"The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a recent speech before the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. "For the United States, global leadership is both a responsibility and an unparalleled opportunity," she said:
"The world looks to us because America has the reach and resolve to mobilize the shared effort needed to solve problems on a global scale in defense of our own interests, but also as a force for progress. In this we have no rival."
But this is not an argument for the United States to act on its own; far from it, said Secretary Clinton.
The U.S. seeks to build a new global architecture, "a network of alliances and partnerships, regional organizations and global institutions, that is durable and dynamic enough to help us meet today’s challenges and adapt to threats that we cannot even conceive of," she said.
During its first 20 months, the Obama Administration has sought to repair old alliances and build new ones both with old friends and former adversaries. And it will continue to do so. It works with other countries to help build up their capacity to solve their own problems, creating partnerships, and building ties with emerging centers of influence.
Disagreements are inevitable, said Secretary of State Clinton. On certain issues we simply do not see eye to eye. But the United States will not hesitate to speak out and stand its ground, because some issues, such as for example "upholding and defending the universal values that are enshrined in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," form a basic tenet of U.S. policy. And so, the U.S. strives to establish productive relationships that survive the times when we do not agree, and that enable us to continue to work together.
"Solving foreign policy problems today requires us to think both regionally and globally, to see the intersections and connections linking nations and regions and interests, to bring people together as only America can," said Secretary of State Clinton.
"America has made generational commitments to building the kind of world that we wanted to inhabit for many decades now. We cannot turn away from that responsibility."