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Posts Tagged ‘NATO’

There is no dearth of kennel imagery at the Republican National Convention.  There are plenty of “dog-whistle” remarks. Last night, in the post mortem of Ted Cruz’s speech, a commentator said, “Its not like he killed a puppy!” Cruz himself, in refusing to endorse Trump,  has said he will not be a ‘servile puppy dog.’

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If you have the general impression that the Grand Old Party is going to the dogs, however, you need look no further than the nominee himself whose running mate told the convention last night that we do not abandon our friends just before the candidate himself told the New York Times, well … not exactly.

In an interview with David E. Sanger and Maggie Haberman, Trump said he might, as president, not honor NATO commitments if nations have not ‘fulfilled their obligations to us.’  Foreign policy experts and even members of his own party are reeling.

Jeffrey Goldberg, in The Atlantic, takes the issue one step beyond, likening Trump to Vladimir Putin.

It’s Official: Hillary Clinton Is Running Against Vladimir Putin

Fulfilling what might be the Russian autocrat’s dearest wish, Trump has openly questioned whether the U.S. should keep its commitments to NATO.

Jeffrey Goldberg

The Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has chosen this week to unmask himself as a de facto agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a KGB-trained dictator who seeks to rebuild the Soviet empire by undermining the free nations of Europe, marginalizing NATO, and ending America’s reign as the world’s sole superpower.

I am not suggesting that Donald Trump is employed by Putin—though his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was for many years on the payroll of the Putin-backed former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. I am arguing that Trump’s understanding of America’s role in the world aligns with Russia’s geostrategic interests; that his critique of American democracy is in accord with the Kremlin’s critique of American democracy; and that he shares numerous ideological and dispositional proclivities with Putin—for one thing, an obsession with the sort of “strength” often associated with dictators. Trump is making it clear that, as president, he would allow Russia to advance its hegemonic interests across Europe and the Middle East. His election would immediately trigger a wave of global instability—much worse than anything we are seeing today—because America’s allies understand that Trump would likely dismantle the post-World War II U.S.-created international order. Many of these countries, feeling abandoned, would likely pursue nuclear weapons programs on their own, leading to a nightmare of proliferation.

Trump’s sympathy for Putin has not been a secret. Trump said he would “get along very well” with Putin, and he has pleased Putin by expressing a comprehensive lack of interest in the future of Ukraine, the domination of which is a core Putinist principle. The Trump movement also agrees with Putin that U.S. democracy is fatally flawed. A Trump adviser, Carter Page, recently denounced—to a Moscow audience—America’s “often-hypocritical focus on democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.” Earlier this week, Trump’s operatives watered down the Republican Party’s national-security platform position on Ukraine, removing a promise to help the Ukrainians receive lethal aid in their battle to remain free of Russian control.

Read more >>>>

 

When your only character witnesses are your own kids and the rest of the support speeches at the convention must rely on demonizing your opponent rather than advancing your image, you have a problem.  When foreign policy experts align you with our arch adversary, one for whom you have expressed a certain admiration, it should render you radioactive.

It is high time for the media to start holding a magnifying glass over Donald Trump.  There has been a lot of screaming about Hillary: three emails with little embedded (c)s and a server that was more secure that the government servers, persistent lies about what she did and said during and after the attacks in Benghazi.

When Donald Trump entertains the notion of compromising NATO, the golden fleece of the 20th century, an alliance that kept the world safe in the wake of two  world wars, he endangers national security.  When he says something is going on and we need to find out what, he is correct.  Something is going on … with him.  We may not know what, exactly, but it is very clear that he is in no way qualified or predisposed to lead the free world.

It should not be difficult to figure out what to do.

We put Hillary Clinton’s resume side by side with Donald Trump’s. The contrast couldn’t be starker.

1997: Trump ponders Miss Universe swimsuit sizes. Hillary gets health insurance for 8 million kids.

Statement From Jake Sullivan On Trump’s NATO Comments

HFA Senior Policy Adviser Jake Sullivan released the following statement on Donald Trump’s latest comments about NATO and his view of America’s role in the world:

“Tonight, Mike Pence said Donald Trump would stand with our allies. Tonight, Donald Trump flatly contradicted him.

For decades, the United States has given an ironclad guarantee to our NATO allies: we will come to their defense if they are attacked, just as they came to our defense after 9/11. Donald Trump was asked if he would honor that guarantee. He said… maybe, maybe not.

Ronald Reagan would be ashamed. Harry Truman would be ashamed. Republicans, Democrats and Independents who help build NATO into the most successful military alliance in history would all come to the same conclusion: Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit and fundamentally ill-prepared to be our Commander in Chief.

The President is supposed to be the leader of the free world. Donald Trump apparently doesn’t even believe in the free world.

Over the course of this campaign, Trump has displayed a bizarre and occasionally obsequious fascination with Russia’s strongman, Vladimir Putin. And he has the policy positions – and advisors – to match. Just this week, we learned that the Trump campaign went to great lengths to remove a plank from the GOP platform about aid to Ukraine that would have offended Putin, bucking a strongly held position within his own party. