Posts Tagged ‘Brookings Institution’

Hillary delivered the keynote at the Saban Forum today.  Here are a few excerpts of some pretty forthright remarks.

I refuse to give up on the goal of two states for two people and no matter how unattainable it may seem at the moment Israeli’s and Palestinians shouldn’t give up on it either. Instead they should demand their leaders seek every opportunity to demonstrate their commitment. An action is not anoption and a one state solution is no solution, it is a prescription for endless conflict.


I’m well aware that many in Israel, and particularly in the government, in various of its iterations going back several years now, do not see President Abbas as “a partner for peace.” I ask, what is the alternative? Who is standing in the wings that will be a better partner for peace? In my dealings with him, he has been stalwart in continuing the security cooperation with Israel. He has certainly been willing to explore different ways of cooperation and confidence-building.

And I’m well aware that he has his problems and there’s a lot of questions about his standing, but, you know, you have to start where you have to start from. And I think it’s been unfortunate that he’s been in many eyes marginalized when there really is as yet no alternative. And, let’s be honest here, the alternative could be the black flag of ISIS. Let’s be honest.

Full transcript here>>>>

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at Saban Forum 2015 in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at Saban Forum 2015 in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers the keynote address at the Brookings Institution Saban Forum at the Willard Hotel in Washington December 6, 2015. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers the keynote address at the Brookings Institution Saban Forum at the Willard Hotel in Washington December 6, 2015. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan


Hillary Clinton addresses ISIS and plan to defeat global terror>>>>>




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Published on Sep 9, 2015

On September 9, Brookings live streamed remarks from former Secretary of State Clinton on her view of the significance of the Iran nuclear deal and its implications for the future of U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Uncorrected transcript >>>>>


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton discusses the Iran nuclear agreement at the Brookings Institution in Washington, September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton discusses the Iran nuclear agreement at the Brookings Institution in Washington, September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. Clinton issued a hardline warning to Iran on Wednesday that as president she would “not hesitate” to take military action to stop the country from acquiring nuclear weapons. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. Clinton issued a hardline warning to Iran on Wednesday that as president she would “not hesitate” to take military action to stop the country from acquiring nuclear weapons. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)



















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Appearing on the podium with Chinese Vice Premier Madame Liu Yandong,  with whom she collaborated as secretary of state on a variety of similar issues, Hillary Clinton addressed an audience at the Brookings Institution today on one of her signature initiatives: Early Childhood Development (#ECD on Twitter).

Special thanks to Tracy Viselli who has been kind enough to share her twitpics from the event.

Event Agenda

  • 8:30 – 9:20

    Keynote Address: Madame Liu Yandong and Hillary Rodham Clinton

    • Her Excellency Liu Yandong

      Vice Premier

      People’s Republic of China

    • The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton

      Former U.S. Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton and Liu Yandong on Early Childhood Development in China and the United States

Madame Liu Yandong and Hillary Rodham Clinton exchange greetings on stage at the Brookings Institution, during a discussion of early childhood development programs and research in both countries

Brookings and the China Development Research Foundation co-hosted a discussion on opportunities and challenges for early childhood development (ECD) programs in both countries. Dual keynote addresses were delivered by Her Excellency Liu Yandong, vice premier of the People’s Republic of China, and the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state.

Madame Liu, speaking in Mandarin with simultaneous translation, said that “China will soon release a national plan for development of children in poor areas,” with a goal “to ensure the healthy growth of every child in China.” She cited data demonstrating how China has met UN Millennium Development Goals in infant and child mortality rates dropping. While acknowledging the “daunting challenge” of promoting children’s development in China, home to nearly 310 million children, Madame Liu said that “investment in early childhood development is a human capital investment with the highest return.” Chinese President Xi Jinping, she said, “attaches great importance to early childhood development,” sharing a vision with that expressed by President Barack Obama.

Sec. Clinton echoed many of the points Madame Liu made about the importance of early childhood education, citing research, and stressing the opportunities for U.S.-China collaboration and communication on this issue. “Investing in early childhood development,” Clinton said, “is one of the best returns on investments that a country can make to accelerate long-term economic growth and productivity.” Citing research that shows that children born into higher-income families hear 30 million more words in their formative years than do children born into lower-income families (and described by Richard Reeves in his “Parenting Gap” paper), Sec. Clinton said that “We want to see our young people working together, understanding each other, communicating … to have the background and confidence to work through those disagreements peacefully … much of that depends upon education and the start in life that children in both of our countries have.”

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Brookings tweeted this picture.  It’s lovely, and clearly a color memo went out for today!


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U.S. and Europe: A Revitalized Global Partnership


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you all very much.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton To Unveil The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 27, 2012

On Thursday November 29, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will commemorate World AIDS Day 2012 and unveil the PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation that provides a roadmap for how the U.S. government will work to help achieve an AIDS-free generation. Secretary Clinton will be joined by Ambassador Eric P. Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. The event will take place at 10:30 am in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the Department of State.

Secretary Clinton will be joined by:

Ambassador Eric P. Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission
Florence Ngobeni-Allen, Ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

This event will be streamed live at www.state.gov.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Deliver Remarks on The U.S. and Europe: A Revitalized Global Partnership

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 28, 2012

On Thursday, November 29, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver remarks entitled The U.S. and Europe: A Revitalized Global Partnership at an event hosted by the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. Brookings President Strobe Talbott will provide introductory remarks. The event will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Brookings Institution.

The event will be streamed live.

U.S. Department of State Policy Planning Staff and The Foreign Policy Group Host the Foreign Policy Strategic Forum Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, and Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns to Deliver Remarks

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 28, 2012

The Foreign Policy Group (publishers of Foreign Policy Magazine), in conjunction with the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff will host the Foreign Policy Strategic Forum, “Transformational Trends 2013 and Beyond”, at the Newseum, in Washington D.C., on November 29, 2012.

The concluding keynote remarks will be delivered by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and will highlight transformational trends and issues for the U.S. in the year ahead. The Secretary will also take questions from Forum participants.

Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will deliver opening remarks to frame the day of panel discussions with numerous distinguished individuals. Jake Sullivan, U.S. State Department Director of Policy Planning, and his predecessors David Gordon, Morton Halperin, Dennis Ross, and Jim Steinberg will discuss transformational trends from an historic perspective. U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon will deliver the lunchtime keynote address, “U.S. National Security Priorities in a Transforming World”, to include emerging security threats to the United States and opportunities for strategic strengthening.

Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, Robert Hormats, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, Carlos Pascual, and Under Secretary of Energy (Acting) and Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs, David Sandalow, will also participate in panel discussions.

This one-day high-level forum will connect over 180 U.S. Government policy makers and global thought leaders of many disciplines to address the most important drivers reshaping global affairs. Topics of discussion will include Strategic Surprises, National Security Priorities in a Transforming World, Changing Global Resources, and New Economic Sources of Power.

The event will begin at approximately 9:00 a.m. with Secretary Clinton’s remarks at 5:00 p.m. at the Newseum.

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Joint Discussion with Israeli President Shimon Peres Hosted by the Brookings Institution


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
The Hay Adams Hotel
Washington, DC
June 12, 2012

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in a very special welcome to the president of the state of Israel Shimon Peres and the Secretary of State of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)

MR. INDYK: Please take your seats. Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you very much for joining us. It’s a great pleasure to have you here on the occasion of this event to honor Haim and Cheryl Saban for their support, 10 years of support for the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. I’m Martin Indyk, the director of the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings. One time I had something to do with the Saban Center. And we’re especially appreciative that so many of you who have been involved in the work of the Saban Center over these 10 years are here to join us today.

I especially want to welcome Senator Inouye, Senator Feinstein, Justice Breyer, Chairman Genachowsky, and the Ambassadors of Israel, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates for honoring us with their presence today.

When I asked Haim how he would like to be honored, he first, of course, refused. And then when I said that no was not an option, he said that we should do it in the Brookings Saban Center tradition of an exchange of ideas about the Middle East. “And who would he like us to invite to conduct that exchange,” I asked him. And he answered in a flash, “Shimon and Hillary.” It’s a great testament to their friendship for Haim and Cheryl that they both agreed to join us today, and it’s a great testament to their high reputation and fame that I can say the words “Shimon and Hillary” and everyone will immediately know to whom I am referring, the president of Israel, of course, and the Secretary of State of the United States. Thank you both very much for doing us the honor of joining us today for this conversation.

I’m not going to spend time – our precious time – on introductions, since you know them both so well. But instead, I thought we should go straight to the conversation. I’m not sure what the protocol is. I suspect the president outranks the Secretary. (Laughter.) But since Shimon is such a chivalrous gentleman – he’s known for that amongst his many other good characteristics – that I’m sure he would agree that it should be ladies first. (Laughter.)

