Venezuela Flexes Military Muscle in Response to Obama EO

Editor’s Note – As we approach the deadline in the P5+1 talks with Iran, we see their global connections and influence grow. Regardless of the now infamous letter to the Iranians from the Republican Senators, Iran has no intention slowing any of its intentions and goals down.

For years they have been in concert with Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, and Cuba, to name just two of many, and as Venezuela turns even further into the Iranian and Cuban sphere of influence, they become increasingly more dangerous to the United States.

Just recently tensions have boile and a former General in the Chavez regime is trumpeting the danger:

Antonio Rivero, a retired army general who was close to President Hugo Chavez and has denounced the Cuban military presence in strategic areas of the Armed Forces. (Miguel Gutierrez/AFP/Getty Images) (2010 AFP)
Antonio Rivero, a retired army general who was close to President Hugo Chavez and has denounced the Cuban military presence in strategic areas of the Armed Forces. (Miguel Gutierrez/AFP/Getty Images) (2010 AFP)

The Venezuelan government’s close ties to Cuba and Iran pose a real threat to its sovereignty, and to the security of the hemisphere, retired Brig. Gen. Antonio Rivero, a former insider in the government of Hugo Chávez, told Fox News Latino during a visit to Washington, D.C., this week.

Rivero held high-profile positions under Chávez – from 2003 to 2008, he was the director of the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief agency – until he refused to chant “Socialism, Fatherland or Death,” a pledge emblematic of the Cuban Revolution that was imposed unexpectedly as part of the official military salute. (Exclusive from Fox News Latino, read more here.)

Obama had first imposed sanctions last December when Congress approved the measure on Venezuela accusing Maduro officials of violating protesters rights and was quickly rebuffed by Maduro:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused Obama of hypocrisy for enabling the sanctions a day after announcing an effort to normalize relations with Communist-run Cuba, which has been under U.S. trade sanctions for decades.

Then, last Monday, he signed an Executive Order increasing those sanctions by identifying seven individuals in Madura’s government and declaring Venezuela to be a national security threat to the United States:

“Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption will not be welcome here, and we now have the tools to block their assets and their use of U.S. financial systems,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told reporters that Caracas would respond to the U.S. move soon. Mr. Maduro said last week that he wouldn’t “accept” U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. is Venezuela’s top trading partner, and last year Venezuela was the fourth-largest supplier of crude to the U.S. at an average of 733,000 barrels per day — despite a decade long effort by Caracas to reduce its dependence on the U.S. by exporting more oil to China and India. (Read more here at the Washington Times.)

Antonio Rivero also told Fox News Latino that he knew the people named in Obama’s order and that he believes they were not initially “Chavistas”:

He explained that none of the military officers sanctioned by the U.S. had ideological ties to the chavista movement before assuming public offices in the government.

“Many of these officers were initially good professionals, who became victims of the system,” Rivero said, “but were not really part of the hard line of military command. They simply followed orders, betrayed their principals, kissed up to their superiors, and got promoted.”

This raises many puzzling questions, not the least of which is one of Maduro’s accusations that on one hand Obama cozies up to Cuba at a time it chastises one of our biggest trading partners in this hemisphere, especially in oil.

We at SUA certainly are not admirers of Maduro and his socialist ways, nor his close relationship and almost puppet-like obedience to Cuba and Iran, but it appears that Obama’s foreign policies seem to puzzle everyone. However, we do agree that Venezuela is a growing menace.

In response to Obama’s Executive Order, Venezuelan President Madura is flexing his military muscle supplied by the likes of Iran, Russia, and China. The bloc against the USA just grew tighter.

The region is also responding negatively to Obama:

La Paz is striking back at Washington in defense of Caracas, after Bolivian President Evo Morales earlier this week signaled his support for Maduro. In a Thursday document the Foreign Ministry expressed its“regret” at Obama’s stance, saying “Bolivia rejects these interventionist actions of the US government to violate the sovereignty and self-determination of the Venezuelan people. These undemocratic actions of President Barack Obama threaten the peace and security of all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. (Read more here.)

You be the judge:

Venezuela holds massive military maneuvers amid new US sanctions

From Yahoo News/AFP

Caracas (AFP) – Venezuela begins a week and a half of military exercises on Saturday, amid rising tensions with the United States over sanctions imposed on officials accused of an opposition crackdown.

About 80,000 troops were due to take part in the massive display of weaponry, as Caracas shows off its Chinese amphibian weapons, Russian-built missiles and other military hardware.

A Russian-made S-125 Neva/Pechora (SA-3 GOA) surface-to-air missile vehicle carrier remains idle in a military base in Caracas, Venezuela, on March 14, 2015 (AFP Photo/Juan Barreto)
A Russian-made S-125 Neva/Pechora (SA-3 GOA) surface-to-air missile vehicle carrier remains idle in a military base in Caracas, Venezuela, on March 14, 2015 (AFP Photo/Juan Barreto)

The exercises will last 10 days and will enlist the participation of 20,000 civilians, in addition to the troops, officials said.

The manuevers come at a time of heightened tensions with the United States, which has clashed repeatedly with the leftist-led South American country over the years.

Relations hit a new low on Monday, when US President Barack Obama slapped new sanctions on the regime, calling the oil-rich Venezuela “an extraordinary threat to the national security” of the United States.

After Obama made the move, which targeted senior Venezuelan officials for cracking down on the opposition, Caracas angrily recalled its envoy to Washington and ramped up its military preparedness.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and Bolivia's President Evo Morales (Reuters)
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and Bolivia’s President Evo Morales (Reuters)

The country’s defense minister, General Vladimir Padrino Lopez, said Saturday that the maneuvers, many of which were to be held in the south of Caracas, were meant to prepare soldiers for “their mission, their goal, and with the will to be victorious.”

Other maneuvers will focus on Venezuela’s oil-producing areas, including the Caribbean coast and an oil field some 200 kilometers (125 miles) to the west of Caracas.

Military officials said they will also test the nation’s air defenses and will ensure that its anti-aircraft systems are ready to be deployed if needed.

President Nicolas Maduro has accused Washington of backing an alleged opposition plot to overthrow him. He is seeking extraordinary powers from the legislature that would allow him to rule by decree.

Maduro’s popularity has sunk in the past year amid an economic crisis, galloping inflation and huge lines outside supermarkets plagued by drastic food shortages.

Elected to succeed his late mentor Hugo Chavez in April 2013, Maduro had obtained one-year-long powers to impose economic laws by decree later that same year.

Communist Cuba rallied behind Maduro this week, pledging “unconditional support” to Caracas. Another ally, Ecuador’s leftist President Rafael Correa, denounced the US sanctions as “grotesque” and a “sick joke.”

Obama Releases More From Gitmo – In ‘Overdrive’

Editor’s Note – Obama is making good on his promises from 2008 to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility in furious fashion. With the loss of power in Congress, this may be one of many executive actions we will see take place as Obama’s second term enters the last two years.

Once again, as Senator Kelly Ayotte R-NH said: “The safety of Americans, not the fulfillment of a misguided campaign promise, should guide national security decisions.” Obama is placing America’s needs behind his own as we now see was always his driving motivation.

Similar to what he did with the ‘Taliban5,’ Congress again was ignored:

Despite fierce opposition in Congress to closing the detention facility, however, there is little that lawmakers can actually do to stop the president from continuing to release detainees.

On paper, Congress requires the administration to give 30 days’ advance notice before any transfer, but that was flouted in the case of the Taliban prisoners who were swapped for Bergdahl.

Despite the fact that 56% of Americans want the facility to stay open and the detainees to remain in custody, Obama is moving in ‘Overdrive.’.

