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Archive for July, 2009

Signing Ceremony for the U.S.-China Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Cooperation in Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
July 28, 2009

MODERATOR: Good morning. We are here to commence the signing ceremony for the U.S.-China Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Cooperation in Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment. We now invite Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Policy David Sandalow and National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Zhang Xiaoqiang to sign the agreement.
(The agreement was signed.)
(Applause.)
MODERATOR: We now invite Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua to sign the agreement.
(The agreement was signed.)
(Applause.)
MODERATOR: I would like to now invite the Secretary of State, the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, to make remarks.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. This year marks three decades of cooperation between China and the United States. We had our first agreement on science and technology in 1979. This memorandum builds on past efforts, including the Ten Year Framework for Energy Environment Cooperation, and highlights the importance of climate change in our bilateral relationship by creating a platform for climate policy dialogue and cooperation.
It also provides our countries with direction as we work together to support international climate negotiations and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. During the last two days, we’ve had extensive discussions at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue about what the United States and China are doing to reduce emissions, how we can move forward in advance of the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December, and the steps we intend to take to promote sustainable low-carbon economic growth.
I would now like to invite my colleague in the Strategic Track of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue to make some remarks, State Councilor Dai.
STATE COUNCILOR DAI: (Via interpreter) Honorable Secretary Clinton, Honorable Secretary Chu, friends from the media, ladies and gentlemen: Today we are gathered here to witness the initialing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Chinese and the American Government on Enhancing Cooperation on Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment. Here on behalf of the Chinese Government delegation, I would like to extend a warm round of congratulation for the initialing of the agreement.
Climate change, energy, and the environment are important subjects covered by the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues. In the spirit of deepening understanding, expanding common consensus, developing cooperation and pursuing mutual benefit, the two delegations have held many rounds of consultations and arrived at agreement on the MOU. This, I think is fair to say, is an important outcome of this round of S&ED. Both our countries face severe challenges posed by climate change, energy, and the environment. China attaches great importance to dialogue and cooperation with the United States on these subjects.
China is the largest developing country in the world. The United States is the largest developed country in the world. Despite the big differences between our two countries in our basic national conditions, stage of development, historical responsibilities, and our respective capacities, I think there exist conditions, common will, the necessity, and the broad basis for enhancing China-U.S. dialogue and cooperation on these areas. I think we all need to take a strategic and long-term view of China-U.S. dialogue and cooperation in these areas.
And guided by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, we must handle well the relationship between our commonalities and our differences as we pursue our dialogue and cooperation. And we hope that through our joint efforts, we will be able to expand common ground and cooperation and take our collaborative efforts in these areas to a new height. And I think our two countries have an important contribution to make to the global efforts to tackle climate change, to ensure energy security, to protect the environment and the only planet we have.
Thank you. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: I now invite the Secretary of Energy, The Honorable Steven Chu, to make remarks.
SECRETARY CHU: I want to recognize Secretary Clinton for providing leadership that has helped us bring us to this moment. On her first trip to China as Secretary, Secretary Clinton – as Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton highlighted clean energy and climate change as vital areas for cooperation, and her efforts are paying off today. Xie-xie, Madame Secretary. (Laughter.)
I also want to acknowledge and compliment State Councilor Dai, Vice Minister Zhang, and Vice Minister Xie. As our talks yesterday and my recent trip to China have both demonstrated, our countries have many shared interests when it comes to promoting clean energy and fighting climate change. I am pleased that these issues have been at the heart of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and I know that energy and climate change will be a critical part of our bilateral relationship for years to come.
The stakes could not be higher. Both of our countries understand the importance of clean energy for our economies and for our security. Both of us understand the imperative of fighting climate change. What the U.S. and China do in the coming decades will help shape the fate of the world. I’m heartened by the progress we are making. Under President Obama’s leadership, the United States has invested billions of dollars in clean energy and has taken bold steps to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles.
In recent years, China has taken impressive steps to improve energy efficiency, deploy renewable energy, and invest in clean energy technologies. Both our countries, however, must do more. And that’s why today’s agreement is so important. Today’s agreement should send a clear signal that the United States and China are ready to work together on clean energy and climate change. It sets the stage for what I hope will be many years of close cooperation.
Perhaps most exciting is that as we work to solve the energy problem, this agreement will help us unlock the energy opportunity. Through clean energy, we can create new jobs and new industries and vitalize our economy. We can raise standards of living while minimizing harmful pollution.
Did I say all that? (Laughter.)
We can promote energy security relying less on imported oil and more on the renewable energy sources that we have in abundance. I’m particularly excited about the possibilities for scientific collaboration. During my recent trip to China, we announced a new U.S.-China clean energy research center. The initial areas of research include building efficiency, clean coal, including carbon capture and sequestration, and clean vehicles. The underlying principle in that effort and in this one is that we can accomplish more by working together than we can by working alone.
Again, I want to thank Secretary Clinton, State Councilor Dai, Vice Minister Zhang, and Vice Minister Xie, and the entire Chinese delegation. I’m looking forward to working with you all in the coming months and years ahead.
(Applause.)

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07-19-09-11

A New Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China

Op-Ed

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury
Op-Ed
The Wall Street Journal
July 27, 2009

When the United States and China established diplomatic relations 30 years ago, it was far from clear what the future would hold. In 1979, China was still emerging from the ruins of the Cultural Revolution and its gross domestic product stood at a mere $176 billion, a fraction of the U.S. total of $2.5 trillion. Even travel and communication between our two great nations presented a challenge: a few unreliable telephone lines and no direct flights connected us. Today China’s GDP tops four trillion dollars, thousands of emails and cellphone calls cross the Pacific Ocean daily, and by next year there will be 249 direct flights per week between the U.S. and China.

To keep up with these changes that affect our citizens and our planet, we need to update our official ties with Beijing. During their first meeting in April, President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao announced a new dialogue as part of the administration’s efforts to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship with Beijing. So this week we will meet together in Washington with two of the highest-ranking officials in the Chinese government, Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, to develop a new framework for U.S.-China relations. Many of our cabinet colleagues will join us in this “Strategic and Economic Dialogue,” along with an equally large number of the most senior leaders of the Chinese government. Why are we doing this with China, and what does it mean for Americans?

Simply put, few global problems can be solved by the U.S. or China alone. And few can be solved without the U.S. and China together. The strength of the global economy, the health of the global environment, the stability of fragile states and the solution to nonproliferation challenges turn in large measure on cooperation between the U.S. and China. While our two-day dialogue will break new ground in combining discussions of both economic and foreign policies, we will be building on the efforts of the past seven U.S. administrations and on the existing tapestry of government-to-government exchanges and cooperation in several dozen different areas.

At the top of the list will be assuring recovery from the most serious global economic crisis in generations and assuring balanced and sustained global growth once recovery has taken hold. When the current crisis struck, the U.S. and China acted quickly and aggressively to support economic activity and to create and save jobs. The success of the world’s major economies in blunting the force of the global recession and setting the stage for recovery is due in substantial measure to the bold steps our two nations have taken.

As we move toward recovery, we must take additional steps to lay the foundation for balanced and sustainable growth in the years to come. That will involve Americans rebuilding our savings, strengthening our financial system and investing in energy, education and health care to make our nation more productive and prosperous. For China it involves continuing financial sector reform and development. It also involves spurring domestic demand growth and making the Chinese economy less reliant on exports. Raising personal incomes and strengthening the social safety net to address the reasons why Chinese feel compelled to save so much would provide a powerful boost to Chinese domestic demand and global growth.

Both nations must avoid the temptation to close off our respective markets to trade and investment. Both must work hard to create new opportunities for our workers and our firms to compete equally, so that the people of each country see the benefit from the rapidly expanding U.S.-China economic relationship.

A second priority is to make progress on the interconnected issues of climate change, energy and the environment. Our two nations need to establish a true partnership to put both countries on a low-carbon pathway, simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions while promoting economic recovery and sustainable development. The cross-cutting nature of our meetings offers a unique opportunity for key American officials to meet with their Chinese counterparts to work on the global issue of climate change. In the run-up to the international climate change conference in Copenhagen in December, it is clear that any agreement must include meaningful participation by large economies like China.

The third broad area for discussion is finding complementary approaches to security and development challenges in the region and across the globe. From the provocative actions of North Korea, to stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the economic possibilities in Africa, the U.S. and China must work together to reach solutions to these urgent challenges confronting not only our two nations, but many others across the globe.

While this first round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue offers a unique opportunity to work with Chinese officials, we will not always agree on solutions and we must be frank about our differences, including establishing the right venues to have those discussions. And while we are working to make China an important partner, we will continue to work closely with our long-standing allies and friends in Asia and around the world and rely on the appropriate international groups and organizations.

