World Focus: He may give Hillary the foreign job, but is it a trap?

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The Independent US

Hillary Clinton is being talked about as the next US Secretary of State – in other words, America's chief diplomat, the person responsible for carrying out Barack Obama's foreign policy. But America's political classes cannot decide if this would be a masterstroke or mousetrap. There are suggestions Mrs Clinton is also having second thoughts about the possible appointment, even as the incoming Democratic administration fills up with throwbacks from her eight years with Bill in the White House.

Mr Obama's next attorney general will be Eric Holder who served under Bill Clinton and will become the first black American to hold the post, if confirmed. Reform of healthcare will go to Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader from South Dakota and another confidante of the Clintons.

But yesterday an adviser to the former first lady whispered that she is agonising about accepting the role of grappling with the world's troublespots. Mrs Clinton is of course flattered, but she cannot decide if it would be a career booster, or a trap to ensure she never gets another run at the presidency.

If Hillary signs up for the new administration, Bill Clinton would have to hand over precious secrets about the sources of his foreign income. He has apparently agreed, if his wife secures the job. But once these secrets are in the hands of the Obama camp, who knows what might happen to them? Huffington Post blogger and commentator William Bradley yesterday asked the mousetrap versus masterstroke question. He noted Mr Obama's move would "make it virtually impossible for Hillary to challenge him in 2012". For all the talk about building a Lincolnesque "team of rivals" to run the country, what Barack Obama is really doing is corralling his rivals, Democrat and Republican, so that he can get on with governing. Mousetrap or masterstroke and for whom? It may take a while to find out.