Be Like Brazil

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her big economics and foreign policy speech on Friday, urging the United States to act a bit more like emerging powers. “Emerging powers like India and Brazil put economics at the center of their foreign policies,” Clinton commented, continuing that Washington needs to consider how its foreign policy will affect economic growth. “Our competitors aren't taking a time out, and neither can we,” she added. Turning directly to Beijing, the secretary of state said it was time Washington became “assertive in securing the win-win economic relationship we can and should have with China,” stressing the need for a level playing field.

Clinton is meanwhile still fielding questions about her political future. In an interview with the Today show, she said she has no interest in running for president again. “I have made my contribution. I’m very grateful I have had the chance to serve, but I think it’s time for others to step up,” Clinton commented. She also called the speculation that Washington would be better off if she had been elected instead of President Obama “irrelevant.”

On Saturday after a G20 meeting, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that though the U.S. economy was growing, the administration’s proposed jobs bill is needed to bolster recovery. Republicans blocked the bill last week, but the president wants Congress to start voting on the various proposals individually this week. Geithner also took some time to mention China, saying that it would be in the interest of the global economy, as well as Beijing’s own interest, to let the yuan appreciate.

Senator Marco Rubio sent a letter to Hillary Clinton last week outlining concerns about Washington’s sale of $53 million worth of weapons and vehicles to Bahrain. Lawmakers worry the weapons could be used against protesters. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland clarified that the weapons are for “external defense . . . specifically in hardening the country against potential attack or nefarious activity by countries like Iran.” After all, Washington, she said, has an interest in making sure Bahrainis are strong “vis-à-vis the regional challenges that they face.”

Nuland also said that Washington is still working hard on fulfilling the timetable for an Israeli-Palestinian sitdown laid out by the Quartet—and that progress is being made. The State Department hopes to see a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian envoys by the end of the month. “We’d like to see Israelis come. We’d like to see Palestinians come. That’s what we’re working on, so stay tuned,” Nuland commented.