Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Relations Committee’

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National Security & Foreign Policy Priorities in the FY 2013 International Affairs Budget


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
February 28, 2012

Thank you very much, and I greatly appreciate Chairman Kerry, Ranking Member Lugar, members of the committee to be here once again to have this opportunity. And I want thank you for the support that this committee has given to the State Department and USAID over the last three quite consequential and unpredictable years. And I especially am grateful for the very kind words about our diplomats and development experts who are serving around the world, some in very difficult circumstances.You have seen the world transforming right before your eyes, from Arab revolutions to the rise of new economic powers to a more dispersed but still dangerous al-Qaida and terrorist network. And in this time, only the United States of America has the reach, resources, and relationships to anchor a more peaceful and prosperous world. The State Department and USAID budget we discuss today is a proven investment in our national and economic security, but it is also something more. It is a down payment on America’s leadership.

When I took this job, I saw a world that needed America, but also one that questioned our focus and our staying power. So we have worked together to put American leadership on a firm foundation for the decades ahead. We have ended one war and are winding down another. We have cemented our place as a Pacific power. We have also maintained our alliance across the Atlantic. We have elevated the role of economics within our diplomacy, and we have reached beyond governments to engage directly with people with a special focus on women and girls.

We are updating diplomacy and development for the 21st century and finding ways to work smarter and more efficiently. And after the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, we created two new bureaus, taking the work we were already doing on counterterrorism and combining it with other assets within the State Department to create a much more focused effort on counterterrorism and on energy. And I really commend Senator Lugar, because it was his idea. It was his talking with me when I was visiting with him prior to my confirmation that made me determined that we would actually accomplish this. And we have reorganized our assets into a bureau focused on fragile states.

Now, like many Americans in these tough economic times, we have certainly made difficult tradeoffs and painful cuts. We have requested 18 percent less for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia, preserving our most essential programs and using the savings for more urgent needs elsewhere. We are scaling back construction of our embassies and consulates, improving procurement to save money, and taking steps across the board to lower costs.

Our request of 51.6 billion represents an increase of less than the rate of inflation and just over 1 percent of the federal budget, and this is coming at the very same time that our responsibilities are multiplying around the world.

Today, I want briefly to highlight five priorities.

First, our request allows us to sustain our vital national security missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and reflects the temporary extraordinary costs of operating on the front lines. As President Obama has said, the tide of war is receding, but as troops come home, thankfully, civilians remain to carry out the critical missions of diplomacy and development.

In Iraq, civilians are now in the lead, helping that country emerge as a stable, sovereign, democratic power. This increases our civilian budget, but State and USAID are asking for only one-tenth of the $48 billion the U.S. Government spent on Iraq as recently as 2011. The 2013 U.S. Government-wide request for Iraq, including defense spending, is now $40 billion less than it was just two years ago. So we are doing what must be done to try to normalize our relationship at a far lower cost than what we have been expending.

Over time, despite the tragic violence of this past week, we expect to see similar government-wide savings in Afghanistan. This year’s request will support the ongoing transition, helping Afghans take responsibility for their own security and their own future, and ensuring that this country is never again a safe haven for terrorists.

We remain committed to working on issues of joint interest with Pakistan, including counterterrorism, economic stability, and regional cooperation.

Second, in the Asia Pacific, the Administration is making an unprecedented effort to build a strong network of relationships and institutions, because we believe, in the century ahead, no region will be more consequential to our economic and security future. As we tighten our belts around the world, we are investing the diplomatic attention necessary to do more with less. In Asia, we are pursuing what I call forward-deployed diplomacy – strengthening our alliances, launching new strategic dialogues and economic initiatives, creating and joining important multilateral institutions, even pursuing a possible opening with Burma – all of which underscores America will remain a Pacific power.

Third, we are focused on the wave of change sweeping the Arab world. As the nation transforms, so must our engagement. Alongside our bilateral and security support, we are proposing a $770 million Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund. This fund will support credible proposals validated by rigorous analysis and by Congress from countries that make a meaningful commitment to democratic change, effective institutions, and broad-based economic growth. In an unpredictable time, it lets us respond to unanticipated needs in a way that reflects both our agility and our leadership in the region.

This budget request would also allow us to help the Syrian people survive a brutal assault and plan for a future without Assad. It continues our assistance for civil society and Arab partners in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and elsewhere. It provides a record level of support for our ally Israel and it makes possible our diplomacy at the UN and around the world, which has now put in place, with your help, the toughest sanctions that I think any country has ever faced against Iran.

The fourth priority is what I call economic statecraft; in particular, how we use diplomacy and development to create American jobs. We’ve more than 1,000 State Department economic officers working to help American businesses connect to new markets and consumers. We are pushing back every day against corruption, red tape, favoritism, distorted currencies, and intellectual property theft.

Our investment in development also helps us create the trading partners of the future. We have worked closely on three trade agreements that we believe will create tens of thousands of jobs in America, and we hope to work with Congress to ensure that as Russia enters the WTO, foreign competitors do not have an advantage over American businesses.

And finally, we are elevating development alongside diplomacy and defense. Poverty, disease, hunger, climate change can destabilize societies and sow the seeds for future conflicts. We think we need to make strategic investments today in order that we can meet our traditional foreign policy goals in the future. Through the Global Health Initiative, through our Feed the Future Initiative, we are consolidating programs, increasing our partners’ capacity, shifting responsibilities to host countries, and making an impact in areas of health and hunger that will be a real credit to our country going forward.

And as we transform development, we really have to deliver measurable results. Our long-term objective must be to empower people to create and seize their own futures.

These five priorities are each crucial to American leadership, and they rely on the work of some of the most capable, hardest working, and bravest people I’ve ever met: the men and women of State and USAID. Working with them is one of the greatest honors I’ve had in public life.

With so much on the line, from the Arab world to the Asia Pacific, we simply cannot pull back. Investments in American leadership did not cause our fiscal challenges, and retreating from the world will not solve them.

Let me end on a personal note. American leadership means a great deal to me personally. It is my job everywhere I go. And after three years, 95 countries, and over 700,000 miles, I know very well what it means to land in a plane that says the United States of America on the side. People look to us to protect our allies; stand by our principles; serve as an honest broker in making peace; to fight hunger, poverty, and disease; to stand up to bullies and tyrants everywhere. American leadership is not just respected. It is required. And it takes more than just resolve. It takes resources.

This country is an unparalleled force for good in the world, and we all want to make sure it stays that way. So I would urge you to work with us to make this investment in strong American leadership and the more peaceful and prosperous future that I believe will result. Thank you.

