December 06, 2021

Wendy Sherman hints at Hillary Clinton’s Korea policy

Sherman may be the next secretary of state and her speech suggests 2017 may be a dangerous year

It is now becoming clear that Hillary Clinton will probably be the next president of the United States. Nothing is guaranteed – a week is a long time in politics, as British Prime Minister Harold Wilson said – and the Trump candidacy has the pundits hedging their bets. If she does become president then it seems certain that Wendy Sherman will play an important role in her foreign policy, especially in respect of Korea, and may even become Secretary of State. That makes her speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on May 3, 2016 something worth careful scrutiny. Scrutiny is the appropriate word. It must be assumed that officials (past and future) in a public forum seldom wholly mean what they say or say what they mean. Speeches need to be decoded and interpreted. In addition, what is left out can be highly significant.

On the face of it, Wendy Sherman is the consummate global official. According to CSIS, at her last official role as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs she oversaw the bureaus for Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, the Near East, South and Central Asia, the Western Hemisphere and International Organizations. It is difficult to think what is left; Antarctica perhaps? She has also flipped between government service, in the State Department, where power is exercised and contacts made, and the private sector, where presumably money is made. In this case the private sector being the Albright Stonebridge Group. The “Albright” being Madelaine Albright, former Secretary of State and Sherman’s former boss.