Archive for the ‘u. s. department of state’ Category

In the aftermath of the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, Hillary Clinton was the first official from a foreign country to travel to Haiti and offer assistance. Four days after her trip, she announced the arrival of the USNS Comfort.

… we saw the arrival of the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship with more than 600 medical personnel, that adds important capacity to our relief efforts. Already, patients are being taken on board via helicopter, and treated. The Comfort adds to what is one of the largest international rescue and relief efforts in history. Food, water, medical supplies, and other essential aid continue to flow into the country.

Today, in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Hillary tweeted that the Navy and specifically USNS Comfort should be sent in to assist residents of Puerto Rico.

This is a no-brainer and should have been done days ago. It is deplorable that the president is busy leading “lock her up” chants, disinviting Stephen Curry to the White House, and ranting about sports figures genuflecting instead of standing for the national anthem but has no time to address the misery of American citizens on a devastated island.

Edited to add this.

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During her nearly two-year public speaking tour, Hillary Clinton frequently criticized policy-making in Washington as operating in an “evidence-free zone.”   Her point was that data-driven and evidence-driven policy is effective while ideology-driven policy can be questionable, faulty, and often ineffective.

On Facebook on Monday,  senior campaign spokesperson Karen Finney shared an article from Politico exposing a deal between the New York Times and Peter Schweizer,   author of a soon-to-be published book, Clinton Cash, affording the Times early access to his so-called “research.”

The following day, Brian Fallon, Hillary For America’s national press secretary,  issued a memo to friends and allies in which he quoted Think Progress.

Schweizer explains he cannot prove the allegations, leaving that up to investigative journalists and possibly law enforcement.

Schweizer, by his own admission, operates in an evidence-free zone.  yet the New York Times over the past two days has forged ahead in its attack on the Clinton Foundation and the unfounded allegations that donations somehow figured into decisions Hillary Clinton made as Secretary of State.

Donations to the Clinton Foundation, and a Russian Uranium Takeover APRIL 22, 2015

So clearly the New York Times is not at peace with the Clinton Foundation which, as Fallon points out, “is a world-class philanthropy that has helped millions of people around the world tackle issues from HIV/AIDS to children’s health to climate change.”  Neither is the publication at peace with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as it is very clear that the foundation alone is not the sole target of these attacks.

It is ironic, indeed mind-boggling that in light of all of the above, the Times teams  up with the Daily Beast in sponsoring the Women in the World Summit with which Hillary Clinton has long been associated and at which she regularly appears and speaks.

Indeed, Hillary will be delivering the keynote speech at the event this evening.  All of the summit events are being live-streamed here at a site sponsored by the New York Times.  Hillary has always been a huge draw and will certainly receive a joyous and celebratory welcome when she takes the stage at the David H. Koch Theater tonight.

By the way, don’t miss Helen Mirren there this afternoon, either!  Always a treat!

Meanwhile, the New York Times needs to integrate its shattered personality regarding Hillary, the Clintons, and their admirable foundation.

Hillary with Pussy Riot  last year.

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Adding here the link to Brian Fallon’s excellent five-point take-down of the Times articles.

‘Clinton Cash’ & NYT Fail to Prove Any Connection Between Hillary Clinton & Russian Purchase of Uranium Assets


Relying largely on research from the conservative author of Clinton Cash, today’s New York Times alleges that donations to the Clinton Foundation coincided with the U.S. government’s 2010 approval of the sale of a company known as Uranium One to the Russian government. Without presenting any direct evidence in support of the claim, the Times story  — like the book on which it is based — wrongly suggests that Hillary Clinton’s State Department pushed for the sale’s approval to reward donors who had a financial interest in the deal. Ironically, buried within the story is original reporting that debunks the allegation that then-Secretary Clinton played any role in the review of the sale.

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In a letter dated April 22  and addressed to Trey Gowdy, presiding chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, counsel for Hillary Clinton reiterated her desire to appear before the committee publicly so that the American people can hear her respond first-hand to any and all questions remaining on the minds of committee members.

The chairman has chosen to request a private interview with the committee.  Hillary, who has nothing to hide and has been more than forthcoming,  continues to express her happiness to appear before all of the American people in this venue so that her responses will be public.  There is a clear  partisan, and therefore political, agenda behind the Republican insistence on a closed forum.  Hillary wants an open forum.  So do the American  people.  In fact, we all deserve that!



The letter and its appendices are available here >>>>

We implore Representative Gowdy to open her testimony live to the American public as she would have it. The sooner the better!   Doing otherwise is unfair all around, to her and to the people she has served  so selflessly and well and wishes to continue to serve.


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Nothing here sprouts from primary, official sources, but HRC has been making her rounds in the news aside from the official duties, statements, and events regularly reported on this page.  Here are some of the stories from the sublime (she will not be appearing at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte) to the ridiculous (leave Hillary’s scrunchies alone!), culminating in a viral Tumblr that (dayyam!) would have guaranteed her the nomination had she been running in a Dem primary.  It’s genius!

Hillary Clinton, citing her job, will skip DNC in Charlotte

Bill Clinton, however, plans to attend the convention

Posted: Friday, Apr. 06, 2012
0406 Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

At the Democratic convention four years ago, her spirited speech helped unite the party behind Barack Obama. And four years from now, many Democrats hope she’ll be the White House nominee delegates rally around.

But as for the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte – Hillary Clinton won’t be coming.

This year, she’s secretary of State. And as the country’s chief diplomat, she’s expected to stay above all things partisan.

So that is relatively serious to many, as opposed to this which addresses an issue always of major concern to Hillary watchers:  her hair.   She is known for this quote.

Yes, there was a bit of concern when, last September, she was spotted buying scrunchies in Rite Aid the weekend UNGA was beginning!  Oh, NO!!!  The issue of the scrunchies arose in the Elle article (see previous post) that surfaced yesterday.   Here is one reaction that we can only applaud!

Leave Hillary’s Scrunchies Alone

I’m just going to cut to the chase: Hillary Clinton is a noted scrunchie-wearer, but according to a recent profile in Elle, some of her handlers are looking to ban her from rocking them:

When she’s on the road, she often has [her hair] pulled back in a simple chignon or ponytail, a look that causes Hillary Hair Watchers much chagrin but merely means she’s pressed for time, as a State Department official told me: “As a chick, it’s a big pain in the butt”…The official added, because, it seems, no American alive can resist critiquing Clinton’s hair: “But some of us are looking to ban the scrunchies.”


Read more (You really should.  It gets better!) >>>>

Alas!  Could there possibly be any other Hillary content on the loose out there on the interwebs?  Aha!  Perhaps the best self-perpetuating publicity page ever  is dedicated to our hard-working, smart, organized, efficient, adorable Secretary of State.  Myriad news articles are covering this, but I choose to lead you to the actual site (to which I have subscribed).  These are such clever tributes to her, and they grow hourly.   Some people are very clever, funny, and photoshop-gifted.   You will remember the photos from her Libya trip last October, but did you know whom she was texting and what she was saying?  Here is the Tumblr that tells it all!  Do not miss this one!

