Your questions to Kim Ghattas
- 16 January 2013
- From the section US & Canada
With Hillary Clinton stepping down as US Secretary of State and John Kerry preparing for confirmation hearings, BBC State Department correspondent Kim Ghattas answered your questions in a live Twitter Q&A on 15 January.
This is an edited version of the session.
Question from Mike in Doha who emails: How does Hillary compare to her Secretary of State predecessors?
Kim answers: More popular than most, much more travelled too. Like predecessors, hard to point at concrete achievement, legacy more intangible.
Question from @Benjaminod97: What's your take on the situation in Mali? Do you think the US will support the French and if so, in what role?
Kim answers: US providing intel to French, looking into support with airlift and support with aerial refuelling, no US boots on ground.
Question from @bestdogadvice: Do you think Hillary's health is good enough to consider front-line politics in the future?
Kim answers: Will depend on how she fares in coming weeks/months. First on agenda lots of rest. But health questions will be asked if she decides to run.
Question from Michael in New York who emails: Will changes under Hillary continue once Kerry takes over?
Kim answers: Clinton made permanent changes at State regarding conduct of foreign policy, i.e. focus on women, economic statecraft. Kerry may do less public diplomacy.
Question from @DarrenMcGlone26: Is Clinton stepping down the re-start of a long road to try and gain support for 2016 Democratic nomination?
Kim answers: Maybe, but she's also very tired and it's unusual for a Secretary of State to serve two terms. Much depends on health, Obama's second term, Republican field.
Question from @Karim_Rashad: Does Kerry have clear and coherent vision? If yes, does it differ in the US foreign policy orientation?
Kim answers: Vision and strategy still unknown but worldview similar to Clinton/Obama.
Question from @ArnaudParfait: How has Clinton's job changed over the years, technologically speaking?
Kim continues: What's the same: Still has to travel all over the world and meet leaders, people, face to face.
Question from @chseuk: After a week travelling around the world with the Secretary of State, what do you do in your down time?
Kim answers: Unlike Clinton, I get to sleep! Also, cook, see friends, watch movies and for last two years, wrote a book.
Question from Gene in Las Vegas who emails: What increased level of safety have Americans gained because of the actions of Secretary Clinton?
Kim answers: With Obama and Clinton, America is less unpopular but still has dangers, e.g. Benghazi. More public diplomacy does help build trust.
Question from @19NicciG: Recent events in Pakistan suggest further trouble ahead. What options for avoiding trouble/bringing stability?
Kim answers: Very complicated relationship. Hard for the US to "bring" stability to Pakistan, US tries to stay engaged, with an eye on Afghanistan.
Question from @DaQuantumFro: Other than France and the US are any other countries involved with Mali?
Kim answers: Yes, UK but again, no boots on the ground but West African troops will come in days.
Question from @DeborahWetzel1: What do you think is her (Hillary's) greatest achievement?
Kim answers: Helping to repair US image abroad, brokering the deal to get Chen Guangcheng out of China, implementing the concept of smart power.
Kim continues: But also weak spots: Lack of Mideast peace efforts, pushed for big troop surge in Afghanistan, not decisive on Syria.
Question from @MROWEIS: Did Hillary know about the killing of Jihad's son Omar; if yes what was her reaction?
Kim answers: Don't know if she personally knew about the death of the BBC cameraman's son but Clinton always reacts to news like this as a mother.
Question from Google+ user Shem Telemaque: What is she (Hillary) like on the job?
Kim answers: Very focused, reads every briefing book she gets, works 18 hours a day on road. Also funny and mischievous.
Question from @marcellk: What is the likely fate of Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton's advisors once she steps down? E.g @AlecJRoss
Kim answers: Some will stay in the job because of new Secretary of State/new admin i.e. not a "hostile" takeover of State Department, but some will move on.
Kim continues: Some positions like Senior Advisor for Innovation now permanent, @AlecJRoss could stay or go. It's up to him and also Kerry.
In response to @AlecJRoss who tweets "I'm so curious for your answer :)", Kim says: @AlecJRoss so give us the inside scoop!
Question from Pancha Chandra in Brussels who emails: Where do you think Hillary could've compromised more? Did she get the balance right?
Kim answers: Depends on your perception about US power. Some feel the Obama administration is too conciliatory, others feel even more outreach needed.
Question from David Watkins on Facebook: Why does America always start wars?
Kim answers: Except for some big exceptions, Vietnam/Iraq, the US usually gets pulled into wars, rather than starting them.
Question from a Twitter user who asks: What will be the major differences between Clinton and Kerry?
Kim answers: Clinton focused on big picture-US image, smart power and issues including women. Kerry likely to focus on deal-making, Mideast, Iran.
Question from @jklipton: With Clinton stepping down, will Kerry continue legacy of human rights, specifically global lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual equality (LBGT)?
Kim answers: Clinton made changes/reforms about LGBT issues within the State Department permanent, Kerry is likely to follow up but maybe not as often/publicly.
Question from @OutoftheBlack: Will the reset with Russia survive the Afghan drawdown?
Kim answers: Reset with Russia is already in trouble, for many reasons, including Putin's outlook on foreign policy. Lots can happen before Afghan drawdown.
Kim says: Thanks for joining us for today's #AskKimBBC Q&A from the@BBCNewsUS newsroom
For more tweets from Kim Ghattas, you can follow her Twitter account: @BBCKimGhattas
Produced by Glenn Anderson, Claudia Milne and Sarah Fowler