Sadly, she’s serious. On the bright side we’re treated to an all-time classic Obama regime catch phrase, “smart power.”

(CBS/AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended the U.S. response to crises in Libya and Syria on Tuesday, saying the Obama administration is projecting “smart power” by refusing to act alone or with brute force to stop autocratic repression in the two countries.

Clinton said the United States remains the world’s strongest leader but is wisely building coalitions to respond more effectively and better promote universal values of human rights and democracy.

“The United States stands for our values, our interests and our security, but we have a very clear view that others need to be taking the same steps to enforce a universal set of values and interests,” she told an audience in a joint appearance at the National Defense University with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

“We are by all measurements the strongest leader in the world and we are leading, but part of leading is making sure that you get other people on the field. And that’s what I think we are doing,” she said. . . .

Clinton said it would be a mistake for the administration to demand Assad’s ouster on its own because it wouldn’t be effective given Washington’s long-strained ties with Damascus and limited U.S. influence and trade with Syria.

“It is not going to be any news if the United States says Assad needs to go,” she said. “Okay, fine, what’s next? If other people say it, if Turkey says it, if (Saudi) King Abdullah says it, there is no way the Assad regime can ignore it.”

“I think this is smart power, where it is not just brute force, it is not just unilateralism,” she said. “It is being smart enough to say you know what we want a bunch of people signing out of the same hymn book and we want them singing a song of universal freedom, human rights, democracy, everything that we have stood for and pioneered over 235 years.”

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