• Ramin Talaie/Getty

    Hillary Watch

    Hillary Vs. Obama, Round 2

    The former Secretary of State thinks President Obama has made serious foreign policy errors, and she is determined to restore U.S. prestige from the White House.

    If Hillary Clinton had any lingering doubts about another presidential run, the crisis in Ukraine should tip the balance.

    As she watches Russia’s push into Ukraine reinforce the world’s perception of American weakness, Clinton’s deep belief in the need for American global leadership and her visceral reaction to perceptions of American retreat will trump all other considerations in her decision-making process, even her real wariness about going back into the trenches of politics.

  • A police officer stands next to a group of detained sex workers during a prostitution raid in Wenzhou, China on September 12, 2012. (Reuters/Landov)

    Russia and China

    Human-Trafficking Demotions

    The sanctions could complicate America’s relations with both nations, reports Josh Rogin.

    For the first time, the State Department on Wednesday declared China and Russia among the worst offending countries on human trafficking, a designation that will lead to sanctions against both countries.

    With the release of the State Department’s 2013 report on Trafficking in Persons (TIP), the State Department officially downgraded China, Russia, and Uzbekistan to the lowest possible rating in terms of their handling of human trafficking, known as Tier 3, along with Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

  • Anne Smedinghoff ride in a helicopter near Helmand, Afghanistan. (via Facebook)

    Slain in Afghanistan

    The Hero Diplomat We Lost

    Anne Smedinghoff, killed by an Afghan bomb, was the best kind of Foreign Service officer. By Michael Daly.

    On Saturday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned the parents of a 25-year-old Foreign Service officer who had been so uncommonly upbeat and manifestly idealistic amid pervasive gloom and cynicism when she helped coordinate his visit to Afghanistan two weeks before.

    Anne Smedinghoff had seemed to embody the spirit of America at its very best, and she had been determined to venture out and demonstrate a greatness of heart even as our military withdrawal was making that continually more dangerous.

  • Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/Landov

    Obama’s New Champion for Women

    Meet Cathy Russell, the State Department’s next ambassador for global women’s issues. By Eleanor Clift.

    It’s refreshing to see someone who’s worked so hard behind the scenes get tapped for a more public role.

    Cathy Russell hasn’t been in the limelight like her husband, but she has a strong professional record, and friends and colleagues call her an inspired choice for the position of ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues at the State Department. Russell has served for the last four years as chief of staff to Jill Biden, the wife of the vice president, and she is married to Tom Donilon, President Obama’s national-security adviser—relationships that offer easy access to the White House to elevate her issues and help navigate bureaucratic barriers.