Archive for the ‘NATO’ Category

There is no dearth of kennel imagery at the Republican National Convention.  There are plenty of “dog-whistle” remarks. Last night, in the post mortem of Ted Cruz’s speech, a commentator said, “Its not like he killed a puppy!” Cruz himself, in refusing to endorse Trump,  has said he will not be a ‘servile puppy dog.’


If you have the general impression that the Grand Old Party is going to the dogs, however, you need look no further than the nominee himself whose running mate told the convention last night that we do not abandon our friends just before the candidate himself told the New York Times, well … not exactly.

In an interview with David E. Sanger and Maggie Haberman, Trump said he might, as president, not honor NATO commitments if nations have not ‘fulfilled their obligations to us.’  Foreign policy experts and even members of his own party are reeling.

Jeffrey Goldberg, in The Atlantic, takes the issue one step beyond, likening Trump to Vladimir Putin.

It’s Official: Hillary Clinton Is Running Against Vladimir Putin

Fulfilling what might be the Russian autocrat’s dearest wish, Trump has openly questioned whether the U.S. should keep its commitments to NATO.

Jeffrey Goldberg

The Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has chosen this week to unmask himself as a de facto agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a KGB-trained dictator who seeks to rebuild the Soviet empire by undermining the free nations of Europe, marginalizing NATO, and ending America’s reign as the world’s sole superpower.

I am not suggesting that Donald Trump is employed by Putin—though his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was for many years on the payroll of the Putin-backed former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. I am arguing that Trump’s understanding of America’s role in the world aligns with Russia’s geostrategic interests; that his critique of American democracy is in accord with the Kremlin’s critique of American democracy; and that he shares numerous ideological and dispositional proclivities with Putin—for one thing, an obsession with the sort of “strength” often associated with dictators. Trump is making it clear that, as president, he would allow Russia to advance its hegemonic interests across Europe and the Middle East. His election would immediately trigger a wave of global instability—much worse than anything we are seeing today—because America’s allies understand that Trump would likely dismantle the post-World War II U.S.-created international order. Many of these countries, feeling abandoned, would likely pursue nuclear weapons programs on their own, leading to a nightmare of proliferation.

Trump’s sympathy for Putin has not been a secret. Trump said he would “get along very well” with Putin, and he has pleased Putin by expressing a comprehensive lack of interest in the future of Ukraine, the domination of which is a core Putinist principle. The Trump movement also agrees with Putin that U.S. democracy is fatally flawed. A Trump adviser, Carter Page, recently denounced—to a Moscow audience—America’s “often-hypocritical focus on democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.” Earlier this week, Trump’s operatives watered down the Republican Party’s national-security platform position on Ukraine, removing a promise to help the Ukrainians receive lethal aid in their battle to remain free of Russian control.

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When your only character witnesses are your own kids and the rest of the support speeches at the convention must rely on demonizing your opponent rather than advancing your image, you have a problem.  When foreign policy experts align you with our arch adversary, one for whom you have expressed a certain admiration, it should render you radioactive.

It is high time for the media to start holding a magnifying glass over Donald Trump.  There has been a lot of screaming about Hillary: three emails with little embedded (c)s and a server that was more secure that the government servers, persistent lies about what she did and said during and after the attacks in Benghazi.

When Donald Trump entertains the notion of compromising NATO, the golden fleece of the 20th century, an alliance that kept the world safe in the wake of two  world wars, he endangers national security.  When he says something is going on and we need to find out what, he is correct.  Something is going on … with him.  We may not know what, exactly, but it is very clear that he is in no way qualified or predisposed to lead the free world.

It should not be difficult to figure out what to do.

We put Hillary Clinton’s resume side by side with Donald Trump’s. The contrast couldn’t be starker.

1997: Trump ponders Miss Universe swimsuit sizes. Hillary gets health insurance for 8 million kids.

Statement From Jake Sullivan On Trump’s NATO Comments

HFA Senior Policy Adviser Jake Sullivan released the following statement on Donald Trump’s latest comments about NATO and his view of America’s role in the world:

“Tonight, Mike Pence said Donald Trump would stand with our allies. Tonight, Donald Trump flatly contradicted him.

For decades, the United States has given an ironclad guarantee to our NATO allies: we will come to their defense if they are attacked, just as they came to our defense after 9/11. Donald Trump was asked if he would honor that guarantee. He said… maybe, maybe not.

Ronald Reagan would be ashamed. Harry Truman would be ashamed. Republicans, Democrats and Independents who help build NATO into the most successful military alliance in history would all come to the same conclusion: Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit and fundamentally ill-prepared to be our Commander in Chief.

The President is supposed to be the leader of the free world. Donald Trump apparently doesn’t even believe in the free world.

Over the course of this campaign, Trump has displayed a bizarre and occasionally obsequious fascination with Russia’s strongman, Vladimir Putin. And he has the policy positions – and advisors – to match. Just this week, we learned that the Trump campaign went to great lengths to remove a plank from the GOP platform about aid to Ukraine that would have offended Putin, bucking a strongly held position within his own party. Previously, he celebrated the Brexit vote, and in turn, casually predicted the disintegration of Europe. And now, he won’t even commit to protecting our NATO allies against a Russian invasion. It is fair to assume that Vladimir Putin is rooting for a Trump presidency.

More broadly, Trump has apparently decided that America lacks the moral authority to advance our interests and values around the world. He has adopted the logic and positions of China, Russia, and Iran. And there will be plenty of time in the days ahead to address his strategy to strengthen our coalition against ISIS, which apparently can be summed up in one word, ‘meetings.’

The choice in this election is clear. Hillary Clinton will defend our allies. She will protect our people. And she will uphold a bipartisan tradition of American foreign policy that has made us the greatest force for peace, progress, and prosperity the world has ever known.”



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Oh, how she will be missed!

Public Schedule for December 5, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
December 5, 2012





Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Brussels, Belgium and Dublin, Ireland. Secretary Clinton is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Ambassador Marshall, Spokesperson Nuland, Director Sullivan, Senior Director for European Affairs Liz Sherwood Randall, and VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS. Please click here for more information.

8:45 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in the meeting of the NATO-Georgia Council, in Brussels, Belgium.

10:30 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers with Non-NATO ISAF Contributing Countries, in Brussels, Belgium.

11:30 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at NATO, in Brussels, Belgium.

12:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere at NATO, in Brussels, Belgium.

1:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a press availability at NATO, in Brussels, Belgium.

2:10 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in the NATO Balkans meeting, in Brussels, Belgium.

2:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at NATO, in Brussels, Belgium.

3:20 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in the U.S.-EU Energy Council meeting, in Brussels, Belgium.

4:50 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with EU Parliament President Martin Schulz, in Brussels, Belgium.

5:05 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends a reception in her honor hosted by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, in Brussels, Belgium.

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Over the past few weeks and months we have seen many “lasts.”  It is bittersweet since we have loved following Mme. Secretary’s diligent service, but having watched we also have an idea of how the physical investment has  weighed on her.  There are only a few weeks left for her in this post, and here, to the press, she uses the word “final” perhaps for the first time.

Press Availability Following Ministeral Meetings at NATO Headquarters

Press Availability

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
NATO Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium
December 5, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. Well, today marks my final attendance at a NATO foreign ministerial. I’ve spent a good amount of time in this building during the past four years, and I think it was time well spent. The alliance has made great strides, and we’ve seen, just in the past 24 hours, how much ground member-states can cover when we are working together. And it proves, once again, why this alliance is one of the greatest forces for security and stability in history.

Yesterday, at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, we reached a decision to augment Turkey’s air defenses to protect against a threat of ballistic missiles from Syria and reinforce our commitment to Turkey’s security. The United States expects to make a contribution to this essential NATO mission.

At yesterday’s meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, we reviewed our extensive cooperation with Russia in places like Afghanistan and also spoke frankly about the areas of disagreement that continue to exist between NATO and Russia, including Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the need for a political transition in Syria.