But having these strategic-level discussions with our Chinese counterparts will help build the trust and relationships to tackle the most vexing global challenges of today—and of the coming generation. The Chinese have a wise aphorism: “When you are in a common boat, you need to cross the river peacefully together.” Today, we will join our Chinese counterparts in grabbing an oar and starting to row.

 

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Remarks at Plenary Session of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 27, 2009

Remarks as prepared.

Good morning. And Zhongxing Huanyin.
It is a privilege to open this inaugural meeting of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the United States and China. I am especially pleased to join my co-chair, Secretary Geithner, and to welcome State Councilor Dai and Vice Premier Wang. I look forward to resuming the productive discussions I had with Councilor Dai, President Hu, and Premier Wen on my trip to China in February, and to build on President Obama and President Hu’s meeting in London.
This is both a culmination, and a beginning. A culmination of actions taken by our predecessors 30 years ago, when the United States and China established formal diplomatic relations, and Deng Xiaoping launched China’s economic reform and opening to the world. What followed was a blossoming of Chinese economic growth and diplomatic engagement that has allowed our nations to reach this place of opportunity today.
This dialogue also marks a beginning – the beginning of an unprecedented effort to lay the foundation for a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S.-Chinese relationship for the 21st century.
That so many members of President Obama’s cabinet are here reflects our belief that a stronger relationship will yield rewards, not only for our two nations, but for the world beyond.
For in the decades ahead, great countries will be defined less by their power to dominate or divide than by their capacity to solve problems. It is this reality – and the fact that no country can solve today’s challenges alone – that demands a new global architecture for progress.
Although past relations between the United States and China have been influenced by the idea of a balance of power among great nations, the fresh thinking of the 21st century can move us from a multi-polar world to a multi-partner world. And it is our hope that the dialogue we initiate today will enable us to shape that common agenda.
Our nations face common global threats, from the economic crisis, to non-proliferation, climate change and clean energy, pandemic disease and global poverty, North Korea, Iran, and extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
To meet these threats, we must find common ground and work together in common purpose, even as we may disagree on certain issues.
As we’ll hear from the President later this morning, the Obama Administration is committed to broader engagement – to using robust diplomacy and development and working with and beyond government to solve regional and global problems and take advantage of the unprecedented opportunities they present.
When I was in China in February, it was my first time back in almost a decade. And I was struck, as many visitors are, by the transformation that had taken place. Driving on the third ring road in Beijing, I felt like was watching a movie in fast-forward. From a few high rise buildings on my last trip, to a gleaming Olympic complex and corporate skyscrapers today. From millions of Flying Pigeon bicycles navigating the streets, to cars of every model traversing modern thoroughfares. And for those traveling to Shanghai, an already cosmopolitan city soon to add the Shanghai Expo.
All are testaments to China’s dynamism and growth. And we welcome these signs of progress.

We also welcome China’s role in promoting peace and stability in the Asia Pacific. Over the past 30 years, the United States has helped foster security in the region – a critical factor in China’s growth, and an important strategic interest of our own. In the future, we will remain actively engaged in promoting the security of Asia. When misunderstandings or disagreements arise, we will work through them peacefully and through intensive dialogue.
This Strategic and Economic Dialogue differs from past dialogues in scope, substance, and approach. It is comprehensive by design, meant to enlist the full range of talent within our governments and to include cross-cutting challenges that are neither bureaucratically neat, nor easily compartmentalized.
With this dialogue we are laying, brick by brick, the foundation of a stronger relationship – improving lines of communication; increasing understanding; setting priorities; and creating a work plan.
Our agenda will focus on several areas:
First, the economic recovery. Repairing the global economy is a priority for both the United States and China. We have taken aggressive action at home to stimulate our economy and stabilize our financial institutions. China has taken similarly bold steps and we both agree that further economic and financial cooperation is necessary for global recovery.
Second, climate change and clean energy. As the world’s two biggest emitters, we must demonstrate to the developed and developing world that clean energy and economic growth can go hand-in-hand. We are already involved in promising partnerships. In Beijing, I toured a geo-thermal plant that is a true U.S.-Chinese collaboration. General Electric has provided high-tech equipment to produce heat and power with half the emissions, and far less water usage than the coal plants that are typically relied on. And Chinese businesses build the steam turbines that help to power the plant. This plant saves costs and provides clean energy – including heat for the U.S. Embassy.
Third, security challenges. I just attended the ASEAN conference in Thailand, where the North Korean regime’s recent provocations were a subject of great concern. China and the United States both appreciate the dangers of escalating tensions and a prospective arms race in East Asia; and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Already, China and the United States have worked together to contain dangerous actions on the part of North Korea. We are grateful for the Chinese government’s leadership in establishing the Six Party Talks and for its close cooperation in response to North Korean missile launches. In this dialogue, we will discuss ways to work jointly to persuade the regime to agree to denuclearization and end its international isolation.
We will also discuss our common concerns about the nuclear weapons capability of Iran, and explore ways to address violent extremism and promote stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Fourth, development. Under President Obama, development, like diplomacy, is an equally important pillar of American foreign policy. Many of the world’s threats stem from lack of opportunity which, in turn, leads to poverty, social erosion, and political instability. By addressing global scourges such as hunger, illiteracy, disease, and economic marginalization from the bottom up, and by insisting on accountability and adherence to the rule of law, we can widen opportunity and prosperity for more people in more places.
None of these problems will be easy to solve, and results won’t happen overnight. We will not always see eye-to-eye, as is the case with human rights, where the United States will continue to be guided by the ideal that the rights of all people must be respected. Still, solutions to many of today’s global challenges are within reach if we work cooperatively where our interests intersect, and are honest with each other when they don’t.
A well-known Chinese saying speaks of a sacred mountain in northern China near Confucius’ home. It says: “When people are of one mind and heart, they can move Mt. Tai.”
We cannot expect to be united at every turn, but we can be of one mind and heart on the need to find common ground as we confront the shared challenges of the 21st century. The Obama
Administration has embraced this dialogue with China early and energetically because we want to see it to fruition. This is an issue of great importance to me as Secretary of State, and I know the same is true for my colleagues and for our President.
And now, it is my great honor to introduce Vice Premier Wang.

 

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I apologize. It is very frustrating not to be able to embed videos directly here at WordPress. I could not get the video here through Vodpod, so I all can post is the link to Meet the Press.

Secretary Clinton: July 2009
Interview With David Gregory of Meet the Press

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 26, 2009

QUESTION: But first, here she is, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Welcome back to Meet the Press.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, David. It’s great to be here with you.

QUESTION: Glad to have you. And you’re here for the full hour, so we have a lot to get to.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, with your preview into it, there’s a lot to talk about in the world today.

QUESTION: Absolutely. So let’s get right to it and talk about some of the hotspots around the globe that you’re dealing with. First up is North Korea, and it got tense this week. Here was the big headline: Clinton and North Korea engage in tense exchange. It actually began on Monday during an interview that you gave to ABC. Let’s watch a portion of that:

“Well, what we’ve seen is this constant demand for attention. And maybe it’s the mother in me or the experience that I’ve had with small children and unruly teenagers and people who are demanding attention. Don’t give it to them. They don’t deserve it. They are acting out in a way to send a message that is not a message we’re interested in receiving.”

QUESTION: Now, the North Korean reaction was rather personal, and The Washington Post wrote about it on Friday. We’ll put that up on the screen:

“The war of words between North Korea and the United States escalated with North Korea’s foreign ministry lashing out at Secretary of State Clinton in unusually personal terms for ‘vulgar remarks’ that is said demonstrated, ‘She is by no means intelligent. We cannot but regard Mrs. Clinton as a funny lady. Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl.’”

What were they thinking?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, David, I think what’s important here is the clear message that we’re sending to North Korea, and it’s one that is now unanimous. The Security Council Resolution 1874 made official that North Korea must change their behavior, and we have to get back to moving toward verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.

Now, as you know and as you’ve reported, they’ve engaged in a lot of provocative actions in the last months. But what we, China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and literally the unanimous international community have said is it’s not going to work this time. We’re imposing the most stringent sanctions we ever have. We have great cooperation from the world community. China and we are working closely together to enforce these sanctions. We still want North Korea to come back to the negotiating table, to be part of an international effort that will lead to denuclearization. But we’re not going to reward them for doing what they said they would do in 2005 and ‘6. We’re not going to reward them for half measures. They now know what we and the world community expect.

QUESTION: But it’s interesting. If the posture of this Administration was more engagement, even negotiations with our adversaries, it struck me this week that this was a ratcheting up of the rhetoric against North Korea.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we want to make clear to North Korea that their behavior is not going to be rewarded. In the past, they believed that they have acted out, done things which really went against the norms of the international community, and somehow then were rewarded. Those days are over. We believe that the Six-Party Talk framework, which had everybody included, is the appropriate way to engage with North Korea.

