WSJ REPOST: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday described “energy diplomacy” as a driving force behind U.S. foreign policy and offered a spirited defense of the Obama administration’s foreign-policy record. She also took swipes at rivals, including China and Russia, which she said have used energy as a geopolitical or trade weapon. “Fundamentally, energy is an issue of wealth and power, which means it can be a source of both conflict and cooperation,” she said in a speech at Georgetown University that came a year after the creation of the Bureau of Energy Resources at the State Department. Its role is to put oil, natural gas, electricity and clean-energy issues at the center of American foreign policy.

Mrs. Clinton’s claim that “energy diplomacy” has been a success story directly addressed themes that have become fodder on the campaign trail.Poll respondents have generally favored the administration’s foreign-policy stances over those of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But recently Mr. Romney has made headway by citing last month’s deadly attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya, lingering concerns over the Syrian uprising, the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program and friction with Israel’s leadership. Mr. Romney has described the Obama foreign policy as “unraveling.”

Republican critics said administration actions belied Mrs. Clinton’s rhetoric. “Secretary Clinton may believe in ‘energy diplomacy,’ but her boss does not,” said Ryan Williams, a Romney campaign spokesman. He said President Barack Obama’s limits on the Keystone XL pipeline harmed America’s relationship with Canada and threatened access to its oil, and that he is stalling an important energy pact with Mexico.

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