Posts Tagged ‘Arab Spring.’

One of Hillary Clinton’s strongest qualifications for the presidency is her ability to perceive the nature and scope of impending disasters and craft effective measures to obviate a crisis.  Senator Hillary Clinton was the only candidate on the 2008 Democratic roster who foresaw the financial crisis and attempted to take measures to avoid it with her HOLC initiative.  More than once at the ironically dubbed Forum for The Future, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to warn powerful Arab elders that trouble was brewing among their populations due to non-participation in the civil order and high unemployment.  Shortly after the second warning, the Arab Spring exploded all around them.

So along comes Zika, and apparently now there has been a death from it aside from the incipient societal catastrophes the birth defects portend.  Here again, Hillary Clinton is out of the gate and way ahead of everyone else who wants to occupy the Oval Office.  Hillary has written about the Zika virus before.  This question was posed on Quora.  Here is Hillary’s response.

How would we go about stopping the spread of the Zika virus in the US?

Hillary Clinton, Senator, Secretary of State, 2016 presidential candidate

Answer featured in Forbes and The Huffington Post.

Zika—a virus linked to devastating birth defects—is a serious and urgent threat to the United States. Already, there are more than 900 confirmed cases across U.S. states and territories, and that number is expected to grow as mosquitos carrying the disease spread farther north this summer.

In Puerto Rico, the CDC estimates that 1 in 4 people—hundreds of thousands of American citizens—could become infected by year’s end. For an island in the midst of a financial crisis, with weakening health care infrastructure and insufficient Medicaid funding, that’s a catastrophe in the making.

I recently asked two of my senior campaign advisers to go to Puerto Rico to learn more about how Zika is affecting the island and what we can do to mitigate an outbreak. One thing was clear from their discussions with local health and government officials, visits to impacted neighborhoods, and observations at women’s health clinics: We need more resources to stop the spread of this disease.

First, we must do everything we can to educate the public—especially pregnant women—about the dangers of Zika so that people know to protect themselves against mosquito bites and against sexual transmission of the disease. Puerto Rico has taken an important step by providing education and toolkits to pregnant women through their Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) clinics, but we must do more to raise awareness—in Puerto Rico and across the United States.

Next, we have to develop a rapid diagnostic test for Zika—that’s a critical step, since most people who get the virus never develop symptoms and could unknowingly infect others. We need to invest in treatments and a vaccine. And we have to step up mosquito control and abatement and improve access to health and family planning services.

To put it simply, there’s a lot we need to do—and fast. We don’t yet know everything about this disease, but what we’re learning is alarming. Zika has now been linked to microcephaly, a heartbreaking birth defect that can lead to severe developmental delays and long-term health problems. In Brazil alone, more than 1,000 babies have been born with microcephaly or central nervous system malformations. It is also suspected that, in rare cases, Zika could lead to other neurological problems in adults.

Between travel-related cases, sexual transmission of the disease, and the spread of aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are native to the southern United States, experts are warning that Zika could spread much farther into the U.S. than initially expected.

We need to do everything we can to fight Zika—but we can’t do that without adequate resources. Congress should immediately provide emergency funding for Zika testing and treatment, mosquito control, family planning, and to support maternal and infant health. It’s up to us to convince them to do the right thing:

Add your name now and call on Congress to address this urgent public health crisis.

Such a contrast with the guys who spend their time on personal attacks against each other. We need a president who knows what to attack and how to do it.  While the guys are sitting on their hands, Hillary is ready with answers.




phone calls

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When the Arab Spring spread to Libya, President Sarkozy was the world leader most vocally in favor of an international initiative to assist the rebels.  By the time Hillary opens this chapter at the March 2011  G-8 meeting in Paris (now G-7 since the ouster of Russia after the invasion of Crimea), she had already evacuated Embassy Tripoli, issued a statement, and  addressed the situation at the Human Rights Council in Munich.  She was still unconvinced an international intervention would be wise.

Her questions:

  1. Would the international community unite?
  2. Who were the rebels?
  3. Were they prepared to lead?
  4. What was the endgame?

Unlike Egypt, the military in Libya and foreign mercenaries were attacking the people under Qaddafi’s orders.  The rebels had formed a transitional governing council and it was their representative, Mahmoud Jibril,  whom Hillary awaited as the chapter opens.

Hillary walks us through a brief history of the U.S. and Qaddafi including the downing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, his disconcerting fixation on Condi Rice, his 2009 visit to UNGA complete with his attempt to pitch his tent in Central Park and his long rambling speech.

Suspension of United States Embassy Operations in Libya

Hillary Clinton: Holding the Qadhafi Government Accountable

We have always said that the Qadhafi government’s future is a matter for the Libyan people to decide, and they have made themselves clear. When a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now. Moammar Qadhafi has lost the confidence of his people and he should go without further bloodshed and violence. The Libyan people deserve a government that is responsive to their aspirations and that protects their universally recognized human rights.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Human Rights Council

Colonel Qadhafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common decency. Through their actions, they have lost the legitimacy to govern. And the people of Libya have made themselves clear: It is time for Qadhafi to go – now, without further violence or delay.

On March 9, she met at the White house with the national security team.   There was no appetite for engagement and not much hope that the one option that seemed most likely – a no fly zone – would work.

She mentions testifying before Congress on March 10.  If this was the testimony, the comments she quotes occurred in the Q & A and not in her opening statements, but she did assure Congress that there were no plans for unilateral action.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks To The House Appropriations Committee

Secretary Clinton’s Travel to Europe and the Middle East

When Jibril did show up he was in the company of Bernard-Henri Lévy, philosopher, advisor to Sarkozy, and one who. in an Indiana Jones sort of way,  had managed to be on the ground to see what was happening in Libya.  The Arab League had voted to request a no fly zone of the Security Council.  Jibril, in the meeting, warned of imminent slaughter in Benghazi – the seat of the revolution in Libya.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With UAE FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan

CNN Video: Bernard-Henri Lévy Validates Hillary Clinton on Libya

Truth time: I have long had an intellectual crush on Lévy. He is an odd mix of philosopher-journalist, and his logic is always superbe! Speaking with Eliot Spitzer on CNN’s In The Arena tonight, he said that we should listen more to Mrs. Clinton.

