate crisis and the longer term challenges, there are a lot of forces at work in the world, whether it is the changes in technology which has such profound effect on how we exercise all forms of our power. Whether it is women and girls, the roles and rights that they have, and the fact that where they do have equality and dignity, you're likely to have more stable societies and more prosperous economies.

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