"The Hillary Doctrine: Sex & American Foreign Policy" by Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl [Full text]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 30.4 (Winter 2016)

December 15, 2016

Detail from book cover

Review by Kristen P. Williams

The Hillary Doctrine: Sex & American Foreign Policy, Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015), 456 pp., $29.95 cloth.

Given that much of the political science literature on women, gender, and U.S. foreign policy has primarily examined the legislative branch and public opinion, The Hillary Doctrine's focus on the executive branch is an important and welcome contribution to the international relations field. Hudson and Leidl focus on Hillary Clinton's prioritization of women's empowerment in all facets of U.S. foreign policy and national security during her tenure as secretary of state in the Obama administration, noting that "she was (and is) the world's most influential and eloquent exponent of the proposition that the situation of women and the destiny of nations are integrally linked" (pp. xiii). The authors make clear, however, that the book is not about Hillary Clinton herself but about the Doctrine as an idea translated into policy, and hence their "foundational question" is as follows: "Do the situation, security, and status of women within a nation affect that nation’s security, stability, and prosperity? If so, then the premise of the Hillary Doctrine is sound, and warrants a prominent place in U.S. foreign policy" (p. 68).

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