Texts from Hillary

Here is just one. It is one of my favs because it explains the glasses.

Hope everyone is having a Happy Passover, easy last day of Lent, and will have a  Happy Easter.

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As usual, she returns from a trip and hits the ground running unlike the new Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs who has yet to show his face. Again today he gave the press briefing to Mark Toner. Neither has the Bureau of Public Affairs posted a schedule for the past two days. Thise posted on the 14th and 15th came very late, so this may be our only headss up for this event. (Someone should clue Mr. Hammer in: At DOS they actually work! Hard! Their boss is assiduous. They do not spend time doing basketball brackets.)

Secretary Clinton to Discuss the Americas at CSIS

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 17, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver remarks on “Our Opportunity in the Americas” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Friday, March 18, at 2:00 p.m. The event will be located in the B1 conference room of the CSIS building, 1800 K Street, NW, Washington, DC.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that seeks to advance global security and prosperity by providing strategic insights and policy solutions to decision makers.

This event will be streamed live at www.state.gov and http://cs.is/SecClintonAmericas.

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Women in the World Stories and Solutions Summit


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Hudson Theater
New York City
March 11, 2011

Vodpod videos no longer available.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello, everyone. (Applause and cheers.) Thank you, thank you. Oh my. Well, I have to confess that I think the evening could and probably should end after hearing from Dr. Hawa and her daughter and her other daughter who is here as well about what she’s doing in Somalia and, as Melanne Verveer pointed out, what that tells us about what needs to happen around the world.

But I promised Tina I would speak, and since I really don’t want to disappoint Tina – (laughter) – who has organized this event and who devoted, despite the cover, the first issue of Newsweek under her tutelage to talking about women and where women are in the world today and what lies ahead of us, which I deeply appreciated, Tina, because I happen to think that this conference, what you, what Diane and others are doing, is really cutting-edge. It is not just something nice to talk about. It is absolutely central to whether we will have the kind of peace, security, stability, opportunity, equality that we seek in the world.

So I want to thank all of you who have put together this extraordinary gathering here – women in the world, women of the world, women for the world, and women who come together to support other women. And Dr. Hawa Abdi is a perfect example of the kind of woman who inspires me and who I want to do even more to support.

Now, there are a lot of people in this audience tonight who are friends, who have been colleagues and advocates for the cause of women and what we hope will be increasing progress in the 21st century to resolve one of the great unfinished businesses of human history; namely, the full emancipation and equality of women. And I am struck from time to time when people question whether it’s a challenge that is equivalent to the fight against slavery in the 19th century or the fight against communism and fascism in the 20th century. And I believe it is. I believe that women’s roles and rights are at the forefront of everything we should care about and need to be doing in our own lives and certainly in the life of our country.

But sometimes it’s good to be reminded why it’s important to have women and girls at the forefront of American foreign policy. And there is so much evidence of this. But I just want to, for the sake of laying the predicate and for any who are still wondering, a 2008 report commissioned by Goldman Sachs found that educating girls and women leads to higher wages, a greater likelihood of working outside the home and therefore having lower fertility, reduced maternal and child mortality, better health and education outcomes. And it’s not only felt by the women themselves, but it improves opportunities for future generations. And narrowing the gap in employment between men and women in emerging economies could raise incomes as much as 14 percent by 2020, and 20 percent by 2030.

And the World Bank has documented that women tend to invest a much higher part of their earnings in their families and communities than men do. They spread wealth. They create a positive impact on future development.

On the other hand, when women are forced to the margins and denied economic and social advancement, their societies stagnate. In the landmark 2002 Arab Human Development Report, it was found that Arab women’s political and economic participation was the lowest in the world, and concluded, “Society as a whole suffers when a huge proportion of its productivity potential is stifled, resulting in lower family incomes and standards of living.”

And the 2005 report on the Arab world called women’s empowerment a “prerequisite for an Arab renaissance, inseparably and causally linked to the fate of the Arab world.”

So the data is in. The case has been made. It’s made over and over again. But we still face so many barriers around the world. And what we find is that where women do not have the opportunity to fulfill their own God-given potentials, it is far less likely that democracy and prosperity go hand-in-hand; it is far less likely that peace and security are present.

So tonight we are meeting at a historic moment that could be – could be – the beginning of another great triumph of freedom. But for these democratic dreams to be realized, women must be equal partners in the work ahead. This won’t be easy. It never is.

In Cote d’Ivoire this month, we have seen thousands of women come together, marching arm-in-arm in the streets, calling for a return to democracy and for Laurent Gbagbo to respect the results of the recent elections and give up power. Cote d’Ivoire actually has a long history of women at the forefront of change. They helped win independence and build a new nation. Now they are standing up for their rights and for their future. But last week, Gbagbo’s thugs turned their machine guns on the peaceful marchers, and at least six women were killed. But the women of Cote d’Ivoire did not give up. They returned to the streets with signs that said, “Don’t shoot us,” and they kept right on going.

Two years ago, the world was shocked by images of a young woman named Neda murdered in the streets of Tehran because she tried to exercise her universal right to freedom of expression. Iran has imprisoned more than 100 women just for their political views. Many of them have not only been arrested, but tortured and subjected to lengthy detentions without charge. And their family members have been harassed and sometimes even jailed as well. But despite it all, Iranian women took to the streets once again this week, in greater numbers than anyone expected.

The world was shocked anew in January when a 23-year old Egyptian woman named Sally Zahran was clubbed to death in Tahrir Square. But nothing could stop the people of Egypt – women and men – from claiming their rights and taking control of their destiny.

So in recent weeks we have seen women on the front lines of progress in Egypt and Tunisia. Some of the earliest organizers of the April 6 Youth Movement and other Facebook and Twitter campaigns that helped galvanize Egypt and Tunisia were smart, wired, and committed young women. And you have heard from some and will hear from others during the course of this conference.

The people of Egypt and Tunisia inspired millions around the world. And now they have a big job ahead of themselves. Next week, I will travel to Cairo and Tunis to meet with the transitional leaders and to talk directly with representatives of Egyptians and Tunisians. I will bring the best wishes and the strong support of the Obama Administration and of the American people.

But I will also bring a clear-eyed view, without any illusions, about what lies ahead. Transitions to democracy are fraught. Jobs and economic opportunities do not materialize overnight. Democratic dreams can be dashed by new autocrats or ideologues who use violence or deception to seize power or advance an undemocratic agenda. Elections only work if their results are respected and if they are embedded in a durable democratic framework of strong institutions, the rule of law, a vibrant civil society, and human rights protections for everyone.

I recently participated in an online dialogue with young Egyptians, and they raised with me the full social and political partnership of women. As I said then and have said many times before and since, respect for the rights of women and minorities is not an American idea. It’s not a Western value. It is a universal principle. And women’s empowerment is no stranger to North Africa.

In Tunisia, women have long enjoyed more rights and opportunities than many of their peers across the region. I saw this for myself when I visited in 1999 and I met with women entrepreneurs and civil society leaders. Some of the women I met then went on to help organize the protests and are now working to support the transition to democracy.

Over the decades, Tunisian women have achieved success in businesses and professions. They represent more than a quarter of the country’s judges and lawyers.

Women in Egypt have also made progress. They’ve seen new laws passed giving women divorce rights, raising the legal marriage age to 18, banning female cutting, and allowing mothers to pass citizenship on to their children in cases where the father is not identified. But Egyptian women have also long had high rates of illiteracy and unemployment and low rates of political involvement.

Unfortunately, in both countries now, there is a very real danger that the rights and opportunities of women could be eroded in this transition period.

In Tunisia, only two women have been appointed to the transitional government, far fewer than served in the cabinet of the ousted president Ben Ali. And there is even talk of rolling back the country’s historic Personal Status Code that has protected women’s rights for half a century.

In Egypt, the women who marched for freedom in Tahrir Square are now shut out of the committees and the councils deciding the shape of Egypt’s new democracy. The Constitutional Committee has not a single woman member. And when women marched on Tuesday to celebrate International Women’s Day in their new democracy, they were met by harassment and abuse.

Now, the women of Tunisia and Egypt are working hard to ensure that these developments do not derail the transition to democracy. As one leading women’s rights activist in Cairo recently said, “We will have to fight for our rights. It will be tough and require lobbying, but that’s what democracy is all about.”

Egyptian women have launched a petition urging the Constitutional Committee to add a female legal expert to help guide the formation of the new government. More than 60 Egyptian organizations representing hundreds of leading women have now joined this effort. Plans are underway to create a volunteer force to protect against harassment.

And in Tunisia, a network of women business leaders organized a peaceful march last week to call for greater economic opportunities and an end to political violence. And women were joined by men in defense of the Personal Status Code.

So going forward, we will watch this very closely. The United States will stand firmly for the proposition that women deserve a voice and a vote. And they deserve to be sitting at every table in their society. And they should run for office and serve as leaders, legislators, even someday president. (Applause.)

But as we look across this region and see everything that’s happening, we know the foundations are being shaken. In December in Doha, I warned that the region’s foundations were sinking into the sand. The transitions to democracy in Egypt and Tunisia have the potential to change that story. But that promise could be squandered if the heat and pressure of revolution instead fuse that sand into a new glass ceiling. It is not enough to liberate societies without liberating and empowering every individual.

This is not just a story though about Egypt and Tunisia or Cote D’Ivoire. It is a story about so many of the countries that we are working with around the world. We’ve heard about Somalia and we’ve heard about the alternative to what is too often the only story coming out of Somalia. I have long believed that working in small groups to achieve peaceful civil society serves as a model and an example.

But when I look at other countries where the struggle is just beginning, I have to remind myself how long it took us, how long it took so many other societies to make the progress that we now take for granted.

In Afghanistan, for example, women have shown remarkable resilience and determination through three decades of war. They risked their lives to run schools and health clinics and to stand up against the Taliban. In the post-Taliban era, Afghan women have gone to school, they’ve run for office, they’ve served in the government, they have worked to earn a living. In 2002 there were so few girls in school, and now that number has multiplied many times over.

But all of these gains are fragile and reversible. We are working to try to create the environment in which Dr. Hawa lives and works in Somalia in Afghanistan. We’re trying to help midwife, an Afghan-led political process, to split the Taliban off from al-Qaida. We’re looking for those red lines that are unambiguous, that people who wish to reconcile and reintegrate into society must renounce violence, abandon their alliance with al-Qaida, and abide by the constitution of Afghanistan, which guarantees the rights of women.

The United States supports the participation of women at all levels, be we have learned the hard way that without involving women in peace, the peace will not be sustained. As Melanne said, the United Nations passed a historic resolution, Resolution 1325, and we intend to do everything we can in Afghanistan to make sure that women are at the forefront of making peace.

I am often asked why on earth do I believe that women and girls are a national security issue. Well, I believe it because I know that where girls and women are oppressed, where their rights are ignored or violated, we are likely to see societies that are not only unstable, but hostile to our own interests.

So we must do even more to help the next generation of women leaders. And that’s why I’m proud to announce that the State Department is working with the historic “Seven Sisters” colleges to launch a new Women and Public Service initiative.

Together we will seek to promote the next generation of women leaders who will invest in their countries and communities, provide leadership for their governments and societies, and help change the way global solutions are developed. “The Seven Sisters” – Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and of course my alma mater, Wellesley – have a rich tradition of educating and inspiring women leaders from around the world for over 30 generations. As a first step, we will host a conference this fall bringing policy makers, public officials, academics, innovative thinkers together from around the world to build these new global partnerships, so that once we’ve brought attention to an issue or a leader, we will be able to continue to build and support the work that is being done.

Now, a lot of these women will not be known to many of us, but they are the ones who are making change on the ground right now. They are the ones who need our help. And we will stand with them. So starting right here tonight, in this room, we want to tap the extraordinary talent and energy represented here to support and expand the grassroots and nonprofit networks that give women voices and opportunities – everything from microcredit to start a first business, to political training needed to run for office. We will marshal the data, we will make the case, and we will never stop working.

I come away from listening to Dr. Hawa Abdi and her daughter even more encouraged and determined, because I often ask myself as I meet these remarkable women from all over the world, “How do they do it? How do they keep going?” And when you looked at the smile on her face, you know that that is a life well led, a life in the service of others, and a life that is making a real difference to the next generation.

Thank you all very much.

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Remarks at the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference Luncheon


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen
Ben Franklin Room
Washington, DC
February 2, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone. And I love the volume of conversation that is occurring. It’s one of the ancillary benefits that we hoped would occur because of the opportunity for people to come together and share ideas and catch up with each other.

We are really fortunate today to have someone who really understands what civilian power means. Although he has committed his life to serving our country in the United States Navy, he is someone who grasps in a very deep and profound way a vision of integrated American power and is one of the State Department’s and USAID’s strongest advocates and champions.

I have personally really appreciated the opportunity to get to know Admiral Mullen, to work with him. Before I had this job, I did not know how many hours I would spend in the Situation Room, usually sitting across from Secretary Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen. So we have spent many quality hours together talking through some thorny, difficult problems that don’t have any easy answer or they wouldn’t be the subject of our meetings.

And time and time again, he has brought a sensitivity and an insight into the causes of the dilemmas we’re watching unfold, the forces that are at work. And he has also graciously, on two occasions, opened his home on Navy Hill just across the way to some very important and serious discussions with high-ranking civilian and military leaders from Pakistan to try to get beyond our usual dialogue into the kind of strategic consideration that we hope might lead to some better understandings and mutual efforts.

So we’re very fortunate to have Mike Mullen here today. And he has graciously offered to make some remarks, but then he wants to answer questions. And when he finishes his remarks, we’ll have the press leave so you can ask him anything. (Laughter.) And if that isn’t inviting enough, we’ll think of something else. (Laughter.)

But please join me in welcoming the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen. (Applause.)