On the show tonight because he is the one who convinced Sarkozy to take up the free Libyan cause,  he said that he told the French President that there were French flags flying in Benghazi,  and if Sarkozy did nothing, there would be blood on the French flags.  What a dramatic image! Uncomplicated and  true.

Slideshow: Hillary Clinton at Paris G8

 On the ground in Cairo. Hillary mentioned the resolutions before the U.N. Security Council.  There was a weak Russian-Chinese resolution and a strong French-Lebanese resolution.  In the end Lavrov agreed that Russia would not to vote against the stronger one, but would simply abstain – and that was enough. The language of the stronger resolution contained the words “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.   The issue was whether there was to be strictly a no fly zone or whether there was by extension a no drive zone.  Would the attacks be strictly air-to-air, or would air-to-ground  (seen as necessary to stop Qaddafi’s ground troops from attacking rebel strongholds) be permissible?

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby

… with regard to Libya, we welcomed the Arab League’s statement on Saturday. And I consulted with my G-8 colleagues yesterday in Paris. As you probably know, there is a British-French-Lebanese Security Council resolution that is being discussed at this time in New York. We are consulting with the Arab League about their understanding of the goals and modalities of a no-fly zone as well as other forms of support. We understand the urgency of this and therefore we are upping our humanitarian assistance. We are looking for ways to support the opposition, with whom I met last night. But we believe that this must be an international effort and that there has to be decisions made in the Security Council in order for any of these steps to go forward.

After Cairo, she visited Tunisia, went back to DC briefly, and then was wheels up again for Paris.   This time she arrived with an agreement to participate in a no fly zone in her very stylish bag.

In the course of reading her book and digging up the posts from the events, I have learned not to be surprised anymore when her account differs from how it was reported since she is telling the story from the inside while we observed from outside.  She tells this differently, but this is the way it looked to all of us.  We also have become accustomed to Hillary waiving credit for her accomplishments.

Hillary Clinton à Paris : Chapitre Deux

CNN’s John King dubbed her the “Acting President” yesterday, and no less a former adversary than MSNBC’s Chris Matthews called her the Commander-in-Chief, saying she was presidential and strong.  Roger L. Simon at Pajamasmedia treated us to this header: Jets over Libya as H. Clinton Assumes Presidency.

The amazing Hillary Rodham Clinton departed Paris on Tuesday on a mission to convince the White House that participating in a No-Fly Zone was the right thing to do to protect the brave Libyan freedom fighters who have risen up against 42 years of dictatorship under the tyrant Mouammar Gadhafi.   In her meetings on Monday and Tuesday, she reportedly responded to repeated requests for U.S. cooperation from various world leaders with the mantra, “There are difficulties.”

But HRC knew exactly what kind of an NFZ she wanted in order for the U.S. not to look like the cliched “world’s policeman.”  She knew exactly how the coalition should be formed,  and how her country should fit in.  So when she returned to D.C. early Friday morning,  after visits to Egypt and Tunisia,  she did so with a mission.  In a Situation Room meeting that morning, she finally scored her victory,  winning President Obama’s agreement to participate in the coalition.

Hillary Clinton’s Press Availability in Paris

America has unique capabilities and we will bring them to bear to help our European and Canadian allies and Arab partners stop further violence against civilians, including through the effective implementation of a no-fly zone. As President Obama said, the United States will not deploy ground troops, but there should be no mistaking our commitment to this effort.

The international community came together to speak with one voice and to deliver a clear and consistent message: Colonel Qadhafi’s campaign of violence against his own people must stop. The strong votes in the United Nations Security Council underscored this unity. And now the Qadhafi forces face unambiguous terms: a ceasefire must be implemented immediately – that means all attacks against civilians must stop; troops must stop advancing on Benghazi and pull back from Adjabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya; water, electricity, and gas supplies must be turned on to all areas; humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.

As you may know, French planes are already in the skies above Benghazi. Now, America has unique capabilities and we will bring them to bear to help our European and Canadian allies and Arab partners stop further violence against civilians, including through the effective implementation of a no-fly zone. As President Obama said, the United States will not deploy ground troops, but there should be no mistaking our commitment to this effort.

Before the end of the month, command of the no fly zone operation was ceded by the U.S. to NATO.

Video & Transcript: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on Transition of NFZ Command

In response, the UN Security Council mandated all necessary measures to protect civilians, including a no-fly zone. But the regime’s forces continued their assaults, and last weekend they reached Benghazi itself. We faced the prospect of an imminent humanitarian disaster. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were in danger. So an international coalition was compelled to act. French planes were the first to reach the skies over Benghazi. Cruise missiles from the United States and the United Kingdom followed, striking the region – the regime’s air defenses and clearing the way for allied aircraft to implement the no-fly zone.

Many other nations have now joined this effort. After only five days, we have made significant progress. A massacre in Benghazi was prevented, Qadhafi’s air force and air defenses have been rendered largely ineffective, and the coalition is in control of the skies above Libya….

Today we are taking the next step. We have agreed, along with our NATO allies, to transition command and control for the no-fly zone over Libya to NATO. All 28 allies have also now authorized military authorities to develop an operations plan for NATO to take on the broader civilian protection mission under Resolution 1973.

Secretary Clinton To Travel to London, United Kingdom

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to London, United Kingdom, March 29 to attend an international conference to discuss the Libyan crisis, including ongoing implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and the humanitarian needs of those affected by the conflict.