QUESTION: They say – if I can just stop you, they say we’re not playing in that group anymore.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s what they say. And I think they are very isolated. Now, I saw that when I was at the ASEAN meeting, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. I was in the same room with a representative from North Korea, who launched a broadside attack on the United States, blaming us for literally everything that has ever gone wrong in North Korea, going back decades. I listened. Everyone else just didn’t even look at him. I was struck by the body language. They don’t have any friends left, and what we’ve seen even Burma saying that they’re going to enforce the resolution of sanctions.

And when the North Korean representative finished, I just very calmly said North Korea knows what it must do and what we are expecting from it. I talked with my counterparts from Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, at length during the time I was in Thailand. We are all on the same page and we are all committed to the same goal.

QUESTION: Can we say at this point, since it’s so difficult to deal with North Korea going back to President Clinton, who said that he would stop them from getting a nuclear bomb, after these missile tests, after the belief that they have seven or eight nuclear bombs, that an effort to keep them from going nuclear has failed?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I don’t think so, because their program is still at the beginning stages, and there are several important factors here that has led to the unanimity of the international community. It’s not only that North Korea has, against the international norms, IAEA and other requirements, proceeded with this effort, but they also are a proliferator. We know that for a fact. So it’s not only the threat they pose to their neighbors and eventually beyond, but the fact that they’re trying to arm others.

And then there is the reaction in the region. I mean, if you’re sitting in South Korea and Japan, who are two of our strongest allies, with whom we have very clear defense responsibilities, and you see North Korea proceeding, then you’re going to be thinking, well, what do I need to do to protect myself? So it is destabilizing for Northeast Asia, which is why I think you’ll see a continuing pressure, which we think will eventually result in some changes in their behavior.

QUESTION: Is North Korea a threat to the United States?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, at this time, our military experts and others say that in real terms, what they could do to us, that’s unlikely. We have missile defenses that we can deploy. But they are a threat to our friends and allies, particularly Japan and South Korea, so therefore they trigger a response from us to protect our allies and to make clear to the North Koreans that they cannot behave in this way.

And I want to just underscore that China has been extremely positive and productive in respect to North Korea. The big issue in previous times was, well, how do we get China to really be working to change North Korean behavior? I will be starting, along with Secretary Geithner, an intensive two days with Chinese high-level representatives tomorrow and Tuesday. But on North Korea, we have been extremely gratified by their forward-leaning commitment to sanctions and the private messages that they have conveyed to the North Koreans.

QUESTION: Finally on this, two U.S. captives, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, two journalists in captivity now, is there a feeling that some of the tough talk that you had with the North Koreans this week, this sort of exchange of insults, does it make their situation more dangerous?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We believe that this is on a separate track. This is an issue that should be resolved by the North Koreans granting amnesty and allowing these two young women to come home as quickly as possible.

QUESTION: Are you making progress?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are certainly pursuing every lead we have. The messages that we’ve received from the young women, both through our protecting power, the Swedish ambassador, and through the messages and phone calls they’ve had with their families, are that they’re being treated well, that they have been given the supplies that they need. But obviously, they want to resolve this, as we do, and we work on it literally every day.

QUESTION: Let me turn to another hotspot, and that is Iran. A big headline this week again with your words: “Clinton’s ‘Defense Umbrella’ Stirs Tensions.” The headline goes on: “Suggests U.S. Will Have to Protect Allies from Nuclear-Armed Iran.” You were in Bangkok on Wednesday, and this is what you said that got this started:

“We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment that if the United States extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it’s unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer, because they won’t be able to intimidate and dominate, as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon.”

Did you mean to suggest that the U.S. is considering a nuclear umbrella that would say to nations in the Arab world that an attack on you, just like NATO or Japan, is an attack on the United States, and the United States would retaliate?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s clear that we’re trying to affect the internal calculus of the Iranian regime. The Iranian Government, which is facing its own challenges of legitimacy from its people, has to know that its pursuit of nuclear weapons, something that our country along with our allies stand strongly against – we believe as a matter of policy it is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons, the G-8 came out with a very strong statement to that effect coming from Italy – so we are united in our continuing commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

What we want to do is to send a message to whoever is making these decisions that if you’re pursuing nuclear weapons for the purpose of intimidating, of projecting your power, we’re not going to let that happen. First, we’re going to do everything we can to prevent you from ever getting a nuclear weapon, but your pursuit is futile because we will never let Iran – nuclear-armed, not nuclear-armed – it is something that we view with great concern, and that’s why we’re doing everything we can to prevent that from ever happening.

QUESTION: All right, but let’s be specific. Are you talking about a nuclear umbrella?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We are not talking in specifics, David, because that would come later, if at all. My view is you hope for the best, you plan for the worst. Our hope is – that’s why we’re engaged in the President’s policy of engagement toward Iran – is that Iran will understand why it is in their interest to go along with the consensus of the international community, which very clearly says you have rights and responsibilities; you have a right to pursue the peaceful use of civil nuclear power, you do not have a right to obtain a nuclear weapon, you do not have the right to have the full enrichment and reprocessing cycle under your control. But there’s a lot that we can do with Iran if Iran accepts what is the international consensus.

QUESTION: One of the big challenges here is preventing Israel from acting first: If they feel there’s an existential threat, would they strike out at Iran to take out a nuclear program? And there’s been various positions taken within the Administration about that. Vice President Biden just a couple of weeks ago said this on ABC:

“We cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do when they make a determination, if they make a determination, that they are existentially threatened and their survival is threatened by another country.”

In the meantime, Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said:

“Well, I have been for some time concerned that any strike on Iran by Israel, I worry about it being very destabilizing, not just in and of itself, but the unintended consequences of a strike like that.”

Where do you fall on the spectrum of Administration views about the impact of a strike by Israel?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say that I personally don’t see the contradiction here. The Vice President was stating a fact: Israel is a sovereign nation; any sovereign nation facing what it considers to be an existential threat, as successive Israeli governments have characterized the possibility of Iran having a nuclear weapon would mean to them, is not going to listen to other nations, I mean, if they believe that they are acting in the furtherance of their survival.

However, as Admiral Mullen said, we continue to believe that very intensive diplomacy, bringing the international community together, making clear to the Iranians what the costs of their pursuit of nuclear weapons might be, is the preferable route.

So clearly, we have a long, durable relationship with Israel. We believe strongly that Israel’s security must be protected. But we also believe that pursuing this path with Iran that we’re on right now, that frankly we’re bringing more and more people to see it our way – I thought the G-8 statement was quite remarkable in that sense – is the better approach for us to take. So we will continue to work with all of our allies, and most particularly Israel, to determine the best way forward to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state.

QUESTION: Defense Secretary Gates is on his way to Israel this week. Is the message to the Israelis: you’ve got to hang tight here?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, also General Jones will be there. We have a full panoply of a lot of our national security team that will be meeting with comparable Israeli officials. And our message is as it has been: The United States stands with you, the United States believes that Israel has a right to security. We believe, however, that this approach we’re taking holds out the promise of realizing our common objective. And we want to brief the Israelis, we want to listen to the Israelis, and we want to enlist the support of all of our allies and friends in moving forward on this policy.

QUESTION: Is Iran an illegitimate regime?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s really for the people of Iran to decide. I have been moved by the – just the cries for freedom and a clear appeal to the Iranian Government that this really significant country with a people that go back millennia, that has such a great culture and history, deserves better than what they’re getting.

QUESTION: But if the United States decides to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program, as has been the stated policy of the willingness to engage, are you not betraying this democratic movement trying to overthrow that regime?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think so, David, because you can go back in history, and not very long back, where we have negotiated with many governments who we did not believe represented the will of their people. Look at all the negotiations that went on with the Soviet Union. Look at the breakthrough and subsequent negotiations with communist China. That’s what you do in diplomacy. You don’t get to choose the people. That’s up to the internal dynamics within a society.

But clearly, we would hope better for the Iranian people. We would hope that there is more openness, that peaceful demonstrations are respected, that press freedom is respected. Yet we also know that whoever is in charge in Iran is going to be making decisions that will affect the security of the region and the world.

QUESTION: Let me talk about another difficult area, and that’s Russia, where there has been attempt by the President to say we’re going to reset this relationship. Vice President Biden, who was just traveling in the region, talked to The Wall Street Journal and his comments raised some eyebrows. This is what he said:

“The reality is the Russians are where they are. They have a shrinking population base. They have a withering economy. They have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years. They’re in a situation where the world is changing before them, and they’re clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable.”