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In case you missed Secretary Clinton’s testimony at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, CSPAN lists it as re-aring at 12:30 p.m.  EDT today.  The Lawrence Eagelburger Memorial, at which Secretary Clinton spoke on Tuesday will air at 10:30 p.m. EDT this evening.

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Lately, the lovely Secretary of State has been rocking some serious ruffles in chiffon. I love this light, spring-into-summer look on her. It is breezy, feminine, a little whimsical, and very flirty. It stands as a sweet alternative to the rather plain and uniform shells she has worn under her jackets as a rule. Very pretty look, Mme. Secretary! Keep the ruffles coming!

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FY2012 State and USAID Budget Request


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Opening Remarks Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
March 2, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you, and I want to begin by thanking you, Chairman Kerry and you, Ranking Member Lugar, for not just those two eloquent statements of our priorities and our needs as a nation, but for your service, your lifetime of leadership on issues that really do matter to America’s security, interest, and values. It’s an honor to appear before you.

I recently took part in emergency meetings in Geneva to discuss the events unfolding in Libya, and I’d like to begin by offering a brief update. As the Chairman said, we have joined the Libyan people in demanding that Colonel Qadhafi must go, now, without further violence and bloodshed. And we are working to translate the world’s outrage into action and results.

Marathon diplomacy at the United Nations and with our allies has yielded quick, aggressive steps to pressure and isolate Libya’s leaders. We welcome yesterday’s decision to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council, as I had urged a day earlier. USAID is focused on Libya’s food and medical supplies, and is dispatching two expert humanitarian teams to help those fleeing the violence into Tunisia and Egypt. Our combatant commands are positioning assets to prepare to support these critical civilian missions. And we are taking no option off the table so long as the Libyan Government continues to turn its guns on its own people.

As both the Chairman and the Ranking Member have noted, the region is changing, and a strong, strategic American response will be essential. In the years ahead, for example, Libya could become a peaceful democracy, or it could face protracted civil war or fall into chaos. The stakes are high. And this is an unfolding example of using the combined assets of smart power, diplomacy, development, and defense to protect our interests and advance our values.

This integrated approach is not just how we must respond to the crisis of the moment. It is the most effective and most cost-effective way to sustain and advance our security. And it is only possible with a budget that supports all the tools in our national security arsenal, which is what I am here today to discuss.

I understand and agree that the American people are rightly and justifiably concerned about our national debt, about our economy, and about unemployment. But I think also, Americans understand the need for responsible investments in our security for the future to make us safer, to keep markets open, to ensure that we remain the leader in the world.

Just two years after President Obama and I first asked you to renew our investment in development and diplomacy, we are already seeing tangible returns. In Iraq, almost 100,000 troops have come home, and civilians are poised to keep the peace. In Afghanistan, integrated military and civilian surges have helped set the stage for our diplomatic surge to support Afghan-led reconciliation that can end the conflict and put al-Qaida on the run. We have imposed the toughest sanctions yet to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

We have reengaged as a leader in the Asia Pacific region and in our own hemisphere. We have signed trade deals to promote American jobs and nuclear weapons treaties to protect our people. We worked with northern and southern Sudanese to achieve a peaceful referendum and prevent a return to civil war. And we are working to open up political systems, economies, and societies at this remarkable moment in history in the Middle East, and to support orderly, peaceful, irreversible democratic transitions.

Our progress is significant, but our work is ongoing. These missions are vital to our national security, and now would be absolutely the wrong time to pull back.

The FY 2012 budget we discuss today will allow us to keep pressing ahead. It is a lean budget for lean times. I launched the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, the so-called QDDR, to help us maximize the impact of every dollar we spend. We scrubbed this budget. We made painful but responsible cuts. For example, we cut economic assistance to Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia by 15 percent. We cut development assistance to over 20 countries by more than half.

This year, for the first time, our request is divided into two parts. Our core budget request is $47 billion. That supports programs and partnerships in every country but North Korea. It is essentially flat from 2010 levels. The second part of our request funds the extraordinary, temporary portion of our war effort. This is the same way the Pentagon’s request is funded, in a separate overseas contingency operations account known as OCO. Instead of covering our war expenses through supplemental appropriations, we are now taking a more transparent approach that reflects our fully integrated civilian-military effort on the ground. Our share of the President’s $126 billion request for these exceptional wartime costs in frontline states is $8.7 billion.

Let me walk you through a few of the key investments. First, this budget funds vital civilian missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, al-Qaida is under pressure as never before. Alongside our military offensive, we are engaged in a major civilian effort to help build up the governments, economies, and civil societies of both countries, and therefore help undercut the insurgency. These two surges, the military and civilian, now set the stage for the third surge, a diplomatic push in support of an Afghan process to split the Taliban from al-Qaida, bring the conflict to an end, and help stabilize the entire region. Our military commanders are emphatic. They cannot succeed without a strong civilian partner. Retreating from our civilian surge in Afghanistan with our troops still in the field would be a grave mistake.

Equally important is our assistance to Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation with strong ties and interests in Afghanistan. This is a complicated and often frustrating relationship, as the Chairman knows very well. And we’re grateful to him for his constant attention and very helpful interventions. We are working to deepen that partnership, and keep it focused on addressing Pakistan’s political and economic challenges, as well as our shared threats.

After so much sacrifice in Iraq, we have a chance to help the Iraqi people build a stable democratic country in the heart of the Middle East. What we are hoping will happen in Egypt and in Libya and in Tunisia is happening in Iraq. And it is imperative that as our troops come home, our civilians take the lead, helping Iraqis resolve conflicts peacefully, training police, and inculcating the habits of the heart that are at the root of any kind of democratic society. Shifting responsibilities from soldiers to civilians actually saves taxpayers a great deal of money. The military’s total OCO request worldwide will drop by $45 billion from 2010, while our costs in State and USAID will increase by less than $4 billion for Iraq. Every business owner I know would gladly invest $4 to save $45.

Second, even as our civilians help bring today’s wars to a close, we are working to prevent tomorrow’s. This budget devotes over $4 billion in sustaining a strong U.S. presence in volatile places where our security and interests are at stake. In Yemen, it provides security, development, and humanitarian assistance in the midst of the headquarters for al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula. It focuses on those same goals in Somalia. It has helped the northern and southern Sudanese chart a peaceful future, and we need to stay on that path. It helps Haiti rebuild. And it proposes a new global security contingency fund that would pool resources and expertise with the Defense Department. We are trying to tear down the walls and the bureaucratic jurisdictional obstacles that too often prevent the United States Government from being as efficient as it can be by bringing all of our government assets together.

