Hillary urges US to follow India

New York: The US should learn from emerging powers like India and Brazil to put economics at the centre of foreign policy, if it has to retain its position as a global powerhouse, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

Clinton said the "core diplomatic mission" of the US is to enhance its economic leadership in the world and drive domestic economic renewal and it will be issuing "updated instructions on economic statecraft to every single embassy around the world." The US is "updating" its foreign policy priorities to include economics at "every step of the way," she said speaking at the Economic Club of New York on `Economic Statecraft`. "Emerging powers like India and Brazil put economics at the centre of their foreign policies," she added.

When leaders in the two countries approach any international challenge, just as they approach a domestic challenge, one of the first questions they ask is how will this affect their economic growth, Clinton noted.
"We need to be asking the same question, not because the answer will dictate every one of our foreign policy choices, it will not, but it must be a significant part of that equation," she said.

America`s foreign policy during a large part of the last decade has "by necessity" focused on places where "we faced the greatest dangers," Clinton said. While responding to threats will always be central to US national security, "it cannot be our foreign policy," she added.

"In the decades ahead, our foreign policy must focus just as intensely on the places where we have the greatest opportunities. And often, those will be economic in nature…we have to position ourselves to lead in a world where security is shaped in boardrooms and on trading floors as well as on battlefields."

With the world`s strategic and economic centre of gravity "shifting east", Clinton said the US is focusing more on the Asia Pacific region. An investment that America made over the past century to build a strong network of relationships and institutions across the Atlantic "continues to pay off today," she said.

Referring to the month-long Occupy Wall protests against corporate America, Clinton said the demonstrations are a reminder that the country and its leaders have a great deal of work to do as families across the US continue to struggle to get back on their feet after the "worst economic downturn in my lifetime."

Around the globe, economic forces are transforming foreign policy realities. "We have seen governments toppled by economic crisis. Revolutions born in a Tunisian marketplace have swept across an entire region. Europe faces arguably the most severe economic test since the Second World War, thanks to recession and debt. And everywhere I travel, I see countries gaining influence less because of the size of their armies than because of the growth of their economies," Clinton said.