Now-former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gave her last talks on her second-to-last day on the job to an assembled mass at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington D.C.. She addressed American’s need to change its diplomatic tactics, to keep up with technology and accept the fact that we need to be both a world leader and a partner to governments everywhere.
Clinton said she dismissed “declinists” who were predicting the imminent doom of the American empire, instead emphasizing that America needed to readjust its diplomacy style. After World War II, she explained, the U.S. led the charge to set up the U.N., the IMF, the World Bank, and NATO. These institutions, Clinton said, “protected our interests, defended universal values, and benefited peoples and nations around the world.” But, she continued, the world has undeniably changed, and the U.S. can no longer sit back and relax, confident in its power.
“Two decades after the end of the Cold War, we face a different world,” Clinton said. “The old post-war architecture is crumbling under the weight of new threats. We have to be smart about how we use our power, not because we have less of it… No, it's because as the world has changed, so too have the levers of power that can most effectively shape international affairs.”
Clinton went on to speak to the concept of “actually showing up” in a world where “we can be anywhere virtually,” and of setting up partnerships with more than just regional governments. In her time as Secretary of State, Clinton visited a record number of countries: 114, recording just under one million miles traveled, and 401 days away from Washington D.C., according to the State department.
She’s also set a precendent for visiting some of the most overlooked countries in the world, such as Togo and the Cook Islands.
“Tomorrow is my last day as Secretary of State,” Clinton said. “It’s hard to predict what any day in this job will bring, but tomorrow my heart will be full.”
Clinton gave her actual last address as Secretary of State to her employees on Friday, February 1, her last day on the job. She officially resigned the post of Secretary of State at 2 pm. As Council of Foreign Relations President Richard Haass quipped at the end of Clinton’s speech, the next Secretary of State, John Kerry, “has some very big Manolo Blahniks to fill.”
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