So, Madam Secretary, I wanted to start by asking you about Syria, just to go to the heart of the matter. You’ve done an incredible job dealing with the world’s problems, but I suspect the one that at least for the time being is the most vexing one for you is Syria. So tell us, please, what’s your approach, what’s the U.S. strategy for trying to deal with this tremendous brutality that we seem to be witnessing going on there from day to day?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Martin, first let me thank you and Brookings, and particularly the Saban Center and especially Haim and Cheryl, for inviting us to be here. I am the one who is especially delighted and honored to be with a longtime friend and someone whom I don’t think I’m alone in saying I admire so greatly. And I appreciate the chance to talk about some of the issues that we are addressing together. Certainly what happens to Syria matters greatly to the United States, but it matters drastically to Israel. And how we work through the many difficulties that are posed by this unrelenting, brutal crackdown carried out by the Assad regime and their military loyalists will have far-reaching consequences for the region and beyond.

Let me just make three quick points. First, we continue to support Kofi Annan’s efforts, and we do so because he represents both the United Nations and the Arab League. It’s quite unprecedented to have a joint special envoy who is speaking for two organizations that have seen their common interest in trying to bring an end to the violence and help to precipitate and then shepherd through a political transition.

And the six-point plan that former Secretary General Annan laid out is a good plan. Of course, it’s not being implemented. And of course, the contempt and rejection of the first principle of that plan, namely the cessation of violence by the Assad regime, has certainly been a grave assault not only on the lives of the Syrian people but on the international effort intended to bring an end to this ongoing conflict.

Kofi Annan is now trying to put together a group of countries that would include Russia that we agree should be included to work on a roadmap for political transition. Russia has increasingly said that it was not defending Assad, but it worried about what came after Assad, and that it would work on political transition. But there are always a lot of caveats that they then interpose.

So I met with Kofi Annan on Friday. We talked through what his strategy would be and he is working very hard to try to implement it. The redline for us was the inclusion of Iran. We thought that would be a grave error since we know that Iran is not only supporting the Assad regime, but actively mentoring, leading, encouraging not merely the regular army, but the militias that are springing up, engaging in sectarian conflict.

So we have a timeline in mind to see whether or not this effort of Kofi’s can be successful. The outer limit of that is mid-July when the Security Council has to decide whether or not to extend the mission. And certainly, if there is no discernable movement by then, it will be very difficult to extend a mission that is increasingly dangerous for the observers on the ground.

Secondly, I think that the challenge faced by so many, from the near neighbors in the area to those further out, is what one can realistically do to try to bring an end to the violence without seeing an increase in the activities of certain elements of the opposition that could lead to even greater violence and the likelihood of the civil war that we’re all trying to avoid.

So you hear from time to time that the Turks are meeting with certain elements. The Qataris, the Emiratis, the Saudis, others are trying to figure out how to support people who are under the assault of the Syrian regime. And it’s quite challenging to actually deliver on that. Now there are lots of weapons on the black market, there’s money that’s available, there seems to be an increasing capacity in the opposition both to defend themselves and to take the fight to the Syrian military in an irregular way. But there’s no doubt that the onslaught continues, the use of heavy artillery and the like.

We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria. They have, from time to time, said that we shouldn’t worry; everything they’re shipping is unrelated to their actions internally. That’s patently untrue. And we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically. There seems to be a massing of Syrian forces around Aleppo that we’ve gotten information about over the last 24, 48 hours. That could very well be a redline for the Turks in terms of their strategic and national interests, so we’re watching this very carefully.

Finally, I would say that part of the reason why this is complicated in the face of a clear rejection of what the Assad regime is doing is because there is such a fear among many elements of the Syrian society and in the region about what would come next. You haven’t had a wholesale departure, support, or even into exile of a lot of major players in the Syrian society. We are approached on a regular basis by representatives of different groups within Syria who are terrified of what comes next. I don’t know how else to say it.

So how we manage a political transition, assuming we could manage a political transition; how we provide reassurance and some level of protection to Christians, Druze, Alawites, Kurds, Sunni business leaders and the like; how we prevent a massive inflow of refugees across the Jordanian and Turkish borders; how we protect Lebanon from getting caught up in the sectarian divides that afflict them as well as Syria – if these questions had self-apparent and actualizing answers, I would certainly share them with you. But as things stand, this is our constant, painful analysis as to how we can push the Assad regime out – there’s no doubt it needs to go – but create a transition that gives at least some possible reassurance to those who fear what comes next.

So I think with that, I’ll end.

MR. INDYK: Great, thank you.

Mr. President, Syria is, of course, your northern neighbor. The Israeli army is 40 kilometers from Damascus. Your chief of – deputy chief of staff is in the papers in the last two days warning about the danger that Syria’s chemical weapons could get into the wrong hands. How do you see this, and what do you think can be done about it?

PRESIDENT PERES: Thank you very much, Martin. I want to thank very much Cheryl and Haim. With them, I feel at home on matters of peace and in (inaudible) of matters of social justice. I shall have a few words to say about the institute later.

I want to also to say a word or two about Hillary, not because my – only my personal admiration, which is really tremendous, but by the uniqueness of her role. Never before did anybody in history, men or women, traveled thousand of thousands of miles, from place to place, day and night, not because traveling is such a great pleasure but because she has an unprecedented responsibility.

All the previous Secretaries of States – not because of them – were dealing with international relations, which is one thing. Hillary is dealing with global responsibility, which is a totally different thing. When you have had international relations, it’s enough that you go to a capital and that’s it. No more. She has to face people all around the world with unbelievable differences.

Occasionally, the people are leading the government or the government is leading the people. And we live in a world where governments became weak because two of their main instruments were taken away from them: the control of economy and the control of security. Since economy became global, it affects every country, and look, no country can really affect it. So you have a global economy without the global government.

The same with terror. Because security, there is terror. It’s global. It’s wild. It doesn’t have a law. It doesn’t have an address. And again, there is no government that controls it.

So Hillary is trying, really, to fill the gap by creating alliances, by trying to have common basis, by being passionate. And the Administration wasn’t built to handle it. So you have to penetrate an entirely new experience. Saying it, I believe in the Middle East we have to think about two tracks, not one: the present, which is transitional; and the future, which is permanent. I don’t have the slightest doubt that finally the Arabs will (inaudible) the new age. They don’t have a choice, as none of us has a choice.

But in between we have a transitional situation, which is not the same for all countries but different for every country. The Russians have had a Stakhanovich, a man that works a lot. So one of the doctors of (inaudible) came in the hospital and tell the nurses, “My girls, I’m so much in a hurry. Give me the average temperature of the sick people.” (Laughter.) Well, there is no average temperature in the Middle East. (Laughter.)

So you have to have every situation to deal separately, now with Syria. I think in Syria two unprecedented things. First of all, the bravery of the Syrian people, which in my eyes is admirable and unbelievable. People are facing fire every day, a dictator that kills children. For me, the most shocking photo is to see a small coffin and a dead child in it. I can’t stand it. People are reluctant to say, “Well, if Assad will go, we don’t have an alternative.” My answer: Assad stopped to be an alternative. Even if there is no alternative, he’s neither an alternative.

So this is the first time that I really want to express my admiration for an Arab attempt to fight for their own freedom. It’s admirable, and I wish them success.

The second point, which is unprecedented, is that the Arab League took on responsibility against an Arab country. And as Hillary has mentioned already, it’s a joint venture between the United Nations and the Arab League. I would say, gentlemen, you send observers. Now you know the situation. What is your proposal? You don’t want anybody else to intervene because this will be foreign intervention. Okay, do it yourself and the United Nations will support you. Better that the Arabs will do it, particularly when Syria is a very complex case.

You have the (inaudible) and the Shiites and the Kurds. It’s either a dictator that will force them to be together or a confederation that will make them agree. Let the Arabs do it. They are ready. Let them take responsibility. Let’s not accuse anybody that we are intervening. Let’s us support them in any way we can, clearly humanitarian. I don’t speak about Israel. I’m not sure that they would like that very well. We would like to help – not by arms, but by foot, by support, by voting, and by morale. And I think right now this should be the decision.

The leaders of the world, and what can Russians do? The Russians will be finally accused of intervening. They may be admired in Syria, but they are creating a great deal of opposition in the rest of the Arab world. So no single country can do it without being accused. The Arab League should and can do it. And if you ask for my advice, this should be the right policy.

MR. INDYK: Thank you. Shimon, just following on from that, I wonder if we can shift to the Palestinian issue for a moment? Here, we say that the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is unsustainable. But out there, where you live, it looks from day to day like Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, even Hamas and Gaza, all of them seem to be satisfied with the status quo, at least for the time being. So in your view, is the status quo sustainable?