Is he speaking for the President, and is the message essentially that the U.S. now has the upper hand when it’s dealing with Russia?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, and I don’t think that’s at all what the Vice President meant. I mean, remember, the Vice President was the first person in the Administration in an important speech which he gave in Munich, Germany shortly after President Obama’s inauguration, that we wanted to reset our relationship with Russia. And we know that that’s not easily done. It takes time. It takes trust building. And we want what the President called for during his recent Moscow summit. We want a strong, peaceful, and prosperous Russia.

Now, there is an enormous amount of work to be done between the United States and Russia. We’re working on reducing our nuclear arsenal. We’re going to work on reducing fissile material to make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. We’re working to combat the threat of violent extremism. Russia has been very helpful in our United Nations efforts vis-à-vis North Korea. The Russians joined the G-8 statement in Italy talking about the need for Iran to come to the table either in a multilateral forum like the P-5+1 that we’re a part of or bilaterally with us. And so there is an enormous amount of hard work being done, and we view Russia as a great power.

Now, every country faces challenges. We have our challenges. Russia has their challenges. And there are certain issues that Russia has to deal with on its own. And we want to make clear that as we reset our relationship, we are very clearly not saying that Russia can have a 21st century sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. That is an attitude and a policy we reject. We also are making it very clear that any nation in Eastern Europe that used to be part of the Soviet Union has a right now as a free, sovereign, and independent nation to choose whatever alliance they wish to join. So if Ukraine and Georgia someday are eligible for and desire to join NATO, that should be up to them.

So I think that what we’re seeing here is the beginning of the resetting of that relationship, which I have been deeply involved in. I will be co-chairing a presidential commission along with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. We’ll be following up on what our two presidents said in Moscow. And the Russians know that we have continuing questions about some of their policies, and they have continuing questions about some of ours.

QUESTION: Before we get to a break, I want to get to another hotspot, and that, of course, is Afghanistan. And the headline coming out this week: “U.S. Deaths Hit a Record High in Afghanistan.” The total of 31 so far in July makes for the deadliest month of the war. Is – given that the President is surging up forces, 17,000 additional troops going to Afghanistan, is this a war of necessity for this President, or has it become his war of choice?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think the President has been very firm in stating that the policy that was followed in Afghanistan was not working. He said it throughout the campaign. He made that clear upon becoming President. And we know that the threat to the United States, and in fact, those who plotted and carried out the horrific attack on 9/11 against our country, have not yet been brought to justice, killed, or captured. So the President’s goal is to dismantle and destroy and eventually defeat al-Qaida.

QUESTION: And yet, if I can just stop you, the real focus now is fighting the Taliban, which is an insurgent movement. And Thomas Friedman wrote this on Wednesday. I’d like you to respond to it:

“America has just adopted Afghanistan as our new baby. The troop surge that President Obama ordered in Afghanistan early in his tenure has taken this mission from a limited intervention, with limited results, to a full nation-building project that will take a long time to succeed—if ever. We came to Afghanistan to destroy al-Qaida, now we’re in a long war with the Taliban. Is that really a good use of American power?”

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, David, we had an intensive strategic review upon taking office, and we not only brought the entire United States Government together, but we reached out to friends and allies, people with stakes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And as you know, the result of that strategic review was to conclude that al-Qaida is supported by and uses its extremist allies, like elements within the Taliban and other violent extremist groups in the region as well as worldwide, to extend its reach, to be proxies for a lot of its attacks on Jakarta, Indonesia and elsewhere. So that in order to really go after al-Qaida, to uproot it and destroy it, we had to take on those who are giving the al-Qaida leadership safe haven.

Now, as you know, the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is permeable. There are movements back and forth across it. I think our new strategy, which has been endorsed by a very large number of nations, some of whom don’t agree with us on a lot of other things, is aimed at achieving our primary goal.

And we also learned from Iraq, which were hard lessons, that in order to have our military intervention be effective when they go in and try to clear areas of the extremists, we have to follow in to build up the capacity of the local community to defend itself and to be able to realize the benefits of those changes.

This is a new strategy. It’s just beginning. I think the President believed that it was not only the right strategy, but facing what he faced, to withdraw our presence or to keep it on the low-level, limited effectiveness that had been demonstrated, would have sent a message to al-Qaida and their allies that the United States was willing to leave the field to them.

And in addition, importantly, we’ve seen the Pakistani Government and military really step up, which had not happened to the extent it has now. So the Taliban, which is, as I believe strongly, part of a kind of terrorist syndicate with al-Qaida at the center, is now under tremendous pressure. And I think that’s in America’s national interest.

Now, I have to add, nobody is more saddened than the President and I by the loss of life of our young men and women, and no one is more impatient than we are to see the results of this sacrifice bear fruit. We have the most extraordinary military in the world. They have leadership now we think is totally on point in terms of what we are attempting to accomplish. And I think that we’ll see benefits come from that.

QUESTION: All right. We’re going to leave it there for the moment and we’re going to take a short break here and we’ll have much more with Secretary of State Clinton, including a question that keeps popping up around the world: “Will we ever get to see you as president of the United States? “Well, that’s not – ” All coming up on Meet the Press.

(Break.)

QUESTION: And we’re back with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. How is your elbow?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, it’s getting better. It’s about 80 percent of the way back. There are certain moves that I can make, but there are others that are still kind of painful. But I’m doing my physical therapy. That’s what everybody told me I had to do, and —

QUESTION: Because handshaking is a little hard?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, I tried to —

QUESTION: It’s hard for a diplomat.

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is. I tried to do the handshaking when I was in India and Thailand, and my arm was really sore at the end, so I’m either putting out my left hand – or I love the Thais. I was going around like this to everybody. That helped me out a lot.

QUESTION: It’s just doing that in Germany that’s confusing. That’s just a little hard.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. Well, probably it has to be culturally appropriate.

QUESTION: Let’s take a step back and look at the larger vision for the President’s foreign policy. This is what the President said during his inaugural address, which was something of a mission statement. Let’s watch:

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

And yet, isn’t the problem, six months, in that there may be a willingness to change the tone, there may be more engagement, but nobody is unclenching their fist yet?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, David, that’s not the way I read it at all. I think six months in, look at what we’ve done. We have begun to fulfill our obligation to withdraw from Iraq so that now when I meet with Prime Minister Maliki and ten members of his government and about 12 of ours, we’re talking about educational exchanges, we’re talking about agriculture. We have a very clear policy on nonproliferation which the President has stated, and we’re back in the business of trying to move the world in a very careful but consistent way toward lowering the threat of nuclear weapons. We’ve already talked about bringing the world together, which we have, around a joint response to North Korea and increasingly to Iran. We are sending a message to governments and peoples alike, as the President did in his very important Cairo speech, as he just did in Ghana, that we want government, and particularly democracies, that deliver for people. I mean, I could go on and on.

QUESTION: Right.

SECRETARY CLINTON: We are really back.

QUESTION: But —

SECRETARY CLINTON: And that was my message when I went to Asia: The United States is back and we’re ready to lead.

QUESTION: What did you mean by that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, what I meant was that in many parts of the world, the priorities that were pursued the last eight years did not seem to include them. So just going, for example, to Asia, as I did on my first trip, as I just did, was viewed as a very positive statement of participation. We’re building on some of the good work that’s been done in a bipartisan way with India, starting with my husband, and in fact, in this case, continuing with President Bush with India. So that we have now announced the most comprehensive engagement we’ve ever had with that country.

QUESTION: But if you look at it, the Bush Administration policy in Asia and now the Obama Administration policy in Asia is not that different. You too are distracted by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So I don’t see what’s really changed.

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, see, I disagree with that. I mean, part of what we have done is to organize ourselves so that we can concentrate on many important issues at the same time. I know that, for example, people have raised questions about why I pushed so hard to have special envoys appointed. It’s because I think it would be diplomatic malpractice not to have people of stature and experience handling some of our most difficult problems on a day-to-day basis. I’m the chief diplomat, I’m responsible at the end for advising the President, for executing the policy that we agree upon, but it is to our advantage to have George Mitchell in the Middle East today, to have Richard Holbrooke in Afghanistan, to have retired General Scott Gration coming back from probably his sixth or seventh trip to Sudan, having Todd Stern leading our efforts on climate change. I could not possibly have given the attention that we need in the in-depth way that is required to all of this.

And I think the feeling on the part of much of the world was that the prior administration, for understandable reasons, focused so much on some of the specific issues, like Iraq, et cetera, that really grabbed it and required a lot of attention, that much of the rest of the world felt that they were kind of second tier. When I went to the ASEAN meeting, it hadn’t been for some time that we’d had a Secretary of State pay continuing attention. We announced an exciting new relationship with the lower Mekong countries – Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand. We are working everywhere we can to make clear that the United States cannot solve all the problems of the world alone, but the world cannot solve them without the United States.