Obama’s big push on Guantanamo

By Kristina Wong and Jesse Byrnes – The Hill

102_2014_gitmo8201_c0-249-2187-1523_s561x327President Obama’s push to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is going into overdrive, with more detainee transfers in the last two months of 2014 than in the previous three years combined.

Since the Nov. 4 elections, Obama has released 22 detainees, in sharp contrast to the period from 2011 to 2013 inclusive, when only 19 were released.

In the first six months of 2014, he had released only six detainees from the facility in Cuba — including the five members of the Taliban who were swapped for prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

With less than two years left in office, the president appears to be going full throttle, promising in a December interview on CNN “to do everything” he can to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise of shutting down Guantanamo, despite congressional opposition.

He released 44 people from the prison camp during his first full year in office in 2009, and 24 in 2010, but transfers then slowed to a trickle, largely due to opposition on Capitol Hill.

In 2011, there were only three transfers; in 2012, five; and in 2013, 11.

So far, Obama has released a total of 111 detainees while in office, according to a Defense official.

In total, of the 780 people detained at the facility, 643 have been transferred, and nine have died while in custody, according to analyses from The New York Times and NPR.AyotteNH

After the administration announced five more transfers on Wednesday, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said she was “deeply troubled by the administration’s continued transfer of dangerous terrorists from Guantanamo.”

“The United States must take every possible measure to prevent former detainees from returning to the battlefield,” she said in a statement Wednesday. “The safety of Americans, not the fulfillment of a misguided campaign promise, should guide national security decisions.”

Ayotte said that almost 30 percent of former Guantanamo detainees have reengaged or are suspected of reengaging in terrorism.

Those concerns are supported by some veterans of the Bush administration.

“The further you go into the pile of Gitmo detainees that are there now, the more dangerous they are,” said retired Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman during the Bush administration.

Gordon pointed to the Obama administration recently offering a reward for information on a detainee released from Guantanamo in 2006, who now allegedly serves as a top leader with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“They just put out a $5 million dollar bounty. So that shows the folly of releasing guys that we were reasonably sure, or we think, may return to terrorism,” said Gordon, who is a senior fellow at the Center for a Secure Free Society.

Despite fierce opposition in Congress to closing the detention facility, however, there is little that lawmakers can actually do to stop the president from continuing to release detainees.

On paper, Congress requires the administration to give 30 days’ advance notice before any transfer, but that was flouted in the case of the Taliban prisoners who were swapped for Bergdahl.

Taliban5Lawmakers have also included restrictions in their annual defense policy and spending bills. For example, the $1.1 trillion funding bill passed by Congress in December bars the transfer or release of those held in Guantanamo to prisons in the United States.

The president has said that under certain circumstances those restrictions could violate the “constitutional separation of powers” between the legislative and executive branches.

However, lawmakers who oppose closing the facility can lean on public support for their cause.

A Fox News poll released earlier this month found that a majority of Americans, 56 percent, want to keep Guantanamo open, compared to fewer than a third, 32 percent, who would prefer it to be closed, and its prisoners be transferred to U.S. facilities.

As part of the administration’s strategy to close the prison camp, officials have begun arguing that housing detainees at Guantanamo is too costly, and that they should instead be held at super-maximum-security prisons within the United States.

“The American people should not be spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on a facility that harms our standing in the world, damages our relationships with key allies, and emboldens violent extremists. Closing the facility remains a top priority for the president,” said National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell on Wednesday.KazakstanMap

The total cost of detention operations at Guantanamo for fiscal 2014 was $397.4 million, according to Defense statistics. That would bring the average cost per detainee in 2014 to $2.8 million.

According to Politifact, costs at a high-security federal prison as of 2012 are about $34,000 per year per inmate.

Of the remaining 127 detainees left at Guantanamo Bay, 59 have been deemed eligible for transfer after a lengthy interagency review process. Fifty-two of those eligible for release are from Yemen.

However, their potential release is complicated by serious political instability in Yemen. The Yemeni government may not be able to ensure that those released will not return to the fight

Another 10 detainees are currently undergoing prosecution via military tribunal at Guantanamo.

Of the remaining 58, at least 23 are designated for prosecution. Six have been re-designated for transfer, but the other 29 either await a periodic review board or are ineligible for transfer.

The president is hoping to bring those prisoners to a super-maximum-security prison within the United States.

“It does not make sense for us to spend millions of dollars per individual, when we have a way of solving this problem that’s more consistent with our values,” Obama said on CNN.

Hillary, The NY Times Called, What Successes?

Editor’s Note – It amazes us at SUA that people across the land still consider Hillary Rodham Clinton as a viable Presidential candidate anymore. The reasons must follow that too many people are still ill-informed, have willingly suspended disbelief, have a cognitive estrangement with the truth, and/or are so deeply ideological, even her failures do not count.

In fact, even she cannot cite any successes for which she is responsible in her years as Secretary of State or as a Senator from New York. When the New York Times points these issues out, it surely is time for America to take notice, peel the scales from their eyes, and come back to reality.

Today’s abysmal results of her foreign policy efforts on behalf of her boss, Barrack Obama, are telling to say the least. When we look at the current state of Ukraine, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, China, Myanmar, Venezuela, Cuba, and many more corners of the Earth; each display daily a cause of major concern. It is not a good time to be an ally of the United States – we are no longer to be trusted; we are less than a paper tiger.U.S. Secretary of State Clinton pounds her fists while testifying on the Benghazi attacks during Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington

Failure is the only consistent thing in her resume, going all the way back to the Whitewater scandal when her husband was Attorney General and then Governor of Arkansas and into his first campaign for the Presidency, then through the Travel Office Scandal when he took office, to Benghazi and beyond. Let’s not forget her allegiance and sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood through her assistant Huma Abedin and the Clinton Global Initiative that is supported by these types.

“At this point, what difference does it make?”

Remember, she was the one who chose Christopher Stevens as Ambassador to Libya and watched idly as he and three others died horribly, as well as leaving over 30 other people at risk that day. We must point out one nefarious fact, her only success there was the jailing of a man who made a silly video.

We can cite one major accomplishment, she ranks at the top of the most traveled Secretaries of State ever – all with no positive result. If numbers of countries visited, miles traveled, or fuel burned, were what counted, at least those she is compared against at those levels had a major impact in keeping America’s reputation and influence at a continued high level, most unlike our standing today.

Hillary Clinton Struggles to Define a Legacy in Progress

By MARK LANDLER and AMY CHOZICK – New York Times

WASHINGTON — It was a simple question to someone accustomed to much tougher ones: What was her proudest achievement as secretary of state? But for a moment, Hillary Rodham Clinton, appearing recently before a friendly audience at a women’s forum in Manhattan, seemed flustered.

Mrs. Clinton played an energetic role in virtually every foreign policy issue of President Obama’s first term, advocating generally hawkish views internally while using her celebrity to try to restore America’s global standing after the hit it took during the George W. Bush administration.

But her halting answer suggests a problem that Mrs. Clinton could confront as she recounts her record in Mr. Obama’s cabinet before a possible run for president in 2016: Much of what she labored over so conscientiously is either unfinished business or has gone awry in his second term.

Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's right hand - and that hand is Muslim Brotherhood aligned
Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s right hand – and that hand is Muslim Brotherhood aligned

From Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the grinding civil war in Syria to the latest impasse in the Middle East peace process, the turbulent world has frustrated Mr. Obama, and is now defying Mrs. Clinton’s attempts to articulate a tangible diplomatic legacy.

“I really see my role as secretary, and, in fact, leadership in general in a democracy, as a relay race,” Mrs. Clinton finally said at the Women in the World meeting, promising to offer specific examples in a memoir she is writing that is scheduled to be released in June. “I mean, you run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton.”

The relay metaphor has become a recurring theme for Mrs. Clinton during this year of speculation about her future. She did her part, it suggests, but the outcome was out of her hands. And so Mrs. Clinton is striking a delicate balance when discussing a job that would be a critical credential in a presidential race.

On the one hand, she wants credit for the parts of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy that have worked, like the pressure campaign against Iran over its nuclear program, which she helped orchestrate and which has pulled Iran to the bargaining table.

On the other, she is subtly distancing herself from the things that have not worked out, like Mr. Obama’s “reset” of relations with Russia. She recently likened President Vladimir V. Putin’s annexation of Crimea to actions by Hitler in the 1930s, and posted on Twitter a photograph of herself with members of Pussy Riot, the protest group that is Mr. Putin’s nemesis.

Mrs. Clinton’s Republican opponents, losing no time in trying to define her, note that she gave Russia’s foreign minister the infamous mistranslated red plastic button to reset relations. It said “overcharge,” not “reset.” They have been tireless in raising questions about the deadly attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

While Republicans are likely to make her part of a broad critique of the Obama administration’s approach to national security, Mrs. Clinton’s hawkish views could also be a problem in ensuring the support of liberals in her own party, who are weary of foreign entanglements.

In one sense, though, the cascade of foreign crises that now bedevil Mr. Obama could play to Mrs. Clinton’s advantage. By presenting herself in her book and in any possible campaign as the toughest voice in the room during the great debates over war and peace, she could set herself apart from a president who critics charge has forsworn America’s leadership role in the world.hillary-russian-reset-button

Mrs. Clinton has scrupulously avoided publicly criticizing Mr. Obama; White House aides said he still called her for advice. And much of the administration’s foreign policy still bears her imprint, like the Iran sanctions and a more confrontational stance toward China, which she pioneered and Mr. Obama has embraced.

But in recent interviews, two dozen current and former administration officials, foreign diplomats, friends and outside analysts described Mrs. Clinton as almost always the advocate of the most aggressive actions considered by Mr. Obama’s national security team — and not just in well-documented cases, like the debate over how many additional American troops to send to Afghanistan or the NATO airstrikes in Libya.

Mrs. Clinton’s advocates — a swelling number in Washington, where people are already looking to the next administration — are quick to cite other cases in which she took more hawkish positions than the White House: arguing for funneling weapons to Syrian rebels and for leaving more troops behind in postwar Iraq, and criticizing the results of a 2011 parliamentary election in Russia.

The criticism of the Russian election led Mr. Putin to accuse her of fomenting unrest, and left some senior Obama aides unhappy. “Some at the White House thought she overstepped,” said Michael A. McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia, who supported her view.

At the same time, Mrs. Clinton’s instincts were curbed by her innate caution, her determination to show loyalty to a rival-turned-boss and her growing pains in the job. Still, dissecting her record yields tantalizing clues about what kind of foreign policy she might pursue as president. “Hillary unbound,” people who worked with her say, would be instinctively less reluctant than Mr. Obama to commit the military to foreign conflicts.

“It’s not that she’s quick to use force, but her basic instincts are governed more by the uses of hard power,” said Dennis B. Ross, a former White House aide who played a behind-the-scenes role in opening secret direct talks with Iran about its nuclear program.

Leon E. Panetta, who forged close ties to Mrs. Clinton as defense secretary and C.I.A. director, said she was a stalwart supporter of the C.I.A.’s activities in Pakistan — read, drone strikes — and an influential voice in advising Mr. Obama to order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

“The president has made some tough decisions,” Mr. Panetta said. “But it’s been a mixed record, and the concern is, the president defining what America’s role in the world is in the 21st century hasn’t happened.”

“Hopefully, he’ll do it,” Mr. Panetta said, “and certainly, she would.”