PRESIDENT PERES: I don’t think there is a status quo. I think there are two. They’re the same movement. Once I think Henry Kissinger said that in Israel the foreign affairs is an extension of the domestic situation. Now I can say about the rest of the world that the domestic situation is the result of the outside world. We cannot separate ourselves on the global world from the changes in Egypt, the changes around the world. It’s moving. It’s moving.

And I think even – between us and the Palestinians now, some positive moves. For example, I would outline two. One is that the economic development – because in order to make peace, you have to build a nation, and the Palestinians started to build a nation with the American help, with the Israeli support and agreement. Secondly, the Palestinians have never had a force of their own. And I wouldn’t like to generalize, but in the Middle Eastern terms, you don’t have real parties – you have real forces.

Abu Mazen Abbas didn’t have a force. Now, for the first time, he has a force, fifteen thousand youngsters that were trained by you, that are loyal to him. They clearly wouldn’t like that Hamas will command them. And I think that Abbas is a serious man. I know him for a long time. Actually, he and myself signed agreement here on the White lawn –

MR. INDYK: Just over there. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT PERES: Yes. And clearly we miss (inaudible). And it was presided by Bill Clinton. I shall not forget it. At 19 years past since then, I wished it would be faster. But you know, you cannot make a baby become a boy in a short while, and a boy become a grownup personage. There is age. It takes time. But it’s growing.

I think now it is the time to make peace with the Palestinians. The Israeli Government has a wider base. The Palestinians understand that not everything which was happening in the Arab Spring is necessarily bringing them time, because one of the important thing about the Arab Spring is the Arab youngsters understand that their situation is not a result of the conflict between us and the Palestinians. They know that reform begins at home. What’s happening in Syria has nothing to do with Israel. What happened in Tunisia has nothing to do with Israel, or Libya. And I think we should let the Arabs reform their lives and stop using the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as an excuse.

Now, elections are important, and I think – I believe the youngsters in the Middle East achieved doing things, important things. They brought an end to dictatorship after the uprise of the youngsters. I don’t recommend anybody who seeks a guaranteed job to be a dictator in the Middle East. It’s over. (Laughter.) It became totally uncomfortable.

Then there was a (inaudible) people to go to the elections, but they made one mistake. They didn’t prepare themselves for the elections. Now, whoever will be elected, even if he’ll have a majority, if he doesn’t have a solution for the economic problems of Egypt, the elections don’t mean much. If they don’t have a solution for the security of Egypt, elections doesn’t mean much. And I would just say to people that I know in Egypt don’t forget for a moment that 60 percent of the population are young people. The future is theirs, and they are sick and tired. They don’t want to remain poor. They are not ready to accept corruption. They want freedom. Many of them opened their eyes in Tunisia. I watched that many of the demonstrators were young ladies who are sick and tired of being discriminated.

And by the way, if you discriminate women, you discriminate your people, because you allow only half of the people to participate in building the nation. But if the women doesn’t have a chance to be educated, the children are uneducated; they don’t give a future to the children. Forty-one percent of the Egyptians are illiterate. And for that you don’t need money. You really have to reform at home. And believe me, I wish and I pray that the young people will succeed, not because of us, because of them. They better they will have it, the better we shall have it.

MR. INDYK: It sounded for a moment like Shimon was channeling Hillary. (Laughter.) So do you want to pick up on the women’s issue in the Arab Spring and your view of how things are going for the women in this process?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s too soon to tell. I think Shimon is right that we have a transition that we’re going through to get to whatever future there will be. And it’s not going to happen quickly and it’s going to have, I would expect, some bumps in the road and difficulties along the way. But I believe that one of the important indicators as to how the whole process of democratization, political reform, economic reform is going is the way that the newly formed governments and their allies in the various countries treat women.

And to that end, there is both – there is mixed news. There is some positive news in that there are certain guarantees being put forth about women’s rights and opportunities, but there are some worrying actions that certainly don’t match those guarantees. And I think that raises the larger issue, because Shimon is right that democracy has to deliver. I mean, a lot of what was behind the revolutions of the Middle East and North Africa was economic aspirations that were not being met, outrage at corruption, the difficulty of doing business, the doors that would slam in one’s face, the absence of jobs even if you were an educated young person.

So there has to be a level of economic returns for people’s leap of faith and investment in a democratic future, and that is going to be extremely hard. Every one of the countries that is making these changes has a lot of work to do to open up their economy, to go after corruption and the like. At the same time, the political reforms that are occurring and the commitment to democracy, albeit unformed and quite not – I guess quite not yet clear in the minds of leaders or citizens – is raising a lot of issues. Because for us, democracy is not one election, one time. We’re not sure exactly how others see this democratic enterprise that they have signed onto, because democracy is about building institutions. It’s about extending rights to everyone, protecting rights of minorities, ensuring that people are equal under the law, requiring independent judiciary, free press, and all the rest.

So it’s not just what happens to women, although we will keep a very close watch on what is happening to women. It is what is happening to the democratic experiment. And what we’re trying to do is encourage the countries that are pursuing this to keep reaching out, learning from the experiences of others, most recently the post-Soviet nations but also Latin America. We come with a long 236-year experiment. And people in the region may or may not think that we’re a relevant example, but we’ve encouraged a lot of outreach to countries that threw off military dictatorships, totalitarian regimes, and to find common cause with their experience.

And I think we also have to have a certain level of both humility and patience. We have to call out, at any turn, developments that we think endanger the democratic enterprise: the consolidation of power, authoritarian tendencies, and the like. But we also have to recognize that we didn’t have a straight line. There were a lot of changes that we had to do as we moved toward a more perfect union. We didn’t include everybody in the first run. We excluded women, among others. We had to fight a civil war to extend citizenship to former slaves.

I mean, we have to be honest enough to recognize that time has sped up. And to some extent, the work that has to be done in building these new democracies is much harder today than it was even after the Berlin Wall fell. I mean, every single move is now scrutinized, spread around the world through social media. It’s really hard. So even if the people involved are coming at it with the best of intentions, good faith, they’re going to face a lot of setbacks and challenges to their decision making and other problems that will make what they’re attempting to do in the economic and political realms very difficult.

So women are the canaries in the mine, as many have said before, in these societies – in many societies. How they’re treated, whether they’re included, will tell us a lot about what we can expect from the democratic movements that are ongoing. But I think we have to do all we can to support the right tendencies and decisions in order to get the right outcome.

MR. INDYK: Thank you. Mr. President, if we can shift to Iran.

PRESIDENT PERES: I want to say well, about the women, I won’t give up easily. See, I’m a gentleman, so I’m more optimistic than Hillary about women. President Obama asked me, “Who is against democracy in the Middle East?” I told him, “The husbands.” (Laughter.) They don’t want to share with the women equal rights. So why I’m becoming optimistic? Doesn’t (inaudible). My optimism stems from a different point.

Today, the children are on the side of their fathers, not on the side of their mothers. And that is my hope. They understand that if they want reform, really, their country, and many of them went to the universities, and are equipped with modern communication, they won’t give up.

The world democracy is a little bit complicated because some people think democracy is another religion. So you have to convert from being a Muslim to be a democrat. Well, it’s not the case because Islam is a spiritual position, not a economic doctrine. And for that reason, I am a little bit even more optimistic than you are. And I think one should watch the combination of the women and the youngsters. And the fathers may find themself all of a sudden in troubles. They won’t take it, they will boss the future. So that is my note of optimism. (Laughter.)

MR. INDYK: Thank you, fabulous. You do the question about Iran then.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, no, that – (laughter) – no use in (inaudible). (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT PERES: No, here I am not just a gentleman. (Laughter.)

MR. INDYK: All right. Shimon —


MR. INDYK: In – Iran. In 1981, you recall that you were opposed to the use of – in 1981, you were opposed to the use of preventive force against Iraq’s nuclear program. And I wonder, when you look back on that, what were you thinking about that at the time? What was your reason for opposition?

PRESIDENT PERES: Let’s not talk about Iran without patience, ability, strength, and cool, and say Iran, the Iranians are not our enemies. In history, we have many very friendly relations, and now very dangerous. So I’m asking ourself, why are we really against Iran? Is it just because of nuclear bomb? Not only.

What revolts the world against Iran is that in the 21st century, the Iranian leaders, not the Iranian people, are the only one that wants to renew imperialism – we can’t accept it – in the name of religion. From that, it started. That’s the reason why many Arabs are against not Iran, but the Iranian hegemony. The Iranians don’t say the hegemony should be Arabic, because they’re not Arabs. So they want to say it Muslim, because they’re Muslims.

