Condoleezza Rice has outlined a vision of American foreign policy in which diplomacy is brought to the fore.
The 50-year-old has appeared in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before a vote in which she is expected to be confirmed as the next US Secretary of State.
She says the White House must now make improved relations with allies in Europe and Asia a top priority.
“The work that America and our allies have undertaken and the sacrifices we have made have been difficult, necessary and right. Now is the time to build on these achievements to make the world safer and more free. We must use American diplomacy to help create a balance of power in the world that favours freedom. The time for diplomacy is now,” she said.
Rice is a former Stanford University professor who worked as national security advisor to President George W Bush during his first term in office.
Analysts will be watching closely to see how her vision of American power plays with other well-known hawks in the Bush cabinet.