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Transcript: Clinton's Opening Statement At Senate Hearing

For most people, it had primarily an economic connotation, but, in fact, we were already living in a profoundly interdependent world in which old rules and boundaries no longer held fast, a world in which both the promise and the peril of the 21st century could not be contained by national borders or vast distances.

Economic growth lifted more people out of poverty faster than at any time in our history, but economic crises can sweep across the globe even more quickly. A coalition of nations stopped ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, but the conflict in the Middle East continues to inflame tensions from Africa to Asia. Non-state actors fight poverty, improve health, and expand education in the poorest parts of the world, while other non-state actors traffic in drugs, children, and women and kill innocent civilians across the globe.

Now, in 2009, the clear lesson of the last 20 years is that we must both combat the threats and seize the opportunities of our interdependence, and to be effective in doing so, we must build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries. America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America.

The best way to advance America's interests in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions. That isn't a philosophical point. This is our reality.

The president-elect and I believe that foreign policy must be based on a marriage of principles and pragmatism, not rigid ideology, on facts and evidence, not emotion or prejudice. Our security, our vitality, and our ability to lead in today's world oblige us to recognize the overwhelming facts of our interdependence.

I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called smart power, the full range of tools at our disposal -- diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural -- picking the right tool or combination of tools for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of our foreign policy. This is not a radical idea. The Ancient Roman poet Terence declared that "In every endeavor, the seemly course for wise men is to try persuasion first." The same truth binds wise women as well.


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