At today’s meeting with our non-NATO ISAF partners, we reviewed the situation on the ground in Afghanistan as the transition to 2014 continues, when the Afghan National Security Forces will have full responsibility for Afghanistan’s security, with the U.S. and ISAF forces in a supporting role. And we discussed the need for an efficient, transparent, accountable mechanism to channel the international community’s contributions to the Afghan forces.

At the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting this morning, we continued our conversation with Georgia about how it can keep making progress toward NATO, especially by continuing to strengthen democratic institutions, reform their armed forces, and contribute to our common security.

When you take a step back and consider all the important issues that we covered in a single ministerial meeting here at NATO, it reveals, again, how critical our alliance is. After more than 60 years, it keeps us safe; it projects security and stability globally. And through our partnerships, we’re able to do more in more places. For the United States, we find it extremely valuable to be able to consult closely with our European allies on challenges from Syria to the Middle East to North Korea.

When I think back on the past four years and all we have accomplished together, it really is quite impressive: summits in Strasberg, Lisbon, and Chicago that put forth very substantive outcomes; a new strategic concept to guide NATO in the 21st century; a major successful operation in Libya; a plan to protect all allies from ballistic missiles; a substantive dialogue with Russia started again after having been frozen; chartering a course for the transition in Afghanistan; and of course, enlarging the alliance to include Albania and Croatia.

So the United States is grateful to NATO. We believe it’s needed more than ever, and therefore we believe we all must continue to invest in it, politically, financially, diplomatically, and communicate to our people the value that NATO brings, because these investments are worth it.

And finally, on a personal note, I’ve been very proud to work with Secretary General Rasmussen and the extraordinary team here at NATO, along with my foreign ministerial colleagues. And I thank all of them for the excellent working relationship that we’ve enjoyed the past four years.

MS. NULAND: We’ll take three today. We’ll start with AP, Brad Klapper, please.

QUESTION: Yes. Thank you. Madam Secretary, you and National Security Advisor Donilon have spoken with your Egyptian counterparts about Egypt’s constitution process, but you’ve expressed no public concern, despite what some people in your Administration warn is the draft’s attempts to roll back the rights of women, religious minorities, freedom of speech, and the press. Madam Secretary, what shortcomings do you see in the draft constitution, and what would be the repercussions of the constitution entering into force on the democratic transition? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Bradley, first let me say we have been watching very closely this process as it is unfolding in Cairo with concern. We’ve expressed that repeatedly over the last weeks. Because almost two years the Egyptian people took to the streets because they wanted real democratic change. And they, therefore – not the Americans, not anyone else but the Egyptian people – deserve a constitution that protects the rights of all Egyptians, men and women, Muslim and Christian, and ensures that Egypt will uphold all of its international obligations. They also want and deserve a constitutional process that is open, transparent, and fair and does not unduly favor one group over any other.

So the upheaval we are seeing now, once again in the streets of Cairo and other cities, indicates that dialogue is urgently needed, and it needs to be a two-way dialogue, not one side talking at another side, but actual, respectful exchanges of views and concerns among Egyptians themselves about the constitutional process and the substance of the constitution. It’s also important that Egypt’s courts be allowed to function during this period.

So we call on all stakeholders in Egypt to settle their differences through democratic dialogue, and we call on Egypt’s leaders to ensure that the outcome protects the democratic promise of the revolution for all of Egypt’s citizens. Ultimately, it is up to the Egyptian people to chart their way forward. But we want to see a process that is inclusive and a dialogue that is truly open to a free exchange of ideas that will further the democratic process in Egypt.

MS. NULAND: Next will be Javid Hamim from Pajhwok News Agency, Afghanistan.



QUESTION: Thank you. What is the latest development of negotiation about bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan, and what’s its impact on negotiation and reconciliation?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we are off to a productive start about the bilateral security agreement. It follows, as you know, on the Strategic Partnership Agreement that we signed between the United States and Afghanistan last May. And with the launching of the talks on a bilateral security agreement, we’ve had the first round of negotiations November 15th. There is an agreed date to have the next round with the goal being to conclude an agreement within one year. And these talks really illustrate our commitment to a post-2014 Afghanistan that can secure itself and to a political process that is able to move Afghanistan further toward democracy and stability that respects the rights of all Afghans, and which puts into writing the partnership that the United States and Afghanistan enjoy.

We also continue to support an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process. Ultimately, we believe there has to be a political resolution to the ongoing disputes among themselves. So the United States strongly supports that and we would like to see progress made. We think the two are reinforcing, because we want everyone in the region to know that the United States intends to stand by the people of Afghanistan, and that we want to see all Afghans enter a political process, lay down their arms, absolutely denounce violence, and work together for the betterment of their country.

MS. NULAND: Last one today will be Alexandra Mayer DPA, Germany.

QUESTION: Right here, Madam Secretary. Just to get back on the Patriot missiles, how worried are you that this deployment could actually intensify tensions in the region rather than calm down the situation? And is the United States ready to go further if there are chemical weapons used inside Syria or against neighbors? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well first, I think it’s a great tribute to NATO that this decision to deploy the Patriots was taken, because it’s very much in line with our solidarity among all of the members. This is for defensive purposes; that’s made absolutely clear in the statement that was agreed upon. It is solely for the defense of Turkey. It will have no offensive or other purpose. I don’t believe that it necessarily brings any greater attention to the tragedy unfolding in Syria, but it does send a clear message to the Syrians that Turkey has the full support of all its NATO allies.

And I have to say again what I said on Monday, what President Obama has said repeatedly: We’ve made our views absolutely clear to the Syrians, to the international community, through various channels – public, private, direct, indirect – that this is a situation that the entire international community is united on. And our concerns are that an increasingly desperate Assad regime might turn to chemical weapons or might lose control of them to one of the many groups that are now operating within Syria. And so as part of the absolute unity that we all have on this issue, we have sent an unmistakable message that this would cross a redline and those responsible would be held to account. And we intend to make that view as clear as we possibly can.

Now ultimately what we should be thinking about is a political transition in Syria and one that needs to start as soon as possible. Now that there is a new opposition formed, we are going to be doing what we can to support that opposition. I’m looking forward to the Friends of the Syrian People meeting next week in Marrakesh, where we will explore with likeminded countries what more we can do to try bring this conflict to an end. But that will require the Assad regime making the decision to participate in a political transition, ending the violence against its own people. And we hope that they do so because we believe, as you know, that their fall is inevitable. It’s just a question of how many people will die until that date occurs.

So on Syria there’s great concern here at the alliance but a great solidarity in defending Turkey and sending a clear message to the Assad regime and in trying to work toward the day when we can see the conflict come to an end.

MS. NULAND: Thank you all very much.


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With NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, U.K. Foreign Minister William Hague, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and others.

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U.S. and Europe: A Revitalized Global Partnership


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Brookings Institute
Washington, DC
November 29, 2012

Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. It’s wonderful to be back at Brookings. It’s always a joy to be introduced by such a longtime friend and colleague as Strobe Talbott and to have this opportunity to discuss with you how we have, over the last four years, revitalized our transatlantic alliance. I also want to recognize and thank members of the diplomatic corps who are here.

There is no better venue for my remarks than here at Brookings. Through the Center on the United States and Europe and initiatives like the Daimler Forum on Global Issues, Brookings provides an essential forum for examining how the United States and Europe can work together to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. After all, in the democracies of Europe, we find countries with shared strategic and economic interests and with whom we share a long history, deep cultural ties, and cherished values. That makes us natural partners in advancing our interests, both within Europe and throughout the world.

But I must begin by being very frank. When President Obama and I came into office, this relationship was frayed. There were skeptics and doubters on both sides of the Atlantic. Europeans were asking hard questions about what the transatlantic partnership could deliver for them and whether it was even still relevant in the 21st century. And many Americans were asking the same questions.

