The secretary of state's humility in reaching out to Mexico is part of Obama's plan to change sinking world opinion of the US.
In her years on the political stage, Hillary Clinton wasn't always seen as the most humble of national figures.
Yet in a two-day trip through Mexico that ended Thursday, Secretary of State Clinton has served up humility at every stop.
She's acknowledged in no uncertain terms that the bloody drug wars here are, in part, America's fault.
She's compared the 7,000-plus deaths in drug violence over the last 15 months to the crime wave that hit the US in the 1980s and '90s.
"There are problems in any country. I spend my time thinking about the problems in my country as well," Clinton told students and faculty in Monterrey on the campus of Universidad TecMilenio, a high-tech private university with campuses, real and virtual, across the country.
Clinton's tone is part of a conscious public diplomacy effort by President Barack Obama's administration to change world opinion of the US, which sank deeply during his predecessor's eight years, due to the war in Iraq, the treatment of detainees, and other actions.
The approach by Clinton, who's on her first trip as top US diplomat to Latin America, seemed to be playing well.
Mexico, like many other countries in the hemisphere, has often bristled at what it sees as arrogance and hypocrisy from its larger, richer, and more populous neighbor.
Mexicans have objected to US news coverage of Mexico that's focused solely on the drug problem – and to statements by top American officials suggesting this country is on its way to becoming a failing state, not in control of all of its territory.
"It seems to me, it starts with tone," former US ambassador to Mexico James Jones said in an interview before Clinton arrived here. "The tone should be, the US and Mexican governments have one common enemy, that's organized crime."