Perhaps it’s just the media reading too much into things based on Hillary Clinton’s reputation as someone who doesn’t like working in the shadows, but the New York Times reports on various moves she’s making in order to assert the role of the State Department in global economic affairs.
The article itself is a bit muddled, starting with strong statements like this:
As Mrs. Clinton puts together her senior team, officials said, she is also trying to carve out a bigger role for the State Department in economic affairs, where the Treasury has dominated during the Bush years. She has sought advice from Laura D’Andrea Tyson, an economist who headed Mr. Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers.
That’d be big if she’s really looking to elbow in on Treasury. But then it sounds like Clinton is mainly keen on bolstering State’s diplomatic infrastructure for the purpose of building up civil society:
For years, some Pentagon officials have complained that jobs like the economic reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq have been added to the military’s burden when they could have been handled by a robust Foreign Service.
“The Pentagon would like to turn functionality over to civilian resources, but the resources are not there,” the official said. “We’re looking to have a State Department that has what it needs.”
That sounds different — not necessarily something that would be stepping on Treasury’s toes. But then:
Mrs. Clinton’s push for a more vigorous economic team, one of her advisers said, stems from her conviction that the State Department needs to play a part in the recovery from the global financial crisis. Economic issues also underpin some of the most important diplomatic relationships, notably with China.
In recent years, the Treasury Department, led by Henry M. Paulson Jr., has dominated policy toward China. Mr. Paulson leads a “strategic economic dialogue” with China that involves several agencies.
Alright, so maybe she does want some of Hank Paulson’s job. That makes sense. With economics in the spotlight and global relations somewhat on the backburner, we can understand her desire to want to play a role there. Plus, let’s be realistic, the economy doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Wild swings in the fortunes of major superpowers is bound to create security issues, so rather than Hillary simply being power-hungry (which is the tone of the piece), it sounds like she’s calling things correctly.