At the same time, at the start of the Administration, we faced some rather daunting global challenges, among the most difficult in decades: a global economic downturn, an aggressive regime with nuclear ambitions in Iran, two unfinished wars, uncertainty about America’s global leadership and staying power. From day one, President Obama and I made clear that if we were going to make progress, we had to do the hard work of renewing and reinvigorating our partnerships around the world, and that began with Europe.

We knew it couldn’t happen overnight. As then-Senator Obama said in Berlin in 2008, “True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require the burdens of development and diplomacy, of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other, and, most of all, trust each other.” Four years later, we are showing that this partnership can deliver results for all our people.

Next week, I will make my 38th visit to Europe as Secretary. Visits to other parts of the world often get more attention, because I think it’s kind of taken for granted in a way that we’re going to be going back and forth across the Atlantic. But indeed, 38 visits to Europe is something that I have been delighted to do because of the importance we place on these relationships.

In Prague, I will see senior officials to discuss our efforts to promote Czech energy independence and to advance human rights and democracy. In Brussels, I’ll meet with NATO allies to talk about the broad range of security challenges we face. I’ll meet with EU counterparts to discuss the future of energy security. In Dublin, I’ll join my colleagues from the OSCE to renew and review our progress in advancing security, democracy, and human rights across Europe and Eurasia. And in Belfast, I’ll meet leaders and citizens to reiterate America’s commitment to a peaceful, prosperous Northern Ireland. It is a full schedule, but it demonstrates the commitment we’ve brought to our transatlantic partnership.

Today, I’d like to discuss briefly how these efforts have helped the United States and Europe meet a number of key security challenges: the war in Afghanistan, the crisis in Libya, Iran’s nuclear program, and strengthening our strategic defenses. At the same time, our transatlantic partnership has arrived at a critical moment. Decisions we’ll soon face about our shared economic interests will determine how well we can thrive together in the years to come. So I want to describe the work that lies ahead of us as well.

But first, let me review what I think we’ve accomplished in the past few years because I think it speaks volumes of the value and importance we’ve placed on the relationship. We began by working to improve the lines of communication that had become strained. See how diplomatic I’ve become? (Laughter.) American and European diplomats have come together thousands of times in the past four years to discuss issues both familiar and new, from security to trade to clean energy. It may not be glamorous work, but it is the hard daily work, the necessary work, of rebuilding the mutual trust and confidence on which our partnership depends.

Ultimately, our goal was to face, head on, the issues that had driven a wedge between us and get back on the path of cooperation. Consider Afghanistan. For close to a decade, tens of thousands of European troops have served alongside American service members in the largest and longest overseas deployment NATO has ever undertaken. At the same time, many thousands of European diplomats and development experts served with ours as well. But four years ago, support for this effort was fading. Strained budgets were making some governments look twice at the cost of the commitment. Many in America worried that the United States would be left to bear the burden on its own and doubted that our alliance would stay the course.

Instead, we came together with our allies and charted a common path forward. It started in Brussels in 2009, when we agreed that getting the job done would take a stronger military presence on the ground. The next year, in the summit in Lisbon, we agreed on a timetable for transitioning security responsibilities to the Afghans by the end of 2014. Earlier this year at the summit in Chicago, we reaffirmed the core principle of “in together, out together,” and made commitments on financing, supporting, and training Afghan security forces beyond 2014. In Tokyo last summer, we pledged ongoing economic and civilian support for the Afghan people following the transition.

And together, we are helping the Afghans take back their country and secure their future. Al-Qaida’s core leadership has been decimated there. Three-quarters of the population now live in areas where Afghan forces have taken over lead responsibility for security, and conflict has moved farther away from population centers.

Now, believe me, we know there is an enormous amount of hard work ahead, and success, however one defines it, is far from guaranteed. But we worked past our differences; we kept our eyes on the most important goal, helping the Afghan people lay the foundation for their own progress and better futures for themselves.

Even as we shored up support for a decade-long conflict in Afghanistan, we also showed that the Alliance can answer the challenges of today. When the Libyan people demanded their freedom and Qadhafi threatened to hunt down the people of Benghazi like rats, we responded. And we all shared the burden. Early on, the United States knocked out Libya’s integrated air defenses, and later we provided other crucial assets. Our European and Canadian allies policed the skies, carried out the bulk of air strikes, provided logistical support, and enforced the arms embargo at sea.

Think for a moment about the NATO action in Kosovo in the 1990s. In that mission, the United States dropped nearly 90 percent of the precision guided munitions, compared to our allies’ 10 percent; in Libya, it was the other way around.

Now, Libya was not a flawless operation. European air forces were severely stressed, and we are concerned about further defense cuts by our allies that could impede our ability to undertake necessary defense and such operations in the future. But Operation Unified Protector showed that NATO still has a critical role to play in advancing our common security interests. And we’re taking advantage of the lessons we learned to make the Alliance more effective.

Beyond NATO, there may be no better example of our cooperation than the way we are holding the Iranian Government accountable for its illicit nuclear program. Few would argue that Iran’s nuclear ambitions are anything less than a grave threat to its neighbors and the world. But four years ago, during a serious economic slowdown, the conventional wisdom said that the EU had no appetite for deploying the most powerful diplomatic tool we had to put pressure on the regime, a total embargo of Iranian oil.

Well, we set out to prove the conventional wisdom wrong. We built a strong coalition of nations, persuaded other oil suppliers to step up production, and created the space that the EU needed to put a boycott in place. We coupled that action with unprecedented global sanctions and some creative solutions that are making it harder for companies to do business with Iran: going after Iran’s central bank; working with insurers, shippers and oil companies to keep Iran’s oil resources bottled up inside their own borders. As a result, Iran’s oil production is down a million barrels a day. That costs the Iranian government $3 billion every month.

The United States, as President Obama has said repeatedly, is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. I think we have also shown that diplomacy is our preferred approach. But the window for Iran to negotiate seriously is not open indefinitely. Through the E3+3 process and multilateral fora like the IAEA, the United States and European leaders are pushing Tehran to live up to its international obligations and abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

We’re also modernizing our defensive capabilities across Europe to guard against 21st century threats. We’re maintaining our largest permanent military presence outside the United States there, while at the same time updating our ballistic missile defense to protect against threats from outside the continent. These new technologies are helping protect potential targets in both Europe and America. We’ve already deployed a critical radar in Turkey, and agreed to home-port Aegis missile defense cruisers in Spain. And in the coming years, new interceptor systems and their American operators will be deployed in Romania and Poland, enhancing our defensive capabilities for years to come.

So on a wide range of global security issues we are more closely aligned with our European partners than we’ve ever been.

Now, of course, Europe and the United States are never going to agree on every issue, just as Europeans will not always agree among themselves. Just today, in fact, a number of EU member states are likely to take a different position from us on a measure at the UN General Assembly granting observer-state status to the Palestinian Authority. The United States opposes the resolution, which we believe will do nothing to advance the peace and the two-state solution we all want to see. At the same time, however, we and our European partners agree on the most fundamental issues and share a common objective: two states living side by side in peace and security.

We can all also agree that we are better off working together on this issue, just as on the others that I have mentioned. Imagine what the world would look like if we did not. A Libyan dictator, left to his own devices, slaughtering his own people. A safe haven for terrorists in Afghanistan. Iran leveraging its oil supply to underwrite a nuclear weapons program. That is not a world in which Americans or Europeans or anyone else would be better off.

So what we have achieved in the last four years is a record we must keep building on, because there are even more consequential and in many ways more difficult challenges that lie ahead.

For example, we look to our longtime European allies to help improve security and build new economic relationships in Asia. And let me be clear: Our pivot to Asia is not a pivot away from Europe. On the contrary, we want Europe to engage more in Asia, along with us to see the region not only as a market, but as a focus of common strategic engagement.