QUESTION: You raised your role in the Administration. Here was a recent headline that got a lot of attention, not surprisingly, in the Los Angeles Times: “Clinton seems overshadowed by her boss, some analysts say.” You responded with a pretty sharp retort, saying, “I broke my elbow, not my larynx.”

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s right.

QUESTION: But seriously, has at times this been a struggle?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Not at all. I mean, maybe because I understand the functioning of the United States Government. The President is the president, and the President is responsible for setting policy. Now, we have a great relationship. I see him usually several times a week, at least once one-on-one. And I’m ready to offer my advice. We have an incredibly candid and open exchange. In fact, the whole team does. And I really welcome that.

QUESTION: This is kind of interesting – I mean, the whole team of rivals idea. Do you have a close working relationship? Are you the voice on foreign policy, the advisor in his ear on foreign policy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am the chief advisor on foreign policy. But the President makes the decisions. I have a picture of former Secretary of State Seward in my office. He was a New York senator who went on to serve President Lincoln, which is part of what created this concept of team of rivals. He became one of Lincoln’s closest and strongest advisors. Why? Because he understood, as I do, that the election is over, the President has to lead our country both internationally and domestically. I saw this when my husband was president. At the end of the day, it is the President who has to set and articulate policy. I’m privileged to be in a position where I am the chief advisor, I’m the chief diplomat, I’m the chief executor of the policy that the President pursues. But I know very well that a team that works together is going to do a better job for America.

And one thing I would add is I’ve read a lot of diplomatic history and I know that very often there become sort of warring camps. It’s the Defense Department versus the State Department, or the National Security Council versus the State Department. And in fact, we’ve had administrations where there was just open warfare. You don’t see any of that in this Administration. And in fact, I’ve had some of my predecessors say with some amount of surprise this Administration has no light between it.

QUESTION: Well, to that point, what has President Obama proved to you as president that you didn’t believe about him as a candidate?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I always had a very high respect for him as a colleague. We served in the Senate together. Now, during a campaign you’re going to magnify differences. You’re trying to convince people to vote for you and vote against the other candidate. So I always had a very healthy respect for his intelligence, for his world view, for his understanding of the complexity that we face in the 21st century.

Now having worked with him for six months, what I see is his decisiveness, his discipline, his approach to difficult problems. We have a really good process in the NSC that intensely examines problems, brings people to the table, goes outside the usual circle, tries to tee up decisions for what’s called the Principals Committee, which I and the Vice President and the Secretaries of Defense and our CIA and our DNI and everybody sit around a table in the Situation Room. We take the work that comes from the Deputies Committee that’s gone through this very rigorous process, and we hash it out and we do not always agree and we take positions.

QUESTION: Right.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And at the end, though, we reach a consensus. Either we are at a point where we feel that we know the best thing to suggest to the President, or we suggest a minority and a majority point of view. And then we meet with the President, and the President hears us out. Oftentimes, he’ll put somebody on the spot and he’ll say, “Well, David, what do you really think?” Or he’ll go and say, “I didn’t hear from you yet.” And at the end of the day, the President makes the decision, and I’ve been very impressed by that.

QUESTION: But during the campaign, you questioned both his experience and his toughness. Are those issues that you don’t feel as strongly anymore?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I don’t feel them at all. I mean, I think that those were appropriate issues to raise in the campaign. I have no problem with having raised those because he hadn’t yet been on the national scene. But look, I’m here to say as somebody who’s spent an enormous amount of time and effort running against him I think his performance in office has been incredible.

QUESTION: You are Secretary of State. You are not – I should say your portfolio does not include domestic matters, domestic political debates. And yet, healthcare is obviously a huge debate right now in this country and for this Administration, and this is what you said when you ended your run for the presidency June 7th, 2008. Let’s watch:

“We all want a healthcare system that is universal, high quality, and affordable, so that parents don’t have to choose between care for themselves or their children or be stuck in dead end jobs simply to keep their insurance. This isn’t just an issue for me. It is a passion and a cause, and it is a fight I will continue until every single American is insured, no exceptions and no excuses.”

You’ve always been passionate about this. You’re not involved in the current debate. But why is it so hard, do you think?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, David, it’s hard because the system that we’ve seen grow up almost organically since World War II is so dysfunctional. And unfortunately, the incentives are often not in the right places to reward doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals for their outcomes, to really drive quality.

And I applaud the President for taking it on right off the bat. There are many problems we’re dealing with in our country, and certainly he could have said, okay, fine, we’ll get to that when we get to it. But he’s waded right into it. And I am somewhat encouraged by what I see happening in the Congress. I’ve been there. I know how hard this is.

QUESTION: Is it different than ’93?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, it is. It’s different in several ways. It’s different because I think everybody is now convinced there’s a problem. Back in ’93, we had to keep making the case over and over again. Well, now we know costs will continue to rise. For everybody who has insurance, there is no safe haven. Their costs will go up. We lose insurance for 14,000 people a day. We know that our system, left unchecked, is going to bankrupt not just families and businesses, but our country. So it is a central concern of President Obama and our Administration.

QUESTION: And yet, you wrote in your memoire, Living History, something that was very interesting. You wrote this:

“Ultimately, we could never convince the vast majority of Americans who have health insurance that they wouldn’t have to give up benefits and medical choices to help the minority of Americans without coverage, nor could we persuade them that reform would protect them from losing insurance and would make their medical care more affordable in the future.”

And that’s exactly the issue that President Obama is dealing with now. Do you think he’s doing a better job of getting over that hurdle?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think he’s making a very strong case. And what’s important here is that people are always for change in general, and then they begin to worry about the particulars. As our process moves forward, we have legislation in both houses, we’ve had the committee I used to serve on, the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, so-called Health Committee, pass out a comprehensive bill. We’re seeing action in the House.

Then people will begin to see the particulars, and the legislative process will begin to try to smooth out the rough edges and create the reassurances that people need. But what is so promising for me is that when I wrote that about our experience in the early ‘90s, there were still a lot of routes that people thought we could go down. Well, we’ll try managed care, we’ll get more HMOs, we’ll be able to controls costs for the people who have insurance. I’m talking now not about those who are uninsured, which I think is both a moral and an economic imperative, but the people without it – with it and who are wondering what’s this going to mean for me.

I think people now realize, “I could be uninsured.” The chances that business will continue to pay for insurance over the next 5, 10, 15 years are diminishing. I think, if I remember correctly, in ’93 and ’94, 61 percent of small businesses provided some kind of health insurance for their employees. It’s down to 38 percent. So now everybody’s worrying. And I think that gives the President a very strong case to make.

QUESTION: Has he sought out your counsel on this?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We talk about everything. I have a rule that I don’t ever talk about what I talk about with presidents, whether it’s my husband when he was president or now with President Obama, but —

QUESTION: Even domestic issues, you’ll offer some advice?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m available to the President to talk about anything. Now, obviously, we have a pretty big portfolio that we have to deal with on the international stage.

QUESTION: Bottom line: Do you think healthcare will pass this time?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I do. I think that the time has come. I think this President is committed to it. I think the leadership in Congress understands we have to do something. And I think we’ll get it done.

QUESTION: Let me ask you about another big issue in the news this week, because Henry Louis Gates is also a friend of yours in addition to being a friend of this President’s. Professor Gates arrested, of course – you see the picture there – in his Cambridge home. The President talked about it at a press conference and then showed up unannounced in the briefing room to address it further.

What role do you think he plays or should play in sensitive matters like this?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think the President did an excellent job in addressing it on Friday when he went to the press room. And I think his point is very clear. He said, look, maybe I should have chosen different words, but he’s going to have a beer with Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley, and I think that’s leadership by example. And I really commend him for that.

QUESTION: But you know, it’s interesting because issues of race obviously played out in the course of the campaign. And I wonder, do you think the President has a special responsibility and plays a special role in terms of race relations for the country?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, if something constructive can come out of this latest incident, it will be that people around the country are talking about the continuing challenges we face. Obviously, the fact that the President exemplifies the progress that has been made over generations, the sacrifices of so many who came before, is a powerful statement in and of itself. His experience added to that, I think, is important for the country to see and to digest.

But the President has said many times he’s the President of all the people in the United States. He’s the President who wants to bring people together to solve problems and to make progress together.

QUESTION: All right. We’re going to take another short break here and continue in our remaining minutes with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after this brief station break.

(Break.)

QUESTION: We’re back. Our remaining moments with the Secretary of State. I want to ask you about something that you deal with all over the world, and that’s the topic of women and leadership. Here was a moment from Delhi University in India during your trip when you were asked a question:

“QUESTION: Madame, today and even day before yesterday in one of your speeches, you hinted that the progress of women and the growth of women is directly linked with the progress and growth of any and every country. India has had a woman prime minister as early as in the third decade of its post-independence era, while America has been deprived of – if I can say so – of the same privilege.”

