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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