Clinton to leave US post today
Hillary Clinton said secretaries of state can no longer limit themselves to a few major capitals. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has outlined her vision for bolstering her nation’s influence in her final address as she prepares to leave office today.
Mrs Clinton compared the "new architecture" necessary for "a new world" to the fluid and quirky work of architect Frank Gehry.
"Some of his work at first might appear haphazard," Mrs Clinton said, "but in fact it's highly intentional and sophisticated."
Democratic senator John Kerry is to be sworn in later today as US secretary of state.
US foreign policy under Mrs Clinton combined traditional elements such as military power and decades-long alliances with newer components such as the use of social media, an increased focus on economic matters, encouragement for female empowerment and an increase in regional cooperation.
"America today is stronger at home and respected in the world, and our global leadership is on stronger footing than many predicted," Mrs Clinton said yesterday at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Describing the US as "the world's indispensable nation," Mrs Clinton declared that "the declinists are wrong."
Asked about a "Clinton doctrine," she described building networks to draw in other countries and then "expect them to play their role in a rules-based global order."
"As the world has changed, so too have the levers of power that can most effectively shape international affairs," Mrs Clinton said. "We have to be strategic about all the levers of global power" and be open to new ones, "even ones that haven't been invented yet," Mrs Clinton said.
The new demands also require broader engagement, said Mrs Clinton, who set records for the position by travelling to 112 countries in her four-year term.
Mrs Clinton said secretaries of state can no longer limit themselves to a few major capitals.
She offered her January 2012 trip to Togo as an example, citing people who asked why she would bother going to the tiny west African country. "Why Togo?" she said. "Well, Togo happens to hold a rotating seat on the UN Security Council," Mrs Clinton said. "Going there, making the personal investment, has a strategic purpose."
Mrs Clinton said criticism that her emphasis on technology, human rights, women and development is "a bit soft," misses the point. It's a "false choice" to see traditional tools of power and so-called soft power as mutually exclusive, she said.
Instead, she calls the mix of the two "smart power" and offered examples of how that has worked in Asia and the Middle East.
Though military shifts in the so-called pivot to Asia have garnered a lot of attention, US foreign policy in the region involves energy politics, trade and economic diplomacy, and the promotion of democracy and universal norms, Mrs Clinton said.
She described the US relationship with China as "uniquely consequential" adding that, "the Pacific is big enough for all of us, and we will continue to welcome China's rise, if it chooses to play a constructive role."
The Middle East is another complex region, Mrs Clinton said, and she said it has seen some progress. Nascent democracies are taking root in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, she said, and US troops have come home from Iraq.
She acknowledged the region's challenges, including the continuing "slaughter" in Syria, Iran's alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapon and the terrorist threat in North Africa.
The Middle East needs good governance, a vibrant private sector, respect for women and minorities, and "you can't have true stability and security unless leaders start leading," Mrs Clinton said.
Mrs Clinton is expected to seek the Democratic nomination for the 2016 presidential election but has not confirmed any such move.