Another ongoing challenge we need to deal with together is Russia. We’ve made progress with Moscow on areas such as nuclear arms reduction, sanctions on Iran, and trade, and we seek to expand our areas of cooperation. But the reality is that we have serious and continuing differences on Syria, missile defense, NATO enlargement, human rights, and other issues. It will be up to us and our European partners to continue looking for opportunities to engage with Russia and to make progress on the issues that matter to us.

There are so many other areas that are ripe for cooperation, from supporting the transitions in North Africa and the Middle East, to responding to climate change, to relieving famine in the Horn of Africa, to managing relationships with emerging powers. But if the United States and Europe are not strong, stable, and prosperous in the long-term, our ability to tackle these and other issues will be put at risk. If we can’t make the necessary investments in defense, diplomacy, and development, our partnership might not bear the weight of these 21st century challenges.

So while we build on our recent successes, we also need to remain focused on areas where our partnership still has work to do. Perhaps the most important question in the years ahead will be whether we invest as much energy into our economic relationship as we have put into our security relationship. At a time when countries are measuring their influence as much by the size of their economies as by the might of their militaries, we have to realize the untapped potential of the transatlantic market. This is as much a strategic imperative as an economic one.

After all, so many of the things we do around the world depend on our economic strength – from providing defense, to investing in emerging markets, to aiding development, to responding to crises. And there may be no greater threat to our security and our transatlantic partnership than a weak economic future on one or both sides of the Atlantic. If we’re serious about strengthening our economic ties, we each need to build stronger foundations at home. For the United States, this means making tough political choices. It means investing in our own competitiveness to set the platform for stronger economic growth. And it means addressing our domestic fiscal challenges.

As you know, Washington is gearing up for another round of budget negotiations. And I am again hearing concerns about the global implications of America’s economic choices. And although I am now out of politics, let me assure you that for all the differences between our political parties here, we are united in our commitment to protect American leadership and bolster our national security. Reaching a meaningful budget deal is critical to both. This is a moment, once again, to prove the resilience of our economic system and reaffirm American leadership in the world.

And we are counting on Europe to do the same. First and foremost, that means resolving the Eurozone crisis. And we’ve seen some good progress recently. Over the summer, the European Central Bank announced that it would stand behind governments that are implementing critical reforms, which has effectively reduced borrowing costs for these countries. And a few weeks ago, Greece took an important step by passing a budget and reform package that makes tough trade-offs. And just this week, European governments and the IMF agreed on measures to reduce Greece’s debt burden.

Ireland and Portugal have implemented sweeping reforms that should improve their competitiveness. Spain and Italy are also on the path to reform and eventual recovery. This has not, of course, been easy, but after two years of vigorous debate and a dozen elections, the 17 governments of the Euro area remain united in their will to maintain Europe’s monetary union. Time and again, skeptical governments and crisis-weary voters have chosen to keep the Eurozone intact and to keep trying to resolve the crisis.

Now, we recognize that this is fundamentally a European problem that requires European solutions. America can’t and shouldn’t try to dictate any answer or approach. But even as the risks of financial crisis recede, I want to urge European leaders to keep working to address the challenge of economic growth and jobs. The Eurozone economy is slipping back into recession as austerity policies take effect. France and Germany, which have largely weathered the economic storm so far, are also beginning to show some signs of slowdown.

So it’s vital to the entire global economy that European leaders move toward policies that promote credible and sustainable growth and create jobs. But even as we’re making these tough choices on our own, there’s a great deal more on the economic front we can and must be doing together. Like tackling global imbalances, which are creating a drag on the recoveries in both America and Europe, and perhaps more importantly, working to strengthen our transatlantic trade relationship.

Now of course, Europe is already America’s largest trade and investment partner. And we have made some progress building on that. We have revitalized the Transatlantic Economic Council and set up the U.S.-EU Energy Council. We’ve broken down regulatory barriers and are working to establish standards, common standards, for manufacturing, and our collaboration with the private sector is starting to show results in developing smart grids and other new energy technologies.

But despite that progress, the United States remains one of only a handful of WTO members not to move beyond Most-Favored-Nation status with the EU. We need to do better. In the face of rising challenges to our shared economic model, and the growth of barriers to trade that have emerged not at borders but behind them, we need to continue to promote a rules-based order of open, free, transparent, and fair competition in the global marketplace.

That’s why we are discussing possible negotiations with the European Union for a comprehensive agreement that would increase trade and spur growth on both sides of the Atlantic. We have more work to do, including addressing longstanding barriers to trade and market access. But if we work at it and if we get this right, an agreement that opens markets and liberalizes trade would shore up our global competitiveness for the next century, creating jobs and generating hundreds of billions of dollars for our economies. So I hope we will continue working to find a way forward, and make stronger trade and investment ties a major strategic goal of our transatlantic alliance.

Now, the path ahead for Europe and for our partnership will not be an easy one, but I’m confident that we will, once again, do what is necessary because we have done it so many times before. We united to rebuild a continent devastated by war. We built NATO to protect a continent threatened by Soviet domination. And we’re continuing to work together on the unfinished work inside Europe, like European enlargement and integration, which the United States has championed for decades.

We are looking forward to Croatia’s accession to the EU next year. Last month, as Strobe said, I traveled to the Western Balkans with High Representative Ashton, where we expressed our support for the aspirations of the people there to be integrated into Europe and the Euro-Atlantic Alliance. We support the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia that is taking place under the good offices of the EU. And we hope to see movement toward normalizing relations.

And let me add what a pleasure it has been working with Cathy Ashton. Not only is she a great diplomat and a personal friend, but it is exciting to see the EU becoming a more cohesive voice in world affairs.

We also must continue advancing the work of democracy and human rights in those parts of Europe and Eurasia that are not yet where they need to be. Ukraine’s October elections were a step backwards for democracy, and we remain deeply concerned about the selective prosecution of opposition leaders. In Belarus, the government continues to systematically repress human rights, so we must continue to push for the release of political prisoners and support those brave activists standing up for the rights of the people of Belarus. We welcomed Georgia’s elections and the first peaceful transition in that country’s history, and we continue to call on Georgia’s new government to demonstrate its commitment to democracy, transparency, due process, and the rule of law. From Eastern Europe to the Balkans to the Caucasus, the United States and the EU must continue to assist civil society, support democratic reforms, and promote tolerance throughout and within societies.

In short, we are advancing the values and principles that have underpinned our partnership for so long. And even in the moments when the United States and Europe could agree on little else, that foundation remained steadfast. In this sense, the last four years represent not a new direction, but a return to form, and a reminder of what the United States and Europe stand for: That commitment to freedom and democracy, that dedication to human rights and opportunity for all, the conviction that progress depends on our willingness to see past our differences.

There’s an old saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” And over the past four years – and for decades before that – the United States and Europe have come far, together. Now we’re called to take on two tasks at once: to continue the work of advancing our shared interests and values around the world, even as we shore up the sources of our strengths at home.

If we work together, I’m confident that the United States and Europe are up to the challenge, that our partnership will not only endure but it will thrive and grow stronger, and that we will carry forward the work of every generation of Europeans and Americans alike – to build a more just, more prosperous, more peaceful, free world. That is an extraordinary mission, and it’s a privilege to be part of trying to move it forward.

Thank you all very much.

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen prepare to unveil the logo of the Chicago summit meeting following a NATO foreign ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels December 8, 2011. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet (BELGIUM – Tags: MILITARY POLITICS)

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen’s Extension

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 4, 2012



The United States congratulates NATO Secretary General Rasmussen on the extension of his mandate for a fifth year. This is a well-deserved acknowledgment of his outstanding leadership and tireless commitment to sustaining and strengthening the Alliance. He also has overseen the development of a new Strategic Concept and a bold plan of action to ensure we have the tools required to confront a changing and uncertain landscape. We look forward to continuing to work with him in the years to come.