And we see the way they want to construct an empire – by terror, by sending money, sending arms, hanging, bluffing. We cannot support it. The world cannot support it, whether you are a Russian – I am speaking in – with Putin and Medvedev to say we cannot support a nuclear Iran. Now, if Iran will win, the whole Middle East will become the victim. Actually, the world economy will become the victim, because the way they rule is without any regard to anybody else. And this is the first problem. We cannot allow it to happen – all of us.

The second thing is the ways they do. It’s against a return to the Machiavellian formula that the goals justify the means. So you can kill, you can lie, you can murder, you can collect arms. My God, we are over it. We cannot return to it. It’s a human problem. The globe is already so complicated. It doesn’t govern without the government in economic terms. And this is a terrible alternative. And I’m afraid that some countries may take advantage if the Iranians will ruin the situation in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, and they won’t stop. They will go further, wherever there is a drop of oil, wherever there is a chance of gaining anything.

We can’t agree with it. And that is why the nuclear weapons became so dangerous, because they serve a purpose and nobody can guarantee that they will restrain. And it’s governed by a single man who nominated himself as a deputy of Mohammed, my God. And where such a complete holiness arrives, reason stops, prediction stops.

And it’s a situation that I am not aware of anybody that threatens Iran, that wants to oppress Iran or govern Iran or reduce Iran, nothing whatsoever. Iran could have flourished without it. They have oil. They have a large country. They have an old culture. Who is against Iran? We’re against a policy that endangers our age. And unfortunately, they use the time – I can understand exactly the United States of America. It can say well, the United States, why did you do this, why did you do that, (inaudible), but Iran cannot take away from United States one thing: the character of their history. There is no trace of imperialism in American character.

Yesterday, I’ve been at the headquarters of your army. I told them you’re the only army that doesn’t fight to conquer or to occupy but fights for freedom and peace, not only for America, for the rest of the world. Historically speaking, the Americans are fighting for values, no matter if you do this or you do that. So you cannot be caring of the rest of the world and indifferent to Iran. And the Iranians are speeding up. They are taking the American process of democracy and making the wrong use of it.

So I believe that President Obama represents the deepest assumptions and concepts of the American history. It’s above politics. It’s above everything else. I think the reasons are profound and serious and urgent because they may reach a point of no return. Then it is too late. So the President said rightly I want to try with nonmilitary means, which is typically American, rightly so. But America understands if this will be the only option, the Iranians will laugh at them, say okay, the sanctions won’t act, and then she’ll be free. Then they said – the Americans are saying there are other options on the table, please don’t forget it. And we are aware of the time element as well.

So this is the way really I look at it. I don’t take it as a personal whim or as a personal ambition. Clearly we are more sensitive than others because when nobody threatens Iran, Iran threatens us. What did we do to them? We are the only country which is being threatened to be destroyed by them. But I don’t suggest that this is the only reason that makes us more sensitive. But it doesn’t reduce the great and major danger that we are facing.

MR. INDYK: Madam Secretary, maybe you can tell us how it’s going with the negotiations after an initial sense of optimism with the IAEA as well. Both tracks, both the IAEA and the negotiations have taken place in Baghdad. There’s a sense that not much progress is being made. Is that an accurate perception?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think the point of the negotiations is to do exactly what Shimon said, which we have been consistent in pursuing since the beginning of the Obama Administration, to have a credible pressure track that united the entire world. That was not the case when President Obama took office, and it now is. It’s quite remarkable that not only the international community in general but the P-5+1 and, most particularly, China and Russia have remained as committed and forceful in the diplomatic negotiations with Iran over the nuclear program.

There will be, as you know, meetings in Moscow starting next week, over the weekend. And there is a unified position being presented by the P-5+1 that gives Iran, if it is interested in taking a diplomatic way out, a very clear path that would be verifiable and would be linked to action for action, which has been the approach that we’ve advocated and that has been agreed upon.

I can’t, sitting here today, tell you what the Iranians will or won’t do, but I am quite certain that they are under tremendous pressure from the Russians and the Chinese to come to Moscow prepared to respond. Now, whether that response is adequate or not, we will have to judge. They, for about the last 10 days, have been pushing to get a so-called experts meeting, pushing to try to even postpone Moscow in the absence of such meeting. And there was not a single blink by any of the negotiators. And then, as you saw in the news, there was a statement that yes, the Iranians would show up. My counterpart from Russia, Sergey Lavrov, is either there or on his way there.

And the Russians have made it very clear that they expect the Iranians to advance the discussion in Moscow, not to just come, listen, and leave. We’ll know once it happens. But I think that the unity and the resolve that has been shown thus far is of real significance, because clearly the threats that Shimon outlined are very real. The continuing effort by the Iranians to extend their influence and to use terror as a tool to do so extends to our hemisphere and all the way to East Asia. So the threat is real. We’re dealing with a regime that has hegemonic ambitions. Those who live in the near neighborhood are well aware of that, trying to manage it, and avoid the Iranians’ ability to score points and create more islands of influence is one of the great challenges that we are coping with.

But I just want to end with a story that I brought back from Georgia last week. I was in Batumi, which my friend, Strobe Talbott knows well, which is being turned into a kind of mini Las Vegas on the Black Sea – lots of casinos, big hotels, all kinds of public art. And I was talking to one of the municipal officials, and I said, “Well, what kind of tourist season are you expecting?” He said, “We think we’re going to have a huge tourist influx.” I said, “So who are most of your tourists? Where do they come from?” He said, “Well, we have a lot of Turks and we have a lot of Russians and we have a lot of Iranians and we have a lot of Israelis.” I said, “Oh, how’s that all work?” (Laughter.) And he says, “Well, I’ll tell you,” he said, “if you go to the discos late at night, the two kinds of people that are left are the Iranians and the Israelis.” (Laughter and applause.)

And shortly after hearing that story, I walked into a public building in Batumi, which is one of President Saakashvili’s very creative and impressive advancements, where truly it’s one-stop shopping. You go into one public building; you can get a marriage license, a work license, a passport. It’s quite remarkable. So I was wandering around, being shown this modern technological wonder. And I walked into the visa section, and these three men came running up to me and they said, “We love you, we love you. We’re from Iran.” And I said, “Oh well, we’re trying to get along with you.” “Oh, we like you. The people like you.”

Now, who knows? (Laughter.) But I think that – I think that the larger point in Shimon’s very eloquent and, as usual, compelling description is that there continues to be this disconnect between the people of Iran, which is a much more diverse society than most of us understand or know how to deal with, and this leadership, which is becoming more and more rigid, more of a military dictatorship, if you will. And so there is a lot happening inside Iran, and keeping this pressure on, keeping the sanctions on, keeping the world united against this nuclear threat and what it represents to this regime, remains our highest priority. So we’re pushing forward on it, and we’ll see what comes out of Moscow.

MR. INDYK: Unfortunately, the time has come when we have to conclude. And you’ve been both very generous with your ideas and analysis and time.

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Tomorrow promises to be both busy and heavily focused on the Middle East. From P.J. Crowley’s press briefing today we see the following bullet points.

Secretary’s Meeting with Israeli Negotiator Molho
Secretary Clinton’s Speech Tomorrow at Saban Forum
Palestinian Negotiator Erekat will Meet with Middle East Team this Afternoon and Meet with Secretary Clinton Tomorrow
Working on the Core Issues
Secretary Clinton Meeting with Palestinian PM Fayyad Tomorrow

The meeting with Mohlo was today. Details about her address at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy Seventh Annual Forum are below with a little surprise embedded.


Secretary Clinton to Address the 2010 Saban Forum on December 10

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 9, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will address the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy Seventh Annual Forum. The Secretary’s remarks will occur at approximately 8:00 p.m. on December 10 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Haim Saban will introduce Secretary Clinton. Following her remarks, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will deliver remarks. Secretary Clinton will then join Defense Minister Barak and Ambassador Martin Indyk for a moderated discussion including questions from the audience.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Former President William Jefferson Clinton, Quartet Representative Tony Blair and Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will also participate in the Saban Forum through December 12.

Secretary Clinton’s remarks will be open to credentialed members of the media. Press will be escorted out immediately following her remarks.The moderated discussion will be closed to the press.

Well, darn! I hope there will be some kind of coverage of that forum. It simply is not fair to have two Clintons in a forum and not allow us to see them!

(Parenthetically, heard on CNN: That same former president will be meeting with the current president tomorrow at 3:00.)

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I simply had to share these.   She is so decorative.  I love her sitting there unbuttoned and relaxed in front of all those specialized minds.  She can be that relaxed because she was yesterday as she always is, thoroughly prepared.  She looks so tiny sitting up there.  I also like the picture where she is standing with her hand on the back of the chair – also a relaxed pose but with her usual superb posture.