ADM MULLEN: Thank you, Madam Secretary. I certainly appreciate that kind introduction, and just the introduction alone says an awful lot about the time we’ve spent together, and certainly not just myself and Bob Gates, but so many in this room who work so closely with those of us in the Pentagon. And I would hope to leave several messages today, but first of all, one of them would be just to say thanks. Thanks for what you do. Thanks for what you do for our country. And thanks for what you do for people around the world.

Certainly, as someone that grew up in the Navy, I was trained very early in ports around the world how important the country team was. And actually, it was a very well-blended interagency team in whatever country I existed, and so came to have an understanding about that and certainly look at that at a much higher level, and can’t say enough about the importance of the team right now. And as someone who has spent over four decades in the military, I am very fond of saying that we don’t create policy; we execute policy. And policy has the lead, and you are at the fore in that regard.

And obviously, we’ve been going through some fairly significant challenges in the last few days, and it is very easy to see in that this relationship between policy – I’m sorry, between the civilian lead and, obviously, the military support. And I’ll just use this as an example. There is no — there isn’t a better example of that right now. And I appreciate all that, in a very difficult situation, the strength of that leadership and the conviction of that leadership. And obviously, we are, from a military standpoint, here to support.

It hasn’t just been a $1.3 billion investment in Egypt over the last 30 years. It hasn’t just been dollars, and it hasn’t just been a military investment in their armed services, which have been a critical part. It has been an investment on the part of the United States that goes back, actually, a long way, even further back than 30 years in terms of the relationship – the historic relationship we’ve had with a country. And so this part of it – to see it gel and to see it focus in this very, very difficult time – is a wonderful example.

As I look around the room – in fact, I went through the list, and I didn’t realize we had – I’m not sure I knew we had this many countries in the world. (Laughter.) I think the number was 178 of you who are here, and it’s just terrific that the field can come to Washington every now and again and – because Washington has a mind of its own – I don’t have to tell you that – in that regard. But your participation and feedback is absolutely critical in everything that we’re doing.

And many of you I know and many of you I don’t, but I’ll tell you a story. Part of what I try to focus on – I have always tried to focus on – are our young ones, because I’m always concerned about who comes next. How are we growing the bench? And I think it was last July, I was having lunch in Kandahar at the PRT and there were half a dozen to ten 30-somethings sitting around the table there at lunch that were in the PRT who were so engaged and so enthused about what they were doing. And what I thought was a little bit ironic is when I asked them where they came from. My recollection was they had come from Lima and from London and from Tokyo and from Lisbon and places that probably when they joined up they thought they’d want to go and end up there, and they had. But when I asked them how many of you expected to be in Kandahar, the answer was none at that point.

But they were providing such an important part of our mission and that interface between the two in support of our military. And to listen to them and their plans and their enthusiasm and their dedication, and Kandahar is a pretty tough town. It was last July; it still is. And if I go back even to the summer of ’09, I was in Helmand right after the Marines went in, 10,000 of them. And you see Marines all over the place, and I got all that.

But the individual I remember is this young State Department Foreign Service officer who was there the second day after the Marines went in. And I have seen that time and time again, whether, quite frankly, it’s in Iraq or Afghanistan. And I don’t get to travel to – I get invited to London, I get invited to Paris and – which are places I used to spend a lot of time in. I think I’ve been to London once in this job and to Paris once in this job. But I don’t get to go there anymore. I’m in Baghdad and Kabul and Islamabad and places that we – and others that we have challenges in. And that doesn’t mean that those countries and allies aren’t critically important, because they are. And the relationships are critically important.

But the – what I’ve seen, the merging of these two teams in these wars – and these wars have changed us. They’ve changed how we think. They’ve changed how career paths, certainly in the military, have been and are going to be. And I think and hope that they would certainly have that kind of impact in the Foreign Service world as well.

I had the great pleasure of rejoining up just a few minutes with Anne Patterson, and I’ve watched Anne in Pakistan. And it’s another country which presents an exceptional number of challenges, to say the least. But I can remember in the long march a couple years ago the impact that she had and that the State Department and diplomacy had in resolving a hugely critical time-sensitive situation at that time.

I see Cameron Munter is here and has certainly jumped into the challenges that are there. I haven’t seen it – where’s Bill Brownfield? Not here. But I think of the challenges and the evolution over time with Bill having come from Venezuela, gone to Colombia, and you look at where Colombia is and that has been another wonderful example and some of our most difficult military challenges were, in fact, supported by great judgment on the part of an ambassador like Bill.

And I see our great Russian ambassador here, and actually we just came from the White House where we signed the START, and Ambassador Beyrle and others, many people. And that’s changing the world and we do that in ways now that some of us didn’t imagine we could a few years ago. Kathy Stephens is here, and certainly the whole issue of this team with respect to what’s going on in the peninsula. So, I guess one – the criticality of it, the policy lead – the policy and diplomacy lead of it and the constancy of it. There are – there seem to be a growing number of challenges that get on the plate and sometimes are pretty difficult to get off the plate these days. So it’s an extraordinary time.

And then really sort of the cap – my capstone view is to be fortunate to literally watch two masters in Secretaries Clinton and Gates together. Many of you have grown up in this business where the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense didn’t necessary have each other over for dinner very often. (Laughter.) And it’s actually fun listening sometimes to – in particular, Secretary Gates – regale me with the stories of the past. But quite frankly, those are stories of the past. We cannot, in this world we’re living in right now, live without the kind of relationship that we have right now between these two secretaries. The different that they make in terms of setting the example, the standard, and it resonates throughout both organizations. You can see it whether – from the very top to the most junior people we have in the field. And I think it is an example for the 21st century that we fundamentally need to adopt.

But I’ve also – and I’ve seen that here in town as well, where for the first time, certainly in my career, we now testify – Secretary Gates and I testify in front of the Foreign Relations Committees. We didn’t seek to do that. We have enough hearings of our own. But in fact, it’s a very powerful message. And Secretary Clinton does – has testified on our side. So there’s – there are an awful lot of signs of change that are ongoing because of the world that we’re living in. And I think we’ve got to continue to foment that, to meet the challenges that we have. And I just give you and so many other people great credit.

I see Raj Shah here, and I ran into Cheryl Mills – whenever I see Cheryl, I just want an update on Haiti, among other things, because of the huge challenge that is there. But I’ve watched Cheryl and Raj and others just make a huge difference. Even though the military – I’ll use Haiti as an example – we had a big footprint initially, obviously the concern that we were going to stay, we weren’t going to stay, we haven’t stayed, and yet the enduring part of this to continue to support the efforts there is being led by Cheryl and others as well.

I know you’ve gone – Secretary Clinton led this QDDR, and actually we were close enough to that to see what’s going on. And I think if you compared the QDR with the QDDR, that again is another example of how we move to the future together.