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Remarks With Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
NATO Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium
April 18, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. I’m very pleased to join Secretary Panetta and our defense and foreign minister colleagues here in Brussels for this meeting, the joint ministerial of NATO, to prepare for the upcoming NATO summit in my birthplace, Chicago. The main focus of our conversations today was Afghanistan, which I will focus on tomorrow at the meeting of our ISAF partners. But let me say how grateful the United States is for the solidarity and steadfastness of our NATO allies and ISAF partners.

As difficult a week as this has been in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan, the big picture is clear. The transition is on track, the Afghans are increasingly standing up for their own security and future, and NATO remains united in our support for the Lisbon timetable, and an enduring commitment to Afghanistan. The attacks in Kabul this week show us that while the threat remains real, the transition can work. The response by the Afghan National Security forces were fast and effective, and the attacks failed. Not long ago, this kind of response by Afghans themselves would not have been possible. So the Afghans are proving themselves increasingly ready to take control of their own future.

Now by their nature, transitions of any kind are challenging. There will be setbacks and hard days. But clear progress is happening, and today, NATO reaffirmed our commitment to stand with the Afghans to defend stability and security, to protect the gains of the last decade, and to prevent there ever being a return of al-Qaida or other extremists operating out of the Afghan territory.

Both Secretary Panetta and I were impressed by how united the NATO allies are in supporting the Lisbon timetable. We are on track to meet the December 2014 deadline for completing the security transition. Already 50 percent of the Afghan people are secured primarily by Afghan forces, and by this spring, it will be 75 percent. Today, we worked on the three initiatives for the Chicago summit next month.

First, we will agree on the next phase of transition to support our 2014 goals. Second, we want to be ready to define NATO’s enduring relationship with Afghanistan after 2014. And third, we are prepared to work with the Afghans to ensure that the Afghan National Security force is fully funded. NATO is united behind all these goals, so we are looking forward to a very productive summit in Chicago.

But let’s keep in mind that the transition and NATO’s mission are part of a larger enterprise, one that also has political and economic dimensions. Afghanistan’s neighbors have a central role to play in that larger enterprise along with the international community. Our common approach was sharpened when the international community met in Istanbul and Bonn last year, and will be carried forward when we meet again in Chicago, Kabul, and Tokyo this year.

So beyond NATO, many nations are invested in Afghanistan’s future and are providing support for the Afghans to attain self reliance, stability, and further their democratic future. They have to protect, however, as they go through this transition, their hard-fought political and economic and human rights progress. Incidents like the one we heard of yesterday when 150 Afghan girls became sick after the water at their school was poisoned, reminds us that there are people who would destroy Afghanistan’s long-term future in order to restrict the rights of women and girls. Human rights protections for religious and ethnic minorities are also still fragile. Universal human rights are critical to Afghanistan’s security and prosperity, and we will continue to make them a priority.

While NATO has worked very hard to assist the people of Afghanistan, NATO has also been changed by this experience. The alliance is now a leading force for security, not just in the Atlantic region, but globally. We are steadily deepening and broadening the partnerships NATO has with dozens of countries around the world, and our partners are adding valuable capability, legitimacy, and political support to NATO’s operations and missions from the Mediterranean and Libya to Kosovo and Afghanistan.

So we believe we are building a stronger, more flexible, more dynamic alliance enriched by partners from every continent and prepared to meet the security challenges of our time. With that, let me turn the floor to Secretary Panetta.

SECRETARY PANETTA: Thank you. Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to join Secretary Clinton here in Brussels. We had a very good series of meetings today with our NATO defense and foreign minister counterparts. Much of our discussion focused on our shared effort in Afghanistan, and what came out of these meetings was a strong commitment to sticking to the plan and the strategy that has been laid out by General Allen, and finishing the job in Afghanistan. Allies and partners have a very clear vision and a very clear message. Our strategy is right, our strategy is working, and if we stick to it, we can achieve the mission of establishing an Afghanistan that can secure and govern itself, and never again become a safe haven for terrorists to plan attacks on our country or any other country.

All of us are committed to the goals that were set out in the Lisbon framework, including continuing the transition to full Afghan security leadership by the end of 2014. We know there will be continuing challenges, and we saw some of those challenges over this last weekend. This is a war. There will be losses, there will be casualties, there will be incidents of the kind that we have seen in the last few days. But we must not allow any of that to undermine our commitment to our strategy.

The fact is, with regards to the events that took place over the weekend, we saw Afghan security forces do what we have trained them to do. They responded quickly, professionally, and with great courage, rendering ineffective those largely symbolic attacks that we saw in and around Kabul.

General Allen said he visited an Afghan special operations commando who had been wounded in the insurgent attacks and asked him if he could do anything for him. The Afghan commando’s response was, and I quote, “I just want to get back out there with my brother soldiers,” unquote. That short phrase speaks volumes. As General Allen has made clear, history proves that insurgencies are best and ultimately defeated not by foreign troops but by indigenous security forces, forces that know the ground, that know the territory, that know the culture, that know the neighborhood. When the Afghans do their job, we are doing our job. When the Afghans win, we win.

And the Afghans are making progress. They are in the lead now in areas that encompass more than 50 percent of the population in Afghanistan. When the third tranche of areas are transferred, we will have 75 percent of the population under Afghan governance and security. They have been in the lead for counterterrorism night operations since December. And now, thanks to a memorandum of understanding that was recently signed, all of these operations will fall under the authority of Afghan law. In less than six months’ time, Afghan security forces will take full leadership of detention operations, thanks again to another agreement that was signed recognizing Afghan sovereignty.

As I’ve said, 2011 was a real turning point. It was the first time in five years that we saw a drop in the number of enemy attacks. Over the past 12 weeks, enemy attacks continue to decrease compared to the same period in 2011. Taliban has been weakened, Afghan army operations are progressing, and the reality is that the transition to Afghan security and governance is continuing and progressing.

We see other signs that we are seriously degrading the insurgency. By January 2011, 600 Taliban had integrated into the society. This month, that number topped 4,000. We intend to build on this success. We’re committed to an enduring presence in Afghanistan post-2014 and a continuing effort to train, advise, and assist the ANSF in protecting the Afghan people and denying terrorists a safe haven. We cannot and we will not abandon Afghanistan. The key to our enduring partnership is continued international support. We cannot shortchange the security that must be provided by the Afghan forces now and in the future.

Today, I will also discuss with my NATO counterparts the steps needed to ensure that the alliance has the right military capabilities for the future. Across the board, allies are making important commitments to smart defense, with opportunities for new capabilities in ISR, missile defense, and air-to-air refueling. While significant progress has been made, important work lies ahead. The NATO we build is not only the force of today; it must be the force of 2020.

I’m pleased to announce that earlier today, along with Czech Defense Minister Vondra, I signed the Reciprocal Defense Procurement Agreement with the Czech Republic. The agreement reaffirms the importance and vitality of the U.S.-Czech defense relationship and enhances our cooperative security relationship. And as you know, this is the last high-level meeting before the Chicago summit in May. I think Secretary Clinton and I will take back to President Obama the results of these discussions. And I believe we have helped lay the groundwork for a very successful summit, and most importantly, for a strong and enduring NATO alliance.

MS. NULAND: We’ll take three today. Let’s start with Reuters. Arshad Mohammed, please.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, I’m sure that you will have seen that the violence – the government violence continues in Syria. Homs continues to be shelled, I think almost every day since the ceasefire ostensibly took effect. And the Syrian foreign minister has pushed back against the kind of mission that Kofi Annan would like to insert, saying that it should be no more than 250 monitors, they don’t need their own helicopters and mobility, and they should be from friendly countries.