“SECRETARY CLINTON: You can say so to me.” (Laughter.)

What’s it going to take for a woman to be president?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’ll take the right woman who can make the case and win the votes and get elected. And I am certainly hoping that happens in my lifetime.

But what was so interesting about that exchange, David, is that I have now, as you said in the beginning, traveled more than 100,000 miles. I’ve been in, I think, 30 countries. I’ve done a lot of town halls because I believe it’s not just diplomacy between government officials, it’s diplomacy between people, so I’ve gone out of my way to do town halls, to do events that have significance to the countries in which I’m visiting.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked about women and leadership, women in elected office, the role of women in development. This is a subject that is on the minds of people, literally, around the world.

QUESTION: You say “the right woman.” You know, supporters of yours I’ve talked to over time say, “You know what? We’re so disappointed, because if she couldn’t do it, who can?” I mean, all the establishment support, all the money, married to a former president, all of these things that you had established, and yet you couldn’t do it. It’s very daunting to a lot of people.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, look, I’m not going to pretend that running for president as a woman is not daunting. It is daunting. And it is probably a path that doesn’t appeal to a lot of women even in elective office because it is so difficult. But I am convinced – and I don’t know if she’s in elective office right now or if she’s preparing to run for office – but there is a woman who I am hoping will be ale to achieve that. Now, obviously, that’s up to individual women who have to make this decision for themselves.

QUESTION: This was Governor Sarah Palin, who is stepping down as governor of Alaska, and what she said when she was named to the ticket with John McCain last year:

“It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America, but it turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”

Now, you probably don’t agree with her politically, but do you believe that Governor Palin represents a woman’s chance to become president?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m out of politics. That’s one of the things about being Secretary of State. And I would wish her well in her private life as she leaves office.

QUESTION: Does she have what it takes?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s up to the voters to determine. It’s up to the voters to determine with respect to anyone. I mean, putting together a presidential campaign is an extremely complicated enterprise. So I’m just going to leave it at that, and I will be an interested observer. I do want to see a woman elected president. I hope it’s a Democratic woman who represents the kind of approach that I happen to favor.

QUESTION: So no endorsement for Governor Palin at this stage? Okay.

The question again that comes up around the world is what you experienced during an interview on Wednesday in Thailand. Let’s roll that:

“QUESTION: Will we ever get to see you as president of the United States?

“SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s not anything I’m at all thinking about. I’ve got a very demanding and exciting job right now, and I’m not somebody who looks ahead. I don’t know, but I doubt very much that anything like that will ever – ever be part of my life.”

“QUESTION: So it’s wait and see?

“SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no, no, no.

“QUESTION: Never say never.

“SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am saying no, because I have a very committed attitude toward the job I’m doing now, and so that’s not anything that is at all on my radar screen.”

So, you know, I guess we don’t have to worry about a free press in Thailand. They kept coming at you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That was a great – it was a great show. It’s one of the things that I’ve been doing around the world, these interview shows. But the answer is no. I don’t know how many more —

QUESTION: But you didn’t say never.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I say no, never, not at all. I don’t know what else to say.

QUESTION: Are you saying you wouldn’t entertain another run?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have absolutely no belief in my mind that that is going to happen, that I have any interest in it happening. As I said, I am so focused on what I’m doing. And I think that the interest in sort of the political dynamics is obviously fascinating, not just here but around the world.

But you know the more common question that I’m asked, which I don’t think gets enough attention because it’s so important in these emerging democracies, is how could I have run against President Obama all those months, and as hard as I did, and now work with him and work for him. And a lot of countries can’t believe that two former competitors could now have made common cause on behalf of our country. Now, I think that’s the story. And that to me is a message that we’re trying to send to the rest of the world that this is the way a democracy works.

QUESTION: Do you still think about the campaign?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Not really. I sometimes see people who worked so hard for me and who are very committed to electing a woman president someday, and obviously, that provokes emotions in me. But no, I’ve moved on. I think it’s important to move on. I’m not somebody – I tell countries all the time don’t get mired in the past, so I’m going to set an example and not do it either.

QUESTION: Any regrets?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, none at all. I gave it all I had.

QUESTION: Before you go, I want you to react to the ambition of a young woman. This is a young Hillary Rodham writing in sixth grade about ambition:

“When I grow up, I want to have had the best education I could have possibly obtained. If I obtain this, I will probably be able to get a very good job. I want to be either a teacher or a nuclear physics scientist.”

Now, I have to ask you, has this whole thing, being the senator from New York, running for the presidency, is this all about setting yourself up to be a nuclear physics scientist?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, unfortunately, David, I learned early on that that was not in the cards for me, so I had to settle for being in public life, which has been a great reward in and of itself.

QUESTION: Is this the story – how the story is playing out is what you expected?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have to say I was looking at that. I think I wrote that in sixth grade. I think it’s just a lesson to everybody you don’t know where life may lead you and what your opportunities could be. I did believe, and my mother and father impressed on me, the need to get a good education, and I think my family’s support and values and the education that I received set me up to be able to take advantage of a lot of these extraordinary opportunities I’ve been given. I mean, I’m sitting here as a very lucky person, someone who’s had a chance to serve the country that I have loved my entire life, that I believe is an exemplar of what is best in human affairs, that I care deeply about our future. So how lucky can you be? I got to serve in the White House when my husband was president working on issues I care about. I got to represent the greatest state in the country for eight years. And now I get to work with a new president who is so determined to make a better future. I have no complaints at all.

QUESTION: We’re going to leave it there. Secretary Clinton, thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

QUESTION: Good luck in your important work.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, David.

QUESTION: We’re going to continue our discussion, because an hour was not enough time, with Secretary Clinton online and ask her a few questions that our viewers have submitted via email and Twitter. It’s in our Meet the Press Take Two Web Extra up this afternoon our website, plus look for updates from me throughout the week. It’s all at mtp.msnbc.com.
# # #
PRN: 2009/777

OH, Hillary! It provokes emotions in us too because you know very well which woman we are committed to. But we are not looking to the past either. Like you, we are working in the present toward the future because you can’t say no. Here’s why, and I quote:

I think it’s just a lesson to everybody you don’t know where life may lead you and what your opportunities could be.

No, you don’t.

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Press Conference With Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad

Press Conference

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Via Digital Video Conference
Washington, DC
July 24, 2009

MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon from Washington, and good evening to our friends in Ramallah. Here in Washington we are joined by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and in Ramallah by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. We’ll begin the program with Secretary Clinton and then follow by remarks by the prime minister.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. Welcome, and I’m delighted to be able to speak via technology on this important issue. I know that Prime Minister Fayyad and our Consul General in Jerusalem, Jake Walles, and others are joining us from Ramallah. I want to thank you for taking the time to meet with us. And I express – especially appreciate, Mr. Prime Minister, that you and your colleagues agreed to do this late on Friday evening, which I know is not convenient, to allow me to participate once I returned to Washington from Asia.

I wanted personally to announce the delivery of budget support to the Palestinian Authority, under the leadership of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. Because what is at stake for the Palestinian people, for the future of a Palestinian state, for the future security of Israel, and for the region is so critical. This is important also to the United States and the Obama Administration. Finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the broader conflict that has plagued the Middle East for decades has been a priority for the President and me from the very beginning of the Administration.

I am pleased that Senator George Mitchell, our Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, is back in the region. And I believe we are making progress in our efforts to create the environment for a successful resumption of negotiations in the near future. As I said at Sharm el-Sheikh, human progress depends on the human spirit. The broader goals we seek to accomplish – a comprehensive Arab-Israeli agreement and a two-state solution – are more likely to grow out of opportunity than futility, out of hope rather than misery.

As I also said, the point of our engagement is to help the parties make the decisions that are in their best interests. And it is our hope that the support of the United States and other nations will help foster conditions in which a Palestinian state can be fully realized, a state that is a responsible partner, is at peace with Israel and its Arab neighbors, accountable to its people, a state that Palestinians everywhere can be proud of and that will be respected worldwide.

This shared goal depends on strengthening the Palestinian Authority and its ability to meet the needs of its people. In just over two years, President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad have put in place the foundations of a responsible, transparent, accountable government. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the United States has transferred $200 million in direct support to the Palestinian Authority. This transfer fulfills a critical portion of the assistance package that I announced in March in Sharm el-Sheikh. The ability of the United States to provide support directly to the Palestinian Authority is an indication of the bipartisan support for the effort to secure the peace in the Middle East, as well as for the fundamental reforms that the Palestinian Authority has undertaken. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle worked closely with us to make this assistance possible.