Hillary Clinton: Remarks at the International Conference on Libya

Thank you very much, Prime Minister, and thanks to you and your government for the critical leadership effort you have demonstrated in our common effort. Thanks too to France, which has been at the forefront of this mission, including by hosting many of us last week in Paris, and really thanks to everyone around this table. We have prevented a potential massacre, established a no-fly zone, stopped an advancing army, added more partners to this coalition, and transferred command of the military effort to NATO. That’s not bad for a week of work at a time of great, intense international concern…

We believe that Libya’s transition should come through a broadly inclusive process that reflects the will and protects the rights of the Libyan people. The Transitional National Council and a broad cross-section of Libya’s civil society and other stakeholders have critical contributions to make…

This is a time of great change for Libya, for its neighbors across the region and around the world. Under different governments, under different circumstances, people are expressing the same basic aspirations – a voice in their government, an end to corruption, freedom from violence and fear, the chance to live in dignity, and to make the most of their God-given talents. Now, we know these goals are not easily achieved, but they are, without question, worth working for together. And I’m very proud that this coalition has come to this place at this time to try to pursue those goals.

Hillary Clinton: Remarks After the International Conference on the Libyan Crisis

In late August, Qaddafi fled.

Secretary Clinton’s Statement on Libya

Secretary Clinton’s Travel to Paris

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Paris, France September 1 to participate in a senior-level meeting of the Contact Group on Libya.

Secretary Clinton: A New Future Dawning in Libya

Well, this is my ninth trip to discuss the current crisis in Libya, and each time I have urged that our partners stay focused on the ultimate objective of helping the Libyan people chart their way to a better future. And today, that future is within their reach. All of us are inspired by what is happening in Libya.

Six months ago, Libyans stood up to demand fundamental rights and freedom. And when Qadhafi met their peaceful protest with violence, the Libyan people refused to back down. While their struggle is not over, the Libyan people are taking back their country. Libya’s transformation is the – largely the result of their own courage and their resilience in the face of very difficult days. The sacrifice that the Libyan people have been willing to make in order to obtain freedom and dignity has been extraordinary.


The next month Hillary visited Malta and Libya.  Malta, of course, had been a way station for Americans evacuated in February and deserved a grateful visit. From Malta, she proceeded to Libya.

Secretary Clinton: Wheels Down in Malta


Landing in Libya, she was apprehensive but received a warm reception from the militia.

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in Tripoli U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in Tripoli10-18-11-26b 10-18-11-26c U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in Tripoli U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in TripoliU.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures with Libyan soldiers upon her departure from Tripoli in Libya

Mahmoud Jibril, with whom she had met in Paris in March, was the transitional Prime Minister.

Video: Secretary Clinton with TNC Prime Minister Jibril in Tripoli

 I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya. And on behalf of the American people I congratulate all Libyans. It is a great privilege to see a new future for Libya being born.  And indeed, the work ahead is quite challenging, but the Libyan people have demonstrated the resolve and resilience necessary to achieve their goals.

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton walks with Jibril, head of Libya's National Transitional Council, before a news conference in Tripoli

One of those challenges was coalescing so many disparate militias into a single military force under civilian authority,  Hillary points out.  Transitional Council leaders agreed with her.  As we know, as of this writing, that never happened and is the reason that today Libya is in chaos with numerous militias battling each other and two parliaments.  Again our embassy is evacuated.

Secretary Clinton’s Town Hall Meeting in Tripoli

A Libyan student asks U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a question during a town hall meeting with the Youth and Civil Society at Tripoli University in Libya

She also visited a hospital.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets a wounded soldier at a Tripoli hospital during her visit to Libya U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets a wounded soldier at a Tripoli hospital during her visit to Libya 10-18-11-34e 10-18-11-34f

Our embassy had been ransacked.  They were running embassy services and operations out of the Ambassador’s residence.

Secretary Clinton’s Embassy Meet-and-Greets in Valletta and Tripoli


Then she was wheels-up and out.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

In the book,  Hillary explains that from Malta to Libya and back they flew in a C-17 cargo transport because of the many shoulder-to-air weapons on the ground in Libya and the obvious markings on her plane.  I can attest that these are very visible.  When I lived in Haiti, then U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young visited and flew in a similar plane.  When his flight was leaving I could, from my gallerie, clearly see the words “The United States of America” on his plane as it took off over the Gulf of La Gonave.  My heart burst with pride to see it.  It was wise not to send her “Big Blue Bird” into possible danger.

She notes that on the flight to Libya from Malta this happened.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary ClintonOriginal image by Kevin Lamarque for Reuters.

10-18-11-49Original image by Diana Walker for Time.

Leading to this:  Texts From Hillary

A submission from Secretary Hillary Clinton.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Original image by Diana Walker for Time.

And ultimately this!


Despite all the fun generated by those pics of Hillary “running the world,”  she left Libya that day soberly worried about its future.

She had been forced in late 2010 to recall Ambassador Gene Cretz, quite a character as portrayed in her book,  because of credible threats against him.  Chris Stevens, an expert on Libya, former envoy to the rebels in Benghazi during the revolution, and very enthusiastic supporter of their cause, accepted the job with gusto. Anyone who has seen his video introducing himself to the people of Libya as the new American Ambassador can see that.

The attacks on our outposts in Benghazi were not the last of the problems engendered by a new government unable to wrangle the many militias.  As I write, Embassy Tripoli is once again evacuated.  Everyone has seen the videos by now.  None of that is for clouded vision on Hillary’s part or anyone else’s.  Our mission, always, is to go to the dangerous places and to try to talk and reason with people.


Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>



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“They’re sitting on a powder keg.”  Hillary begins this chapter in January 2011 as she prepped to speak at Forum for the Future, an annual meeting where the rich and powerful of the Arab world convene.  In Morocco in November 2009, early in her tenure at the State Department, but already having set signature issues and standards of engagement, she gently and subtly prodded these leaders toward inclusion of marginalized citizens, particularly women and young people.  I have always thought of that speech as foreshadowing the events that were to come.  I have also always thought that she was clear-eyed due to her outreach to civil society.

Hillary Clinton knew the people and their concerns better than their own leaders had bothered to know them.  When she delivered that Morocco speech, she should have been seen the way an outside consultant is in a corporation.   Had she been, her findings and advice might have been heeded.

… it is results, not rhetoric, that matter in the end. Economic empowerment, education, healthcare, access to energy and to credit, these are the basics that all communities need to thrive. And the United States seeks to pursue these common aspirations through concrete actions. We know that true progress comes from within a society and cannot be imposed from the outside, and we know that change does not happen overnight. So we will not focus our energies on one-time projects, but we will seek to work with all of you in government and in civil society to try to build local capacity and empower local organizations and individuals to create sustainable change…

Earlier this year, I visited an Access classroom in Ramallah. I walked into an enthusiastic discussion of Women’s History Month. These were students who did not come from educated families, but they were students with the same ambition and motivation that we heard described by our colleague, the Palestinian foreign minister, about his own son. We want to create more opportunities for students like these to fulfill their God-given potential.

And this points to a related priority – the empowerment of women. I have said, as some of you know, for many years, and President Obama said it in Cairo, no country can achieve true progress or fulfill its own potential when half of its people are left behind. When little girls are not given the same opportunities for education, we have no idea what we are losing out on because they’re not going to be able to contribute to the growth and the development of their countries…

Our work is based on empowering individuals rather than promoting ideologies; listening and embracing others’ ideas rather than simply imposing our own; and pursuing partnerships that are sustainable and broad-based…

As leaders of countries that have a direct stake and care deeply about all of the final status issues that must be resolved, I would just ask you to think about how we can each demonstrate the commitment that is necessary for us to go forward.

Having adhered to the status quo, these leaders and elder statemen were about to experience what Hillary had seen coming all along: upheaval.

On the cusp of wide-spread revolution with Tunisia already boiling over, Hillary did not want to make a boilerplate speech.  She wanted to be clear, strong, and firm.  If they did not change the way they governed,  change would find them.  She recalls that her predecessor, Condoleeza Rice,  had paved the way in 2005 when she stated that for more than half a century the U.S. had chosen to pursue “stability at the expense of democracy” and had “achieved neither”   Hillary intended to make the case for democracy crystal clear in Doha: resisting change is nothing more than a recipe for unrest and conflict – a petri dish for terrorism.

Secretary Clinton’s Travel to the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar

Background Briefing on the Secretary Clinton’s Upcoming Travel

As she prepared to travel, the Lebanese government became shaky.  She met with Prime Minister Hariri and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in New York prior to departure.

Secretary Clinton and Escort Meet Saudi King Abdullah and Lebanese PM Hariri


The next day she was wheels up for Abu Dhabi.  Protests had spread all over Tunisia fueled, abetted, and broadcast by social media, the 21st century bête noire of despots.   Her first public remarks on the trip were to graduate students at a high-tech institute.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at The Masdar Institute (U.A.E.)

The old strategies for growth and prosperity will no longer work. For too many people in too many places, the status quo today is unsustainable. And the UAE is leading our work and the path we must take into the future. It is putting into practice what it means to be sustainable and laying the groundwork for economic, environmental, and social progress.

From there she proceeded to Yemen which she describes as representative of the warnings she had prepared to voice in Abu Dhabi.

Secretary Clinton’s Surprise Visit to Yemen

She met with the president and he took her on a tour of the Old City of Sanaa where she found the women veiled and the men armed with daggers and Kalashnikovs.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh After Their Meeting


Her next port-of-call was Oman, a monarchy, where she met with Sultan Qaboos.  In the book she offers a review of progressive change since the 1970s so impressive that in 2010 the U.N. Development Programme ranked it the most improved country in human development over that period.

Slideshow of Secretary Clinton in Oman: Part I


Slideshow of Secretary Clinton in Oman: Part II


The Hariri government disintegrated on January 12 while the prime minister was in Washington D.C.

Finally, on the 13th, the speech so carefully prepared.  This is a speech I have posted here several times.  If you have never read it, it is well worth reading.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at Forum for the Future

… in too many places, in too many ways, the region’s foundations are sinking into the sand. The new and dynamic Middle East that I have seen needs firmer ground if it is to take root and grow everywhere. And that goal brings us to this Forum … You can help build a future that your young people will believe in, stay for, and defend …Those who cling to the status quo may be able to hold back the full impact of their countries’ problems for a little while, but not forever … let us face honestly that future. Let us discuss openly what needs to be done. Let us use this time to move beyond rhetoric, to put away plans that are timid and gradual, and make a commitment to keep this region moving in the right direction.

The next day Tunisian strongman,  Zine el Abidine Ben Ali,  fled the country he had ruled with an iron fist for decades.  Having played out on satellite TV and social media, the coup became an incentive in the region for other similarly oppressed populations.

Statement on Tunisia

On January 25, massive protests erupted in Tahrir Square in Cairo.  Calling for “bread, freedom, and dignity,” the crowd grew daily and increasingly became focused on driving Hosni Mubarak from office.  Hillary’s first comments on the Egyptian situation came in the context of a presser with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh


 As we monitor this situation carefully, we call on all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from violence. We support the universal rights of the Egyptian people, including the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. And we urge the Egyptian authorities not to prevent peaceful protests or block communications, including on social media sites.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Statement on Egypt

Hillary reviews a 20-year history of acquaintance with Mubarak and his wife noting his steadfast support of the Camp David accords as well as the disappointment that human rights were never expanded.

