Irreversible climate change, the spread of pandemic disease, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and violent conflict spurred by the failure of weak states – these are collective challenges facing the entire international community. Recently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review offered a sweeping set of reforms designed to allow the United States to address the threats and seize the opportunities that lie ahead in partnerships with other governments, non-governmental organizations, and civil society.
As Secretary Clinton has said, "To lead in this new century, we must often lead in new ways." Secretary Clinton's vision for the United States' role in the world, laid out in this first-ever Review, is for America to embrace and elevate civilian power to advance our interests – and the interests we share with other peoples and governments. Addressing the challenges that lie ahead requires, in her words, "the combined force of civilians working together across the U.S. government to practice diplomacy, carry out development projects, and prevent and respond to crises."
At the heart of the Review is the recognition that development is as essential to America's security as diplomacy and defense. Through the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, Secretary Clinton has charted a course to fulfill President Obama's commitment to development and to rebuild the United States Agency for International Development into the world's premier development organization.
In the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, Secretary Clinton also recognizes that weak and failing states are a threat to people everywhere; that human security is essential to international security. So she has committed to building the United States' human security capabilities and strengthening our civilian capacities to prevent and respond to crisis and conflict. The challenges that face all countries in today's rapidly changing world require the expertise, resources, and commitment of more than any one government. That is why the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review is ultimately about building partnerships -- across all U.S. agencies -- with other governments, with the private sector, with civil society, and with people themselves.
Secretary Clinton set out more than 18 months ago to ask a simple question: how can we do better? The answer, in her words, is to "harness our civilian power to advance America's interests and to help make a world in which more people in more places can live in freedom, enjoy economic opportunity, and have a chance to live up to their God-given potential."