This budget also strengthens allies and partners. It trains Mexican police to take on violent cartels and secure our southern border. It provides nearly $3.1 billion for Israel, and supports Jordan and the Palestinians. It does help Egypt and Tunisia, and it supports security assistance to over 130 nations.

Now over the years, these security funds have created valuable ties with foreign militaries. We saw that in real time when it came to Egypt. Because the United States military has trained a generation of Egyptian officers, because that experience built relationships between American military leaders and Egyptian military leaders, we saw the Egyptian military refuse to fire on their own people. And there were many, many conversations going on between people who weren’t picking up the phone for the first time but who had trained together, lived together, worked together. Across the board, we are trying to ensure that all who share the benefits of our spending also share the burdens of addressing common challenges.

Third, we are making targeted investments in human security. We have focused on hunger. And thank you so much, Senator Lugar, for your constant, constant pointing out that this is in America’s interests as well as the world’s interests. We have invested in preventing and ameliorating the effects of disease, climate change, humanitarian emergencies. These challenges not only threaten the security of individuals, and increasingly in our world, individuals here at home, but they are the seeds of future conflict. If we want to lighten the burden on future generations, we have to make the investments that will make our world more secure.

Our largest investment is in global health programs, including those launched and led by President George W. Bush. These programs stabilize entire societies that have been devastated by HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases. They save the lives of mothers and children and they halt the spread of deadly diseases. Global food prices are approaching an all-time high. Three years ago, this led to protests and riots in dozens of countries. Food security is a cornerstone of global stability. We are helping farmers to grow more food, drive economic growth, and turn aid recipients into trading partners. And I look forward to working closely with the Congress as we try to really sharpen this program.

Now climate change, we know, threatens food security, human security, and national security. Our budget helps to build resilience against droughts, floods, and other weather disasters. It promotes clean energy and it preserves tropical forests. It gives leverage to us to persuade China, India, and other nations to do their part as well.

Fourth, we are committed to making our foreign policy a force for domestic economic renewal. We are working aggressively to promote sustained economic growth, level playing fields, open markets, and create jobs here at home. And we are fighting for companies large and small. For example, our economic officers in the Philippines helped Jarden Zinc win a $21 million raw materials contract that will create and preserve jobs throughout Senator Corker’s home state of Tennessee.

Fifth and finally, this budget funds the people and platforms that make possible everything I have described. It allows us to sustain diplomatic relations with 190 countries. It funds political officers who are working to diffuse crises and promote our values, development officers spreading opportunity and stability, economic officers who wake up every day thinking about how to put Americans back to work.

Several of you have asked the Department about the safety of your constituents in the Middle East. Well, this budget also helps fund the consular officers who evacuated over 2,600 Americans from Egypt and Libya, and nearly 17,000 from Haiti. They issued 14 million passports last year and served as our first line of defense against would-be terrorists seeking visas to enter our country.

I’d like to say just a few words about our funding for the rest of 2011. As I have told Speaker Boehner and Chairman Rogers and many others, the 16 percent cut for State and USAID that passed the House last month would be devastating to our national security. It would force us to scale back dramatically on critical missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. As Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, and General Petraeus have all emphasized to the Congress time and again, we need a fully engaged and fully funded national security team, including State and USAID.

Now there have always been moments of temptation in our country to resist obligations beyond our borders, but each time we have shrunk from global leadership, events have summoned us back to reality. We saved money in the short term when we walked away from Afghanistan after the Cold War, but those savings came at an unspeakable cost, one we are still paying 10 years later in money and lives.

Generations of Americans have grown up successful and safe because we chose to lead the world in tackling its greatest challenges. We’re the ones who invested the resources to build up democratic allies and vibrant trading partners in every region. We did not shy away from defending our values, promoting our interests, and seizing the opportunities of each new era.

I believe, as I have traveled around the world – and I am now the most traveled Secretary of State in history – the world has never been in greater need of the qualities that distinguish us as Americans – our openness and innovation, our determination, our devotion to universal values. Everywhere I travel, I see people looking to us for leadership. This is a source of strength, a point of pride, and a great opportunity for the American people. But it is an achievement, not a birthright. It requires resolve and it requires resources. So I look forward to working closely together with all of you to do what is necessary to keep our country safe and maintain American leadership in a very fast-changing world.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


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Best Wishes to Chelsea and Marc!

From The New York Times:

At 7:23 p.m. came an announcement from the family via e-mail: Ms. Clinton was now married to Marc Mezvinsky.

“Today, we watched with great pride and overwhelming emotion as Chelsea and Marc wed in a beautiful ceremony at Astor Courts, surrounded by family and their close friends,” the Clintons said in a statement. “We could not have asked for a more perfect day to celebrate the beginning of their life together, and we are so happy to welcome Marc into our family.”

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Earlier, in fact while the hearings were still in session, I posted a few photos that came up fast from the hearing room.  I am somewhat amazed at the alacrity with which the photos came up as well as with how quickly the State Department managed to get the video and her remarks posted.  I am accustomed to waiting impatiently.   The video is in a prior post and well worth watching.

Well, the rest of today’s pictures are here.  She looked like a Spring flower among the suits, and they all looked delighted to be with her, and most importantly, very appreciative of her hard work in getting this treaty written.  Her defense, explanations, and presentation were clear as crystal, as usual.  In short, she was awesome while looking absolutely beautiful, which is nothing new for Hillary Clinton.  Enjoy the show!

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Here are a few photos of SOS Clinton with SOD Gates and Chairman Mullen.

Totally Keatsian observations: She is really rocking the pink this Spring, is she not? She looks smashing today, and was making eyes at Senator Lugar who was eating her up like a strawberry ice cream cone.

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Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken (1915)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I loved Robert Frost. When I was a kid, he read a poem for JFK’s inauguration, and I cried because the sun and wind kept giving him a hard time. He could not read well in the bright sunlight, and the wind kept ruffling the papers. I have always loved this poem.

Thursday, our Hillary made this appearance

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce dinner honoring Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress of the Peoples of China, in Washington September 10, 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce dinner honoring Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s of China, in Washington September 10, 2009

Here is a picture of her with Chairman Wu.

Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress of the Peoples of China, greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after she spoke at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dinner honoring Wu in Washington September 10, 2009.

Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s of China, greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after she spoke at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dinner honoring Wu in Washington September 10, 2009.