Inside the White House there was disagreement over the appropriate posture to assume.  Young and idealistic staffers were in the corner with the protesters.  Joe Biden and Bob Gates had misgivings about appearing to push out a long-time partner and the signal that would send.  Hillary saw the former point of view, but shared the latter concern.  It was clear, however, that, important as his partnership for peace had been, Mubarak’s autocracy could not continue to be tolerated as events in Tahrir Square spiraled into violent confrontations.

(Hillary refers to this particular interview with David Gregory but does not mention that it was one of five Sunday morning interviews on this subject that morning nor that she then left for Haiti where she submitted to three more interviews that day.  Our amazing girl!)

Secretary Clinton’s Interview With David Gregory of NBC’s Meet The Press

Long-term stability rests on responding to the legitimate needs of the Egyptian people, and that is what we want to see happen … peaceful, orderly transition to a democratic regime….

A major issue was the lack of coherence within the popular uprising.  It was leaderless, driven by social media, and the only organized body in the country was the Muslim Brotherhood which, alone, appeared prepared to leap into the void if/when the Mubarak government fell, in which case, Hillary told President Obama,  “it all may work out fine … in 25 years.”

Communications with Egyptian officials were over the phone.  She told Foreign Minister Gheit that elections were going to be necessary. He told her that Mubarak remained defiant and refused to resign.

Hillary rcommended an envoy (Foreign Service verteran Farnk Wisner was chosen) and a package deal for Mubarak.

  1.  End the emergency law of 1981 (still in effect);
  2.  Pledge not to run (in a necessary election);
  3.  Agree not to set up his son Gamal as successor.

The military issued a statement that it would not move on citizens while Mubarak made some concessions, but they were small, not major, and too little too late.

President Obama wanted change now.

Secretary Clinton’s Call to Egyptian Vice President Omar Soliman

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Egyptian Vice President Omar Soliman today to convey that today’s violence was a shocking development after many days of consistently peaceful demonstrations … also underscored the important role that the Egyptian Armed Forces have played in exercising restraint in the face of peaceful demonstrations and expressed concern that all parties recommit themselves to using only peaceful means of assembly.

Secretary Clinton’s Statement on Egypt

Hillary continued talking to FM Aboul Gheit by phone and your heart has to go out to him.  (I always liked him.)  He worried about an Islamist takeover and told Hillary that he wanted his little granddaughters “to grow up to be like their grandmother and like you … This is the fight of my life!”

Hillary proceeded to the Munich Conference.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Munich Security Conference Plenary Session


How do we offer support to Egypt for its transition to a pluralistic democracy? How do we make sure that there is not greater instability?

… part of what we have to do is to send a consistent message supporting the orderly transition that has begun, urging that it be not only transparent and sincere, but very concrete, so that the Egyptian people and those of us on the outside can measure the progress that is being made.

… it is our hope that this proceeds peacefully, that it proceeds with specific goals being achieved, so that people can see that their voices have been heard, and that there be an election with international observers and with sufficient preparation and performance that it will be viewed as free, fair, and credible when it is finally held.

Video: Secretary Clinton on Events in the Middle East: “The Status Quo is Simply Not Sustainable”

Gheit, meanwhile, submitted to an interview on PBS voicing his government’s (i.e. Mubarak’s) attitude toward commentary from the U.S.

Odds & Ends from Today’s Press Briefing

QUESTION: On Egypt, before we get into the – have you seen the interview that Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit has done with PBS?

MR. CROWLEY: I have not. I’m aware of it. I think our friend and colleague, Margaret Warner, was there today.

QUESTION: Yeah. In that interview he’s pretty angry about what he regards as interference in U.S. – in the U.S. trying to – the Administration trying to dictate to the Egyptian leadership how and when they should do this transition. Do you – what do you make of those comments?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I haven’t seen them, so I’m reluctant to comment specifically. I think from our standpoint, what’s important here is not how we view things. We’re not trying to dictate anything. As we’ve said and emphasized many times, there will be an Egyptian solution and Egyptian actions within this orderly transition. But it’s important that what Egypt does do is seen as credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people. And it’s our view that what they’ve put forward so far does not meet that threshold.

Hosni Mubarak stepped down on February 11 and did not leave the country.  “I will die in Egypt,” he stated.

Where Hosni Mubarak Is

About a month later, Hillary visited Tahrir Square.

Secretary Clinton In Tahrir Square

To see where this revolution happened and all that it has meant to the world is extraordinary for me. It’s just a great reminder of the power of the human spirit and universal desire for human rights and democracy. It’s just thrilling to see where this happened.


She met with students and activists interested to hear their plans.  They had none, were disorganized, argumentative, very inexperienced politically, and showed no interest in organizing a platform.  She asked if they had considered forming a political coalition joining together on behalf of candidates and programs.  She was met with blank stares and left fearing they would just turn the country over to the Muslim Brotherhood which, of course, is exactly what they did.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks Prior to Meeting With Egyptian Prime Minister

Field Marshall Tantawi permitted elections and when Morsi defeated his candidate he allowed the result to stand.  As to the dueling conspiracy theories that the U.S. had helped/hindered the Muslim Brotherhood, she states that “logic never gets in the way of a good conspiracy theory.”

Hillary Clinton in Egypt: A Background Briefing


When she returned to Cairo in July 2012 she found the streets again filled with protesters – against her.  Egyptian police did nothing to help her Diplomatic Security hold the crowds back.  She could hear the anti-American chants 12 floors up in her hotel room.

