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U.S. taking "smart power" approach to Libya, Syria

(Xinhua)

08:26, August 17, 2011


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (R) attend a televised conversation at the National Defense University in Washington D.C., the United States, Aug. 16, 2011. The conversation touches on topics including U.S. budget cuts, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the issues of Libya and Syria, and so on. (Xinhua/Ran Wei)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that the country is taking a "smart power" approach to dealing with Libya and Syria.

Recalling how a coalition was assembled involving Arab countries in airstrikes over Libya in a relatively short period of time, the top U.S. envoy said that "This is exactly the kind of world that I want to see, where it's not just the United States and everybody is standing on the sidelines while we bear the cost, while we bear the sacrifice, while our men and women, you know, lay down their lives for universal values; where we're finally beginning to say -- look, we are, by all measurements, the strongest leader in the world, and we are leading."

"Part of leading is making sure that you get other people on the field. And that's what I think we're doing," she said in a joint conversation with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the National Defense University in Washington.

She called Libya a case "for strategic patience," stressing that "It's easy to get impatient."

As for Syria, she claimed that it is not going to be any news if the U.S. says Syrian President Bashar Assad "needs to go."

"If Turkey says it, if (Saudi) King Abdullah says it, if other people say it, there is no way the Assad regime can ignore it," she said.

The Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council both have called for a halt of violence against protesters in Syria, while Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait recalled their ambassadors from Damascus last week.

"We don't have, you know, very much going on with Syria because of a long history of challenging problems with them," Clinton explained. "So I think this is smart power. And I talk a lot about smart power, where it's not just brute force, it's not just unilateralism."

Clinton began her tenure by stressing the need to elevate civilian power alongside military power as equal pillars of U.S. foreign policy. She called for an integrated "smart power" approach to solving global problems.

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