This story came up on my “Love Hillary” feed this afternoon, and, truly, I have debated about whether or not to use it and address this issue. I have decided it should be brought up. Sean Parnell, whom you will remember as Sarah Palin’s successor, now Governor of Alaska, met with Mr. Wu on a stopover in Mr. Wu’s journey home. I was reminded when I saw this, that Hillary, too, stopped in Alaska to refuel on her trip home from her virgin tour as SOS to Asia last winter. The families based there were thrilled that she came out to meet them.

If I remember correctly, one of Sarah Palin’s noticeable shortcomings in the General Election was her knowledge of Foreign Policy. But I see here her successor reaching out to a representative of a foreign power. These stopovers in Alaska on trips to and from Asia are routine. Did Sarah Palin ever avail herself of this unique geographical advantage her state held for her to gather some clout on the international stage? I simply do not know. Perhaps my new friend SJR at The Pink Flamingo , a Palin supporter, can shed a little light on this issue.

Here are her remarks at the dinner honoring chairman Wu.

Remarks At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dinner Honoring His Excellency Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Washington, DC
September 10, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. And it is a real pleasure to join you this evening in welcoming Chairman Wu here to Washington. Mr. Chairman, I hope you feel as welcome in our capital city as I did in Beijing earlier this year on my first overseas trip as Secretary of State.
I want to thank Tom and the Chamber and all of the sponsors for hosting this dinner. The range of people and organizations represented here tonight is a testament to the scope and scale of the relationship between China and the United States and its enduring impact across industries, institutions, and borders. We are joined by representatives of business community, the non-profit world, cultural organizations, think tanks, as well as the Congress and the Administration. And I’m delighted to be here with my colleague, the Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke.
The relationship between our two countries has the potential to chart a brighter course, not just for our own nations and peoples, but indeed for the entire world. We are two of the world’s three largest economies, two of the world’s largest populations, two of the world’s largest militaries, the world’s largest consumers of energy and producers of carbon emissions. For these reasons and so many more, our respective priorities and policies have a global impact, and therefore we have a responsibility to ourselves and others to work as effectively as we can to meet the threats and seize the opportunities of the 21st century.
As Tom said, we have begun a groundbreaking Strategic and Economic Dialogue between our two countries. This is an effort to seek new avenues for collaboration, to find solutions together to common problems we face. Secretary Geithner and I were honored to co-host the first round here in Washington a little over a month ago, and the results exceeded our expectations. This was the largest gathering ever of top leaders from our two countries. Most of my colleagues in the Cabinet met with their counterparts in the Chinese Government. We got to know each other better through hours spent in consultation and negotiations. We had very productive exchanges on issues ranging from the global economic crisis to climate change to poverty and disease to the security threats that confront us. And already, we are seeing the results of those meetings.
President Obama and I believe we are entering a new era in China-U.S. relations. Building a strong relationship with China is a central goal of the Obama Administration and a personal priority of mine. We embraced the idea of an expanded dialogue with China early in the Administration because we wanted to build upon it as much as possible in the months and years ahead, to yield the most meaningful results and to build an even stronger foundation for future cooperation. I am very pleased that President Obama will be visiting China in November. We know that together we bear heavy responsibilities on our shoulders. We have to work to forge a new global architecture of cooperation. We have to deepen and broaden our partnership, mutual respect and shared responsibility.
We believe that through more open and honest discussion, we can strengthen not only our economic ties and accelerate the global recovery, but we can do more to strengthen that intangible of trust and of confidence that must exist between our two great countries and their leaders. (Applause.)
There are so many issues that we have to address. I just want to mention a couple. One is climate change. When I was in Beijing last winter, I visited a geothermal plant that brought together U.S. and Chinese businesses and scientists in partnership to provide clean energy and green jobs. We believe that this is the kind of investment and collaboration that is good for China, it’s good for America, and it is good for our planet. So we are cooperating more closely on other clean energy initiatives as well, including the agreement you signed this week, Mr. Chairman, with the Arizona company First Solar to develop the largest solar farm in the world. In July, during our Strategic and Economic Dialogue, our nations completed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance our cooperation on climate change, energy, and the environment. We believe that this is essential to establishing a very positive tone leading in to the Copenhagen conference in December.
We are also committed to working with China and other partners to bring peace and stability to the world’s hot spots. Our envoy to North Korea, Steven Bosworth, just returned from China, where he met with Chinese leaders to work on increasing stability in Northeast Asia by resuming the Six-Party Talks and implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874. We seek to work with China to urge Iran to live up to its international obligations. And there are many other urgent global threats that demand our joint attention, from nonproliferation to pandemic disease, particularly the H1N1 virus, to reducing poverty – and I have said publicly and privately about China and to Chinese leaders, we admire the extraordinary progress that China has made in the last 30 years in reducing poverty in China and giving tens of millions of Chinese people the chance to have a better future. And I am pleased to announce that the United States and China will be conducting joint talks on counterterrorism this fall.
Now, we will not see eye-to-eye on every issue. We have different histories, different experiences, different perspectives. But we must seek to talk honestly and openly even when agreement is not possible. And we are committed to doing so. In July, we had a very full and frank discussion about human rights, and we agreed to hold the next round of our Human Rights Dialogue before the end of the year, and to reconvene the U.S.-China Legal Experts Dialogue. We know that this is an important part of our engagement with China.
Now, Chairman Wu is China’s chief lawmaker. I am a former lawmaker. We both know that governments are essential to solving global problems. But there is a limit to what governments can accomplish on their own. That’s why we need partnerships beyond government that stretch across sectors, that engage the full range of talent in our countries – from the expertise of our scholars and scientists to the creative energy of our young people and the adventurous spirit of our entrepreneurs.
Business and industry will continue to play a critical role in building a stronger U.S.-China relationship. Individual joint ventures, purchase agreements, and two-way investments have increased bilateral trade by more than 400 percent just in the past decade alone. And I could not stand before any audience of this importance without mentioning the U.S. pavilion at the Shanghai Expo. (Applause.) Now, some of you know that this is a particular passion of mine, and it’s not only because I want to go back to Shanghai to open it, but it’s because this pavilion will showcase American innovation and culture to the more than 70 million visitors that China expects to welcome to the Expo. I want to thank Tom and the Chamber for the help that you have provided as we have raised the money to have a first-class pavilion that will showcase our country. It is not too late to contribute. (Laughter and applause.)
So we will be moving forward with our partnership at all levels. But the most telling measures of our progress may be less tangible than a geothermal plant or even a pavilion. We are not merely looking to address current concerns. We intend to lay the groundwork for a new pattern of cooperation, a new forum for discussion, a new structure for engagement that will allow us to work together far into the future.
This is an issue that really goes to the heart of why any of us are here tonight. Yes, those in business have to plan to be successful, to be profitable, to make sure that the products stand the test of time. Those of in government, we need to produce results for the people we represent. Chairman Wu and I know that even though we have very different political systems, at the end of the day, we are judged in the same way. Have we made life better for the people that we represent and serve?
I like to think, as I told State Councilor Dai during a wonderful dinner we had at the very beginning of our Strategic and Economic Dialogue, that in any important relationship, in any endeavor that holds promise for the future, we should think about the children whom we love, our own children, and in State Councilor Dai’s case, a very new grandchild, and almost have the pictures of those children in front of us and ask ourselves: Are we making the decisions that will give each of them a better future, a more peaceful, prosperous, secure world, a world where our children can breathe the air and drink the water, where they can pursue their own futures if they are well educated and healthy, where they have a chance to really make the most of their own lives?
That is what is at the core of our relationship between China and the United State – a hope and a commitment to that kind of future. Thank you all very much, and thank you, Chairman Wu. (Applause.)
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In the aftermath of The Hillary Show 01.13.09, I am confounded by the people who used words like “amazing,” “astonishing,” and “stunning” (well, OK, I used that last word here but I shouldn’t have) about her marathon performance yesterday which was the rough equivalent of three doctoral dissertation defenses in one day. Actually, she would have been a spectacular president. What were these people reading, listening to, doing during the primary season? She surprised NONE of her 18,000,000 cracks in the glass ceiling. That was typical Hillary, y’all!!

