Feb. 8, 2009: My speech at the Rotary Club of Ulan-Bator about Iran’s nuclear ambitions is warmly received.

The increasing tension around Iran’s situation demands a diplomatic solution. Now is the time for negotiation, goodwill, and patience. Yes, the situation is delicate, so all the more need for sensitive and tactful engagement. Of course, what makes it so difficult is that this Ahmadinejad is a dangerously unstable fanatic who’s worse than Hitler. Honestly, he calls himself a national leader but can’t even be bothered to shave! I think this terrorist better straighten up, or he’ll be eating cluster bombs for breakfast one of these mornings, honestly!

Five minutes later, the red cell phone starts buzzing like a beehive. Frankly, I think it’s sad how some men feel they have to control everything.

April 18, 2009: My words at an NGO forum in Kabul garner another standing ovation.


Never forget that in 2001, we toppled the Taliban for the sake of the children. And when every last Afghan child has access to affordable healthcare, a quality education, psychological counseling, accredited nutritionists, dalcroze instructors, certified speech therapists—Pashto is a notoriously difficult language! I don’t know how these amazing kids do it, but I suppose that’s just one more lesson children can teach us!—and when these at-risk Afghan children also have unrestricted access to piano instructors and swim coaches, then our work here will be done. Fortunately, we expect to fully actualize these objectives in 18 months, possibly less. For now let us never forget what an enriching, growthful experience it has been to assist the U.S. military in pacifying this nation of savage terrorists and uplifting its underserved children.

Feb. 2, 2009: Throughout history, gifts have been essential to diplomacy. A record of those given and some received:

To signal a fresh start in good relations between Russia and the United States, we gave President Medvedev an actual reset button marked “rectoscopia,” or “reset!” But as luck would have it, “rectoscopia” turns out to mean “proctoscopy.” (Why did I believe Joe Biden when he said he knew Russian?) But there is, as always, a bright side; Prime Minister Putin has graciously offered Bill and me complementary proctoscopies at South Ural Teaching Hospital, a lovely gesture!

April 18, 2009: For Kurmanbeck Bakiyev, president of Kyrgyzstan and a dear, dear friend of the United States, a package of delicious pork jerky from Carbondale, Illinois, the kind my brother and I used to fight over in the backseat of the car as children. And thank goodness I managed to black out the sell-by date just before giving it to him—a few months won’t matter, honestly!

Tatyana, his glamorous and accomplished wife, presents me a glorious carpet patterned with figures of reindeer, Kalashnikovs, and Pamela Anderson. Most remarkable of all, the rug was woven entirely by children—just one more lesson Kyrgyzstanis can teach us!

Jan. 23, 2010: To Jacob Zuma of South Africa I present an almost new paperback of Roots that we got with no time to spare at the Dulles newsstand. (And I peel off the “50% off!” sticker just in time!) I certainly hope it will be a growthful experience for him and perhaps teach him something about his own roots. There is so much that books can teach us. He graciously offered us his fifth and sixth wives, and though I politely declined, I was touched by the gesture.

Feb. 19, 2010: For President Sarkozy of France, a box of Entenmann’s cookies, one of Bill’s favorites. We didn’t have time to wrap it because we’ve just been terribly busy lately, and Sarkozy was very understanding. I couldn’t help noticing he did not offer any gift in return, but I suppose we must give our allies, like our spouses, an occasional pass for bad manners.

Dec. 4, 2009: My words to the press en route to Tokyo show once again that most men simply cannot handle straight talk from a woman.

Engaging with North Korea is of course a top priority in guaranteeing security for our allies in East Asia. The situation is very delicate, and we have to address it with careful diplomacy, with plenty of carrots as well as the occasional stick. But we’re confident we can find common ground. By the way, how old is Kim Jong-Il again? Well, I guess we won’t have wait long for a changing of the guard, now will we? We hope that the next one is a lot better than the nasty four-eyed midget we have to deal with now, and we look forward to that opportunity very, very much.

An hour later and the red cell phone is buzzing again, even at 12,000 feet over the Pacific. I didn’t know they could do that!

Feb. 18, 2010: Like many working mothers, I have learned how to be ruthlessly efficient. This morning I set up a conference call with the foreign ministers of China, Russia, India, Japan, France, Turkey, Mexico, and South Africa.

“Are we all here? China, you too? Yes? Great. OK. I regret to inform you all that if you don’t join us in imposing sanctions against Iran, you will all soon find yourselves excluded from the family of nations and facing diplomatic isolation. Is that clear? Wonderful. Have a great weekend, everybody!”

Dear old Bibi, whom I had patched in, told me I that I was just marvelous and that he still wishes I were president. I’m sure he’s not the only one! 

—as told to Chase Madar


Hillary Rodham Clinton is secretary of state. Chase Madar is a lawyer in New York.

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