Hillary Clinton with Egyptian FM Mohamed Kamel Amr

Despite the protests she insisted upon keeping to the itinerary and proceeding to the flag-raising event in Alexandria where, stateside, we heard that her car had been pelted with shoes and tomatoes.  It was a little closer and more unsettling than what we were told.  Her State Department spokesperson, Toria Nuland, was hit in the head with a tomato as they were leaving the event and being escorted very close to the angry crowd.  When Hillary’s door closed, a man pounded a shoe against her window.  No one was injured, thank heaven, but it was not for any assistance from Egyptian security.

Hillary Clinton at the Consulate Flag-Raising in Alexandria Egypt

On my visit to Egypt yesterday and today, I told people I wanted to listen more than talk. I wanted to hear firsthand the concerns, the issues, the aspirations that could be represented to me both by officials as well as citizens.

People want to know and are vigorously debating this among themselves, as you know so well, what this democratic transition occurring in Egypt will be like. Where will it lead?

I have come to Alexandria to reaffirm the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and for your democratic future. Yesterday in Cairo, I spoke about the immediate questions that you are facing.

The Egyptian people have every right in this new democracy to look to their leaders to protect the rights of all citizens, to govern in a fair and inclusive manner, and to respect the results of elections.

Earlier today, I met with members of Egypt’s Christian community, with a number of women leaders and advocates, and with young entrepreneurs who want to demonstrate that Egyptian young people are just as innovative and successful as young people anywhere. They have legitimate concerns….

Democracy is not just about reflecting the will of the majority; it is also about protecting the rights of the minority.

The Morsi government failed the inclusion test, was removed by the military a year after that visit, and Egypt continues to lack credible democratic institutions in Hillary’s assessment.


Jordan’s King Abdullah managed to stay ahead of the wave with credible legislative elections and a crackdown on corruption.  One problem for Jordan after the fall of Mubarak was energy.  Natural gas pipelines providing about 80% of Jordan’s energy needs were often attacked and the flow interrupted.    Over a private lunch with the king at the State Department, Hillary suggested working out trade deals with Iraq and Israel.  In 2013  an agreement with Iraq was signed  and another with Israel in 2014.  Crisis averted.


Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, all partners of ours,  are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council initiated by Hillary as secretary of state.   They formed a complex web.

Hillary found negotiating with them over human rights issues most ticklish but provides a lesson in diplomacy when she explains that some issues require a soapbox while others are better addressed privately.  You solve it.  We will say nothing.  It was an effective approach to some issues that arose.  She advocates different responses for different situations.

She (and her entourage ) received a welcome fit for a queen in Saudi Arabia in 2010, but women’s issues there were prickly.

Hillary Clinton Gets Royal Treatment

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks At Dar Al-Hekma College Town Hall (Jeddah)

 I, of course, believe that educating young women is not only morally right, but it is also the most important investment any society can make in order to further and advance the values and the interests of the people. The Egyptian poet, Hafez Ibrahim, said, “A mother is a school. Empower her and you empower a great nation.”

I am a graduate of a women’s college, Wellesley College, outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and I know how rewarding it is to be a member of this kind of community, where young women are the focus of attention, where our interests are identified, recognized, and nurtured, and where the friendships that you make and the lessons that you learn will enrich your lives long after you graduate.

QUESTION: …  does the prospect of Sarah Palin one day becoming president maybe terrify you? (Laughter.)  And if so, would you consider emigrating to Canada or possibly even Russia in the event of this happening?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Well, the short answer is no – (laughter) – I will not be emigrating.

This event was under high security by female guards.  One heavily veiled guard approached Huma and asked for a photo.  Hillary asked whether this should be done in a private room.  Yes.  The guard removed her veil before the camera and gave a wide smile.  Click. The veil came down.  “Welcome to Saudi Arabia.”

By the next year, the Arab Spring had spread to the Gulf.  In March 2011 the issue was unrest in Bahrain and UAE and Saudi Arabia had sent security forces over the border without consulting  … anybody.  Yemen was also in turmoil.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With UAE FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan

FOREIGN MINISTER ABDULLAH: Well, the Bahrain Government asked us yesterday to look at ways to help them to defuse the tension in Bahrain, and we have already sent roughly around 500 of our police force, who are there. The Saudis are there as well.

The Bahrain crisis and Saudi-UAE intervention was an issue.

Secretary Clinton’s Interviews In Egypt: Andrea Mitchell (NBC), Steve Inskeep (NPR), Kim Ghattas (BBC), Shahira Amin (Nile TV)

QUESTION: So what leverage do you still have on countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia? They’re your allies. You – they – you train their armies. You supply them with weapons. And yet when the Saudis decided to send troops into Bahrain – and I believe Washington made clear it wasn’t pleased about that – they said, “Don’t interfere. This is an internal GCC matter.”

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they are on notice as to what we think. And we will intend to make that very clear publicly and privately, and we will do everything we can to try to move this off the wrong track, which we believe is going to undermine long-term progress in Bahrain, to the right track, which is the political and economic track.


Hillary Clinton’s Press Availability in Paris

I also had the opportunity to engage today with my Arab counterparts, including Foreign Minister Zebari of Iraq representing the presidency of the Arab Summit, Secretary General Amr Moussa of the Arab League, Prime Minister Hamid bin Jasim of Qatar, Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayid of the UAE, Foreign Minister Fassi Fihri of Morocco, and Foreign Minister Judeh of Jordan.

We also had a constructive discussion on Bahrain. We have a decades-long friendship with Bahrain that we expect to continue long into the future. Our goal is a credible political process that can address the legitimate aspirations of all the people of Bahrain, starting with the Crown Prince’s dialogue, which all parties should join.

With all of these partners, we have discussed the urgent humanitarian needs arising from the crisis in Libya. I thanked the Arab leaders for their generous contributions to aid refugees fleeing Qadhafi’s violence, and we agreed that this will be a critical concern in the days ahead. Egypt and Tunisia, in particular, will need all of our support. The United States has made significant pledges of assistance, and we look to all our allies and partners to join us in this work.


