Both candidates spoke at length about the need for America to influence events overseas and in the Middle East, but without "putting boots on the ground". Get foreign governments to do things our way but without using force. Nice work if you can get it. The voters approve, Americans have never supported agreements made at gunpoint. We don't like to act the bully, we don't like getting our sons and husbands killed, and we don't like spending the necessary money. America is not a war like country. We don't see war as moral.
So how do we influence events overseas? We find individuals or groups, politicians, newsmen, religious leaders, authors, unions, churches and political parties who support liberty, the rule of law, democracy, free market capitalism, and oppose terrorism, communism, and religious radicalism. We offer these people and groups our support. Money, web access, smart phones, color printers, favorable publicity in our press, intelligence, passports and visas, laptops, Xerox machines, and the myriad of useful devices that our economy produces in such abundance. For a democratic resistance movement struggling to liberalize a repressive government, such assistance can be the vital edge that pushes them over the top. It's generally accepted that this sort of encouragement and support to Lech Walensa's Solidarity movement was very important in the overthrow of the Polish communist regime.
Of course, for this to work, it MUST remain secret. Imagine what would happen to any American politician should it becomes known that he accepts help from the Russians, or the Chinese, or even the Saudis. Likewise it would be the kiss of death to many overseas should it become known that they were working with the Americans.
Trouble is, no one overseas is willing to trust that the Americans will keep secrets secret. They all fear that anything they share with the Americans will appear on the front pages of the New York Times in a few days. Until we can tighten up our security and keep secret things secret, not even the best our our representatives be able to do much coordination with players overseas. Those players fear that American leaks will cost them their lives.
CIA is disgracefully leaky. State isn't much better. Until we tighten things up, we won't be able to do much influencing of anyone.