Today, Secretary Clinton delivered a foreign policy speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. The Secretary said:
"Solving foreign policy problems today requires us to think both regionally and globally, to see the intersections and connections linking nations and regions and interests, to bring people together as only America can.
"I think the world is counting on us today as it has in the past. When old adversaries need an honest broker or fundamental freedoms need a champion, people turn to us. When the earth shakes or rivers overflow their banks, when pandemics rage or simmering tensions burst into violence, the world looks to us. I see it on the faces of the people I meet as I travel, not just the young people who still dream about America's promise of opportunity and equality, but also seasoned diplomats and political leaders, who, whether or not they admit it, see the principled commitment and can-do spirit that comes with American engagement. And they do look to America not just to engage, but to lead.
"And nothing makes me prouder than to represent this great nation in the far corners of the world. I am the daughter of a man who grew up in the Depression and trained young sailors to fight in the Pacific. And I am the mother of a young woman who is part of a generation of Americans who are engaging the world in new and exciting ways. And in both those stories, I see the promise and the progress of America, and I have the most profound faith in our people. It has never been stronger.
"Now, I know that these are difficult days for many Americans, but difficulties and adversities have never defeated or deflated this country. Throughout our history, through hot wars and cold, through economic struggles, and the long march to a more perfect union, Americans have always risen to the challenges we have faced. That is who we are. It is in our DNA. We do believe there are no limits on what is possible or what can be achieved.
"And now, after years of war and uncertainty, people are wondering what the future holds, at home and abroad.
"So let me say it clearly: The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century.
"Indeed, the complexities and connections of today's world have yielded a new American Moment, a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways. A moment when those things that make us who we are as a nation -- our openness and innovation, our determination and devotion to core values -- have never been more needed.
"This is a moment that must be seized through hard work and bold decisions to lay the foundations for lasting American leadership for decades to come.
"But now, this is no argument for America to go it alone; far from it. The world looks to us because America has the reach and resolve to mobilize the shared effort needed to solve problems on a global scale in defense of our own interests, but also as a force for progress. In this we have no rival.
"For the United States, global leadership is both a responsibility and an unparalleled opportunity.
"When I came to the Council on Foreign Relations a little over a year ago to discuss the Obama Administration's vision of American leadership in a changing world, I called for a new global architecture that could help nations come together as partners to solve shared problems. Today I'd like to expand on this idea, but especially to explain how we are putting it into practice.
"Now, architecture is the art and science of designing structures that serve our common purposes, built to last and to withstand stress. And that is what we seek to build; a network of alliances and partnerships, regional organizations and global institutions, that is durable and dynamic enough to help us meet today's challenges and adapt to threats that we cannot even conceive of, just as our parents never dreamt of melting glaciers or dirty bombs.
"We know this can be done, because President Obama's predecessors in the White House and mine in the State Department did it before. After the Second World War, the nation that had built the transcontinental railroad, the assembly line, the skyscraper, turned its attention to constructing the pillars of global cooperation. The third World War that so many feared never came. And many millions of people were lifted out of poverty and exercised their human rights for the first time. Those were the benefits of a global architecture forged over many years by American leaders from both political parties.
"But this architecture served a different time and a different world. As President Obama has said, today it 'is buckling under the weight of new threats.' The major powers are at peace, but new actors -- good and bad -- are increasingly shaping international affairs. The challenges we face are more complex than ever, and so are the responses needed to meet them. That is why we are building a global architecture that reflects and harnesses the realities of the 21st century."
After the Secretary's remarks, Council President Richard N. Haass moderated a question-and-answer session with Council members. You can find a transcript of the Secretary's full remarks and the question-and-answer session here. You can also dowload a podcast of the event for free here on iTunes.