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Sec. Of State Clinton Discusses Obama Administration’s Foreign Policy Strategy

In a speech on Wednesday at the Council on Foreign Relations, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined the Obama administration’s approach to foreign policy and said that U.S. “global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways,” the Washington Post reports.

Clinton said, “a new American moment … must be seized – through hard work and bold decisions – to lay the foundations for lasting American leadership for decades to come” (Kessler, 9/9). 

“Clinton vowed to work with traditional European and other allies as well as new emerging powers like China, India and Brazil to resolve problems ranging from nuclear proliferation to climate change,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Solving foreign-policy problems today requires us to think both regionally and globally, to see the intersections and connections linking nations and regions and interests, to bring people together as only America can,” she said, adding, “I think the world is counting on us today, as it has in the past.”

Clinton also highlighted the role of development in foreign policy strategy. “‘The Obama administration views development as a strategic, economic, and moral imperative,’ she said, adding it is ‘as central to advancing American interests’ as diplomacy and defense,” AFP writes (Carmichael, 9/8). “Our approach is not, however, development for development’s sake; it is an integrated strategy for solving problems,” Clinton said, according to a transcript of the speech from the State Department. She cited different examples of how the U.S. is working with other partners on development projects.

According to the transcript, Clinton noted the long-term nature of development work: “When our troops come home, as they are from Iraq and eventually from Afghanistan, we’ll still be involved in diplomatic and development efforts, trying to rid the world of nuclear dangers and turn back climate change, end poverty, quell the epidemic of HIV/AIDS, tackle hunger and disease. That’s the work not of a year or even of a presidency, but of a lifetime. And it is the work of generations” (9/8).

“Clinton’s speech offered few specifics about new policy initiatives,” the Washington Post writes before noting the broader context of the speech. “More than a year ago, in the same venue, Clinton spoke of ’tilting the balance away from a multi-polar world and toward a multi-partner world’ and emphasized the administration’s willingness to engage with its adversaries. On Wednesday, her tone was subtly different, focused much more on the importance of the nation’s role in managing problems.”

“‘This is no argument for America to go it alone – far from it,’ Clinton said. ‘The world looks to us because America has the reach and resolve to mobilize the shared effort needed to solve problems on a global scale – in defense of our own interests, but also as a force for progress. In this we have no rival'” (9/9).