Increasing US debt poses national security threat: Hillary

The increasing American debt poses a national security threat, US Secretary of State warned.

Last Updated: Sep 08, 2010, 23:21 PM IST

Washington: The increasing American debt
poses a national security threat, US Secretary of State on Wednesday
warned, saying it could impact Washington`s ability to
exercise "global leadership".

"Today more than ever, our ability to exercise global
leadership depends on building a strong foundation here at
home," Clinton said.

"That`s why rising debt and crumbling infrastructure
pose very real long-term national security threats," she said
in a major foreign policy speech at Council on Foreign
Relations, a Washington-based think tank.

She warned the increasing debt poses a national
security threat, saying the Obama Administration is focusing
on this crucial aspect of the country’s economic policy.

She said US President Barack Obama understands this.

"You can see it in the new economic initiatives that
he announced this week and in his relentless focus on turning
the economy around," Clinton said.

The rising debt levels poses a national security
threat, and it poses a national security threat in two ways,
she explained later in response to a question.

"It undermines our capacity to act in our own
interest, and it does constrain us where constraint may be
undesirable. And it also sends a message of weakness
internationally," the top diplomat said.

She underlined that it is very troubling that the
"we are losing the ability not only to chart our own destiny
but to have the leverage that comes from this enormously
effective economic engine that has powered American values and
interests over so many years".

So the US do not have a choice, she said, adding "It`s
a question of how we decide to deal with this debt and
deficit."

"I mean, we don`t need to go back and sort of
re-litigate how we got to where we are, but it is fair to say
that we fought two wars without paying for them, and we had
tax cuts that were not paid for either. And that has been a
very deadly combination to fiscal sanity and responsibility,"
Clinton said.

She said the challenge is "how we get out of it by
making the right decisions, not the wrong decisions".

"I mean, there`s a lot of wrong things we could do
that would further undermine our strength. I mean, it is going
to be very difficult for those decisions," the Secretary said.

In the backdrop of the forthcoming November
Congressional election, Clinton underlined that the issue
should not be looked at as a Republican or a Democratic
decision.

"I know there`s an election going on, and I know that
I am by law out of politics, but I will say that this is not
just a decision for the Congress, it`s a decision for the
country, she said, adding that it is not a Republican or a
Democratic decision.

The Secretary of State said it is best to remember
that there is "no free lunch".

"I think that is a great disservice to our nation.
Whether one is a Republican or a Democrat, a conservative, a
progressive, whatever you call yourself, there is no free
lunch, and we cannot pretend that there is without doing grave
harm to our country and our future generations," Clinton
underlined.

PTI