“Botswana comes to mind….” – Well, only to HER mind! I never hear her or read what she has written without learning something new. She’s dangerous that way. Look out! You might just learn something listening to her!

Here is her opening statement.

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confirmation hearing, posted with vodpod

Nomination Hearing To Be Secretary of State


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, Secretary of State
Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
January 13, 2009

Thank you, Senator Schumer, for your generous introduction, and even more for your support and our partnership over so many years. You are a valued and trusted colleague, a friend, and a tribute to the people of New York whom you have served with such distinction throughout your career.Mr. Chairman, I offer my congratulations as you take on this new role. You certainly have traveled quite a distance from that day in 1971 when you testified here as a young Vietnam veteran. You have never faltered in your care and concern for our nation, its foreign policy or its future, and America is in good hands with you leading this committee.

Senator Lugar, I look forward to working with you on a wide range of issues, especially those of greatest concern to you, including the Nunn-Lugar initiative.

And Senator Voinovich, I want to commend you for your service to the people of Ohio and ask for your help in the next two years on the management issues you champion.

It is an honor and a privilege to be here this morning as President-elect Obama’s nominee for Secretary of State. I am deeply grateful for the trust – and keenly aware of the responsibility – that the President-elect has placed in me to serve our country and our people at a time of such grave dangers, and great possibilities. If confirmed, I will accept the duties of the office with gratitude, humility, and firm determination to represent the United States as energetically and faithfully as I can.

At the same time I must confess that sitting across the table from so many colleagues brings me sadness too. I love the Senate. And if you confirm me for this new role, it will be hard to say good-bye to so many members, Republicans and Democrats, whom I have come to know, admire, and respect deeply, and to the institution where I have been so proud to serve on behalf of the people of New York for the past eight years.

But I assure you that I will be in frequent consultation and conversation with the members of this committee, with the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the appropriations committees, and with Congress as a whole. And I look forward to working with my good friend, Vice President-elect Biden, who has been a valued colleague in the Senate and valued chairman of this committee.

For me, consultation is not a catch-word. It is a commitment.

The President-elect and I believe that we must return to the time-honored principle of bipartisanship in our foreign policy – an approach that past Presidents of both parties, as well as members of this committee, have subscribed to and that has served our nation well. I look forward to working with all of you to renew America’s leadership through diplomacy that enhances our security, advances our interests, and reflects our values.

Today, nine years into a new century, Americans know that our nation and our world face great perils: from ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the continuing threat posed by terrorist extremists, to the spread of weapons of mass destruction; from the dangers of climate change to pandemic disease; from financial meltdown to worldwide poverty.

The seventy days since the presidential election offer fresh evidence of the urgency of these challenges. New conflict in Gaza; terrorist attacks in Mumbai; mass killings and rapes in the Congo; cholera in Zimbabwe; reports of record high greenhouse gasses and rapidly melting glaciers; and even an ancient form of terror – piracy – asserting itself in modern form off the Horn of Africa.

Always, and especially in the crucible of these global challenges, our overriding duty is to protect and advance America’s security, interests, and values: First, we must keep our people, our nation, and our allies secure. Second, we must promote economic growth and shared prosperity at home and abroad. Finally, we must strengthen America’s position of global leadership – ensuring that we remain a positive force in the world, whether in working to preserve the health of our planet or expanding dignity and opportunity for people on the margins whose progress and prosperity will add to our own.

Our world has undergone an extraordinary transformation in the last two decades. In 1989, a wall fell and old barriers began to crumble after 40 years of a Cold War that had influenced every aspect of our foreign policy.

By 1999, the rise of more democratic and open societies, the expanding reach of world markets, and the explosion of information technology had made “globalization” the word of the day. For most people, it had primarily an economic connotation, but in fact, we were already living in a profoundly interdependent world in which old rules and boundaries no longer held fast—one in which both the promise and the peril of the 21st century could not be contained by national borders or vast distances.

Economic growth has lifted more people out of poverty faster than at any time in history, but economic crises can sweep across the globe even more quickly. A coalition of nations stopped ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, but the conflict in the Middle East continues to inflame tensions from Asia to Africa. Non-state actors fight poverty, improve health, and expand education in the poorest parts of the world, while other non-state actors traffic in drugs, children, and women and kill innocent civilians across the globe.

Now, in 2009, the clear lesson of the last twenty years is that we must both combat the threats and seize the opportunities of our interdependence. And to be effective in doing so we must build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries.

America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America. The best way to advance America’s interest in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions. This isn’t a philosophical point. This is our reality.

The President-Elect and I believe that foreign policy must be based on a marriage of principles and pragmatism, not rigid ideology. On facts and evidence, not emotion or prejudice. Our security, our vitality, and our ability to lead in today’s world oblige us to recognize the overwhelming fact of our interdependence.

I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called “smart power”: the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural — picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation.

With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy. This is not a radical idea. The ancient Roman poet Terence, who was born a slave and rose to become one of the great voices of his time, declared that “in every endeavor, the seemly course for wise men is to try persuasion first.” The same truth binds wise women as well.