Given this, is it now time for the United States to look harder at whatever kinds of pressure can be brought to bear against the Assad government? And specifically, are you giving any more thought to rethinking your previous opposition to others arming the rebels? And are you giving any more thought to trying to get the Arabs to impose a more forceful sanctions regime on Syria?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Arshad, first of all, Syria was a subject of conversation among many of our allies today. Every country in NATO is watching the situation with concern. I don’t want to prejudge what does or does not happen with the observers. The first tranche of the UN monitors is just beginning to deploy. It is, obviously, quite concerning that while we are deploying these monitors pursuant to a Security Council resolution that confirms our commitment to Kofi Annan’s six-point plan, the guns of the Assad regime are once again firing in Homs, Idlib, and elsewhere, and Syrians continue to die. So we are certainly cognizant of the very challenging road ahead. We are all here, united in favor of Kofi Annan’s plan and his urgent call for a robust monitoring force.

But we are at a crucial turning point. Either we succeed in pushing forward with Kofi Annan’s plan in accordance with the Security Council direction, with the help of monitors steadily broadening and deepening a zone of non-conflict and peace, or we see Assad squandering his last chance before additional measures have to be considered.

Now, we will continue to increase the pressure on Assad. I spoke with several ministers about the need to tighten sanctions, tighten pressure on the regime, on those who support the regime. And we also are going to continue pressing for a political solution, which remains the goal of Kofi Annan’s plan and the understandable goal of anyone who wants to see a peaceful transition occur in Syria.

I also would add that I’ve only spoken for the United States. The United States is not providing lethal arms, but as I’ve said before, the United States is providing communications and logistics and other support for the opposition. And we will continue to do everything we can to assist the opposition to be perceived as – and in reality become – the alternative voice for the Syrian people’s future.

And make no mistake about it; this conflict is taking place right on NATO’s border. We saw, just last week, the shelling across the borders into Turkey and into Lebanon. Our NATO ally, Turkey, has already suffered the effects of not only the influx of refugees that it is very generously housing, but also having two people killed on their side of the border because of Syrian artillery.

So we will remain in very close touch as events unfold. I look forward to continuing our consultations tomorrow at the ad-hoc group meeting that will be hosted by Foreign Minister Juppe in Paris.

But as I have reiterated, we will judge the Assad regime by their actions, not their words. We have been working to try to reach consensus in the Security Council, which we did in support of Kofi Annan’s six-point plan. The burden has shifted, not only to the Assad regime, but to those who support it to be forced to explain why, after time and time again stating that they will end the violence, the violence continues. So obviously, this is going to be a very high priority for all of us going forward.

QUESTION: Is it okay for others to arm any rebels?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m not speaking for anyone but the United States of America.

MODERATOR: The next question will be from Anne Gearan of the Associated Press.

QUESTION: Yes. To both of you, please, could I ask you to comment on publication today of photos purportedly showing U.S. troops posing with the corpses of Taliban militants? What did you think when you heard about this? What did you think when you saw the photos? And doesn’t this sort of undermine all the progress that you claim and the strategy you laid out just a moment ago?

Secondly, if I could ask each of you to respond to President Karzai’s remark yesterday that he would like a firm written commitment of 2 billion a year from the United States for security forces. Should he be concerned that you’re going to renege on that promise? And why doesn’t he just take your word for it?

SECRETARY PANETTA: With regards to the photos, I strongly condemned what we see in those photos, as has General Allen. That behavior that was depicted in those photos absolutely violates both our regulations, and more importantly, our core values. This is not who we are, and it’s certainly not who we represent when it comes to the great majority of men and women in uniform who are serving there.

I expect that the matter will be fully investigated. That investigation has already begun. This is a matter that goes back, I believe, to 2010, but it needs to be fully investigated, and that investigation, as I understand, is already underway. And wherever those facts lead, we will take the appropriate action. If rules and regulations were found to have been violated, then those individuals will be held accountable.

Let me also say this: This is war. And I know that war is ugly and it’s violent. And I know that young people sometimes caught up in the moment make some very foolish decisions. I am not excusing that. That’s – I’m not excusing that behavior. But neither do I want these images to bring further injury to our people or to our relationship with the Afghan people. We had urged the L.A. Times not to run those photos, and the reason for that is those kinds of photos are used by the enemy to incite violence, and lives have been lost as a result of the publication of similar photos in the past, so we regret that they were published. But having said that, again, that behavior is unacceptable, and it will be fully investigated.

With regards to President Karzai’s comment, we – as both the Secretary of State and I know from our own experience, you have to deal with Congress when it comes to what funds are going to be provided. And we don’t, nor do – we do not have the power to lock in money for the Afghans or anybody else.

QUESTION: Did you apologize on behalf of the United States for those photos or the actions depicted in them in your meetings today?

SECRETARY PANETTA: I was not asked about it, but obviously, my apology is on behalf of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Government.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: And the final question will come from Petro Dekurning of NRC Handelsblad, a Dutch newspaper.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, the secretary general told us that some allies already came up with contributions for the Afghan army after 2014. Are you satisfied with this? And while this was not a pledging conference, what do you expect? What amounts do you expect from the allies to come up with? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we were very encouraged by the commitment from the NATO allies to the funding of the Afghan National Security Forces. We believe that we are on the path to ensuring that these security forces, which, as Leon has just said, made such progress because of our training and mentoring over the last few years, will have the resources necessary to protect the Afghan state and the Afghan people. So I’m going to let individual countries make their own announcements.

But as we move forward toward the NATO summit, one of the goals is to ensure that NATO has an enduring relationship with Afghanistan, and in many ways, not just in terms of financial commitments, but in other ways as well. A lot of the member countries are stepping up and talking about what they intend to do. And similarly, tomorrow, we expect to hear from a number of our ISAF partners about their continuing commitment as well. So I think both Leon and I were encouraged and believe we’re making progress.

MS. NULAND: Thank you very much.

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Remarks to the World Affairs Council 2012 NATO Conference


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Sheraton Waterside Hotel
Norfolk, VA
April 3, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much for that introduction. And in this fast-changing world, we need leaders with a steady hand and a clear vision for the future. General, you have demonstrated both, and I very much appreciate that.

I also want to thank Larry Baucom – thank you, Admiral, for your leadership of the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads – Mayor Paul Fraim and the city council for helping to host this event. I’m delighted that Congressman Bobby Scott and Congressman Scott Rigell could join us, and I thank them for that.

It is for me a great pleasure to be back in Norfolk. When I was representing New York in the United States Senate, I was asked to serve on a committee advising the Joint Command. It was a fascinating experience, and I have many very wonderful memories of the meetings and the hospitality that we were afforded here. And it’s especially timely that we would meet, since tomorrow marks the 63rd anniversary of the signing of the Washington Treaty, when 12 countries pledged to safeguard each other’s freedom and committed to the principles of democracy, liberty, and the rule of law.

From those earliest days, Norfolk served as a crucial naval base and training facility for the alliance and our partners. And today it is home to ACT, where staff from every nation in NATO are taking on one of the most important challenges we face together – how to continue transforming our alliance so that it can champion those principles just as effectively in the 21st century as we did in the 20th century. And there can be no better place and no better time, as you celebrate another Norfolk NATO Festival, to discuss the greatest alliance in history and the future we are shaping together.

This morning, I had the great privilege of going to VMI and addressing the cadets and members of the community there. And I talked about General Marshall, an extraordinary American whose life of service still is unique, not only as a military leader but as the secretary of state and the secretary of defense. And I was reminded, as I looked through the pictures in the George Marshall Museum after speaking with the cadets about George Marshall and our vision of how to take those eternal values that he so well represented and bring them forward into today’s time and then projected into the future, of the challenges faced by that generation when they began this great enterprise known as NATO. There was nothing certain about it. NATO and the Marshall Plan were extraordinarily visionary. They were smart power, the original form of that phrase, in action. And it set the future on a firm foundation.

So I think we live in a similarly challenging time. And it therefore is incumbent upon us, citizens and leaders alike, to chart a similarly firmly-founded future, based on the values we cherish and the direction that we seek for the kind of country and world we want to leave to our children.

