Hillary Clinton in Singapore: US is putting economics at the center of its foreign policy

Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke in Singapore on Saturday, telling her audience at Singapore Management University that with the war in Iraq over for the U.S. military and the war in Afghanistan winding down, US foreign policy in the second Obama term will emphasize economic solutions to strategic challenges over military might. The US secretary of state cited Singapore as an example of an emerging power that is prospering because of its GDP, not the size if its army.

“Today the non-stop flow of people, goods, and capital through this small nation is proof that a country does not need to be big to be mighty, to be respected, to be a real leader,” reads the text of Clinton’s prepared remarks. “Every country wants to do business in Singapore, so every country has a stake in cultivating good relationships with Singapore.

“With only 1/60 of the population of the United States, Singapore is our 15th largest trading partner. More than 2,000 American companies base their regional headquarters here. Two-way trade exceeded $50 billion for the first time last year. And U.S. direct investment surpassed $116 billion over the last decade. That makes Singapore’s security and stability a vital interest for the United States. This connection between economic power and global influence explains why the United States is placing economics at the heart of our own foreign policy. I call it economic statecraft.”

Clinton also laid the groundwork for President Obama’s visit today to Myanmar, also known as Burma, as the administration encourages the country’s nominally civilian government to continue on a path of economic and political reform after five decades of military rule and international pariah status.

“Burma is part of a region where progress has been slowed by insecurity and mistrust. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As Burma opens up and establishes new ties to its neighbors, it could become a commercial hub linking markets in India and Bangladesh with Southeast Asia. An Indo-Pacific economic corridor powered by new energy and transportation infrastructure and fewer trade barriers could create jobs and help lift millions out of poverty. It could also promote stability and drive cooperation on shared challenges like narcotics and human trafficking, refugees, and natural disasters.”

Watch the speech here, or read it here.

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