The President-Elect has made it clear that in the Obama Administration there will be no doubt about the leading role of diplomacy. One need only look to North Korea, Iran, the Middle East, and the Balkans to appreciate the absolute necessity of tough-minded, intelligent diplomacy – and the failures that result when that kind of diplomatic effort is absent. And one need only consider the assortment of problems we must tackle in 2009 – from fighting terrorism to climate change to global financial crises – to understand the importance of cooperative engagement.

I assure you that, if I am confirmed, the State Department will be firing on all cylinders to provide forward-thinking, sustained diplomacy in every part of the world; applying pressure and exerting leverage; cooperating with our military partners and other agencies of government; partnering effectively with NGOs, the private sector, and international organizations; using modern technologies for public outreach; empowering negotiators who can protect our interests while understanding those of our negotiating partners. There will be thousands of separate interactions, all strategically linked and coordinated to defend American security and prosperity. Diplomacy is hard work; but when we work hard, diplomacy can work, and not just to defuse tensions, but to achieve results that advance our security, interests and values.

Secretary Gates has been particularly eloquent in articulating the importance of diplomacy in pursuit of our national security and foreign policy objectives. As he notes, it’s not often that a Secretary of Defense makes the case for adding resources to the State Department and elevating the role of the diplomatic corps. Thankfully, Secretary Gates is more concerned about having a unified, agile, and effective U.S. strategy than in spending our precious time and energy on petty turf wars. As he has stated, “our civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long,” both relative to military spending and to “the responsibilities and challenges our nation has around the world.” And to that, I say, “Amen!”

President-elect Obama has emphasized that the State Department must be fully empowered and funded to confront multi-dimensional challenges – from working with allies to thwart terrorism, to spreading health and prosperity in places of human suffering. I will speak in greater detail about that in a moment.

We should also use the United Nations and other international institutions whenever appropriate and possible. Both Democratic and Republican presidents have understood for decades that these institutions, when they work well, enhance our influence. And when they don’t work well – as in the cases of Darfur and the farce of Sudan’s election to the former UN Commission on Human Rights, for example – we should work with likeminded friends to make sure that these institutions reflect the values that motivated their creation in the first place.

We will lead with diplomacy because it’s the smart approach. But we also know that military force will sometimes be necessary, and we will rely on it to protect our people and our interests when and where needed, as a last resort.

All the while, we must remember that to promote our interests around the world, America must be an exemplar of our values. Senator Isakson made the point to me the other day that our nation must lead by example rather than edict. Our history has shown that we are most effective when we see the harmony between our interests abroad and our values at home. And I take great comfort in knowing that our first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, also subscribed to that view, reminding us across the centuries: “The interests of a nation, when well understood, will be found to coincide with their moral duties.”

So while our democracy continues to inspire people around the world, we know that its influence is greatest when we live up to its teachings ourselves.

Senator Lugar, I’m going to borrow your words here, because you have made this point so eloquently: You once said that “the United States cannot feed every person, lift every person out of poverty, cure every disease, or stop every conflict. But our power and status have conferred upon us a tremendous responsibility to humanity.”

Of course, we must be realistic about achieving our goals. Even under the best of circumstances, our nation cannot solve every problem or meet every global need. We don’t have unlimited time, treasure, or manpower. And we certainly don’t face the best of circumstances today, with our economy faltering and our budget deficits growing.

So to fulfill our responsibility to our children, to protect and defend our nation while honoring our values, we have to establish priorities.

Now, I’m not trying to mince words here. As my colleagues in the Senate know, “establishing priorities” means making tough choices. Because those choices are so important to the American people, we must be disciplined in evaluating them — weighing the costs and consequences of our action or inaction; gauging the probability of success; and insisting on measurable results.

Right after I was nominated a friend told me: “The world has so many problems. You’ve got your work cut out for you.” Well, I agree that the problems are many and they are big. But I don’t get up every morning thinking only about the threats and dangers we face. With every challenge comes an opportunity to find promise and possibility in the face of adversity and complexity. Today’s world calls forth the optimism and can-do spirit that has marked our progress for more than two centuries.

Too often we see the ills that plague us more clearly than the possibilities in front of us. We see threats that must be thwarted; wrongs that must be righted; conflicts that must be calmed. But not the partnerships that can be promoted; the rights that can be reinforced; the innovations that can be fostered; the people who can be empowered.

After all, it is the real possibility of progress—of that better life, free from fear and want and discord—that offers our most compelling message to the rest of the world.

I’ve had the chance to lay out and submit my views on a broad array of issues in written responses to questions from the committee, so in this statement I will outline some of the major challenges we face and some of the major opportunities we see.

First, President-Elect Obama is committed to responsibly ending the war in Iraq and employing a broad strategy in Afghanistan that reduces threats to our safety and enhances the prospect of stability and peace.

Right now, our men and women in uniform, our diplomats, and our aid workers are risking their lives in those two countries. They have done everything we have asked of them and more. But, over time we have seen that our larger interests will be best served by safely and responsibly withdrawing our troops from Iraq, supporting a transition to full Iraqi responsibility for their sovereign nation, rebuilding our overtaxed military, and reaching out to other nations to help stabilize the region and to employ a broader arsenal of tools to fight terrorism.

Equally important will be a comprehensive plan using all elements of our power – diplomacy, development, and defense – to work with those in Afghanistan and Pakistan who want to root out al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other violent extremists who threaten them as well as us in what President- Elect Obama has called the central front in the fight against terrorism. We need to deepen our engagement with these and other countries in the region and pursue policies that improve the lives of the Afghan and Pakistani people.

As we focus on Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, we must also actively pursue a strategy of smart power in the Middle East that addresses the security needs of Israel and the legitimate political and economic aspirations of the Palestinians; that effectively challenges Iran to end its nuclear weapons program and sponsorship of terror, and persuades both Iran and Syria to abandon their dangerous behavior and become constructive regional actors; that strengthens our relationships with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, other Arab states, with Turkey, and with our partners in the Gulf to involve them in securing a lasting peace in the region.

As intractable as the Middle East’s problems may seem – and many Presidents, including my husband, have spent years trying to help work out a resolution – we cannot give up on peace. The President-Elect and I understand and are deeply sympathetic to Israel’s desire to defend itself under the current conditions, and to be free of shelling by Hamas rockets.

However, we have also been reminded of the tragic humanitarian costs of conflict in the Middle East, and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians. This must only increase our determination to seek a just and lasting peace agreement that brings real security to Israel; normal and positive relations with its neighbors; and independence, economic progress, and security to the Palestinians in their own state.

We will exert every effort to support the work of Israelis and Palestinians who seek that result. It is critical not only to the parties involved but to our profound interests in undermining the forces of alienation and violent extremism across our world.