An important marker of progress is that the Palestinian Authority now has systems in place to ensure that donor funds are handled transparently and in an accountable manner. We will continue to work with the Palestinian leadership to bolster these safeguards to make sure that the funding ends up exactly where – and for whom – it is intended.

But we are confident, because the Palestinian Authority, under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, has a very exceptional two-year track record of performance on economic reform and prudent financial management, as noted by the World Bank, the IMF, and our own internal reviews. These fiscal reforms serve a larger purpose. We are seeing the positive impact that responsible government is having on the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank, daily improvements in security, law and order, and economic opportunities.

For these improvements to take root, the capacity of the PA must be both deepened and strengthened. To continue this impressive record of reform, the PA needs financial help, and they need it now. President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad have worked hard to lower the burden on donors, but continued progress will depend on donors meeting their commitments. The United States has and will continue to be a partner with the Palestinian people for peace, prosperity, and security.

Now many other nations, including our European partners, have contributed generously to support the PA. I call on all nations that wish to see a strong, viable Palestinian state living in peace and security with its neighbors to join us in supporting the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority has proven to be a reliable partner for peace. It offers the Palestinian people the option of a peaceful, free, and prosperous future, and an end to the violence and conflict that have deprived so many Palestinians of the opportunity to fulfill their hopes and dreams and for their children to live up to their God-given potential.

So these are the goals we seek to accomplish: a comprehensive Arab-Israel peace agreement and a two-state solution. And it is our hope that this support will further conditions in which a Palestinian state can be realized.

I’m very grateful for the changes and reforms that have been instituted in the Palestinian Authority, and I look forward to continuing to work with President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad on moving forward with these extremely important and critical goals. Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER FAYYAD: Thank you very much. Thank you, Madame Secretary, for taking the time to be with us today to take part in a very important event. Indeed, it is a hugely important event on at least three counts. For one, $200 million assistance package of yours represents the largest amount of external financial assistance to be made available to the Palestinian Authority in a single tranche by any donor toward any purpose since the inception of the PA, Palestinian Authority.

Second, the entire amount assistance is earmarked for budget support – the very type of external assistance we need the most, particularly at this juncture, given the severe financial difficulties that we have been facing for many months now. So your assistance couldn’t have been more timely, and it will enhance our capacity to deliver vital and needed services to our people in Gaza and in the West Bank. For all of this, we are grateful to you, Madame Secretary.

In this case, our sense of deep gratitude is matched, if not even surpassed by the by immense pride in what we have accomplished – to be worthy of the confidence of our people and the international community in the legitimacy of our financial management system. Given the very high and indeed exacting standards of accountability and transparency set forth by the U.S. Congress of aid disbursement, the fact that you have chosen to disburse the full $200 million directly to our treasury carries with it a clear signal amount of confidence in our financial systems and our financial management.

It is indeed a huge vote of confidence and one which we deeply cherish. Madame Secretary, any aid receiving country would be proud to qualify for your assistance being delivered directly to its treasury. For us Palestinians, it takes on added significance, given what it implies, in terms of our readiness for statehood and the fulfillment of our ultimate goal of living in freedom and dignity in a country of our own.

So, Madame Secretary, on behalf of President Abbas, the Palestinian National Authority, and the Palestinian people, I thank you personally. I also would like to thank President Obama, the U.S. Congress, and of course, the American people. Thank you so very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Prime Minister Fayyad, and I just want to underscore how much we appreciate all of the steps and changes that your government has undertaken. Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER FAYYAD: (Inaudible), thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think we’ll take a question or two. Is that okay, Jake?

STAFF: Yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: On this subject. Yes.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, we’ve heard from Maliki, and perhaps Prime Minister Fayyad can speak to this as well, that as you’re – as you say, you’re making progress in creating the conditions for negotiations, that they’d like to see the Obama Administration make some kind of declaration or vision statement in terms of how you see the negotiations taking place, and your vision for a Middle East settlement so that that perhaps could, you know, get the parties onboard in terms of moving forward, that that’s what you need, and they want you to do it before Ramadan.

Do you anticipate any statement of this nature? Do you think that the Obama Administration will lay out its vision before the negotiations resume? And – because Senator Mitchell had said that he thought it would be done in weeks, not months, and we’re kind of approaching months at this point.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, this is one step at a time. And as you know, Senator Mitchell is back in the region having further consultations and exploring, in depth, some of the actions that are being considered. He will be in Israel in a few days, and we’re going to let the parties continue to drive this process because we want to get back to the negotiations between the two of them. The final status issues, which are obviously very important, can only be resolved by agreement between the Palestinian Authority and the Israelis. So at this point, we’re working very hard to get to that step and then we’ll see where we go from there.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Could you be a bit more specific, though, as to when you think these negotiations could begin? Are you making any progress, for example, on the settlement issues? That seems to be the key issue that’s holding this up. Are you expecting Senator Mitchell to come back with something special, something resolved there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not going to preempt Senator Mitchell. He is the person conducting these consultations on behalf of the President and myself. Obviously, this is very complicated work. There are lots of moving parts. So I think we’ll wait until there is some announcement to be made, and then once that happens, it will be, obviously, right to ask questions about it. But let’s let Senator Mitchell continue the important work that he’s doing.

MR. CROWLEY: Perhaps one or two more and then —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. Okay, yeah.

QUESTION: Okay. Madame Secretary, a large number of senior American officials are going to Israel next week to talk with senior Israeli officials. I wonder if the Administration has decided maybe this is a good time to try to ratchet down some of the tensions with the Israelis over the issues that are being discussed, led by the settlements.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, when we talk with the Israelis, they are conversations between friends. I mean, we have a deep and durable relationship with Israel. It has been our commitment, no matter who is in the White House and no matter who is the prime minister in Israel. So I think that the conversations that we’re engaged in with our Israeli counterparts are very forthright, very clear that we have to work through a lot of the concerns that are expressed. Our goal is to ensure a peaceful and secure future for the Israeli people and future generations of Israelis.

So I think that there is a great deal of positive communication that is taking place. And it’s not only on the issues that Senator Mitchell is driving, but we have many interests and concerns with the Israelis that will be explored and discussed when General Jones and his delegation arrive there.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, Senator Mitchell is going to Syria. Do you expect that you can make progress on the Syrian-Israeli track before the Palestinian-Israeli track?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Again, I think this is one of the issues that is being explored. As you know, we began a policy of reengaging Syria when I became Secretary of State, and working with our teams here, Jeff Feltman and others from the State Department and the White House. And we think that it’s a fruitful engagement that we intend to pursue. We have notified the Syrians that we are returning an ambassador to Damascus.

But it is just the beginning. I mean, I don’t want to leapfrog over the hard work that has to be done in working through many of the issues that are of great concern to the United States that Syria has to be willing to discuss with us and, hopefully, make some changes going forward.

So as we move through this process, we obviously will be informing you as to where we are. But I think the question of either/or track – Senator Mitchell is exploring deeply with the Syrians how they would respond to renewed negotiations with the Israelis. The timing on that, the simultaneity of it; that’s all to be determined.

Yeah, go ahead.

MR. CROWLEY: One more?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you. Following up on this track, on the Syrian track and also Senator Mitchell’s visit, importantly, for a solution to be viable, other Palestinian actors will have be to involved. Syria has important sway with Hamas and other Palestinian factions. So what do you expect from the Syrians on that track, and how important is it for national unity between the Palestinians? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, the Palestinians themselves have been, as you know, meeting in Cairo over a number of months to discuss some of the challenges to unity, and I leave that to them to describe, because there are internal dynamics that have nothing to do with any other party. It’s between them.

But with respect to Hamas being a part of any negotiations, we’ve set forth the conditions that would be necessary for Hamas to meet. And they’re conditions that not only do we support, but the Quartet — the UN, EU, United States, and Russia – support, and the Palestinian Authority supports. I mean, the Palestinian Authority is working very hard, as evidenced by their reform efforts, the changes that they’ve instituted, to try to be a responsible and effective partner with Israel in any peace negotiations going forward.

So they don’t want someone at the table who doesn’t even agree with the purpose of the negotiations. So the conditions are clear – Hamas has to renounce violence, recognize Israel, and agree to the enforcement of prior agreements that have been entered into by the Palestinian Authority.

That hasn’t yet come to pass. But I think the path forward for Hamas is very clear. If the Syrians or anyone else can persuade them to take a positive path forward, well, clearly, I think the Palestinian Authority and others would welcome that. But at this moment, that is not yet their position.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much. I leave you in the good hands of P.J. And I don’t see anybody who was on that trip with me. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, well, I mean, gosh, I was just looking to see who (inaudible). (Laughter.) Thank you all.

MR. CROWLEY: We can say for the record, she got off the airplane, came straight to the office. (Laughter.)