And also – and I said a long time ago – I said, I think, in 2004, 2005 – I really think we have got to get the State Department budget right. And this has nothing to do with the past – again, it has everything to do with the future – we took too much money away. And when you take money away from the State Department, more than anything else, you take people away. Because in our terms, people are your main battery, your main effort. And so having a robust enough budget to be able to meet the needs of our times is absolutely mandatory. Now I haven’t gone so far as to say you can have some of mine, which is what – (laughter) – which is what the Secretary of State would like to me to say.

But I, believe me, recognize that if this team is going to work together, those budgets have to be about right, and I don’t have to tell anybody – actually, one of the things you will see, if you’re back in town for a little while, is the – a little closer view of the fiscal crisis, which we all recognize we’re in and we all have to participate in, quite frankly, including the Department of Defense, and Secretary Gates led an effort this year to do that.

So I’m – and more than anything else, I want to say thanks. Thanks for your sacrifices, thanks for the difference that you make. Many of you I know well, many of you I don’t know at all, although if I shook your hand, you probably would say, “Great to meet you, when are you coming to Botswana,” for example. (Laughter.) And I – actually, I did ask – I asked about a year ago how many countries there were in the world and I think the answer I got back was at least 192, maybe more depending on how you count.

So there are lots of places and clearly, our focus has been where these fights have been, and I understand that. But we’re also trying to invest in places so that a fight never occurs. And it’s small footprint and we want to do that, and hearing from you on how we can do that is absolutely critical. That’s also a part of what we do.

Jim Jeffrey is here and he said something to me. We were talking recently. I think when I was out in Iraq and had dinner with him over the holidays, there’s – sometimes speed doesn’t get me where we should – there’s not enough speed to deliver the kind of capability we’d like in Iraq or in Afghanistan or Pakistan or some of these areas – countries that are so – where the sense of urgency must be what it is. And as Jim said, there’s another 250 ambassadors out here who are doing the Lord’s work around the world that the State Department also has to focus on. So it’s not just these – it’s not just this main effort, this place where we’re losing our people – and so – and I recognize that.

So, thanks. Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope, and I have great confidence, actually, that you are raising your young to continue to do this because it is a wonderfully impactful way of life. This generation that’s coming up – I actually am someone, an American, who has great confidence in our future because this young generation is wired to serve. I think we just have to figure out how to give them paths to serve. And that’s a responsibility we all have because at some point in time, we’re all going to transcend this business to another part of our life.

So thanks, it’s great to be with you, and I’d be happy to take a few questions. (Applause.)

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Global Chiefs of Mission Conference


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Cheryl Mills
Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
February 2, 2011
MS. MILLS: Good morning. Wow, this is fabulous, most particularly because it’s someone else that the Secretary gets to play with nonstop now that you guys are here.First of all, I want to say good morning and welcome to the first Global Chief of Mission Conference. We are so delighted you are here, and more importantly than saying welcome to the conference, welcome home. It is so nice to see so many of you. My name is Cheryl Mills. For those of you all who I haven’t had the chance to meet personally, I’m the Counselor and Chief of Staff here at the Department.

And we have really been looking forward to this. We have been looking forward to this not only because we would like to sleep after it’s over, but because this really has been something that has been critical to the Secretary for some time. She really wanted to have the opportunity for all of us to be able to gather in one place so we could talk about what it is and how we can build on the things that we do well, what are the opportunities to improve those things that we think we really could do better, and most importantly, what are we missing and what are the ways in which we can identify those things we are missing in a fashion that means we are all more effective on behalf of the country that we are privileged to serve.

In that vein, I do want to talk about the fact that this really is designed to be the best opportunity not only to share information with you, but also to listen and learn from you. And that really is an invitation that you should just walk right through the door of. I hope you take it very seriously because at bottom, what we’re really trying to reduce, if I’m being quite selfish, is the number of times we get a call saying, “Why is Washington doing this?” And invariably, you all have better ideas and better thoughts about how we could do it better and well. And so it would be great if we were limiting the number of those and increasing the number of times we actually were doing the right and smart thing with the benefit of your guidance and your leadership and your participation. So that’s our goal, and I hope that you all help us reach our goal.

So before I introduce the Secretary, I do want to thank, as my family always says, the hands that prepared it, and in this case, the hands that have been helping to prepare for this conference. And they include many people, but I particularly want to make sure I thank Shawn Baxter and Bernadette Meehan, Marguerite Coffey, Ruth Whiteside, Leslie Moeller, and of course, the incomparable Pat Kennedy and Steve Mull who have been working tirelessly to help bring all of this together. I also want to thank everybody else who has been helping to make this successful.

Now, with that, it is my pleasure to introduce the woman who has been really looking forward to seeing you, the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. Good morning. Good morning. Good morning. (Applause.) Thank you all very much. Thank you. It is such a pleasure to welcome all of you back to Washington for the first ever, in American history, all-hands-on-deck ambassadorial conference. Chiefs of Mission from every corner of the world who may not ever get a chance to meet each other or exchange ideas are here today for the gathering that we have been looking forward to.

We’ve wanted to do this for some time. We figured early February would be quiet, not much going on. (Laughter.) What better time to pull you from your posts and responsibilities? And, of course, Margaret Scobey from Egypt is not here. But I am very grateful that we’re going to have a chance for you to interact with the senior leadership of the Department. I will be back tomorrow afternoon for a Q&A session, and I want everybody to be fully prepared. Today, you will have a chance to hear from Mike Mullen – Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at lunch – who will make remarks and do a Q&A. And we have some other surprises along the way.

It is, for me, a great honor to look out and see a lot of faces that are familiar to me from the traveling that I’ve already done as Secretary of State, and of course, the traveling that I did in my prior lives. And the level of professionalism and commitment is never-endingly impressive. And as we see with what’s going on today, recent events in Egypt and certainly in that broader region, remind us all how crucial it is to have top-notch leadership on the ground, and how quickly that ground can shift under our feet. So whether your mission is large or small, whether you’re a political appointee or a career diplomat, you are all on the front lines of America’s engagement with a fast-changing world. And that’s why we think this conference is so important.

It goes without saying – but I will say it anyway – that this is a critical time for America’s global leadership. We have spent two years renewing our alliances, forging new partnerships, and elevating diplomacy and development alongside defense as pillars of American foreign policy and national security. Now, as we look to the next two years, it is time to build on that progress and deliver results – results that are expected from ourselves and certainly from the Congress and the American public.

We’re going to be looking to see how we can advance America’s interests and values on security, on climate change, on boosting exports and rebalancing the global economy on all of our core priorities. But I will hasten to say we face a very difficult budget climate and we face an increasingly complex, no easy answers if there ever were any, diplomatic and development environment. From the theft of confidential cables to 21st century protest movements to development breakthroughs that have the potential to change millions of lives, we are all in uncharted territory, and that requires us to be more nimble, more innovative, and more accountable than ever before.

That is why we launched the first ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, the so-called QDDR. Now, many of you participated in this process and you contributed valuable suggestions and ideas, your staffs were deeply involved, and we consulted not only thousands of people within State and USAID directly and indirectly, but also hundreds of experts outside government. And the result is a sweeping report that we hope will fundamentally change the way we do business.

