Hillary Clinton has had a solid tenure as secretary of state. There have been plenty of accomplishments and no major failures, but nor has there been any world-historical Clinton Doctrine. More than anything else, her continued effort to create one might just lead her to the Oval Office.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton silhouetted by a stage light. (Courtesy Reuters)
Today's world is a crucible of challenges testing American leadership. Global problems, from violent extremism to worldwide recession to climate change to poverty, demand collective solutions, even as power in the world becomes more diffuse. They require effective international cooperation, even as that becomes harder to achieve. And they cannot be solved unless a nation is willing to accept the responsibility of mobilizing action. The United States is that nation.
I began my tenure as U.S. Secretary of State by stressing the need to elevate diplomacy and development alongside defense -- a "smart power" approach to solving global problems. To make that approach succeed, however, U.S. civilian power must be strengthened and amplified. It must, as U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has argued in these pages, be brought into better balance with U.S. military power. In a speech last August, Gates said, "There has to be a change in attitude in the recognition of the critical role that agencies like [the] State [Department] and AID [the U.S. Agency for International Development] play . . . for them to play the leading role that I think they need to play."
This effort is under way. Congress has already appropriated funds for 1,108 new Foreign Service and Civil Service officers to strengthen the State Department's capacity to pursue American interests and advance American values. USAID is in the process of doubling its development staff, hiring 1,200 new Foreign Service officers with the specific skills and experience required for evolving development challenges, and is making better use of local hires at our overseas missions, who have deep knowledge of their countries. The Obama administration has begun rebuilding USAID to make it the world's premier development organization, one that fosters long-term growth and democratic governance, includes its own research arm, shapes policy and innovation, and uses metrics to ensure that our investments are cost-effective and sound.
But we must do more. We must not only rebuild -- but also rethink, reform, and recalibrate. During my years on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I saw how the Department of Defense used its Quadrennial Defense Review to align its resources, policies, and strategies for the present -- and the future. No similar mechanism existed for modernizing the State Department or USAID. In July 2009, I launched the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), a wholesale review of the State Department and USAID to recommend how to better equip, fund, train, and organize ourselves to meet current diplomatic and development priorities and how to begin building the people, structures, processes, and resources today to address the world's challenges in the years ahead.
The QDDR is not simply a review. It defines how to make diplomacy and development coordinated, complementary, and mutually reinforcing. It assesses what has worked in the past and what has not. And it forecasts future strategic choices and resource needs.
Although the State Department and USAID have distinct roles and missions, diplomacy and development often overlap and must work in tandem. Increasingly, global challenges call for a mix of both, requiring a more holistic approach to civilian power.
Diplomatic objectives are often secured by gains in development. The resumption of direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians over the summer was the handiwork of talented and persistent diplomacy. But progress at the negotiating table will be directly linked to progress in building strong and stable institutions for a Palestinian state and providing Israel with the security it needs. And development objectives are often secured by diplomatic engagement. The impact of the Feed the Future global hunger program and the Global Health Initiative will turn in part on the promotion of policy reforms in partner countries; the Millennium Challenge Compacts are in part the product of sustained political engagement designed to create positive conditions for development. In many places, including Afghanistan and Iraq, the need for mutually reinforcing diplomatic and development strategies stems from the combined causes and effects of violent conflict, instability, and weak states.
The two Ds in the QDDR reflect the world as the State Department sees it today and as it envisions it in the future. The review process relied on the wisdom and talent of exceptional people in the State Department and USAID who worked tirelessly to produce a blueprint for reforms that will be implemented over the next four years and will have an impact for much longer. This year's inaugural QDDR identifies new approaches and skill sets for diplomats and development experts, sets budget priorities, establishes planning procedures, revises promotion incentives, and recommends organizational reforms. It focuses on three main areas: modernizing and coordinating diplomacy across U.S. government agencies, ensuring that development work creates a lasting and sustainable impact, and creating a stronger nexus between diplomacy and development, as well as better coordination with partners in the military, in conflict zones and fragile states.
A GLOBAL CIVILIAN SERVICE
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