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Remarks On the Obama Administration’s National Security Strategy

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
The Brookings Institute
Washington, DC
May 27, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much for giving us this opportunity to come here to Brookings to talk about the National Security Strategy. I appreciate Strobe’s very kind words about this strategy, because certainly, an enormous amount of attention has been paid at the highest levels of the Obama Administration over the last 15 months. And it is our attempt to try to integrate many of the various aspects of national security. One of our goals coming into the Administration was to do exactly what Strobe said, to begin to make the case that defense, diplomacy, and development were not separate entities either in substance or process, but that indeed they had to be viewed as part of an integrated whole and that the whole of government then had to be enlisted in their pursuit.

So I am very pleased that I have this opportunity. There are so many old friends and important thinkers and talkers about American foreign policy who are here today along with members of the diplomatic community, and we’re very pleased to see all of you.

This is a comprehensive national security strategy that integrates our strengths here at home, our commitment to homeland security, our national defense, and our foreign policy. In a nutshell, this strategy is about strengthening and applying American leadership to advance our national interests and to solve shared problems. We do this against the backdrop of a changed and always changing global landscape and a difficult inheritance: two wars, a struggling economy, reduced credibility abroad, international institutions buckling under the weight of systemic changes, and so much more.

Our approach is to build the diverse sources of American power at home and to shape the global system so that it is more conducive to meeting our overriding objectives: security, prosperity, the explanation and spread of our values, and a just and sustainable international order.

Now, obviously, the world that we confront today has changed. This is a comprehensive National Security Strategy because we believe that we have to look at the world in a much more comprehensive way. The pace and nature of interconnection, economic interdependence, new technologies – all of those have in some ways brought the world, I would say, superficially closer together, but in other ways demonstrated the intensity of the demand on the United States to be able to respond and lead.

The type and number of actors with influence – emerging powers, non-state actors – we saw this in a very clear way in Copenhagen when President Obama and I worked to create a mechanism of some sort that would justify the gravity of the challenge was face and the extraordinary efforts that so many nations and non-state actors had put in to the lead-up to Copenhagen.

We see a world in which great power is exercised by primarily one nation, but there are many other existing and emerging powers. And yet it is not so much about the conflicts between powers, but the new and complicated threats that underscore and drive much of the interaction between powers in the world today: terrorism, proliferation, climate change, cybersecurity, energy security, and many other forces at work in our world.

But there are also huge opportunities, new modes of cooperation, new capacities to improve lives, some tangible efforts to bridge great gaps in understanding both through the media and through diplomacy. We are in a race between the forces of integration and the forces of disintegration, and we see that every day. And part of our challenge is to define American leadership in relevant terms to the world of today and tomorrow, and not merely looking in the rearview mirror, which makes it very hard to drive forward.

So in a world like this, American leadership isn’t needed less, it’s actually needed more. And the simple fact is that no significant global challenge can be met without us.

I often say that we are standing alone when it comes to military and economic strength that is unmatched, but there is so much more to what we are attempting to both manage and direct and even, in some cases, solve in the long list of problems that we encounter. Meeting the challenges calls for innovation, adaptability, the power to project values, the capacity to convene and connect broad coalitions of actors. This is actually a very important American comparative advantage. So we are now less powerful, but we need to apply our power in different ways. We are shifting from mostly direct exercise and application of power to a more sophisticated and difficult mix of indirect power and influence.

So smart power is not just a slogan. It actually means something. It certainly meant something to me when I started using it. And I think it is gradually being picked up as a fair descriptor of what we are undertaking.

We have to balance and integrate all of the elements of our power, starting with the so-called three Ds – defense, diplomacy, and development – but also including our economic power and the power of our example. We need to have strategic patience and persistence, because indirect applications of power and influence take time. Now, every diplomat of any historical experience knows that. But the kind of slow, patient diplomacy that is necessary for the vast majority of problems that have been faced in diplomacy, going back in history, is so much more difficult today.

I mean, think about some of those critical moments that we look back at with admiration when breakthroughs occurred. How hard is it now to imagine doing that with Twitter, with blogs, with 24/7 media coverage so that the necessary ingredients of building some level of trust, to understand opposing points of view, to have the luxury of time, even if it’s just days and weeks, to think through approaches, that has all been telescoped. I’ve told a number of friends and colleagues that the intensity of the diplomatic enterprise is so much greater than it was even when I observed it and, to some extent, participated in it back in the ‘90s. It’s just a constantly accelerating mechanism that requires people to act often more quickly than the problem deserves. Yet that is the world in which we find ourselves. And so therefore, we have to adapt to it and we have to understand what it will take to meet the requirements of the times in which we find ourselves. And we need partners. We need partners to help us tackle these shared problems.

I said at the Council on Foreign Relations last year that two inescapable facts define our world. First, that no nation can meet the world’s challenges alone. And second, that we face very real obstacles that stand in the way of turning commonality of interest into common action. Thus, leadership means overcoming those obstacles by building the coalitions that can produce results against those shared challenges. It means providing incentives for states who are part of the solution, whether they recognize it or not, enabling them and encouraging them to live up to responsibilities that even a decade ago they would never have thought were theirs, and disincentives for those who do not.

We have a systematic strategy for cultivating partners that can be called upon to help us address global challenges. First, energizing and updating our alliances. I came from two of our strongest allies, Japan and South Korea, over the last several days. And my very first trip as Secretary of State was to Asia, to those countries as a way of energizing those alliances, and we’ve done much on that since, building robust strategic dialogues with emerging centers of influence.

There’s too often kind of a dismissal of dialogue or of creating some ongoing diplomatic framework in which to discuss a whole range of issues. I happen to be a big believer. I think that deepening our engagement with key countries like Russia, China, India and others gives us a better understanding and also to our counterparts. It also puts the relationship on a broader framework than just the usual hotspot, crisis, emergency that then marshals everybody’s attention. And we have seen how just in this last year, using those dialogues has helped to address some serious common problems, but it has also helped to keep the relationship on an even keel going forward.

We have, as you know, built on the work of prior administrations with respect to China, and now have probably the biggest exchange of government officials and sharing of insights that we have ever had, not only with China, but probably with any country. We took over 200 American Government officials to Beijing for the second round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. And a lot of the work that was done is never going to get into a headline, but it is significant.

Two quick examples: We signed the first-ever agreement where American experts will work with their Chinese counterparts in developing the natural gas industry in China, which holds promise. Why is that important? Well, for China, having indigenous, independent energy sources is good news for them; for us, having China have indigenous, independent energy sources is good news for us. Because we see then a shift away from energy dependence in parts of the world that obviously influence their foreign policy. You have to keep your factories running and the lights on, and there are certain places in the world that provide that. Then that’s going to influence how you treat your engagements with those countries.

Secondly, we did a lot of talking about development. China is present very heavily in Africa, in Latin America and other parts of Asia doing development work, much of it tied to economic interests, but not exclusively. And we actually began to have a conversation for the first time about how we can better understand what they’re doing, be more transparent with what we’re doing, and look for ways to work together.

With India, which starts next week, it is the first time ever we’ve had a ministerial strategic dialogue. There have been interactions, of course, at many levels. Strobe famously was our point person in the Clinton Administration. But we want to develop connections not only between high-ranking diplomats, as Strobe was, but also between people working on higher education, people working on clean water, people working on women’s empowerment. And that is exactly what we intend to do.

We are investing in developing countries that we believe are reaching the tipping point, such as Ghana and Tanzania, to help create new capable partners. The President’s speech in Ghana last year was a real clarion call to countries in Africa to think about their potential differently and to build institutions to move from the rule of men to the rule of law. And so we want to work to create more success stories.

We’re reaching beyond states to build partnerships with the private sector, NGOs, academia, and I’ve spoken quite a bit about 21st century statecraft. So we’re building partnerships between technology and citizen empowerment in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo. We’re looking to bring in our private sector to be a partner in solving problems so that our recently announced initiative, Feed The Future, is picking out certain countries that we will invest heavily in to try to make their agricultural sectors more productive so that they are then better able to feed themselves. And we’re looking to private sector partners to assist us on that.

I also was in Shanghai on this past trip at the Shanghai Expo, and certainly seeing in many respects the extraordinary historical moment that China is enjoying. And China interacts with us not just government to government, but private sector to private sector, and we want to enhance more of those interactions. So, one of my announcements was sending a hundred thousand more students under the Obama Administration’s outreach to China in the next four years. So, we’re looking for ways that create those person-to-person connections.

We’re building strategies to strengthen our engagement with regional institutions – NATO, ASEAN, OAS – and to reform global institutions. The G-20 is the principal example of that in this last year. And we are working on the regional architecture in Asia. I gave a speech a few months ago in Hawaii talking about what that regional architecture with the United States firmly embedded in it will look like. And we’re working to make sure that our administrations in our country obviously change over time.