The reason I decided to direct us to undertake the difficult challenge posed by producing the first-ever QDDR is because as a senator, I served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And every four years, the Pentagon would produce the Quadrennial Defense Review. And it was a very effective organizing tool for the Pentagon because it set forth what their assessments were and what their commitments were in a way that kind of guided the legislative and appropriations process.

At the same time, both from my years as First Lady and as Senator, I often saw State and USAID coming in on separate tracks, making different arguments, fighting over scarcer resources, not coming up with the kind of organizing blueprint that would move people into a decision process that would benefit our immediate and long-term goals. So the QDDR is a first-time effort, but it is a blueprint and it is a blueprint as to how the United States can lead in a changing world through the use of what I call civilian power. That is the combined force of all the civilians across the United States Government who not only practice diplomacy and carry out development projects, but who act to prevent and respond to crisis and conflict.

You know very well, because you practice it every day, how crucial civilian power is to America’s leadership in the world and to our national security. I don’t need to tell this audience what I tell other audiences all the time – that it is our diplomats and development experts who can diffuse crises before they explode, who can create new opportunities for economic growth, who can stand up for universal values and human rights, who can help us find partners to advance economic growth that is inclusive and prosperity-producing.

We can come up with solutions that might otherwise require or suggest military action. And where we work side-by-side with our military partners in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other fragile states around the world, we can be the partner that our military needs and deserves. And that’s what Admiral Mullen will speak to. Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates have been two of our biggest boosters and advocates. Secretary Gates gave a now very well-received and even famous speech about the need for enhancing our diplomatic and development posture. And they have joined with me in asking the Congress for the funds that we need for the missions we’ve been given.

But this is not just about Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s not just about Egypt or Yemen. It’s not just about China or India. It is about every nation that you represent our country in. Because as chiefs of mission, you are at the heart of the QDDR’s vision for the future, and you will be at the core of its implementation. Let me be clear. This Department, USAID, I, our deputies, our under secretaries, assistant secretaries – we cannot do this from Washington. This has to live and breathe in you and through you. And that is what we are hoping to advance together.

Now, I know that some of you have concerns about the changes we are proposing and others of you may be skeptical about whether they can be implemented. Part of the reason for this conference is to hear those concerns and that skepticism. That’s the only way we can either answer them, do something about them, or, frankly, shift direction to take them into account. Nothing will get done by sitting on the sidelines. So I strongly encourage you to take this opportunity to put aside our normal diplomatic niceties and really engage in an open and candid discussion about the challenges we face and must meet. And you will have that opportunity in the public sessions we’ve arranged and in private encounters with any of the leadership or myself during the next two days.

Now, the QDDR covers a wide range of reforms, including a reorganization here in Washington, that will encourage us to be more cross-cutting and results-oriented and, frankly, significantly expand our capacity to prevent and respond to crises and conflicts. You’ll also hear from Ambassador Melanne Verveer about how we are attempting to integrate women into everything we do. That is not just a pet project of mine. That is rooted in decades of evidence about women being partners and participants in peacemaking, in economic opportunity, in participatory governance, and it’s something that we want to really understand how better to promote.

We are also making it easy to pursue new public-private partnerships. And our Special Representative for Global Partnerships Kris Balderston is here and we’re looking forward to talking with you. We’re doing a lot in that area. We would never have been able to participate in the Shanghai Expo – it would have been the United States and Andorra who did not have exhibit halls if we had not had exhibit halls if we had not had a public-private partnership that we jumped into as soon as I realized how embarrassed we were going to be, and we pulled it off.

We’re also driving a new innovation agenda. And Special Advisor Alec Ross will have more to say about that tomorrow. We call it 21st century statecraft. It is, by no means, a hundred percent clear that social media, technology, is going to make things better. But one thing we know for sure, it’s going to change things. And if we’re not on top of it and driving a message and responding as effectively as we can, we’re going to be left behind.

These and other changes are coming, some, including Administrator Raj Shah’s USAID forward agenda, is already well underway. Others are going to take time, and in each case, we look to ensure that we have the maximum impact here in D.C. and out in the field. We will be appointing an experienced FSO to work with Deputy Secretary Tom Nides to drive our implementation, and we will try to set deadlines and create some benchmarks as we go forward.

Now let me give you one example that we identified early and have been working on, which has now come to public attention. All too often, you and your officers are tied to desks fulfilling hundreds of reporting requirements mandated by both Congress and the Department. A new report from the Inspector General just underscored this problem. We believe this can and must change. So as part of the QDDR, we are consolidating or eliminating duplicative reports, making reports shorter and streamlining workloads. In a move sure to make Tom Nides popular with many of you, Tom has already signed off on a long list of reports that will either be eliminated or cut back in length.

When I realized – and I have to confess, as a senator, when in doubt, order a report. (Laughter.) When I saw the results of that, I was appalled; nothing like sitting in a different seat to see things from a different perspective. So we are doing everything we can. We intend to go to the Congress and instead of three reports on either the same or basically the same issues, see if we can’t drive it down in length. I want to adopt the George Marshall rule, which is that no report or memo should be more than two pages. So, we’re going to try to free up your teams to engage more actively – (applause) – with the world outside the embassy walls. And of course, the sad part is most of these reports are never read. So we are going to do our best to try to remedy that.

Now, nearly all of the most significant themes of the QDDR relate directly to you, chiefs of mission. As the President’s representative, you are responsible for directing and coordinating all U.S. personnel in your countries. And to effectively manage increasingly complicated operations with personnel drawn from all across the government, you have to truly be CEOs of multi-agency missions.

Now you’ve probably heard that phrase already, and some of you may be asking what it really means, especially those of you who acted as CEOs in your previous lives. I know the metaphor is imperfect, and I understand the limitations that you face on everything from personnel to planning to policy to budget, but we may not be under any illusions about the challenges you face, but we want to up our game, because we want the State Department and our chiefs of mission to claim the ground of being the leaders and coordinators of U.S. Government presence in every country where you serve. That is easier said than done. But I still think the CEO model is critical, because we’re really talking about leadership, especially interagency leadership.

As you know better than anyone, your embassies and consulates are increasingly staffed by experts from a wide range of U.S. agencies. Others operate in your countries with little contact with the embassy, and all of this creates bureaucratic headaches and sometimes real problems.

So what we are looking for is to work with you and hear and learn from you how we can better imbue you with the leadership, the position, the skills needed to take that chief of mission across the U.S. Government role and title seriously and implement it. And that means that each agency’s priorities have to be integrated into a single mission that inspires support and partnership.

To help you do that, we are clarifying reporting structures and allowing you to participate in performance reviews for all personnel at your mission regardless of agency. We’re going to offer new training in interagency cooperation, and going forward, we will prioritize interagency experience and talents as criteria for choosing and training chiefs of mission and deputy chiefs of mission. We also intend to increase your involvement in high-level policy deliberations here in Washington. Whenever possible, we want you to be able to participate via videoconference in deputies committee meetings, in the Situation Room, and in senior meetings here in the Department. It goes without saying, but your on-the-ground insights are invaluable, and it’s our loss if that perspective goes unheard.