The Mideast Peace Process

Mrs. Clinton’s hawkish inclinations were well established in her bitter 2008 Democratic primary campaign against Mr. Obama, when she famously criticized as naïve his willingness to talk to America’s adversaries without preconditions. But when he persuaded her to join his “team of rivals,” she submerged her views and worked hard to establish her loyalty — all of which has added to her problems in promoting her record.

hillary_obama_glare_reutersA case in point is the Middle East peace process, in which secretaries of state from Henry A. Kissinger to John Kerry have tried to make their mark. “There’s core-course curriculum, and then there’s extra credit,” said Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff. “This is always seen as a core requirement for a secretary of state.”

Mrs. Clinton’s marching orders from the White House were to demand that Israel cease the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank as a way to lure the Palestinians into talks, and she did so with a fervor that surprised Mr. Obama’s advisers. But they had conceived the strategy, and Mrs. Clinton privately had qualms with it, which proved well founded.

“We did not make it sufficiently clear that this was not a precondition but part of an effort to create an overall atmosphere in which negotiations could succeed,” said George J. Mitchell, the former Middle East envoy who left in 2011 after failing to break the logjam.

Mr. Kerry has tried a different approach to peacemaking, with little to show for it so far. But he seems determined to keep trying, while some veterans of Middle East diplomacy say Mrs. Clinton gave up too easily. In a recent interview with Time magazine, former President Jimmy Carter said that “she took very little action to bring about peace.”

Today, when Mrs. Clinton’s aides talk about the Middle East, they barely mention the Israeli-Palestinian talks, preferring to discuss the cease-fire she brokered in November 2012 between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, where she twisted arms to avoid escalating violence.

Building Pressure on Iran

Mrs. Clinton was more successful in dealing with Iran. As with the Middle East, she was skeptical that Mr. Obama’s initial strategy — reaching out to Iran’s leaders — would work. So when he shifted to sanctions, she was eager to build pressure on what she called a “military dictatorship.”

It was a tough job against long odds, said Tom Donilon, the former national security adviser, because it meant pressing allies in Europe and Asia, huge trading partners of Iran, to agree to steps “that had a real cost.”

Mrs. Clinton delivered her stern message with a smile. In June 2010, the day before the United Nations voted on strict new sanctions against Iran, Mrs. Clinton invited China’s ambassador to Washington, Zhang Yesui, to a hotel bar in Lima, Peru, where both were at a conference.AP_hillary-yang_6Sept12

Drinking pisco sours, the potent local cocktail, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Zhang went over an annex to the Security Council resolution line by line as she tried to clinch Beijing’s agreement to withdraw investments in Iran by Chinese banks and state-owned enterprises.

The sanctions, Mrs. Clinton likes to remind audiences, crippled Iran’s oil exports and currency, setting the stage for the election of Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, as president and for Iran’s renewed interest in diplomacy.

Mr. Obama had first proposed direct talks in a letter to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in 2009. Mrs. Clinton authorized Mr. Ross, then her special adviser, to explore a back channel to the Iranians through the Arab sultanate of Oman.

In January 2011, Mrs. Clinton stopped in Oman on a tour of the Persian Gulf that was notable because she gave a speech, on the eve of the Arab Spring, warning leaders that they risked “sinking in the sand” if they did not reform their societies. Less noticed was her meeting with the sultan, in which he offered to facilitate a meeting with the Iranians.

After some exploratory meetings with a delegation from Tehran, Mrs. Clinton sent two of her top lieutenants, William J. Burns and Jake Sullivan, to Oman for more intensive negotiations. That opened the door to the nuclear talks now underway in Vienna. But what her colleagues remember most is her steadfast conviction that Iran would deal only under duress.

“She was skeptical that it would produce anything, or at least anything quickly, and in a way she was right because it took several years to get to that point,” said Mr. Burns, a deputy secretary of state.

With China, too, Mrs. Clinton set the stage for a more confrontational approach, though that was not the policy she followed at the outset. When she made her first trip as secretary of state to Beijing, she stumbled by suggesting that the United States would not offer lectures on human rights as much as it had in the past.

