Secretary Clinton on Smart Power

December 1, 2009 By Jordan Smith

Secretary of State Hillary spoke yesterday on the need for an increase in the Smart Power, civilian-led tools of development and diplomacy in winning the war in Afghanistan. U.S. goals in Afghanistan include providing the government with the support it requires to assume full responsibility for security the country. “That makes civilian efforts as vital as military operations and of longer duration,” she said. “We have begun to elevate diplomacy and development alongside defense in our national security strategy, and we are certainly engaged in doing so in Afghanistan.”

Secretary Clinton gave a personal touch to her point, outlining the importance of civilian expertise:

When I was in Kabul last week, I was struck by the meeting that I had with the young men and women who are part of our integrated civilian military approach, sitting around the table at our Embassy and listening to a colonel talk about how critical it’s been to have a USDA agriculture expert embedded in their brigade, and how the rule of law expert, who was working on behalf of extending a system of justice so that the Taliban would not offer the only form of justice in Afghanistan, was helped by the JAG lawyers. And as I sat there listening, I realized how difficult it is to accomplish what we are pursuing, but how we have the very best that we could possibly put on the field, both in the military and civilian forces that we are sending in.

Smart power means development and diplomacy—along with a strong defense–are three essential, distinct components of foreign policy.  With Secretary Clinton’s efforts  to elevate development and diplomacy will go a long way to protecting our national security, ensuring economic progress and demonstrating our humanitarian values.  That’s exactly why the USGLC is honoring the Secretary Monday night, December 7, at its annual Tribute Dinner.