Video: Secretary Clinton at the National Democratic Institute’s 2011 Democracy Awards Dinner

Why does America promote democracy one way in some countries and another way in others? Well, the answer starts with a very practical point: situations vary dramatically from country to country. It would be foolish to take a one-size-fits-all approach and barrel forward regardless of circumstances on the ground. Sometimes, as in Libya, we can bring dozens of countries together to protect civilians and help people liberate their country without a single American life lost. In other cases, to achieve that same goal, we would have to act alone, at a much greater cost, with far greater risks, and perhaps even with troops on the ground.

As a country with many complex interests, we’ll always have to walk and chew gum at the same time.


It was more complex, of course than walking and chewing gum. It was more like keeping a dozen plates spinning on sticks, but the different approaches to different situations strategy was effective.

Secretary Clinton Lauds Signing of GCC-Brokered Agreement in Yemen

We urge all parties within Yemen to refrain from violence and to move swiftly to implement the terms of the agreement in good faith and with transparency — including credible presidential elections within 90 days.

Video: Secretary Clinton with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani

Today, Sheikh Hamad and I had a productive and wide-ranging discussion about the path forward. We spoke about the importance of helping Libya complete its transition from an armed revolution to a peaceful, unified, and orderly democracy under the rule of law. We discussed Yemen, where Qatar is working as part of the Gulf Cooperation Council to ensure that all parties honor their commitment to take part in a peaceful transition to democracy. We also spoke about the importance of responding to people’s economic needs. So many of these revolutions and uprisings that we have seen were rooted in the economic grievances that people had – not enough jobs, not jobs that paid an adequate wage for a family, too much corruption, and so much else. And we are working together to assist countries to provide more economic change for their people.

Video: Hillary Clinton at the U.N. Security Council

As Yemen unraveled into violence last year, this Security Council stood behind the efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Yemeni stakeholders to find a peaceful solution. In the face of setbacks, we held firm. Now many challenges lie ahead. But last month’s successful presidential election and inauguration were promising steps on the path toward a new, democratic chapter in Yemen’s history.

Hillary ends this chapter in post-revolution Tunisia, now markedly changed, where a question at a town hall with students highlighted an issue that certainly backlit all of our dealings with partners during the turbulence of the Arab Spring: that of trust in the face of compromise.

Hillary Clinton’s Town Hall in Tunisia

QUESTION:  I think that there exists among many young people in Tunisia across the region a deep feeling of mistrust towards the West in general and the United States in particular. And many observers partly explain the surge of extremism in the region and in Tunisia by this skepticism. And even among the mainstream of moderate and pro-Western youth, there is a sense of despair and fatalism when it comes to the possibility of building a real and lasting partnership that is based on mutual interests. So is the United States aware of this issue? And how do you think we can address it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. I can speak for both President Obama and myself. We are aware of it. We regret it. We feel that it doesn’t reflect the values or the policy of the United States. And there are several reasons as we understand them. Some people say, well, you supported the prior regimes in these countries. Well, those were the governments. If you’re a government, who do you deal with? You deal with the governments that are in place. And yes, we did. We dealt with the governments that were in place, just like we deal with the governments elsewhere.

I will be the first to say we, like any country in the world, have made mistakes. I will be the first to say that. We’ve made a lot of mistakes. But I think if you look at the entire historical record, the entire historical record shows we’ve been on the side of freedom, we’ve been on the side of human rights, we’ve been on the side of free markets and economic empowerment. And that is where the bulk of the evidence, in my view, rests.

You said you were a lawyer? (Laughter.) I used to be one. (Laughter.) So I think we can make a very strong case, and that’s what we’re doing, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m here, to do it in person.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participates in a Town Hall meeting at the Baron d' Erlanger Palace in Carthage, Tunisia, February 25, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed (TUNISIA - Tags: POLITICS)

This chapter demonstrates a great deal about how Hillary Clinton thinks and approaches problems and conflicts.  Versatility, flexibility,  the ability to multitask are key.  No single situation is clone of another, therefore one-size-fits-all approaches are doomed to fail.  In any conflict of any kind, true settlement will never fully satisfy either side.  Compromise, the ability to effect it and to accept it are also key.

These are the lenses through which Hillary Clinton looks at issues.  This point of view informs her path.  She places her camp chair in the center and surveilles the theater of operations with an eye to finding solutions that mutually benefit the parties.   This is what makes accusations of extremism about her nonsense.  She never puts that chair in an extreme spot.  She knows you do not get the clearest view from there.


Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>



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On Tuesday, May 10, I posted the April 7 Interview with Jeff Goldberg of The Atlantic that had just been released.  Something in that interview caught my attention.  It was a busy week for me,  and I did not have time to address it immediately, but I want to take a step back  and attend to it now.

QUESTION: Is there – a couple more things. The – I’m not a fan of coherence. We have this bias toward coherence. Everything has to be tied up neatly.

SECRETARY CLINTON: But everybody wants that.

QUESTION: Everybody wants coherence. Is there, however, some sort of coherent storyline that you can identify what’s happened since the poor vegetable seller –


QUESTION: — self-immolated.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I mean, I’m now being blamed in some Arab capitals for having caused this with my speech in Doha, even though –

QUESTION: You get it coming and going.



SECRETARY CLINTON: Even though the vegetable dealer actually –

QUESTION: That was before.

SECRETARY CLINTON: — set himself on fire.

QUESTION: But you were working on the speech, to your credit –

SECRETARY CLINTON: I was working on it and –

STAFF: Forgive me, to her credit –


STAFF: You’re the reporter, huh?