By 2010, however, she sounded more like the woman who had cut her teeth on the global stage in 1995 with a defiant speech on women’s rights at a United Nations conference in Beijing. Attending a summit meeting in Vietnam, she thrust the United States into a tangled dispute between China and its neighbors over the South China Sea.

The Chinese government was enraged by her meddling, but her actions set a new context for the relationship. By insisting that China adhere to international norms and by shoring up American alliances with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, Mrs. Clinton moved Washington away from the China-centric model favored by previous presidents.

“Secretary Clinton strongly pushed for a 21st-century conversation with China and resisted occasional Chinese efforts to engage in a secretive, 19th-century diplomacy,” said Kurt M. Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs.

When the State Department proposed sending 2,500 Marines to Australia to underline America’s commitment to Southeast Asia, the Pentagon, Mr. Panetta said, latched on to the idea, because “it fit the new defense strategy we were developing.”

Mrs. Clinton became the most visible and energetic exponent of the president’s “Asia rebalance” — so much so, in fact, that her aides complained to Mr. Donilon at one point that she was not getting enough credit for it. In a lingering sign of Mrs. Clinton’s influence, Mr. Obama will visit the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea next week.

Kim Beazley, Australia’s ambassador to Washington, credits her with reversing a laissez-faire approach to the Pacific Rim that dated from the Nixon administration. “She was metronome perfect,” he said.

A Different Standard

As Mrs. Clinton’s aides shape her legacy, one of their biggest frustrations has been explaining that the most publicized work of her tenure — her emphasis on the rights of women and girls — was not a safe or soft issue, but part of a broader strategy that strengthens national security. Mrs. Clinton may be the only diplomat, they say, who is criticized for being simultaneously too dovish and too hawkish.

“You can’t have it both ways,” said Thomas R. Nides, a former deputy secretary of state who is now a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley. “You can’t say that she’s about soft power, women and girls, and hospitals and ribbon cuttings, and simultaneously maintain that all she cares about is drones, missiles, going to war.”

Because of her celebrity and her potential political future, Mrs. Clinton’s advocates say, she is held to a different standard than other secretaries of state. More than ever, they say, the job is defined not by clear victories but by a dogged commitment to the process.

“We have sort of a heroic vision of diplomacy,” said James B. Steinberg, who served as deputy secretary of state. “But it’s really easy to overwrite the traditional role of leader-to-leader diplomacy.”Hillary-Clinton-2016

Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning at the State Department, said, “I think of her as being extraordinarily resourceful within a set of constraints.” She noted, for example, that Mrs. Clinton had to spend three months apologizing for the undiplomatic remarks in the secret cables disclosed by WikiLeaks.

Mrs. Clinton’s memoir will allow her to give her view of WikiLeaks, Benghazi and smaller missteps like the Russia reset button — a stunt she nevertheless liked enough that she later gave one to Mr. McDonough to smooth over friction with the White House over personnel issues.

Mrs. Clinton’s vision of 21st-century diplomacy mirrors what her allies say is a vision of a more engaged America. The question is whether that vision will be appealing to a nation that, after 12 years of war, is weary of foreign adventures. Liberal critics may have no other choice for a candidate.

“Although there will be a good number of folks in the Democratic Party who are uncomfortable with her hawkishness, they will ask themselves, ‘Where else can we go?’ ” said Paul R. Pillar, a former C.I.A. analyst who now teaches at Georgetown University and supports Mr. Obama’s more cautious view of the American role abroad.

Mr. McDonough, one of Mr. Obama’s closest foreign policy advisers, declares himself a great admirer of Mrs. Clinton. But he was on the other side of the internal debate over providing weapons to the Syrian rebels, and, like his boss, is cautious about the use of American force. However harrowing the conflict, he said, “you have to be disciplined about where you invest this country’s power.”

“We’re leaving an era where the country gave the president a lot of leeway, in terms of resources, in terms of time,” Mr. McDonough said. “It will be a long time before a president has the kind of leeway in this space that President Bush had.”