Terrorism remains a serious threat and we must have a comprehensive strategy, leveraging intelligence, diplomacy, and military assets to defeat al- Qaeda and like-minded terrorists by rooting out their networks and drying up support for their violent and nihilistic extremism. The gravest threat that America faces is the danger that weapons of mass destruction will fall into the hands of terrorists. To ensure our future security, we must curb the spread and use of these weapons – whether nuclear, biological, chemical, or cyber – while we take the lead in working with others to reduce current nuclear stockpiles and prevent the development and use of dangerous new weaponry.

Therefore, while defending against the threat of terrorism, we will also seize the parallel opportunity to get America back in the business of engaging other nations to reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons. We will work with Russia to secure their agreement to extend essential monitoring and verification provisions of the START Treaty before it expires in December 2009, and we will work toward agreements for further reductions in nuclear weapons. We will also work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian missiles off hair-trigger alert, act with urgency to prevent proliferation in North Korea and Iran, secure loose nuclear weapons and materials, and shut down the market for selling them – as Senator Lugar has done for so many years.

The Non Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime, and the United States must exercise the leadership needed to shore up the regime. So, we will work with this committee and the Senate toward ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and reviving negotiations on a verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

Today’s security threats cannot be addressed in isolation. Smart power requires reaching out to both friends and adversaries, to bolster old alliances and to forge new ones.

That means strengthening the alliances that have stood the test of time— especially with our NATO partners and our allies in Asia. Our alliance with Japan is a cornerstone of American policy in Asia, essential to maintaining peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, and based on shared values and mutual interests. We also have crucial economic and security partnerships with South Korea, Australia, and other friends in ASEAN. We will build on our economic and political partnership with India, the world’s most populous democracy and a nation with growing influence in the world.

Our traditional relationships of confidence and trust with Europe will be deepened. Disagreements are inevitable, even among the closest friends, but on most global issues we have no more trusted allies. The new administration will have a chance to reach out across the Atlantic to leaders in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and others across the continent, including the new democracies. When America and Europe work together, global objectives are well within our means.

President-Elect Obama and I seek a future of cooperative engagement with the Russian government on matters of strategic importance, while standing up strongly for American values and international norms.

China is a critically important actor in a changing global landscape. We want a positive and cooperative relationship with China, one where we deepen and strengthen our ties on a number of issues, and candidly address differences where they persist.

But this not a one-way effort – much of what we will do depends on the choices China makes about its future at home and abroad.

With both Russia and China, we should work together on vital security and economic issues like terrorism, proliferation, climate change, and reforming financial markets.

The world is now in the cross currents of the most severe global economic contraction since the Great Depression. The history of that crisis teaches us the consequences of diplomatic failures and uncoordinated reactions. Yet history alone is an insufficient guide; the world has changed too much. We have already seen that this crisis extends beyond the housing and banking sectors, and our solutions will have to be as wide in scope as the causes themselves, taking into account the complexities of the global economy, the geopolitics involved, and the likelihood of continued political and economic repercussions from the damage already done.

But here again, as we work to repair the damage, we can find new ways of working together. For too long, we have merely talked about the need to engage emerging powers in global economic governance; the time to take action is upon us. The recent G-20 meeting was a first step, but developing patterns of sustained engagement will take hard work and careful negotiation. We know that emerging markets like China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Indonesia are feeling the effects of the current crisis. We all stand to benefit in both the short and long term if they are part of the solution, and become partners in maintaining global economic stability.

In our efforts to return to economic growth here in the United States, we have an especially critical need to work more closely with Canada, our largest trading partner, and Mexico, our third largest. Canada and Mexico are also our biggest suppliers of imported energy. More broadly, we must build a deeper partnership with Mexico to address the shared danger arising from drug-trafficking and the challenges of our border, an effort begun this week with a meeting between President-elect Obama and President Calderon.

Throughout our hemisphere we have opportunities to enhance cooperation to meet common economic, security and environmental objectives that affect us all. We will return to a policy of vigorous engagement throughout Latin America, seeking deeper understanding and broader engagement with nations from the Caribbean to Central to South America. Not only do we share common political, economic and strategic interests with our friends to the south, our relationship is also enhanced by many shared ancestral and cultural legacies. We are looking forward to working on many issues during the Summit of the Americas in April and taking up the President-Elect’s call for a new energy partnership of the Americas built around shared technology and new investments in renewable energy.

In Africa, the foreign policy objectives of the Obama administration are rooted in security, political, economic, and humanitarian interests, including: combating al Qaeda’s efforts to seek safe havens in failed states in the Horn of Africa; helping African nations to conserve their natural resources and reap fair benefits from them; stopping war in Congo; ending autocracy in Zimbabwe and human devastation in Darfur; supporting African democracies like South Africa and Ghana–which just had its second change of power in democratic elections; and working aggressively to reach the Millennium Development Goals in health, education, and economic opportunity.

Many significant problems we face challenge not just the United States, but all nations and peoples. You, Mr. Chairman, were among the first, in a growing chorus from both parties, to recognize that climate change is an unambiguous security threat. At the extreme it threatens our very existence, but well before that point, it could very well incite new wars of an old kind—over basic resources like food, water, and arable land. The world is in need of an urgent, coordinated response to climate change and, as President- Elect Obama has said, America must be a leader in developing and implementing it. We can lead abroad through participation in international efforts like the upcoming UN Copenhagen Climate Conference and a Global Energy Forum. We can lead at home by pursuing an energy policy that reduces our carbon emissions while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and gas—which will benefit the fight against climate change and enhance our economy and security.

The great statesman and general George Marshall noted that our gravest enemies are often not nations or doctrines, but “hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos.” To create more friends and fewer enemies, we can’t just win wars. We must find common ground and common purpose with other peoples and nations so that together we can overcome hatred, violence, lawlessness, and despair.

The Obama administration recognizes that, even when we cannot fully agree with some governments, we share a bond of humanity with their people. By investing in that common humanity we advance our common security because we pave the way for a more peaceful, prosperous world.

Mr. Chairman, you were one of the first to underscore the importance of our involvement in the global AIDS fight. And you have worked very hard on this issue for many years. Now, thanks to a variety of efforts—including President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief as well as the work of NGOs and foundations—the United States enjoys widespread support in public opinion polls in many African countries. This is true even among Muslim populations in Tanzania and Kenya, where America is seen as a leader in the fight against AIDS, malaria, and TB.

