Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Clinton Sets Out New Direction for U.S. Foreign Policy

Jan. 13, 2009 – 1:49 p.m.

Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton laid out a sweeping vision for a new U.S. foreign policy at her confirmation hearing Tuesday that was long on generalizations and short on details.

In her opening statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton touched on virtually every foreign policy challenge confronting the administration of President-elect Barack Obama — what Sen. Bob Corker , R-Tenn., called “a travelogue of opportunity”—from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to tensions with Russia and China, conflict in the Middle East, climate change and global disease.

Clinton made a broad endorsement of diplomacy and multilateral efforts across the board, and pointed to North Korea, Iran, the Middle East and the Balkan states as evidence of the need for what she called “tough minded, intelligent diplomacy.”

She promised that “if I am confirmed, the State Department will be firing on all cylinders to provide forward-thinking, sustained diplomacy in every part of the world.”

As a corollary, Clinton emphasized the need for a boost in funding and personnel for diplomacy and development.

“If we don’t enhance our diplomatic efforts and move toward more equilibrium [with the military] we will not be as successful as we need to be in promoting our foreign policy,” she said in response to a question from Corker.

While Clinton did not address the matter in her opening remarks, ranking Republican Richard G. Lugar of Indiana challenged her to increase the transparency of the work and funding sources of the foundation run by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

“The core of the problem is that foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of State,” Lugar said. “The bottom line is that even well-intentioned foreign donations carry risks for U.S. foreign policy.”

Incoming Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry , D-Mass., seconded Lugar’s call, saying he expressed the view of the committee as a whole.

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