Wed, January 14, 2009
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Clinton pledges "smart power"

2009-01-14 08:51:40 GMT2009-01-14 16:51:40 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

US Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton pledged to apply "smart power" to drive American foreign policy.

US President-elect Barack Obama surprised many by tapping his former rival for the presidency to become his Secretary of State, selecting a political heavyweight who won more than 18 million votes in the Democratic primaries before dropping out of the race.

STORY:

Senator Hillary Clinton promised a pragmatic approach to diplomacy as the next U.S. Secretary of State.

At her confirmation hearing to become the top U.S. diplomat under incoming President Barack Obama, Clinton outlined an agenda of intense engagement on the world stage.

In an apparent reference to the Bush Administration's active use of U.S. military power, Clinton pledged to apply "smart power."

SOUNDBITE: Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton, saying (English):

"We must use what has been called smart power, the full range of tools at our disposal. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy."

In testimony before the Senate foreign Relations Committee, Clinton said she would take a similar approach to the Mideast.

SOUNDBITE: Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton, saying (English):

"As we focus on Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, we must also actively pursue a strategy of smart power in the Middle East that addresses the security needs of Israel and the legitimate political and economic aspirations of the Palestinians."

Clinton said the United States must challenge any effort by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, but she closed no doors.

SOUNDBITE: Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton, saying (English):

"We are not taking any option off the table at all, but we will pursue a new perhaps different approach and an attitude toward engagement that might bear fruit."

Clinton faces a wide assortment of challenges at State.

William Keylor of Boston University.

SOUNDBITE: William Keylor of Boston University, saying (English):

"I think she faces a tremendous challenge in restoring America's image abroad and that means she has to attend to a lot of problems left unresolved by the former Administration."

Clinton is expected to be confirmed as Secretary of State -- but both Republican and Democratic lawmakers raised questions about the fund-raising activities of her husband, former President Bill Clinton for his global foundation.

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