Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Hillary Clinton's Pitch for 'Smart Power' Puts Ottawa to Shame

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Hillary Clinton's Pitch for 'Smart Power' Puts Ottawa to Shame

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Hillary Clinton's pitch for 'smart power' puts Ottawa to shame

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Feb. 4:

Where is American foreign policy heading in President Barack Obama's second term? To hear Hillary Clinton tell it, Washington will be investing heavily in "21st century statecraft," foreign aid, weapons control and climate change, among other priorities.

The contrast with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's unambitious approach to these files couldn't be more striking.

The U.S. intends to "widen the aperture" of its dealings with the world, Clinton told the Council on Foreign Relations as she prepared to hand the State Department over to John Kerry. That means relying on "smart power," not just firepower, to reinforce Washington's "ability to convene" others to act, and to exert moral suasion.

It's a thoughtful, forward-looking approach, if not a flashy one. But Clinton isn't known for a signature "Clinton doctrine," or major achievements. As Kerry steps in, his problem files include Syria, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and the Mideast impasse.

Still, America's image has improved, and Clinton's relentless globetrotting has helped revitalize U.S. diplomacy and strengthen alliances. Osama bin Laden has been hunted down, U.S. troops have quit Iraq and an Afghan exit is in sight. Clinton has earned respect and she understands how nations project influence.

Of course the U.S. economy and military will remain major calling cards. But Washington is updating its game in other ways.

Modern statecraft. The U.S. is investing in what Clinton calls "21st century statecraft," and others call "digital diplomacy." The State Department is beefing up its reach and its ability to get America's message across via new media, to scour the Internet for intelligence and to harness social media to counter propaganda from Al Qaeda and other foes. …

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