Clinton: US Will Remain Asian Power

Posted March 14th, 2012 at 3:35 am (UTC-5)
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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. strategic outreach to the Asia Pacific region will be a top priority as Washington transitions away from a decade of military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Clinton told a gathering of U.S. diplomats in Washington on Tuesday the future of Asia will continue to be vital to U.S. interests, saying a government-wide effort is being made to develop new relationships there.

“We are strengthening our alliances in Asia, launching new strategic dialogues and economic initiatives, creating and joining important multilateral institutions to underscore that America is – and will remain – a Pacific power. In the coming century, no region will be more consequential to America's future.”

In her wide ranging speech at the Global Chiefs of Mission conference, Clinton outlined her priorities for American diplomatic efforts over the next year.

She said U.S. diplomats will continue to focus on sustainable development programs around the world, help build a transparent and fair global economic system, and promote democracy in the Middle East and other developing areas.

Speaking about recent political upheaval in the Middle East, Clinton said the U.S. was uniquely positioned to help countries “complete their transitions to democracy.” She said engagement with Islamists is a “new but necessary” effort, saying the U.S. must adapt to a rapidly changing global environment.

“As people and governments make meaningful commitments to reform, we will support them in tangible ways, whether that means advising on how to build a vibrant civil society, ensuring the full participation of women, providing loan guarantees, or promoting educational opportunities.”

Clinton also said she was preparing a policy directive to ensure that gender equality is prioritized in U.S. diplomatic efforts, saying women are often the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to sustaining healthy democracies.