QUESTION: To your credit. No, you – I mean, I know the speech was in – Jim was telling me –


QUESTION: — the speech was in motion.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s right. I mean, because what I saw happening was so clear to me that what was going on was just this movement below the surface that despite the leaders’ either refusal or blindness to see what was going on, it was moving. And we have just lost our breath over the last many years trying to get people that we worked with ahead of the curve. So I gave that speech in Doha, and it was fascinating, and I noticed it at the time. A lot of the government leaders were like, “No, didn’t want to hear it.” The business leaders, the NGOs, were on the edge of their seats. They were nodding at each other. They were poking each other in the arm. They –

QUESTION: You literally felt that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I could see it. I could literally see it where I was sitting as I was delivering it, and then during the question-and-answer period.

So, I mean, the leaders might have chosen to be oblivious, but people in the society, not just the young people, but people of all walks of life, they knew that there was this beginning change. And it was, “Do they go with it? Are they afraid of it? Do they make it their own?” That was –

QUESTION: Stipulated that you get it coming and going on these questions, do you – and I just want to come to two final things on the Middle East peace process – but the – stipulate that and that you’re never going to get – somebody in Egypt is going to think of you as the best friend of Mubarak and somebody in the Gulf is going to think of you as sort of a wild-eyed Wolfowitz or something.

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) I don’t know about that.

QUESTION: Yeah. No, I –

SECRETARY CLINTON: You can say I’m wild-eyed but don’t compare me to that. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: I just threw it out there, talking it out. No big deal.

No, but it’s interesting because you hear, not only here but in the White House also, people are saying, “Oh, you guys are so statist and you’re so slow on Yemen or so slow on this,” but you’re hearing – but you’re also hearing from not only Otto, but a lot of people accusing you of the sky is falling –

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I do have this – I mean, my doctrine is the Goldilocks Doctrine – not too hot, not too cold, just right.

QUESTION: I get that. But how do you – so how do you deal with the hypocrisy that is a necessity in diplomacy, meaning that you’re going to deal with a Qadhafi one way because you can and you’re going to deal with a Yemen in a different way? Or do you not see it as strategic hypocrisy or a kind of malleability or –

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t. I honestly believe that each place is different. There are trends, but I think following the fall of the Berlin Wall, how Germany responded and Poland responded, you couldn’t say that there was one template that fit all. I mean, you had the – you had –

I, too, saw a close relationship between that speech and the subsequent Arab Spring.  In fact I reposted the speech on January 28 to point out that Hillary Clinton was more in touch with the stirrings of democracy beneath the surface in these countries than the leaders themselves were.  Her comments above bear that out.

Two earmarks of  Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department are her stalwart defense of internet freedom and her insistence upon packing outreaches to civil society into her already dizzying schedules on her travels.  It is in these townterviews, meetings,  and interviews that her (lovely) fingers fall on the pulse of the people providing her with insights that their own leaders perhaps fail to perceive.  When she then alludes to these insights in a speech,  people all over the world see and hear the speech and  read her words.

Even in countries like China, which attempts to block access, people find her words.  Today’s technology cannot be stopped.  Students know how to get around firewalls.  They are on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter.  They know we support them. They know our Secretary of State fights for them and view her as a hero (as do we,  whom she represents).

So my hero, my Mme. Secretary,  is being blamed for causing these revolutions with her Doha speech?  To be sure she could see this coming, but only because she deigned to look into the eyes of the people, to speak with them, and to listen.   What she heard were aspirations that all people have:  to be able to make a decent  living, educate children, live peacefully, have a voice.  It was not Hillary Clinton who tempted people with these possibilities.  It was their own leaders’ denial of these rights that caused the Arab Spring.

When I see an exchange like the one below, from an earlier section of the same interview,  I know that other oppressive regimes will try to blame her in the future, but as she herself points out,  putting oneself in front of the steamroller of history is a fool’s errand.

QUESTION: Which brings me to one of the contradictions, and they’re – everybody’s demanding of you and your Administration a kind of over-arching doctrine, and we’ll get to that in a second. But one of the obvious contradictions here is that while on the one hand you are pushing for democracy, democratic reform and achievement in Egypt and Tunisia, places like that, you’re also, in some ways, have gone into the monarchy business in the sense that we have a lot of allies – Jordan and Saudi Arabia, most notably – who are feeling pressure, are going to feel some pressure on the democratic front, and our direct interest is in supporting and keeping these guys on their thrones. I mean, is – does this contradiction bother you? I mean, a monarchy being sort of silly idea for Americans anyway.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. No. But I wouldn’t accept the premise. I mean, I think that we believe in the same values and principles full stop. We believe that countries should empower their people. We believe that people should have certain universal rights. We believe there are certain economic systems that work better for the vast majority of people than other subsystems.

So I think we’re very consistent. I think that’s been a cornerstone of American foreign policy for at least the last century. At the same time, we live in the real world. And there are lots of countries that we deal with because we have interests in common. We have certain security issues that we are both looking at. Obviously, in the Middle East, Iran is an overwhelming challenge to all of us. We do business with a lot of countries whose economic systems or political systems are not ones we would design or choose to live under. And we have encouraged consistently, both publicly and privately, reform and recognition and protection of human rights. But we don’t walk away from dealing with China because we think they have a deplorable human rights record. We don’t walk away from dealing with Saudi Arabia –

QUESTION: And they’re acting very scared right now, in fact.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they are. They’re worried, and they are trying to stop history, which is a fool’s errand. They cannot do it. But they’re going to hold it off as long as possible. And they are –

QUESTION: Who would’ve thought that something that happened in Tunisia could –

SECRETARY CLINTON: Think about it. But that’s how –

QUESTION: (Inaudible) it’s amazing.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I mean, you think about historical events.

A final comment: There are references here to her doctrine and her administration.  She states that she indeed has her own doctine.  I would be gratified to see her have her own administration.

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