But we believe that there are certain commitments, as we saw in a bipartisan basis to NATO, that need to be embedded in the DNA of American foreign policy and not sort of beginning and ending in fits and starts. The engagement has to remain constant. There was a feeling that the United States had turned away from Asia, and none of our friends wanted that to be the fact. So we can’t allow this very big complex world that is so demanding to have the United States absent anywhere.

We’re giving adversarial nations a clear choice through dual-track approaches, and we are looking to turn a multi-polar world into a multi-partner world. I know there is a critique among some that somehow talking this way undercuts American strength, power, leadership. I could not disagree more. I think that we are seeking to gain partners in pursuing American interests. We happen to think a lot of those interests coincide with universal interests, and certainly, our interest in effectuating better outcomes for people around the world.

And my view is that we are trying to use every single tool in our tool kit, because universal values lie at the core of who we are, so they must lie at the core of what we do. We seek to solve problems because we’re committed to global progress that promotes dignity and the opportunity for everyone to live up to their God-given potentials. Values matter to our national security. That should go without saying, but it needs to be not only repeated, but perhaps emblazoned as a set of principles that are guiding us. Democracy, human rights, development are mutually reinforcing and they are deeply connected to our national interests.

Now, there are, however, different approaches to how we act on those human universal values. Sometimes, there’s a clarion call, which I attempted to do in the speech I gave about internet freedom, to put that on the agenda of the world, not just of the State Department. And sometimes, it’s discreet diplomacy because we’re not interested in just scoring points and getting headlines. We’re actually interested in changing conditions, changing attitudes, changing laws, changing people’s lives for the better.

Now, development and women’s rights are two examples of where results and values converge. It’s the right thing to do and it’s the smart thing to do. And we see that everywhere. Even in my own staff, I sometimes see a few of my young male staff members’ eyes roll when I go into women’s rights for the 967th time. But I do that not only because I believe it passionately but because I know from every bit of evidence we’ve ever done about the connection between development and democracy that women are the key to both, that changing conditions that enable women to attain more influence, more empowerment – through education, through health care, through jobs, through access to credit – literally changes the map of how people think about themselves, what they expect from their government. And we are going to continue to promote that as a very core interest of the United States.

Now, this is a strategy about results. We ask ourselves all the time, have we contributed in a tangible way to global progress that improves security, widens the circle of prosperity, advances universal values, and helps to build a just and sustainable international order? Or on a more specific basis, have we secured nuclear materials? President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit was an extraordinarily important historic event because for the first time nations came together to talk about what every leader says is the overriding threat to humanity but which we have honored more in the breach than in actions taken.

Have we improved the material conditions of people’s lives through effective development? As we are coming into the final lap of our first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review and the President’s PSD on development, we want to be held accountable. We believe that if we’re going to be committed to development, we’re going to have to ask the American taxpayers to help pay for sending somebody else’s child to school or providing somebody else’s mother maternal healthcare, we’d better be able to show results.

Because that really brings me to the final point. I appreciated Strobe’s really strong endorsement of our process, and I hope as you study the product as well, some of the sort of headlines coming out of it. But perhaps the most important takeaway is that the United States must be strong at home in order to be strong abroad. We have to lead with confidence. We have to have the conditions in effect in our own country where we are able to project both power and influence.

And I don’t think it is a surprise to anyone to be told that when President Obama came into office last year in the midst of such a very dangerous economic crisis, with America’s economy in precarious position, there was a big question mark: What does this mean? What are other countries going to do as America is economically in a very difficult situation? And I’m happy to report that a year later, thanks to the economic policies that were pursued by the President and endorsed by the Congress, despite all the political to-and-fro about them, we are in a much stronger economic position than we were. And that matters. That matters when we go to China. That matters when we try to influence Russia. That matters when we talk to our allies in Europe. That matters when we deal with our own hemisphere or when we think about what we can do to help influence events for the better in Africa.

And so a lot of this national security strategy for the first time talks about the challenges we face here at home: our own deficit, our debt, the counterterrorism strategies. John Brennan gave a speech about that aspect of the National Security Strategy, talking about some of the changes that have been made in this Administration.

So we are very committed to pursuing this strategy in all of its many component parts, but we think that the sum of the parts adds up to a whole that is a strong endorsement of American leadership and America’s defining role in the 21st century. We recognize completely the difficulties in today’s world of pursuing and achieving that kind of position. But we believe that we have the strongest possible hand to play because we represent the United States of America and the people of this country, their resilience, their entrepreneurial spirit, their patriotism, and their core fundamental values. And that, more than anything, is what we bring to our work in the world today.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: I want everybody to note that the Secretary of State mikes herself. She’s had so much practice in this. I’m not allowed to touch any of the technology around here. (Laughter.)

Madam Secretary, in just a second I’m going to ask Ambassador Martin Indyk to lead off the questions from the floor. But I would like to just pick up on the ugly D, deficit, alongside the robust Ds of diplomacy, defense, and development. You went a long way towards certainly anticipating and even answering this question, but the prospects for the burgeoning of the deficit are not a pretty sight. And I would be – and we’ve had discussions here in this building and elsewhere around Think Tank Row even in the last week where senior military figures have said that the deficit is at least potentially if not actually the single biggest threat to the national security of the United States.

When you were with countries that – with whom we are allied and who are dependent upon us, do they express concern about this? And when you’re with a country – let’s say China – that holds a lot of our debt, do you get indications that in order to have real smart power we’re going to have to have fiscally sustainable power?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I do, Strobe. And I think the concerns that you and others are hearing from our military leaders are certainly matched by our civilian leaders. I think the President is very well aware of the long-term threat that our deficit and debt situation pose to our strength at home and abroad. And other nations, certainly during the last year, put that concern on a back burner while everybody tried to stimulate themselves out of the deep recession that we were facing. But now the conversation has returned to talking about long-term, sustainable growth. And sustainable is not just about the environment; it is about our fiscal standing.

This is a very personally painful issue for me because it won’t surprise any of you to hear that I was very proud of the fact that when my husband ended his eight years, we had a balanced budget and a surplus. And that was not just an exercise in budgeteering; it was linked to a very clear understanding of what the United States needed to do to get positioned to lead for the foreseeable future, far into the 21st century.

And when President Obama came into office, he inherited a very different situation. And I watched this as a senator from New York. I voted against tax cuts that were never sustainable, wars that were never paid for, and now we’re paying the piper. And it’s unfortunate that this president has to take the necessary and difficult steps, which he clearly is committed to doing, that are not politically easy. I mean, I remember very well how hard it was – there was something called the 1994 election, which, in part, had to do with some very tough votes that members of Congress took to lower the deficit.

And there is a very difficult political train. I mean, it’s this old sort of unproductive argument between taxes and spending. At the end of the day, you should only tax to the extent you need to meet America’s needs at home and abroad, and you should only spend what you need to meet America’s needs at home and abroad. But we cannot sustain this level of deficit financing and debt without losing our influence, without being constrained in the tough decisions we have to make about the three Ds. So this is a high priority for this Administration. You’ll see it reflected in this National Security Strategy. And we wanted to try to begin with the publication of this strategy to make the national security case about reducing the deficit and getting the debt under control, recognizing that it is going to be very, very politically challenging.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Martin, while we’re waiting for a mike, please identify yourselves, stand, wait for a mike, keep your questions short so we can have plenty of time for the answers.

QUESTION: Martin Indyk, the director of the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings. Madam Secretary, welcome back. We’re delighted to have you here today, in particular because in a fit of brilliant timing, our Managing Global Insecurity Project which we do with Stanford University and New York University, happens to be meeting today to discuss the National Security Strategy. Now, you’ll be pleased to know that it got very good reviews in our opening discussion, but there were several questions that came up. I’ll just put one to you, which is about the question of who defines responsibility in this emerging international order that you’re trying to shape with this strategy. And this is presumably something that you’ve come into contact with in your dialogues with the emerging powers; that is, a point that they may be prepared to take on responsibilities, but they are often unwilling to have us tell them what their responsibilities are.

So I wonder if you could tell us, from your experience, how do you actually shape those responsibilities when there’s a kind of resistance to accepting that we should be telling them what to do.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Martin, that’s a really important, key question. First of all, we come to any discussion with our counterparts around the world with our own definition of responsibility, which is not always self-evident. I mean, what are the responsible positions to take, how do we prioritize among our various responsibilities? When we started this Administration, I think we had an overriding responsibility to do everything we could to get out of the economic recession and to do nothing diplomatically or in any other way that would worsen America’s efforts to emerge from the recession.

So that meant that we did a lot of discussing, not just the State Department, Treasury and many others, with counterparts about how we defined responsible action. We urged nations to do stimulus, which for some nations was not immediately apparent to them as to why that would make things better, and there was a lot of work done to try to engage and persuade.

