Salem has stated that she wishes to snuff out the hope of humanity. However, she possesses a healthy respect for their resourcefulness and ingenuity, and knows that humans are able to derive strength from hope.
However, by dividing them and snuffing out their source of hope, she believes that she can rob humanity of their strength.
Salem has a mysterious link with her enemy, Ozpin. They have apparently been locked in a struggle over the fate of the world for a long time, with Salem seeking to obtain the Relics and Ozpin and his allies defending them.
However, she is heard calmly and respectfully conversing with Ozpin in the episode "Ruby Rose". Ultimately, however, in "End of the Beginning", Salem affirms that she intends to watch Ozpin burn, but only after she destroys everything he has built.
Judging from comments made by Cinder Fall during the events of "Heroes and Monsters", Salem deems Ozpin exceedingly arrogant. In every aspect of their conflict over the Relics, Salem appears to hold a great deal of contempt towards the man. Given that their conflict is thousands of years old, her enmity for him has been given a great deal of time to ferment into a festering hate for Ozpin.
Qrow has personally seen some of Salem's creations and stated that "they are fear". He's aware of Salem's interest in obtaining a "relic" that was in Ozpin's possession and that she does not yet have it. Qrow does not by any means underestimate Salem's capabilities. He also seems to have a firm grasp of her tactics, as evidenced by what he tells Team RNJR of how she operates from the shadows, turning people against one another so that when the dust settles that all they have to blame is one another. Qrow is also a known target of Salem's faction, indicating that he is judged by her as a threat.
Salem holds Cinder in high regard due to her Fall Maiden status, her success with destroying Beacon Academy, and her understanding that Cinder killed Ozpin. Salem does however refer to her as "young Cinder," which adds a note of condescension in their relationship.
While treating Cinder in "Of Runaways and Stowaways", Salem asks her if she really killed Ozpin. She forces Cinder to speak for herself without relying on Emerald's assistance. Whether or not she believed Cinder is uncertain, but she did order more reinforcement at Beacon directly after.
Salem puts Cinder through harsh training soon afterward, reminding her of her desires for power. In "No Safe Haven", Salem is pleased when Cinder displays mastery over the Maiden's power.
In "Dread in the Air" Salem reminds Cinder that while she will get the power Salem promised her, that there is only so much she can do to aid her.
Salem appears to find Watts to be a rather competent subordinate, leaving the complex and highly specialized task of replacing Tyrian's tail to him. However, despite her trust in him for such complex medical feats, she does find his commentary regarding Cinder's injuries at the hands of Ruby Rose to be less than charming and rather counterproductive to their agenda, showing that her respect for his talents and tolerance for his less savory behavior has its limits.
Salem trusts Tyrian enough to have him hunt Maidens and Ruby Rose.
In "Taking Control", she is very disappointed by Tyrian after he failed to capture Ruby. In "Dread in the Air", she request Watts to have a new tail made for Tyrian following his loss to Ruby Rose, showing that her use for him is not yet at an end despite his failure to capture Ruby and kill Qrow. Before Cinder leaves, Salem asks her to bring Tyrian and says she wants to have a word with him. Tyrian's commitment to Salem and his zealous if not psychotic determination to serve her at all costs is likely why she granted him the clemency of seeing fit to have his tail restored in spite of his smoldering failure.
As one of Salem's lieutenants and her current liaison with the White Fang's Adam Taurus, Salem trusts Hazel to handle matters with the extremist faction.
Leonardo was Salem's informant in Mistral. Salem used his fear of her to control him and intimidated him if he overstepped certain boundaries. In "Haven's Fate", before Leonardo attempted to flee Haven, Salem found him no longer useful to her plans and had the Seer kill him and called him a coward.
Although neither have met, Salem is aware that Ruby and her abilities are a threat to her agenda, and is therefore planning to eliminate this problem. At the end of "End of the Beginning" Salem refers to Ruby as a "smaller soul", referencing Ozpin's words from "Ruby Rose".
When Cinder inquires about Ruby in "The Next Step", Salem reassigns Tyrian from going after the Spring Maiden to capturing Ruby and bringing her there. She expresses disappointment in Tyrian after his failure in carrying out the task.
Salem is grateful for Adam's loyalty to her cause and entrusts him with ensuring the White Fang's cooperation. Adam is aware of her existence and states that having her backing is part of the reason that the White Fang can win a war against humanity.
Salem has expressed interest in recruiting the leader of the White Fang and sent Hazel to a meeting with Khan set up by Adam.
Raven is aware of Salem's existence and seeks to protect her tribe from her. Raven is intuitive enough about Salem's goals and methods to have predicted Beacon's fall and Ozpin's failure. She knows that Salem wants the Relic left behind and is concerned enough about her having it to seek information from Qrow. Upon learning that Raven has the Spring Maiden, Salem sends her subordinates to convince the bandit leader that she needs to cooperate for the survival of her people. In "Haven's Fate", Yang states that if Raven gets the Relic of Knowledge, Salem will go after the bandit with everything she has until the Relic is hers.