I believe that this quote is a representation of the idea that war or retaliation is not always the answer. What this quote is saying is that we as a country cannot allow the actions of a group of extremist set a preconceived notion of Libya and its people. That as two countries we cannot allow our mutually benefiting relationship to be destroyed in light of this new controversy. The quote is also commenting on the understanding that the attackers do not represent the views of the country of Libya.
It's interesting to think what direction foreign policy will take when Clinton leaves. This response does a good job of establishing the stance of the U.S. State Dept. while also taking into consideration how emotional the event was for the American public. Clinton makes sure to frame the event as a tragedy and not solely a diplomatic issue. It was important to establish that the attackers did not reflect the stance of all Libyans and that the destruction of the U.S.-Libya relationship would be another victory for the attackers and a loss for U.S. diplomacy. The most important thing the State Dept. did was assert that this incident would not compromise the relationship between Libya and the U.S., which was probably the biggest concern surrounding the incident.
This quote stood out to me because it highlights the U.S.'s response to a tragedy in a way that does not position Benghazi, Libya as the perpetrator. Instead of taking a retaliatory stance and painting the entire country as extreme, Clinton in this quote chooses to recognize the mutual harm the attack has on both countries. In terms of PR, Clinton's quote honors the mutual investment each country has in the other and attempts to preserve a mutually beneficial relationship. Clinton, however, must equally condemn the violence of the tragedy while doing this. I think the best PR strategy, the way to honor the U.S.'s multiple relationships involved (the American people, Libyans, the Libyan government, to name a few) is to strike a balance between these two things.
There are a number of things going on here. First, I would like to acknowledge the positive message that is being communicated, although it would seem odd if the U.S. did sever their "friendship" with Libya considering they just helped to depose Gaddafi, and the attacks were carried out by what is described as a small group of extremists. It is mentioned that this attack may have been sparked by the controversial film that appeared on the internet. Ms. Clinton claims that America has always been religiously aware, but the fact of the matter is that the United States has occupied Muslim lands for decades (which has obviously caused resentment), and there is still a sense of religious intolerance throughout the States, especially towards Islam. I agree that this is not a justification for violence, but I think that misrepresenting the situation does nothing to promote understanding. Also, while this is a tragedy, this is a classic example of how we experience agenda setting. There has been so much bloodshed in countries where Western forces have occupied, yet we hardly hear about civilian casualties caused by the U.S. or just how much destruction has been caused, yet whenever Americans are killed the media grabs onto such stories running them into the ground. I am not saying that it is not a tragedy or that we shouldn't care, but if we really believe that there is equality in the value of lives, then a greater effort should be made to cover such issues with less bias.