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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2956

Diplomacy-Development-Defense: Tools Obama Administration will use To address global challenges – Hillary Clinton

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 17 January ( Appearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Tuesday, January 13, Secretary of State-designate Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton reinforced the President-elect Barrack Obama’s commitment to use the full range of America’s "smart power" tools – diplomacy, development and defense – to address the global challenges of the 21st century.

Sen. Clinton stated, "One of my first priorities is to make sure that the State Department and USAID have the resources they need, and I will be back to make the case to Congress for full funding of the President's budget request." She further stated, "President-elect Obama has emphasized that the State Department must be fully empowered and funded to confront multi-dimensional challenges – from working with allies to thwart terrorism, to spreading health and prosperity in places of human suffering."

The Asian Tribune presents here the world view of the Obama administration and its approach toward global issues depicted in Senator Clinton’s presentation to the Foreign Relations Committee which is expected to approve her nomination latest Friday, January 16.

In a wide ranging question and answer session with Committee Members, Sen. Clinton stressed the importance of achieving a greater equilibrium in funding between defense, development and diplomacy; increasing funding for America’s "smart power" tools; aggressively moving forward to rebuild the State Department’s and USAID’s civilian capacity and training, as well as working with Defense Secretary Robert Gates to eventually transfer DOD’s nation building and humanitarian programs to the State Department and USAID.

Committee Chairman Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), Robert Casey (D-PA), George Voinovich (R-OH), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) expressed support for Sen. Clinton’s commitment to seek an increase in the International Affairs Budget. Chairman Kerry stated, "I was heartened to hear Senator Clinton signal her desire to radically improve our diplomatic capacity and finally give the State Department the tools it needs to put civilian functions back in civilian hands – and she can count on our support in this endeavor."

During the hearing, Sen. Casey recited a quote by Defense Secretary Gates from the US Global Leadership Council Tribute Dinner in July, in which he stated, "It has become clear that America's civilian institutions of diplomacy an development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long – relative to what we traditionally spend on the military, and more important, relative to the responsibilities and challenges our nation has around the world."

In response, Sen. Clinton applauded Secretary Gates’ leadership and assured the committee that she is working closely with Secretary Gates to maximize coordination among the three agencies, reduce redundancies and ensure that DOD responsibilities and resources for foreign assistance are transferred back to the State Department. She stated, "But the disparity of resources is such that when you’ve got more than 10 times the resources going to the Defense Department than you have going to the State Department and foreign aid, DOD has in effect been recreating mini-State Departments."

Following are some of the salient points Clinton made at the Senate hearing:

Commitment to "Smart Power" Tools of Diplomacy and Development

"We must use what has been called 'smart power', the full range of tools at our disposal -- diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural -- picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy."

Commitment to Increased Resources for the International Affairs Budget

"One of my first priorities is to make sure that the State Department and USAID have the resources they need, and I will be back to make the case to Congress for full funding of the President’s budget request. At the same time, I will work just as hard to make sure that we manage those resources prudently so that we fulfill our mission efficiently and effectively."

"Secretary Gates has been particularly eloquent in articulating the importance of diplomacy in pursuit of our national security and foreign policy objectives. As he has stated, 'our civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long,' both relative to military spending and to ‘the responsibilities and challenges our nation has around the world.’ And to that, I say, 'Amen!' "

Commitment to U.S. Global Engagement

"I look forward to working with all of you to renew America’s leadership through diplomacy that enhances our security, advances our interests, and reflects our values."

"…our overriding duty is to protect and advance America’s security, interests, and values: First, we must keep our people, our nation, and our allies secure. Second, we must promote economic growth and shared prosperity at home and abroad. Finally, we must strengthen America’s position of global leadership – ensuring that we remain a positive force in the world, whether in working to preserve the health of our planet or expanding dignity and opportunity for people on the margins whose progress and prosperity will add to our own."

"America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America. The best way to advance America’s interest in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions."

"Diplomacy is hard work; but when we work hard, diplomacy can work, and not just to defuse tensions, but to achieve results that advance our security, interests and values."

"We will lead with diplomacy because it’s the smart approach. But we also know that military force will sometimes be necessary, and we will rely on it to protect our people and our interests when and where needed, as a last resort. All the while, we must remember that to promote our interests around the world, America must be an exemplar of our values."

"Today’s security threats cannot be addressed in isolation. Smart power requires reaching out to both friends and adversaries, to bolster old alliances and to forge new ones."

"I want to take a moment to emphasize the importance of a 'bottom-up' approach to ensuring that America remains a positive force in the world. The President-elect and I believe in this strongly. Investing in our common humanity through social development is not marginal to our foreign policy but integral to accomplishing our goals."

"We have a bigger job, which I will assume, of trying to explain to the American people why our national security depends upon defense, diplomacy, and development," the Secretary of State-designee Senator Clinton said.

- Asian Tribune -

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