We will also change the budget and planning process. Each chief of mission will be responsible for overseeing an integrated country strategy that will bring together all country-level planning processes and efforts into one single multiyear overarching strategy that encapsulates U.S. policy priorities, objectives, and the means by which diplomatic engagement, foreign assistance, and other tools will be used to achieve them.

I know it’s common practice just to roll over last year’s budget with a small increase. But you have not only the opportunity, but also the responsibility to rethink and reimagine your strategy, to advise us about where to invest in programs that work and end efforts that don’t, and to align your funding priorities with what is actually happening on the ground. You’ll hear from Judith McHale and our public diplomacy team, and some of you know from firsthand experience they have been working very hard to shift resources and positions out of countries where they are no longer needed to places where they are desperately required. I really know this is hard, but we have to do it.

When I became Secretary of State and we looked at what was going on in Pakistan, we did not have enough voices to be able to push back on every kind of outlandish, outrageous accusation that was made against the United States by the Pakistani media on an almost daily basis. In looking across the world, we saw countries that we’ve been at peace with for decades who had far more resources in a far easier, more permissive environment. And I want to commend the chiefs of mission who are here who worked with us to basically cut your own resource base. Because you understood that it wasn’t just better organizing and focusing what you were doing inside your own country of responsibility, but what we needed to do across the world to promote American values and interests.

Now, no one will get everything he or she wants; that’s a given. And we face the most difficult budgetary environment. This month, even though we are submitting an FY 2012 request that is a lean budget for lean times, we don’t even know what our 2011 levels are. And there is a great deal of push coming from the new Congress, particularly the House, to cut State and USAID to 2008 levels despite the fact that we are about to inherit an overwhelming responsibility in Iraq, which, if you did the math, the military would not be spending $41 billion and we would be asking to increase our budget by 4 billion, which sounds to me like a pretty good tradeoff. But the problem is that even if the Congress decides, “Okay, we’ll fund you for your overseas contingency operations, but we’re going to cut the base, we’re going to cut operating dollars,” we are going to be in a very difficult position.

Now, we have scrubbed our budget for every dollar of savings, and we have made very hard choices, and I ask you to help us. You can save money in your mission. You can change the way you’re doing things to be more efficient and cost-effective. We have shifted funds into programs that save money such as stronger monitoring and evaluation systems, efforts to consolidate information technology, procurement reform at USAID, targeted investments in innovative development programs. But we have to keep doing more and more to keep up with what will be a very tough set of choices coming out of congressional appropriations.

We are pressing ahead with requests for new positions and investments in our core priorities, because we are convinced that effective civilian power ultimately does save lives and money, and we need your help. And many of you either have already gone or will be going to the Hill, and I ask that you, in addition to talking about the particular situation in your country that is of interest to the member of Congress or senator or committee that has asked you to come forth, you make the case for how we need to be positioned to compete diplomatically and developmentally.

It is clear that we have some tough competition, and if we are not going to keep up with that competition, we are going to cede a lot of ground to others who are more than happy to occupy it. So what this is all about is not only talking at and with you, but hearing from you about what you think we all can do better. We really want to enhance the culture of leadership here in the Department to help you deal with the very real challenges you face.

I can remember traveling in the ‘90s and during the time I was a senator and often being at a mission and having people coming into a room representing the United States Government that was presided over by the chief of mission or the DCM, and people had never met each other. They had no real incentive or requirement to cooperate together. We had multiple procurement efforts running. We had duplicative equipment and materials. Those days are over. If we intend to do our job and sustain the support of the Congress, we have to be ahead of what will be a continuing drumbeat.

We know that there are those in the Congress who have even advocated eliminating all foreign aid, eliminating AID, and it’s going to take some outreach and education to discuss with them and lead them through our rationale. But I and we need to be in a position where we can say, “Look, we hear you. We grew quickly in the last two years, which we needed to do. We’d been stagnant. We didn’t have the resources, particularly the personnel. We needed to the jobs we were being asked to do, but we are extremely cautious and conscious about every dollar we spend.” And when we say that, we need to mean it, and we need to be able to back it up.

I hope that each and every one of you knows how much we value what you do every single day. And I hope you each know how important we believe what you’re doing is not only to fulfilling the work of the Department or AID, but of really representing, protecting, furthering American leadership. I am a big and – a big believer and a strong advocate of American leadership. I think that we have a tough road ahead, but it’s one we ought to be able to navigate together. I don’t think it is time for us to sort of pull in, but instead to push forward. And it really is going to be up to you.

You often are the people that brief the members of Congress who come to your countries. You often are the people who carry out our diplomacy. You are the people who oversee our foreign assistance and our USG efforts, and that’s why only you can take the priorities and objectives that we have set forth and formulate a coherent strategy.

I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you. I’ve had the privilege of being with many of you as I’ve traveled the last two years and look forward to even more in the two years ahead. But please help us make the most of this time.

I remember when I showed up at the White House, one of the long-serving butlers said to me, “Well, presidents and first ladies come and go, but butlers stay forever.” (Laughter.) And I know many of you will be serving with distinction long after I’m gone, and long after President Obama’s second term is gone. But we can’t just do it the way we’ve always done it. There are too many forces at work, some of which we are only beginning to understand – too many crosscurrents and complexity, which is why you’ve been chosen to do this job at this moment in American history.

So help us institutionalize the changes we need, change the structures that will support the kind of diplomacy and development our country deserves, help us to be sure we sustain American leadership and values, and we will do a great service on behalf of the country we love and serve together.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)



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George gets the highest rating of the last (free) question. Viera and Hill just about equal with the idiotic “will you run” question.


Interview With George Stephanopoulos of ABC’s Good Morning America

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Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
January 18, 2011

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thanks for joining us this morning. The White House is really rolling out the red carpet for President Hu, but I think a lot of Americans, especially those having trouble in the job market, are having a hard time figuring out how to think about China. Are they friend or foe, ally or adversary?

SECRETARY CLINTON: George, one of the reasons why we are rolling out the red carpet and having President Hu Jintao come for a state visit is because we think that we’ll be able better to answer such a question as we move forward. And my hope is —

QUESTION: You don’t know yet?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, my hope is that we have a normal relationship, a very positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship, where in some areas we are going to compete – there’s no doubt about that – but in many areas we’re going to cooperate. And we’ve seen that pattern in the last two years and it’s a pattern that I think reflects the reality and the complexity of our relationship.

QUESTION: It’s tough competition on the economic front especially. Your senior senator in New York, Chuck Schumer, has said America is getting fed up with the way China is manipulating its currency, closing down its markets, and he says that at times they are seeking unfair economic advantage. He’s actually proposed legislation that would sanction them, have tariffs if they don’t stop manipulating their currency.

Can you see a point where the Administration would get behind something like that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, George, let me say first that I think Americans need to put this relationship into perspective. Our economy is about three times the size of the Chinese economy, where they have four times the number of people. So our standard of living is much higher, our innovation, our creativity – all of that is really to America’s advantage.