We have an opportunity to build on this success by partnering with NGOs to help expand the infrastructure of health clinics in Africa so that more people can have access to life-saving drugs, fewer mothers transmit HIV to their children, and fewer lives are lost.

And we can generate even more goodwill through other kinds of social investment, by working effectively with international organizations and NGO partners to build schools and train teachers, and by ensuring that children are free from hunger and exploitation so that they can attend those schools and pursue their dreams for the future. This is why the President- Elect supports a Global Education Fund to bolster secular education around the world.

I want to take a moment to emphasize the importance of a “bottom-up” approach to ensuring that America remains a positive force in the world. The President-elect and I believe in this strongly. Investing in our common humanity through social development is not marginal to our foreign policy but integral to accomplishing our goals.

Today more than two billion people worldwide live on less than $2 a day. They are facing rising food prices and widespread hunger. Calls for expanding civil and political rights in countries plagued by mass hunger and disease will fall on deaf ears unless democracy actually delivers material benefits that improve people’s lives while weeding out the corruption that too often stands in the way of progress.

Our foreign policy must reflect our deep commitment to the cause of making human rights a reality for millions of oppressed people around the world. Of particular concern to me is the plight of women and girls, who comprise the majority of the world’s unhealthy, unschooled, unfed, and unpaid. If half of the world’s population remains vulnerable to economic, political, legal, and social marginalization, our hope of advancing democracy and prosperity will remain in serious jeopardy. We still have a long way to go and the United States must remain an unambiguous and unequivocal voice in support of women’s rights in every country, every region, on every continent.

As a personal aside, I want to mention that President-elect Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, was a pioneer in microfinance in Indonesia. In my own work on microfinance around the world – from Bangladesh to Chile to Vietnam to South Africa and many other countries — I’ve seen firsthand how small loans given to poor women to start small businesses can raise standards of living and transform local economies. President-elect Obama’s mother had planned to attend a microfinance forum at the Beijing women’s conference in 1995 that I participated in. Unfortunately, she was very ill and couldn’t travel and sadly passed away a few months later. But I think it’s fair to say that her work in international development, the care and concern she showed for women and for poor people around the world, mattered greatly to her son, and certainly has informed his views and his vision. We will be honored to carry on Ann Dunham’s work in the months and years ahead.

I’ve discussed a few of our top priorities and I know we’ll address many more in the question-and-answer session. But I suspect that even this brief overview offers a glimpse of the daunting, and crucial, challenges we face, as well as the opportunities before us. President-elect Obama and I pledge to work closely with this Committee and the Congress to forge a bipartisan, integrated, results-oriented sustainable foreign policy that will restore American leadership to confront these challenges, serve our interests, and advance our values.

Ensuring that our State Department is functioning at its best will be absolutely essential to America’s success. This is a top priority of mine, of my colleagues’ on the national security team, and of the President-elect’s. He believes strongly that we need to invest in our civilian capacity to conduct vigorous American diplomacy, provide the kind of foreign assistance I’ve mentioned, reach out to the world, and operate effectively alongside our military.

I realize that the entire State Department bureaucracy in Thomas Jefferson’s day consisted of a chief clerk, three regular clerks, and a messenger – and his entire budget was $56,000 a year.

But over the past 219 years the world, and the times, have certainly changed. Now the department consists of foreign service officers, the civil service, and locally engaged staff working at Foggy Bottom, in offices across our country, and at some 260 posts around the world. And today, USAID carries out a critical development mission that is essential to representing our values across the globe.

These public servants are too often unsung heroes. They are in the trenches putting our policies and values to work in an increasingly complicated and dangerous world. Many risk their lives, and some lose their lives, in service to our nation. And they need and deserve the resources, training, and support to succeed.

I know this committee, and I hope the American public, understand that right now foreign service officers, civil service professionals, and development experts are doing work essential to our nation’s strength – whether helping American businesses make inroads in new markets; being on the other end of the phone at a United States embassy when an American citizen needs help beyond our shores; doing the delicate work of diplomacy and development with foreign governments that leads to arms control and trade agreements, peace treaties and post-conflict reconstruction, greater human rights and empowerment, broader cultural understanding and stronger alliances.

The State Department is a large, multi-dimensional organization. But it is not a placid or idle bureaucracy, as some would like to paint it. It is an outpost for American values that protects our citizens and safeguards our democratic institutions in times both turbulent and tame. State Department employees also offer a lifeline of hope and help – often the only lifeline – for people in foreign lands who are oppressed, silenced, and marginalized.

Whether they are an economic officer in a large embassy, or an aid worker in the field, or a clerk in a distant consulate or a country officer working late in Washington, they do their work so that we may all live in peace and security. We must not shortchange them, or ourselves, by denying them the resources they need.

One of my first priorities is to make sure that the State Department and USAID have the resources they need, and I will be back to make the case to Congress for full funding of the President’s budget request. At the same time, I will work just as hard to make sure that we manage those resources prudently so that we fulfill our mission efficiently and effectively.

In concluding, I hope you will indulge me one final observation. Like most Americans, I never had the chance to travel widely outside our country as a child or young adult. Most of my early professional career was as a lawyer and advocate for children and who found themselves on society’s margins here at home. But during the eight years of my husband’s presidency, and then in my eight years as a Senator, I have been privileged to travel on behalf of the United States to more than 80 countries.

I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many world leaders. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee I’ve spent time with our military commanders, as well as our brave troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I have immersed myself in an array of military issues. I’ve spent many hours with American and non-American aid workers, businessmen and women, religious leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, students, volunteers and others who have made it their mission to help people across the world. I have also learned invaluable lessons from countless ordinary citizens in foreign capitals, small towns, and rural villages whose lives offered a glimpse into a world far removed from what many of us experience on a daily basis here in America.

In recent years, as other nations have risen to compete for military, economic, and political influence, some have argued that we have reached the end of the “American moment” in world history. I disagree. Yes, the conventional paradigms have shifted. But America’s success has never been solely a function of our power; it has always been inspired by our values.

With so many troubles here at home and across the world, millions of people are still trying to come to our country — legally and illegally. Why? Because we are guided by unchanging truths: that all people are created equal; that each person has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And in these truths we will find, as we have for more than two centuries, the courage, the discipline, and the creativity to meet the challenges of this everchanging world.

I am humbled to be a public servant, and honored by the responsibility placed on me by our President-Elect, who embodies the American Dream not only here at home but far beyond our shores.

No matter how daunting our challenges may be, I have a steadfast faith in our country and our people, and I am proud to be an American at the dawning of this new American moment.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for granting me your time and attention today. I know there is a lot more territory to cover and I’d be delighted to answer your questions.


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