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Remarks With Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
July 24, 2009

Date: 07/24/2009 Description: Jt. Press Availability with Secretary Clinton and Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki in the Treaty Room at the State Department. © State Dept ImageSECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to have this opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Maliki. We are continuing our work together to meet our goal of building a stable, sovereign and self-reliant Iraq. Our countries are on a long journey together, and obstacles, of course, remain, but we are making significant progress.

Today’s meeting was the second of the Strategic Framework Agreement Higher Coordinating Committee. This agreement establishes the terms of our relationship beyond security cooperation. We are working to promote economic growth and human development and diplomatic efforts so that Iraq can play a very constructive role not only at home, but throughout the region.

We have had six months of work together, so today, we reported on that work. And I’d like to thank Deputy Secretary Jim Steinberg and Ambassador Christopher Hill for their ongoing leadership of our Iraqi policy. Implementing the strategic framework agreement will be the focus of our work here at the State Department for months ahead.

I very much appreciate the positive contributions that the prime minister and his team made today. We will partner with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to host the U.S.-Iraq Business and Investment Summit in October. And we’re going to work to make sure that the investment and business climate is very attractive. There are many important issues, but let me just highlight our education exchange. I want to commend Iraq for the $2.5 million it has recently put into the Fulbright student exchange program. We’re also working on justice issues to enhance law enforcement and strengthen the judicial and corrections systems. And we are also working to assist the Iraqi Government with the return of Iraqis who left their country but now wish to return home and be part of a new Iraq.

I am pleased to announce that the United States is contributing more than $100 million in new assistance this year to support the return and reintegration of displaced Iraqis. Again, thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for your leadership.

PRIME MINISTER MALIKI: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. I would like – in the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to you, Secretary Clinton, for your interest and your commitment to convene the second meeting for the Higher Coordination Committee as a part of the strategic framework agreement between us. And I thank you very much for managing this meeting and convening this meeting. There were so many ideas, commitments, principles, joint work ahead of us. All of us gives – all of that gives us the hope to look forward to a future that is bright for both.

The meeting that was convened today was a very strong launching to broaden the relationship under the strategic framework agreement that was signed between the two nations. Through the review and through the briefings that we heard during the meetings, there is tangible progress that actually happened and took place. But we also said that this is not enough. We still have to work more for more success and more achievements and cooperation throughout the various spheres that are covered in the bilateral relationship.

Madame Secretary, today’s meeting, it was a declaration in itself that we’re going into a new phase, from a previous phase of cooperation that focused on security and confronting terror and various groups into a phase where we expand our cooperation and relationship to economics, to trade, to higher education, to tourism, to every other sphere.

And I here would like to express my gratitude and thanks for the $100 million from the United States to support the efforts of the return of the Iraqis who left their places. And I am delighted by the level of seriousness and our agreement that the next meeting will be convened in Baghdad. And at the meantime, between now and the next meeting, all the various subgroups will continue their meetings in order to accelerate, in order to activate the various lines of cooperation.

And today’s meeting with the Chamber of Commerce, where a number of American businessmen and corporations came, I believe that was a very strong prelude to the upcoming conference that will be convened in October here in the United States, which will be the launching pad for a massive work in order to reconstruct Iraq, in order to invite investments, and in order to rebuild the country.

And tomorrow, also, we will be signing an educational initiative agreement which would allow us to send the first group of Iraqi students to the United States. We hope that we will be able, through that program, to send 10,000 Iraqi students to receive their education here. And I would like to express our thanks and gratitude to your cooperation, Madame Secretary, in allowing that American visas will be issued out of the American Embassy in Baghdad.

Thank you so much.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, first, have you provided the prime minister with any clarification regarding the meeting that been held in Istanbul between American officials and Iraqi insurgents? And have you signed any protocol with the insurgents during that meeting? (Speaking in Arabic.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say that I –

INTERPRETER: Can I say to the prime minister in Arabic? Can I give him the question?

SECRETARY CLINTON: He was asked a question in Arabic.

INTERPRETER: Please.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, okay.

INTERPRETER: (Speaking Arabic.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have discussed this matter, which was only recently brought to my attention, with our Ambassador and with other officials. And we intend to make sure that the Iraqi Government is fully informed of any such activities, whether they are sponsored by another party or come from any other source. So we want to be sure that we have a very close working relationship and we have a very clear line of communication, and that’s what we intend to do going forward.

PRIME MINISTER MALIKI: (Speaking Arabic.)

QUESTION: Have you signed any (inaudible), Madame Secretary?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, we have not authorized any to be signed.

STAFF: Elise.

INTERPRETER: One – just one second.

PRIME MINISTER MALIKI: (Via interpreter) In the spirit of bilateral cooperation and when the relationship between two parties who are equal and sovereign, I believe that constant dialogue – it’s very important in order to achieve the desirable outcome. I am quite satisfied on terms of what I heard on this issue. And I have been given a commitment that the Administration will not negotiate or reach any agreements with those who killed American soldiers, Iraqi soldiers, and Iraqi people.

QUESTION: But let me – can I —

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no. We have to move on. I’m sorry.

QUESTION: Mr. Prime Minister, you came to Washington asking the Obama Administration for more political support in terms of helping Iraqis mediate over issues such as Kirkuk, between Arabs and Kurds, playing more of a mediative role on political reconciliation. Did you receive that political support? And are you satisfied that as the Obama Administration takes a military disengagement, that it will not undertake a political disengagement?

And Madame Secretary, if I might, on Honduras, President Zelaya is just feet from the Honduran border with Nicaragua. He seems to have a lot of cell phones in his hand, talking on the cell phone. Wondering if you had spoken to him and what you’re urging him in terms of his planned return into Honduras. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER MALIKI: (Via interpreter) First of all, I am very satisfied, because what happened between Iraq and the United States is that we achieved an agreement regarding security arrangements and not disengaging. And if what was intended here is the withdrawal of forces from cities and towns, I see this as a manifestation of success, where their work would not be needed.

My visit here to the United States came in order to meet with the leadership here and strengthening the relationship with them, and also to activate the strategic framework agreement through a relationship of mutual cooperation, covering all other issues on the economic front, commercial front, education front, tourism, and so on.

And of course, within the spirit of friendship and cooperation, a number of critical issues were discussed. One of them is Iraq’s, under Chapter 7 and the various sanctions that were imposed on Iraq over the years, in addition to other bilateral issues. But we did not come specifically for any issues such as Kirkuk or anything else. And the issue of Kirkuk is an Iraqi issue. It will be settled among the Iraqis through the constitutions, through negotiations, through contacts, through dialogue, and it’s inevitable that we will reach an Iraqi solution to it.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, with respect to Honduras on the other side of the world, we support a negotiated, peaceful solution of the Honduran crisis. We have consistently urged all parties to avoid any provocative action that could lead to violence.

President Zelaya’s effort to reach the border is reckless. It does not contribute to the broader efforts to restore democratic and constitutional order in the Honduras crisis. So we urge President Zelaya and all other parties to reaffirm their commitment to a negotiated, peaceful solution to the integrity of Honduran democracy and the safety and well-being of the Honduran people. In fact, we urge both parties to accept the proposal put forth by President Arias. It is the basis for a peaceful solution, and that is what the United States supports.

QUESTION: Did you speak with him today?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Not today.

Thank you all very much.

PRIME MINISTER MALIKI: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’ve been speaking to Prime Minister Maliki today.

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These photos from yesterday in Thailand illustrate better than any words can the advantage Hillary Rodham Clinton has on the world stage. She is female among all those men. More than that she is extremely attractive and charming. When a woman this beautiful decides to turn on the sex appeal, she wins, the men win, everybody wins. So let’s go back a minute and revisit Obama’s reasons for nominating her: her brilliant intellect, her energy, her work ethic – all of those. We can all agree that she is exceptional in all of those respects. But no one has mentioned (so I will) that she wins the day on every trip (and every bilateral at home) because she is also gorgeous, hot, and sexy. Men fall right into those blue eyes. She makes long, meaningful eye contact and pulls them in like a siren.

Now you may think it is sexist of me to say this. I don’t think it is, and I don’t particularly care if you do think so since I know it is not. Since Hillary’s Village went down, I feel a strange sense of freedom, much as I miss my friends. I got tired of being told that I should concentrate on Hillary’s accomplishments rather than her pantsuits, beautiful face, pretty figure, and always surprising hair. It’s all a package, girls! I always have emphasized her abilities, resumé, and accomplishments.

She made a huge leap forward in Asia this week. You have to be blind not to see that her brand of smart diplomacy is leveraged as much by sex appeal as by scholarship, reason, and outreach. She’s got it. She uses it, and why shouldn’t she? It works! It’s fun to watch! Heeeeeerrrrrre’s Hillary!

Gordon C. Chang gets it!

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