They have a huge labor market. They have lower costs. And they are going to be a really tough competitor. And what we’re looking for is a competition where nobody’s got their thumb or their fist on the scale. So —

QUESTION: That’s the way it is right now, though.

SECRETARY CLINTON: No – we agree. That’s why we continue to raise issues of currency, of what they call indigenous innovation, which could be a disadvantage for our firms; of the failure to protect intellectual property, which is really our bread and butter because we are at the forefront of creating intellectual property.

So we are very clear in raising a lot of these issues. We do it continuously. We will be doing it during this visit. And we see small steps. I think it’s important to realize that we’re going to stand up for our values and our interests and our security. They’re going to stand up for theirs as they see it.

So part of what this dialogue is about is making sure that there’s no doubt in the Chinese mind that we think it’s in our interest, but it’s also in their interest, to have a freer market economy, to create more indigenous innovation, if you will, but not at the disadvantage of American creativity, intellectual property, and businesses.

So this is an ongoing discussion. We’re not going to be able to change their behavior overnight. But we think as they continue to develop, if we can create some bilateral trust, they will begin to see that a more open economy is actually in their interest, and that will advantage America.

QUESTION: We also have to see on the issue of security whether they’re going to do more to crack down on the North Korean nuclear program and stop undermining efforts to stop the Iranians from building nuclear weapons. Are we seeing any progress there, because it doesn’t seem like it from the outside?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think I see it a little differently. On Iran, for example, China joined with us in the tough sanctions. The Israelis just said about a week or so ago that they see a slowdown in the Iranian program. We believe that sanctions have had an impact. In North Korea, they also joined with us on sanctions.

So I think you have to look at the steps that we have taken to date and the fact that we need to be doing more. We are still —

QUESTION: You don’t believe they’re undermining the sanctions in Iran?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We think that there are some entities within China that we have brought to the attention of the Chinese leadership that are still not as, shall we say, as in compliance as we would like them to be. And we are pushing very hard on that and we may be proposing more unilateral sanctions.

Now, the Chinese response is they are enforcing the sanctions they agreed to in the Security Council; they did not agree to either European, American, or Japanese sanctions that were imposed unilaterally. Our response to that is, look, we share the same goal, we need to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state; so therefore, even though technically you did not sign up to our unilateral sanctions, we expect you to help us implement them. Because what is the alternative? Some kind of conflict in the Persian Gulf which would disrupt oil supplies, which would have a terrible impact on your economy? So it’s that kind of very clear-eyed, realistic discussion that we are having. And I think that we’ve made progress, we have a ways to go.

And similarly with North Korea, we have the same goal – the Chinese and the U.S.: We want a denuclearized, peaceful, stable Korean Peninsula. The Chinese have, obviously, many more years of experience in dealing with the North Koreans. They are very straightforward in saying here’s what we think you, South Korea, and Japan need to do to try to change their behavior. Well, we are exploring their recommendations and we are giving our own recommendations. But we’re engaged in a very intense discussion about this.

QUESTION: Let me ask you about Vice President Cheney. He gave an interview where he said – where he wondered whether President Obama has the absolute commitment to stopping another terror attack that both he – he said – and President Bush had. What do you make of that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that is really unfortunate language. I was certainly taken aback by it. I don’t know how anyone who was in the White House before or now could doubt any president’s absolute commitment to stopping the terrorists from attacking us. And I think you’ve seen in the last two years that President Obama and our entire team is single-mindedly focused on that, and we’ve had some successes in preventing terrorists from wreaking havoc on our own country and working with our friends and allies around the world.

I don’t think it’s useful to make such a statement and I certainly reject it completely.

QUESTION: Let me ask you a question coming out of that tragedy in Tucson. It’s pretty clear that Americans are fed up with the tone of our political discourse. We just had a poll at ABC News showing 82 percent don’t like the tone right now. You’ve been in the middle of the political fray for so long, I’m just wondering if you had any concrete ideas on how we might ratchet down the rhetoric. And for example, if you were still in the Senate, would you sit next to Republicans at the State of the Union?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, absolutely. I think that it may be a symbolic action, but symbolism matters. And I think we need to be doing more of that. I also think we have to be very careful about demonizing what are political disagreements by personalizing the people who hold different views. And I think everybody in politics, as I have been, gets carried away in the heat of the moment from time to time, and maybe says things about the person as opposed to the policy that we would think better of the next day.

So I think we need to continue to hold the opinions – that goes back to the beginning of our great debate in this country. And certainly we don’t all agree on the best way forward, whether it’s economics or any other issue, but let’s try to keep it on the policy. And one of the things that I regret, George, is what I call an evidence-free zone in our political debate, where people say things without ever being held accountable. And I don’t care whether it comes from one side or the other; if people make statements that are factually untrue in order to push their political point, there needs to be some way, through the media or elsewhere, to really call them on it.

Because let’s have a legitimate, fact-based debate. We all love our country. We all know that our country has some challenges. We want to maintain the standard of living. We want to create jobs. We want to give our children the same kind of future that we inherited when it was passed on to us by our parents and grandparents. And so let’s come to the table with that sense of good faith and sincere commitment, and let’s have a civil conversation where, yes, we can have differences, but we search for common ground.

QUESTION: We’re out of time. One final question. You seem awfully fulfilled on the professional front. How are you doing on the grandmother front?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Well, I will only get in trouble however I respond to that, but let me just say I love babies so maybe I’ll have more in my life someday. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Well, good luck with that. Madame Secretary, thanks so much for your time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thanks, George. Good to talk to you.

QUESTION: Bye-bye.

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Remarks With Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
January 5, 2011


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SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. It’s once again a great pleasure for me to welcome the foreign minister. I’ve had the honor of working with him on a very regular basis ever since I became Secretary of State. We are preparing diligently for the upcoming state visit by President Hu Jintao. It’s very much anticipated and looked forward to. And both the minister and I feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure that it continues the positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship between our two countries.

So again, Minster Yang, welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: Thank you. Thank you, Madam Secretary, for your very warm remarks and very sincere remarks as well. And we would like to thank President Obama, thank Secretary Clinton, and thank all my American colleagues for working so hard with the Chinese side for the preparation of the state visit to be paid by President Hu Jintao to the United States later this month. This visit will occur against the ever-evolving international situation and it will happen during the first year of the second decade of this great new century and will happen on the 40th anniversary of the opening of China-U.S. relationship.

I think China-U.S. relationship is on the right track. We are confronted with common challenges and we are enjoying common opportunities. It is in the best interests of China and the United States and the world for us to continue to work better so that our relationship will bring more benefits to both our two peoples and to the people of the world.

I believe that the preparation is proceeding very well, and my job here is to do my little part for a successful visit. And I thank the American Government, particularly the President and Madam Secretary and Mr. Donilon for their warm hospitality, and let’s all work hard for an even more beautiful tomorrow of China-U.S. relationship.

Thank you, Madam Secretary.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Minister. Thank you all very much.

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