From NBC/National Journal's Athena Jones
Clinton's essay on foreign policy -- "Security and Opportunity in the Twenty-first Century" -- appears in the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs. In it she talks about how she will end the war in Iraq, deal effectively with Iran, reinforce the military effort in Afghanistan, fight terrorism, strengthen America's relationship with our allies, rebuild the military, engage Russia and China, affirm human rights and work with other countries to address climate change, while placing a strong focus on diplomacy.
"Soldiers are not the answer to every problem," Clinton writes. "Using force in lieu of diplomacy compels our young men and women in uniform to carry out missions that they may not be trained or prepared for. And it ignores the value of simply carrying a big stick, rather than using it."
Clinton talks about the importance of engaging adversaries like Iran:
"Iran must conform to its nonproliferation obligations and must not be permitted to build or acquire nuclear weapons. If Iran does not comply with its own commitments and the will of the international community, all options must remain on the table. On the other hand, if Iran is in fact willing to end its nuclear weapons program, renounce sponsorship of terrorism, support Middle East peace, and play a constructive role in stabilizing Iraq, the United States should be prepared to offer Iran a carefully calibrated package of incentives. This will let the Iranian people know that our quarrel is not with them but with their government and show the world that the United States is prepared to pursue every diplomatic option."
In a conference call with reporters, Clinton's National Security Director Lee Feinstein answered questions about the article and the senator's foreign policy outlook. Her stance on Iran got the most attention. Feinstein reiterated that Clinton's vote to label Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization in no way authorizes the use of force against the country.
"Sen. Clinton voted for this measure to strengthen our diplomatic hand. I might just quote [Illinois Sen. Dick] Durbin here who said, 'If I thought there was any way it could be used as a pretense to launch an invasion of Iran, I would have voted no.'," Feinsten said, adding that eight months ago Clinton said the Bush administration would have to ask Congress for permission to attack Iran and that she has co-sponsored a bill to make that requirement "the law of the land." Durbin is an Obama supporter.
When asked about Clinton's thoughts on unilateralism and using preemption as a tool of foreign policy, Feinstein talked about the former Yugoslavia:
"Sen. Clinton well remembers the experience of the effort to prevent another genocide in the former Yugoslavia and looks at the example of the failure of, and inability of the U.N. Security Council back in 1999 to authorize an effort to prevent the genocide in Kosovo and instead the United States led an effort with NATO to take action, so that, I think, is an example of the kind of approach Clinton describes in this piece."
Feinstein added that the problem in Afghanistan, which Clinton calls the "forgotten frontline in the war on terror" is that American troops were bogged down in Iraq. He said America needed to work better with our NATO allies to fight more effectively in the country.
Feinstein also assured one caller that Latin America was a priority for Clinton.