So even when we come to a dialogue or a diplomatic engagement with our own definition of responsibility, that’s only after we have had to prioritize among what we see as many of our responsibilities, and then we have to figure out the best ways to work with our counterparts and to try to find some common ground. And there’s no cookie-cutter formula that you can impose on all of these different situations, but let’s take a few examples.

When we begin on the so-called resetting of the relationship with Russia, we had to take responsibility for the fact that our relationship had really gone off the rails. I mean, there was a lot of mistrust. There was a very big gap in how we were seeing the world. We had the impact of the Georgia situation. There was just a lot going on. And we believed that we had to engage in a very straightforward discussion about responsibility as we began to reengage at a very high level with Russia.

Now, we’re not going to see the world the same way. We’re not going to agree on the same definitions. But talking about what is the responsible approach toward Iran, for example, talking to Russia, you have had a different history, you have a different experience. We see this as very threatening. Let’s be as transparent and open in sharing our views and our information and determine what is a responsible way forward.

With China, we started this discussion about development because we think there are more responsible ways to engage in development than less responsible ones and that will have a longer-term impact. Now, why would the Chinese care about that? Because they make long-term investments, particularly in the natural resources sector. So conflict, any kind of unrest, is a threat to their investments. So while they’re doing development, thinking responsibly about how their development programs cannot just secure contracts and concessions for mining but can create more jobs for the people in the host country, can create a sense of investment, not just in material sense, in the well-being of their future.

So there are many, many examples like that, but it is only through dialogue – you cannot begin a conversation with somebody and say, well, here are the 10 things we think you should do to be a responsible stakeholder, but you can say let’s talk about what you’re doing in development, what you’re doing, as we had many hours of discussions with the Chinese, on North Korea. What kind of responsibility could you exercise if you so chose that would actually be good for you? Because ultimately, if nations do not believe that what the United States is trying to ask them to do or making the case for them to do is in their interest, that’s a nonstarter. Some nations have expanded the definition of what’s in their interest.

I think the United States and European countries – we have a much more – a much broader – but we have to some extent the luxury of being able to define it in that way. Other countries are much more focused on, okay, is this going to be good for me today and maybe tomorrow, and I’m not so sure about next month. And that’s what all of this engagement is designed to do. It is not meeting for the sake of meeting. It is attempting to have meetings of the mind about very difficult issues to make the case of why these things are in people’s interest.

And the final example, Martin, because you’re so familiar with this, is I gave a speech to AIPAC about why the two-state solution is in Israel’s interest. Forget the Palestinians and the Arabs; why is it in Israel’s interest? And just very briefly, there are three big reasons: demography, ideology, and technology. If Israel is to remain a democratic Jewish state, then they have to come to grips with their own Arab citizens as well. And if they’re going to remain a secure, democratic Jewish state, they’ve got to come to grips with the technology that is advancing as we speak that will make every part of Israel less secure unless they have some kind of resolution. And if they have any long-term view about how to live with their neighbors, then they’ve got to deal with the ideology that is rejectionist, that is bred and exacerbated by the failure to come to grips with the two-state solution.

So that may not be the way Israeli Government sees it. But it’s only through those kinds of in-depth conversations, really centered around core issues like responsibility, that can be tied into a nation’s self-interest that you can actually make any progress.

MODERATOR: Bob Abernethy.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you for being here with us today.


QUESTION: How do you see the reshaping of NATO as it moves forward fitting in, particularly to the economic aspects, that you’re emphasizing in the new National Security Strategy?

MODERATOR: You should know, by the way, that Secretary Albright was just here a couple of days ago talking about the future of NATO, so a lot of people have this very much in mind.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, and Secretary Albright did her usual exemplary job in leading the group of very high-level advisors to shape the suggested NATO strategic concept, so I’m glad she’s had a chance to brief you.

We have to do a better job of reforming NATO institutions and requiring them to be more cost-conscious and effective in order to maximize the impact of every dollar that every taxpayer of any NATO country – led by, of course, the United States – has in terms of a return on investment for their investment in NATO. NATO has gotten sprawling, hundreds and hundreds of committees, too many staff. There’s just a lot that can be done to literally save money and focus the mission of NATO. At the same time, countries have to recognize that as we try to streamline the operations of NATO, their contributions to their collective defense have to be more than they are today.

NATO has given a big umbrella to European countries to permit them to grow and develop, and it was an important mission for the United States to do that, and it created an era in Europe that is unprecedented in history in terms of the unity and the common purpose that both the EU and NATO represent. But we do have to expect more from NATO, and we have to expect more from the member nations.

But I don’t want to go just hat in hand and say you’ve got to do more country X or country Y for the collective defense without also moving very robustly on the reform agenda, because you cannot keep feeding the existing institution and expect to get a different result in terms of cost-effectiveness.

MODERATOR: Mauricio and then Tom Pickering.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. I’m the director of the Latin American initiative here at Brookings. Speaking about responsibility, global issues like Iran, have your thoughts and reflections on Brazil changed during your tenure as Secretary of State? I have the impression, at the beginning of the Administration, Brazil was seen as part of the solution to deal with divisions in Latin America to global issues, like trade and climate change. But now it’s more part of the problem. What are your thoughts about the role that Brazil can play?

MODERATOR: Particularly, in the context of the last two weeks, I would think. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I see Brazil as part of the solution. I see Brazil has having extraordinary resources and capacity to be put up against problems in our hemisphere and increasingly beyond. That doesn’t mean we’re always going to agree with the Brazilian Government policy. But Brazil – I mean, we want a relationship with Brazil that stands the test of time no matter who our president is or no matter what the political constellation in Brazil is. And I feel very strongly that on so many important matters, Brazil is a very responsible and effective partner. We could not have stabilized the situation post-earthquake in Haiti without Brazil. I mean, Brazil was there already leading MINUSTAH, the UN peacekeeping force. They lost people, both on the civilian and military side, but they immediately regrouped and came forward and are one of the lead nations in the rebuilding of Haiti. Brazil played a role in the small group that the President and I crashed into in Copenhagen in coming up with an accord out of the Copenhagen conference and signed on to its own commitments on climate change. We have a really robust investment and business relationship with Brazil. So there’s a very, very long list of areas of common interest and of partnership that we will work on and expand.

But I don’t know that we agree with any nation on every issue. And certainly we have very serious disagreements with Brazil’s diplomacy vis-à-vis Iran. And we have told President Lula, I’ve told my counterpart the foreign minister, that we think buying time for Iran, enabling Iran to avoid international unity with respect to their nuclear program makes the world more dangerous, not less. They have a different perspective on what they see they’re doing.

So we just kind of go at it. It goes back to Martin’s point: what’s the responsible position to take. I mean, if President Lula or Foreign Minister Amorim were sitting here, they’d say, we believe strongly that what we’re doing will avoid conflict; it will avoid serious consequences inside Iran; sanctions are not a good tool. I mean, they have a theory of the case. They’re not just acting out of impulse. We disagree with it, so we go at it. We say, well, we don’t agree with that and we think the Iranians are using you and we think it’s time to go to the Security Council and that it’s only after the Security Council acts that the Iranians will engage effectively on their nuclear program.

But our disagreement doesn’t in any way undermine our commitment to see Brazil as a friend and a partner in this hemisphere and beyond.

MODERATOR: Tom Pickering.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Tom Pickering. I spent a little time in my life in your Department.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I know you did, with great distinction. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Thank you for being here and thank you for your remarks. You just answered a question from Strobe about debt. And we all know and understand the problem of the deficit. Over the past years, both Secretary Gates and you and most of your living predecessors have talked about the need for diplomacy and the need to make our diplomacy and development a more robust feature on the landscape. That takes funding. You’ve been in the Senate. You know the attitude.

In light of the deficit issue, the President’s priorities on national security, what can we expect, where will your leadership in the Department take us over the next two or three years in terms of meeting the goals that I know you have set, which are very ambitious for strengthening our diplomacy and development?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you, Tom. Well, as you probably know, we had a very good year last year with the Congress in obtaining the resources we needed to build our diplomacy and development base, particularly on personnel. This year is a harder year, but we still are being treated very well by the Congress. And obviously, we make several cases. Number one, we have no choice. We have to be present everywhere. It’s not like we can look at the map and say, “I think the United States just won’t go there.” That is just untenable. So we have to have a robust, diplomatic, and development presence. And that takes people and that takes the infrastructure needed to support those people.

Secondly, we have some very specific challenges, namely in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. And we are assuming responsibilities with the full-throated endorsement of both Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen for functions that had been folded into the military’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is really expensive for the United States civilian personnel to pick up those tasks. You don’t think about it, but when young captains or colonels went out in Iraq to meet with tribal leaders or to survey a dam the United States had repaired or a school we had built, they went in mine-resistant armored vehicles or they flew on helicopters. Our civilians don’t have those resources.

