Hillary with her daughter Chelsea at the hearing in Washington on Tuesday. (AP)
Washington, Jan. 13: Hillary Rodham Clinton, the nominee of President-elect Barack Obama to become the new secretary of state, appeared before a confirmation hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today and ran into a challenge over foreign donations to her husbands presidential library.
Hillary Clinton, 61, was greeted with bipartisan support for her nomination. But the top Republican on the panel, Senator Richard Lugar raised concerns that foreign governments could perceive donations to former President Bill Clintons library as a way to curry favour with the new secretary of state.
He said in opening remarks that he did not expect the issue to be a barrier to Hillary Clinton's confirmation, but he called on the William J. Clinton Foundation to stop accepting foreign donations. Lugar said donations to the library represent a complication that will have to be managed with great care and transparency.
In her own opening remarks, Clinton told the committee that, if confirmed, she would take a more practical approach to foreign policy. In a veiled swipe at the outgoing Bush administration, she said she and Obama believe that foreign policy must be based on a marriage of principles and pragmatism, not rigid ideology.
Clinton pledged to strengthen ties with US allies. We must build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries, she said.
America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America. She also called for the use of smart power in confronting myriad challenges ranging from terrorism to global climate change.
We must use what has been called smart power, the full range of tools at our disposal, she told the committee. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy. Clinton said this also applies to the US approach to one of the most intractable foreign policy issues: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As we focus on Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, we must also actively pursue a strategy of smart power in West Asia that addresses the security needs of Israel and the legitimate political and economic aspirations of the Palestinians, Hillary Clinton said in her opening statement.
She said the new administration wants a foreign policy that effectively challenges Iran to end its nuclear weapons programme and sponsorship of terror and persuades both Iran and Syria to abandon their dangerous behaviour and become constructive regional actors.
In response to questions about Iran, whose nuclear programme has raised concerns that it may seek to build nuclear weapons, Clinton stressed that no option is off the table in preventing that development.