Clinton touts 'smart power' in farewell talk

Clinton's bittersweet farewell
Clinton's bittersweet farewell

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Story highlights

  • American diplomats need a "dynamic mix" of tools, Clinton says
  • International institutions should be "more Frank Gehry than formal Greek"
  • Thursday's speech was her last as secretary of state

The United States needs to build "smart power" in a world where the levers of influence are changing rapidly, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday in what was billed as her farewell speech.

American diplomats have to work with entrepreneurs and activists, use new technological tools such as social media and update the global and regional institutions that have dominated international affairs since World War II, Clinton told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"We need a new architecture for a new world -- more Frank Gehry than formal Greek," she said. "Now some of his work at first might appear haphazard, but in fact, it's highly intentional and sophisticated. Where once a few strong columns could hold up the weight of the world, today we need a dynamic mix of materials and structures."

Hillary Clinton exit interview with CNN
Hillary Clinton exit interview with CNN

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Hillary Clinton exit interview with CNN 03:45
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Clinton said Washington is "uniquely well-positioned" to help forge that new structure.

"Those things that make us who we are as a nation — our openness and innovation, our diversity, our devotion to human rights and democracy — are beautifully matched to the demands of this era and this interdependent world," she said.

Clinton's last day as secretary of state is Friday. She hands over her office to former Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, whose nomination to the post was confirmed Tuesday.

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