So in order for us to pick up the responsibilities and to fulfill our obligations of the security of our diplomats and our development experts, it costs money. We have to fortify the places they work and live. A lot of fun has been made of the Embassy in Baghdad, but it – during my time, it’s gotten rocket fire probably a dozen times. And so in order for us to meet the obligations that are now being asked of our civilian personnel, it costs money. We can’t in good faith send people into harm’s way without the physical security being taken into account.

But we would also argue, and we do, that we save money. As we draw down our troops in Iraq, even as we ramp up our civilian presence, we will save the American Government $15 billion, because it’s a lot more expensive to keep our troops in Iraq than it is to keep our civilians even with hardened facilities and transportation. So I think that you can look at this from a kind of budget need and a budget tradeoff and a savings perspective.

But you then also have to put it into the broader context. One of the mistakes that the military itself believed had been made in the prior administration is that we militarized America’s presence in these difficult conflict areas. And there are a lot of good reasons why that had to be done in the first instance. But we cannot have a militarized model of diplomacy and development and expect to be successful in making our case on all these other issues that we engage with governments on.

So I think if you look at all the aspects that go into the budget requests that we’re making – I was very pleased that both Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen wrote really strong letters to the House and Senate leadership and the appropriators and the budgeteers to make the case that we have to start looking at a national security budget. You cannot look at a Defense budget, a State Department budget, and a USAID budget without Defense overwhelming the combined efforts of the other two and without us falling back into the old stovepipes that I think are no longer relevant for the challenges of today. So we want to begin to talk about a national security budget, and then you can see the tradeoffs and the savings. And it’s not us going and making our case to our appropriators and DOD going and making their case to their appropriators.

Now, there is resistance, and I’ll just be – there is resistance in our government and there is resistance in the larger communities that care about defense and security and diplomacy and foreign relations and development and foreign assistance. They are afraid of the idea that we’re actually going to be better integrated. I think that is an incredibly shortsighted view. It’s shortsighted because in tough budget years, you’ve got to make the case, since most members of Congress feel their highest duty is to the security of the United States, how diplomacy and development support security. And in order to do that, you have to have better coordination among the three.

Some of you know Jack Lew, who I was very fortunate to bring in as the second Deputy in the State Department for Resources and Management. And part of the reason I did that is because I knew when Jack headed OMB in the Clinton Administration, State would come in with their budget and AID would come in with their budget and the OMB always played them off each other. It was the easiest thing in the world to get money out of the 150 account because they would all come in and they’d say “Oh no, diplomats, oh no, development.” And so OMB would go “Great, take it, give it to somewhere else.”

We are trying to avoid that; to have a unified approach that will gain the credibility of our government and our Congress and our people, that will present a united front supported by DOD for our development and diplomacy effort. And it’s just a smarter way to get the resources we desperately need.

MODERATOR: Kemal Dervis will have the last question. He’s the director of our Global Economy and Development Program.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, in the spirit of the synthetic strategic approach you presented to us today, I’m going to come back to the deficit and the economic issue a little bit. But one of the things I think around the world people expected and are expecting and were so enthusiastic about with the election of President Obama and of your Administration is more stress on the average family, on the medium income unemployment, and on fighting poverty. And in this balance – and I’m an ex-secretary of the treasury in my own country – but in the balance between fiscal austerity but also attention to employment, to poverty reduction, in the U.S. itself the unemployment rate remains close to 10 percent. In southern Europe now, there’s a major new social problem emerging. In the U.S. in the first eight years of this century, two-thirds of the income gains accrued to one percent of the population.

So in terms of this synthetic approach, both for the U.S. being strong at home but also worldwide, how do you see the balance? Or how do you think we can manage the balance between fiscal responsibility, which is, of course, very necessary, but also attention to the most vulnerable, the poorest segments of both American population and worldwide population, and the need still to strengthen this recovery, to strengthen employment, which remains a key issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s a very important and complex question. And I’ll answer it in this way because I think you have posed a very stark choice. It’s the choice that President Obama and other leaders have had to be making every day. How much stimulus, how much restraint, how much to stimulate employment directly, how much to try to invest in larger kinds of job creation entities such as the stimulus in high-speed rail or whatever it might be. It’s a – getting it right is not easy. And the fact that Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, specialized in the Depression came in very handy because you can understand how you can get the balance wrong even with the best of intentions.

So I’ll just make a few comments. One, I think it is really important for countries to be focused on stimulating long-term sustainable employment. And in the Recovery Act which was passed last year, there are some very big investments in clean energy technology, high-speed rail, and the like, that will not bear fruit for a long time, probably, but are absolutely necessary to be made. If the United States does not once again become the leading innovation nation, it’s hard to know where we’re going to find the jobs that we have to produce for people. And yet if we do it wrong, or we do it artificially as in some countries are in my view doing, that will lead to protectionism.

We had a very frank conversation, led by Secretary Geithner, with our Chinese friends in Beijing. They see a very stark problem. They have tens of millions of people they’re still trying to get out of absolute poverty, so they want to have an innovation agenda that would in effect capture companies’ intellectual property and require companies to operate inside China in a way that could undermine the long-term success of those companies. So we say no, that’s not a good way to do it. But the debate about how to do this is going to be front and center of international economic dialogue.

I also believe you put your finger on one of the biggest international problems we have. And I’ll just – this is my opinion; I’m not speaking for the Administration so I will preface that with a very clear caveat. The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues, whether it’s individuals, corporate, whatever the taxation forms are. And I go back to the question about Brazil. Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere. And guess what? It’s growing like crazy. And the rich are getting richer, but they’re pulling people out of poverty. There is a certain formula there that used to work for us until we abandoned it – to our regret, in my opinion.

So my view is that you have to get many countries to increase their public revenue collections in order to make investments that will make them richer over the long run. You have to work hard on the innovation new technology agenda to try to create new forms of jobs. You have to strike the right balance, which is not easy, and different countries probably require different approaches between stimulus and restraint. I think you have to, even during crisis periods, look at big works projects in order to employ people. But it’s difficult to do that in some of the advanced countries because the kinds of jobs that those work projects produce are not always the jobs that people are willing to take.

And one of the things that benefited the United States dramatically in the ‘90s and the first decade of this century was immigration. I mean, we filled a lot of jobs that really fueled the economy as a lot of our population aged. And so immigration has to be somehow in the mix, but it is becoming an increasingly volatile subject, not just here but everywhere. So there is no, like, one perfect formula. But we know the elements that are necessary. And trying to get that right balance is very challenging.

And I think that we have to also work on changing attitudes, and that requires leadership. We need a robust market economy that is truly as free as possible everywhere but with appropriate and effective regulation everywhere. And we need rich people everywhere to understand that many of them benefited greatly by the investments of prior generations in their own families or their own countries and that they have to be part of helping to keep that growth rate and that economic progress going for future generations.

And we have to change attitudes among individuals. Nick Kristof wrote a column last week sometime talking about how a lot of really poor people around the world have money but they don’t choose to spend it on educating their children. And he talked about one family in a poor African village that had enough money to pay the $10-a-month cell phone bill for the husband and the wife but not enough money to keep their son in school. So we have to have leaders in countries and companies and religions who focus on the needs of children, the next generation, because educating kids, keeping them healthy, family planning, these are all part of dealing with the long-term economic imbalance in the world.

And then obviously, there are specific issues on currency and the like. But on a sort of broad stroke, I think leaders are trying to balance all of these competing considerations and I think that our country is pulling out but we’re still going to face a large unemployment figure for a long time. And what we’re doing now has to help whittle that down for the future.

MODERATOR: Madam Secretary, before we adjourn the meeting and I thank you formally, on behalf of the gender-challenged people here today who do not roll their eyes – (laughter) – at the idea of women’s empowerment or leave you alone to raise the issue, I’m going to come back to it by sharing with you and with our friends out here something that Secretary Albright said from that chair two days ago. She was recounting a conversation with her eight-year-old granddaughter, who basically said, “Grandma, what’s the big deal about you having been Secretary of State? I thought women were always Secretary of State.” (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: In her lifetime, that was true, isn’t it? (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: Well, there’s poor Colin, but never mind. (Laughter.)

In any event, please join me in thanking the Secretary for being with us. (Applause.)

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Daily Appointments Schedule for May 27, 2010

Washington, DC
May 27, 2010

9:15 a.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with the Assistant Secretaries of the Regional Bureaus, at the Department of State.

11:30 a.m. Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at the Department of State.

1:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton participates in a conversation on the Obama Administration’s National Security Strategy, at the Brookings Institution.
Watch the event live on www.state.gov.

3:10 p.m.
Secretary Clinton joins President Obama’s bilateral meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at the White House.

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