World Bulletin/News Desk
The United States must look past the violence and extremism that has erupted after the "Arab Spring" revolutions and boost support for the region's young democracies to forge long-term security, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday.
Clinton, seeking to reinforce the Obama administration's Middle East policy following a wave of anti-American violence and last month's deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, said Washington cannot be deterred by "the violent acts of a small number of extremists."
"We recognize that these transitions are not America's to manage, and certainly not ours to win or lose," Clinton said in a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
"But we have to stand with those who are working every day to strengthen democratic institutions, defend universal rights, and drive inclusive economic growth. That will produce more capable partners and more durable security over the long term."
Middle East unrest has become fodder for the U.S. presidential campaign, where Republican candidate Mitt Romney has sought to portray President Barack Obama as an ineffectual leader who has left the United States vulnerable at a time of international crisis.
Romney and other Republicans have focused on the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack, which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, accusing the Obama administration of security and intelligence lapses in what officials now describe as a terrorist attack.
Clinton noted that the Benghazi incident was the subject of an official probe and vowed the United States would track down those responsible for the attack.
But she stressed that U.S. diplomats must engage with an uncertain and dangerous world if they are to promote and protect U.S. interests. "We will never prevent every act of violence or terrorism, or achieve perfect security. Our people cannot live in bunkers and do their jobs," she said.
Clinton acknowledged that political turmoil in Libya and Yemen, the rise of Islamist parties to power in Egypt and Tunisia and the expanding crisis in Syria were all tests for U.S. leadership - but said more engagement, not less, was the only way forward.
"For the United States, supporting democratic transitions is not a matter of idealism. It is a strategic necessity," she said.
And she pointed to the "undimmed promise of the Arab Spring" in the backlash against extremist groups in Libya and Tunisia, saying that in many cases newly empowered Arab societies were standing up for peaceful, pluralistic democratic principles.
Clinton pointed to the challenge in Egypt.
"We stand with the Egyptian people in their quest for universal freedoms and protections," Clinton said. "Egypt's international standing does depend both on peaceful relations with its neighbors and also on the choices it makes at home and whether or not it fulfills its own promises to its own people."
The Obama administration has earmarked some $1 billion in assistance for countries emerging from the Arab Spring revolutions, and has asked Congress for a separate $770 million fund tied to specific political and economic reforms.
But Republican lawmakers remain wary, citing political uncertainties in the region and the need for careful accounting in an era of fast-rising budget deficits.
Clinton urged the lawmakers to release the money, citing U.S.-sponsored programs and security partnerships she said could both reinforce democratic gains and increase pressure on extremist groups.
"We have, as always, to be clear-eyed about the threat of violent extremism. A year of democratic transition was never going to drain away reservoirs of radicalism built up through decades of dictatorship," she said.
Recent showdown between NATO and Russia is believed to be a possible solution for the Nagorno-Karabakh question in Azerbaijan
No working group can tackle question between Turkey and Russia unless Turkey takes step first, Kremlin spokesman says
Mohamad Taher Siala, a foreign ministry employee for three decades, 'officially took up his post' at the ministry building
As it is announced the number of the Chechen refugees living in Germany it is increased.
'Following last week's closure of the Idomeni refugee camp, the number of refugees trying to cross Hungary's barrier has increased,' Hungarian PM's chief adviser says
Today, Sadiq Khan and I will set aside our differences to show how remaining in Europe guarantees we are better off: UK PM
Council of Europe representative says Greece failed to 'to create decent facilities that meet international standards'
Two Tunisian civilians are killed and one other injured by a landmine planted by extremist groups near the Algerian border
As part of a peace deal, Palestinian Authority wants NATO to substitute IDF forces in the West Bank
'The start of 2016 is still feeling the disastrous consequences of the attacks in 2015,' the French capital's tourism board says
Deadly blasts occurred in three different areas killing eleven, wounding dozens
Muslim pilgrims mark prayer helping to end a drought over 5 centuries ago
A neo-Nazi has been arrested after threatening to massacre refugees
Counter-terrorism service forces forces entered the city under air cover from the international coalition, the Iraqi air force and army aviation and supported by artillery and tanks
The IMF has refused to back Greece's rescue plan with some seeing the move as the IMF making an effort to protect its own reputation
Hissene Habré, 73, is a former rebel leader who took power by force in 1982 and was then supported by the US and France to remain at the helm as a bulwark to Muammar Gaddafi, the leader of Libya.