US nudged India to 'Look East': Hillary Clinton
By Arun Kumar, Washington, Feb 1 : As Hillary Clinton made her final speech as America's top diplomat, she suggested US had encouraged India's "Look East" policy as an exercise in 'smart power' in its pivot to Asia Pacific.
"There are limits to what soft power on its own can achieve," said Secretary of State Clinton Thursday emphasising American leadership, and the need to reshape diplomacy to meet the changing landscape of the world.
"And there are limits to what hard power on its own can achieve. That's why, from day one, I've been talking about smart power," she said during a forum at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington a day before stepping down after four years of hectic high pressure diplomacy..
Turning to "America's expanding engagement in the Asia Pacific", Clinton said: "First and foremost, this so-called pivot has been about creative diplomacy."
By way of examples, she cited the nudge to New Delhi, an amity and cooperation treaty with ASEAN and use of trade negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership to find common ground with former adversary Vietnam.
"We've encouraged India's 'Look East' policy as a way to weave another big democracy into the fabric of the Asia Pacific," she said making her only reference to a country she has described as "an indispensable strategic partner."
Clinton cited five pillars of her brand of smart power: technology, development, human rights and women coupled with military might.
"America's military might is and must remain the greatest fighting force in the history of the world," Clinton said as "our diplomatic power, the ability to convene, our moral suasion is effective because the United States can back up our words with action."
"We will ensure freedom of navigation in all the world's seas. We will relentlessly go after Al Qaeda, its affiliates, and its wannabes. We will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," she declared.
Clinton's survey of the issues, however, had one glaring omission. It made no mention of terrorism emanating from Pakistan or the terrorist safe havens in what US officials have described as the most dangerous place on the planet.
Her only reference to Washington's key ally in Af-Pak region was in the context of human rights.
"It's not a coincidence that virtually every country that threatens regional and global peace is a place where human rights are in peril or the rule of law is weak," she said, "specifically, places where women and girls are treated as second-class, marginal human beings."
"Just ask young Malala from Pakistan," Clinton said referring to Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for advocating girls' education,
Turning to China, she said US relationship with Beijing was "uniquely consequential" and "uniquely complex" as they were "trying to write a new answer to the age-old question of what happens when an established power and a rising power meet."
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)