It was extraordinary, 63 years ago, when this enterprise known as NATO started. Now, some will say the world was a simpler place, divided into that bipolarity of freedom and communism, the West and the Soviet Union and others. And it was dangerous; there was no doubt about that. I grew up during that period and can still remember those drills of going under our desks in case we were attacked by a nuclear weapon. (Laughter.) Looking back now, it seems a little strange – (laughter) – but at the time, we all understood that we were in a battle, a battle for the future.

Well, we are now in a battle for the future. And one of the great attributes of our country has always been how we preferred the future, how we planned and executed in order to achieve tomorrow what we hoped to see happen, and also how we came together for the common good around common goals, and therefore representing in a historic arc the success of this remarkable nation.

Well, as we live in this period of breathtaking change, we are called upon to respond similarly. Democratic transitions are underway in North Africa and the Middle East, whose outcomes are not known. Syrians are undergoing horrific assault by a brutal dictator. The end of the story has not yet been written. The United States has ended combat operations in Iraq, but the future of Iraq is not secure. And in Afghanistan, NATO and our ISAF partners have begun transitioning responsibility for security to the Afghan people.

Now, these and other shifts are taking place in the context of broader trends – the rise of emerging powers, the spread of technology that is connecting more people in more places, and empowering them to influence global events and participate in the global economy like never before. And this is all occurring against the backdrop of a recovering economy from the worst recession in recent memory.

Now, amid all this change, there are some things we can count on. One is the unbreakable bond between America and Europe, a bond created by shared values and common purpose. In virtually every challenge we face today, Europe is America’s partner of first resort. We’re working together in the Middle East and North Africa, in Afghanistan, and reaching out to emerging powers and regions, like those nations in the Asia Pacific.

Now, we will always work together, Europe and America. That won’t change. But the way we work together must change when the times require it. We have to test ourselves regularly, making sure we are focusing on the right problems and putting our resources where they’re needed most. At the State Department and USAID, I started a process designed to do just that: the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, modeled on a similar review that the Defense Department undertakes every four years. We finished that first review more than a year ago, and it continues to drive our effort to become more adept at responding to the threats and opportunities of our time.

Now all of this should sound familiar to those of you who are following the transformation of NATO. This alliance is no stranger to change. Fifty years ago, it was created to lay that foundation for the reemergence of Western Europe and to stand as a bulwark against Soviet aggression.

After the Cold War, NATO’s mission evolved to reforming and integrating Central and Eastern Europe as they rose from decades of Communism. Then two years ago in Lisbon, the leaders of NATO set another new course for our alliance by adopting a strategic concept that takes on the security threats of the 21st century from terrorism to cyber attacks to nuclear proliferation. Next month, we will take another step in this evolution when President Obama hosts the NATO Summit in Chicago. Now, we are both eager to show off Chicago – I was born there, and he of course calls it home, and we’re looking forward to making concrete progress on a number of important issues.

First, is the ongoing transition in Afghanistan. I understand that your own and Maria Zammit came back yesterday from leading a WAC mission to Afghanistan and will be reporting to your fellow group members throughout the country on what she saw there, and I’m glad the State Department could help make that trip happen.

In Lisbon, we set a goal of transitioning full responsibility for security to Afghan security forces by 2014, and they’re making real progress toward that goal. Al-Qaida senior leadership has been decimated and its relationship with the Taliban is fraying.

Meanwhile, the Afghan National Security Forces are becoming stronger and more capable. Today, roughly 50 percent of the Afghan population lives in an area where they are taking responsibility for security. And this spring, the number will go up to 75 percent.

Now, I’m well-aware we’ve had a very difficult period in that relationship. And there is certainly a lot to be learned from the incidents that we have watched unfold. But it should not (inaudible) the fact that we have made progress and are continuing to do so. In Chicago, we will work to define the next phase in this transition, in particular, we will look to set a milestone for 2013, when ISAF will move from a predominantly combat role to a supporting role, training, advising and assisting the Afghan National Security Forces while participating in combat operations when necessary.

This milestone is consistent with the commitments we made in Lisbon because it will ensure that ISAF maintain a robust troop presence and combat capability to support the Afghan people as the transition completes. By the end of 2014, Afghans will be fully responsible. In Chicago we will discuss the form that NATO’s enduring relationship with Afghanistan will then take. We also hope that, by the time we meet in Chicago, the United States will have concluded our negotiations with Afghanistan on a long-term strategic partnership between our two nations. We anticipate that a small number of forces will remain, at the invitation of the Afghan Government, for the sole purpose of training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces and continuing to pursue counterterrorism operations. But we do not seek permanent American military bases in Afghanistan or a presence that is considered a threat to the neighbors, which leads to instability that threatens the gains that have been made in Afghanistan.

It is also essential that the Afghan National Security Forces that we have worked so hard to train have sufficient, sustainable funding for the long run. We’re consulting with allies and partners to reach a unified vision for how we can support these forces. We want to make it clear to the Afghan Government and the Afghan people, as well as to the insurgents and others in the region that NATO will not abandon Afghanistan.

Now, clearly our relationship with Afghanistan has its share of challenges, from the killing of American and allied troops by Afghan security personnel to the unintentional mishandling of Qu’rans and the tragic murder of Afghan civilians by Americans. People on all sides are asking tough questions about whether we can work past our differences. And while these such incidents have tested our relationship, they have also shown how resilient it is. So the transition remains on track and Afghan officials have worked with us to lower tensions. We have maintained communications at the highest levels and continue having productive discussions on complex issues, like a plan to transition detention operations. We believe a stable Afghanistan is in America’s interest, in NATO’s interest, and we remain committed to working to achieve it.

We also remain committed to supporting Afghan reconciliation. Our goal is to open the door for Afghans to sit down with other Afghans and work out the future for their country. The United States has been clear about the necessary outcomes of any negotiation. Insurgents must renounce violence, abandon al-Qaida, and abide by the laws and constitution of Afghanistan, including its protections for women and minorities. If Afghanistan is ever going to reach its full potential, the rights of women, minorities, and all Afghans must be protected, and their opportunities to participate in their society must be preserved.

We’ve also been clear about the steps the Taliban must now take to advance the process. They must make unambiguous statements distancing themselves from international terrorism and committing to a peace process that includes all Afghans.

So the Taliban have their own choice to make. We will continue to apply military pressure, but we are prepared to work with Afghans who are committed to an inclusive reconciliation process that leads toward peace and security.

Now, as we proceed on these diplomatic and security fronts, we’re also promoting economic development. Afghanistan’s political future is inextricably linked to its economic future, and in fact, the economic future of the entire region. That is a lesson we have learned over and over all over the world: People need a realistic hope for a better life, a job and a chance to provide for their family. And to that end, last year in Bonn, ISAF partners adopted a vision for what we call the Transformation Decade – the period stretching from 2014 through 2024, when international assistance will encourage growth and development in the Afghan private sector. Part of that effort is an idea we call the New Silk Road, a web of economic and transit connections that will bind together a region too long torn apart by conflict and division. We’re partnering with the World Bank and others to help Afghanistan integrate its economy with others in the region, to begin trading and investing with one another, and developing new sources of growth. The private sector will be crucial role in this effort.

On each of these fronts – security, diplomatic, and economic – we are helping the people of Afghanistan strengthen their country and ensure that it never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists.

Our second goal in Chicago touches on a subject that is at the center of ACT’s work, our shared effort to update NATO’s defense capabilities for the 21st century. Two years ago in Lisbon, our leaders laid out a vision for the alliance for the next decade. That vision commits us to ensuring that NATO can deter and defend against any threat. Yet we are taking on this challenge at a moment when the budget of every member country is stretched especially thin. So in Chicago, we will outline a clear vision of how NATO will maintain the capabilities we need in line with the resources we have. This approach works hand-in-hand with Secretary General Rasmussen’s concept of smart defense, which is designed to make sure our alliance remains agile and efficient as well as strong. And I appreciate the work that has been done from ACT in building political support throughout NATO for this innovative approach.

