Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said she fervently believes American leadership is essential for the promotion of human rights and dignity, freedom, economic opportunity.
During an interview Kim Ghattas of BBC in Dubai, Ms. Clinton said for the years prior to Obama’s Administration, there were a lot of questions about what United States are doing.
“There are those who say, well, history will look back and see Iraq as a great success, and I hope that’s the case. But I think much of what we did was because we were attacked on 9/11, and I think we made fiscal and budgetary decisions that undermined America’s strength at home and abroad.” -Ms. Clinton
She stressed that what she personally committed to doing, is moving on a very steady path toward restoring America’s influence and leadership.
She pointed out that going to Asia was important. She said continuing to pay attention to Latin America and Africa, working with regional institutions that can espouse the same values that they think are the best way to live and for societies to flourish.
“Now, when I took this job, people said, well, you can either try to do that or you can pick one or two or three things. I don’t think this is a time to pick one or two or three things. And I’m well aware of – others might well choose a different perspective, but that’s how I see what I’m doing.” -Ms. Clinton
When asked about America becoming irrelevant in the Middle East, Ms. Clinton said she disagreed with the statement.
“United States can’t be complacent and certainly can’t walk away. I have fought hard within the Administration for a significant economic program for both Egypt and Tunisia, because I think that the revolution of expectations in both countries was as much economic as political, because it wasn’t only the freedom to vote or the freedom to speak, but the freedom to work and to increase your standard of living and to see your life improve.” -Ms. Clinton
She noted that United States is still looked to, sometimes begrudgingly and critically. She pointed out that there is no doubt in her mind that people still care very much what the United States says and does.
“And what I worry about is the contrary, that it’s not what people around the world think about our role, but at home people who rightly are concerned about our own domestic economic situation, our own federal budget deficit, who are saying enough with the foreign involvements; let’s just do nothing but stay right here and tend to our own garden. That would be, in my view, a great mistake.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton emphasized that what she’s trying to do is speak and work on behalf of America’s influence and leadership in a way that my her country understands.
“So that people who are unemployed auto workers in Michigan or struggling small businesspeople in California can say, “Yeah, I really want the President, the government, to pay attention to me, but I get it. I know why we’re working to make sure Egypt and Tunisia turn out well. I know why we still put money into developing agriculture and fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa, and all the other things that we are working on.” -Ms. Clinton
When asked about what the BBC listeners don’t know about the Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton said sometimes she think she’s the best-known unknown person.
“But I think that I am a pretty normal, average person, despite all of the hype. And I am very interested in spending time with my friends and my family and not being on the merry-go-round all the time, which is one of the reasons why I have decided that I will move on and return to private life at the end of what will be a very intense period of activity and work in the next 18 months.” -Ms. Clinton
She said she believes what she says. She works to try to see life improve, particularly for women and girls, and she loves what she’s doing.