Speaking at TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People Gala in New York Tuesday evening, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touted the importance of American leadership abroad while also taking the time to joke about the state of global diplomacy.
"TIME has honored so many national and global leaders; you couldn't possibly acknowledge every one. There's many I haven't had a chance to meet yet - I was sort of hoping Kim Jong-un would show up. I don't think he's here but if you catch sight of him, let me know. We're still trying to figure out what he's all about," Clinton joked.
She added, "But I do want to give a shout-out to Angela Merkel and Dilma Rousseff and Portia Miller, Christine Lagarde, who are also on this list and prove once again that you actually can run the world in heels and pantsuits."
But the former New York Senator and First Lady spent half of her speech reminding the leaders present of the importance of American leadership in today's world.
After highlighting the Obama administration's focus on soft power, in an uncharacteristically militaristic turn, Clinton emphasized the need for every country to strive for freedom, regardless of the cost.
"As much as the world changes, this will always be true: Sometimes nations must be willing to do what is right no matter the odds or the costs. We must be prepared to act strongly and decisively, with every tool and, even occasionally, weapon at our disposal," she said.
Pundits have been discussing a possible next move for the Secretary - whether it be Secretary of Defense or another White House bid, although she has denied interest in both.
"I want to be sure that as I finish off my term as Secretary of State, and eventually get to a point where I can put my feet up and actually enjoy just being a citizen again, there's a lot of work still to be done," she said, alluding to recent statements she made about wanting to return to civilian life.
In a speech focused on U.S. foreign policy, Clinton did not mention two major international crises currently in play - Sudan and Syria. But the Secretary talked at length about the issues earlier in the day during Washington meetings with the Australian and Salvadorian Foreign Ministers.
"Syria is at a crossroads. We supported Kofi Annan's plan. No one stands to gain if the plan fails," she said during a Q+A with her Australian counterpart. "The Syrian Government made a commitment to not only permit the UN monitoring mission to go forward but to work on the Kofi Annan plan, and we expect them to comply."
On Sudan, Clinton said the U.S. is "very concerned" about violence perpetrated against the South by Khartoum. She added that the withdrawal of southern troops from the oil-rich region of Heglig provides an opportunity to the North to work for "a ceasefire, a withdrawal of armed groups from both sides, and a resumption of talks."
Clinton, the most widely traveled Secretary of State of all time, known for her frequent trips to diplomatic hot zones, returned from a week-long trip to Colombia, Brazil, Belgium and France just last week.
by RTT Staff Writer
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