19
Jul

As the balance of world power shifts, the US is developing a novel range of diplomatic, social, economic, political and security tools to fix the world’s complex new geopolitical problems.

By Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State

I touched down in Beijing in May for the fourth round of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue with a jam-packed agenda, but the world’s attention was focused instead on the fate of a blind human rights dissident who had sought refuge in the American embassy. Suddenly, an already delicate trip had become an outsized test of the US-China relationship.

Throughout history, the rise of new powers usually has played out in zero-sum terms. So it is not surprising that the emergence of countries such as China, India and Brazil has raised questions about the future of the global order that the United States, the United Kingdom and our allies have helped build and defend. Against this backdrop, those few days in May took on even greater significance: could the US and China write a new answer to the old question of what happens when an established power and rising power meet?

When I became secretary of state in early 2009, there were questions about the future of America’s global leadership. We faced two long and expensive wars, an economy in free fall, fraying alliances and an international system that seemed to be buckling under the weight of new threats.

A lot has changed in three years. Under President Obama’s leadership, the US has ended the war in Iraq and begun a transition in Afghanistan; we have revitalised American diplomacy, strengthened our alliances and re-engaged with multilateral institutions. And while the economic recovery is not as strong as anyone would like, we have pulled back from the brink and are heading in the right direction.

New powers are playing a greater role on the world stage. But this is not 1912, when friction between a declining Britain and a rising Germany set the stage for global conflict. It is 2012, and a strong America is working with new powers and partners to update an international system designed to prevent global conflict and promote global prosperity. Read more…

As published in www.newstatesman.com on July 18, 2012.

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