Here’s an example of how it works in practice. We are collaborating on a new Alliance Ground Surveillance system, which uses drones to provide crucial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information to our forces. If each country in NATO had to buy this system separately, it would be prohibitively expensive. But by pooling our resources and sharing the burden, we can provide better security for every ally at a lower cost. And in Chicago, we’ll decide how to use this system as a hub for joint operations.

There are other ways we will look to strengthen our work together. In Lisbon, for example, we agreed to deploy a missile defense system to provide full coverage and protection for NATO European territory, population, and forces against the growing ballistic missile threat. In Chicago, we will look to advance that goal by developing our plans for NATO to exercise command and control of missile defense assets. We will also seek a commitment to joint exercises and training programs that deepen the habits of cooperation we have developed through our work together in Afghanistan. And we will highlight NATO’s decision to extend the Baltic Air Policing Program, which reassures our Baltic allies and frees up resources they can contribute to other NATO efforts, including Afghanistan.

Finally, our third goal in Chicago will be to cement and expand our global partnerships. Now of course, NATO is and always will be a transatlantic organization, but the problems we face today are not limited to one ocean, and neither can our work be. More than 20 non-NATO countries are providing troops and resources in Afghanistan. Elsewhere, we work with non-NATO partners to fight piracy, counter violent extremism, keep peace in Kosovo. And when NATO moved to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions on the protection of civilians in Libya, it did so in lockstep with non-NATO partners from Europe and the Middle East.

And let me pause here for a moment to celebrate the role so many of you at ACT played in that effort. Operation Unified Protector was a massive and complex undertaking. It succeeded because our allies and partners collaborated smoothly, and that cooperation was made possible by the training and interoperability planning that you do here. It’s no exaggeration to say that thousands of Libyans are alive today because of your work.

In Chicago we will build on these partnerships, as promised. We’ll recognize the operational, financial, and political contributions of our partners across a range of efforts to defend our common values in the Balkans, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and North Africa. We want to learn what worked and what didn’t, and I do believe in evidenced-based planning. And what we see in NATO is a very impressive example of that. It’s not only the planning that looks forward, but it’s the lessons learned that help us look backward to make that forward planning even better.

Now, the three areas I’ve outlined today – defining the next phase of the transition in Afghanistan, outlining a vision for addressing 21st century challenges in a period of austerity, and expanding our partnerships – shows just how much NATO has evolved over the past six decades. But they should also remind us that we must continue to evolve. Transforming any institution isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it is a project that never really ends. But we have strong leaders and the right strategies in place. And everything we have accomplished so far points toward how much we can achieve in the days and years to come. If we stay nimble and work together, we can continue to make the world more peaceful and secure.

So let me end where I started, with George Marshall. Now, I’m not sure that even someone as visionary as he could have imagined that NATO would be working together in Afghanistan, or protecting civilians in Libya from a ruthless dictator, or keeping the peace in the Balkans, but I don’t think he would’ve been surprised. Remember, this was a man who played a part in preparing the United States for war in the First World War, rebuilding the Army between the wars, and then rebuilding it again for Korea. This is a man who always understood that our military strength was necessary but not sufficient, that what America stands for, the values that we’ve all (inaudible) and practiced, are really what is most attractive to the rest of the world about us.

And he was also someone who took on himself the task of selling the Marshall Plan to a country exhausted from war. I often just wonder with great admiration how he pulled it off. Here was this idea that he and President Truman and Dean Acheson and Senator Vandenberg and others decided was crucial to America’s future. But just put yourself back into the mindset of someone like my father, who had finished his time in the Navy and was really only interested in getting back to business, raising a family, just having a peaceful future. And all of the sudden, the leaders of his country are saying, you know, we’ve just spent our blood and treasure defeating enemies that we now want to tap you to help rebuild. What an astonishing idea.

And it took visionaries (inaudible) both parties who understood what was at stake in the world that existed after the end of that horrific spasm of violence that took so many lives. And George Marshall went about the business of making the case, coming to organizations like this, speaking to civic clubs across the country, explaining why it was in America’s interest. And thankfully, I would argue, he made that case. And in today’s dollars, it cost about $130 billion, so that people like my father, a small businessman, kept paying taxes that went to rebuilding countries that he had trained young men to go and fight in.

So as we look at the future before us, as complex and unpredictable as it is, we need to be guided by our own very clear-eyed view of what is in America’s interests, and then to chart a path along with our partners in NATO and other nations who share the values that we believe represent the best hope for humanity – freedom and democracy, respecting the dignity and human rights of every person. And as we do that, we of course will have no guarantee of what the future holds. That’s never been possible. But we will once again make the right bet, a bet on America’s leadership and strength, just as we did in the 20th century, for this century and beyond.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks With NATO Allied Commander Transformation Staff Members


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
NATO Allied Commander Transformation
Norfolk, VA
April 3, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, General, I thank you very much for your introduction, but really it is I who am most honored to be here and to thank each and every one of you for the work that you are doing in this important command. Whether you are an American service member or civilian or you are here from one of our allied countries, you are supporting and strengthening our transatlantic alliance. As the only NATO command in the United States, ACT is an important symbol of the importance that we place on our commitment to this indispensible alliance.

The work you are doing here is making NATO more resilient and more innovative. ACT is at the center of that innovation, and what you are forging here will allow NATO to adapt to changing times and changing missions and continue to bolster our collective security. The strategies and partnerships being developed by all of you are shaping NATO operations all over the world from Afghanistan to Kosovo to the Horn of Africa. And I do believe that when NATO leaders meet in Chicago next month, the work of ACT will play an important role when we discuss how best to be prepared against new and unpredictable threats.

It’s wonderful also to see what an example this command represents. The cultures and traditions represented at this headquarters have become such a vibrant part of the Hampton Roads community. So I’m glad to be here to help kick off this year’s Norfolk NATO Festival, which has been a great tradition for many years now. I only wish I could be here at the end of the month for NATOFest, because I hear that there is quite a show of entertainment, culture, and food from around the world.

I also am aware of how this command has really set the pace for strategic thinking, capability, development, and new, innovative ways of training. We’ve been busy in NATO for the last 10 years. The lessons learned that you helped prepare are absolutely instrumental in shaping the path forward.

I was very fortunate some years ago as a senator from the state of New York to participate in a planning effort with an advisory council appointed by the then commander of this command to look at the way forward. It was after 9/11. It was in the middle of the rapidly changing environment in Europe and beyond. And I have some small sense of the importance of the work that you have done here.

For all of you who are guests in the United States and for your families, I know what a commitment it is to move everyone to serve abroad, but I’m grateful that you have done so because your families also add immeasurably to this community.

So thank you again for your service, for all you are doing to make NATO stronger. I will have more to say about that later this evening at a speech that I will deliver as part of the Norfolk NATO Festival kickoff. But it is for me a great honor to be back here to thank you, General, to thank your leadership from across NATO and member-countries, and to thank the entire team for your many contributions. NATO has stood the test of time, and I hope it always will. And with people like you, I am very confident that that will be the outcome.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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Public Schedule for April 3, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
April 3, 2012




12:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers remarks on “George Marshall and the Foundations of Smart Power” to the Virginia Military Institute and receives the Distinguished Diplomat Award, at VMI’s Cameron Hall, in Lexington, Virginia. Please click here for more information.

1:40 p.m. Secretary Clinton visits the George C Marshall Museum, at VMI, in Lexington, Virginia. Please click here for more information.

4:50 p.m. Secretary Clinton visits NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT) Headquarters and is briefed by ACT command, in Norfolk, Virginia. Please click here for more information.

6:10 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers remarks on the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago to the World Affairs Council 2012 NATO Conference, at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel, in Norfolk, Virginia. Please click here for more information.

Watch a livestream of this event on www.state.gov.


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