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The Pivot to Economics

Author: Heidi Crebo-Rediker, Adjunct Senior Fellow
October 19, 2012


In his excellent Foreign Policy essay, "The Currency of Power," Robert Zoellick gives voice to a critical mission for 21st-century American foreign policy. His call to integrate economics into our national security framework resonates on both sides of the political divide, and we applaud his argument.

He says it all, with one major oversight: We're already doing it.

Reintegrating economics into American foreign policy is a top priority in the Obama administration's National Security Strategy ("[a]t the center of our efforts is a commitment to renew our economy, which serves as the wellspring of American power," the document notes) and for the State Department in particular.

In fact, a cornerstone of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's tenure has been the full embrace and implementation of the very agenda Zoellick describes -- one she has outlined in a series of major speeches onwhat she calls "Economic Statecraft." Secretary Clinton recognizes that "America's economic strength and global leadership are a package deal" -- that just as the drivers and tools of global power evolve to emphasize economics, so must America's foreign policy.

As Secretary Clinton put it, "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." To realize these goals, she launched and championed a wholesale reintegration and reprioritization of economics, investment, and markets in the State Department and its missions around the world.

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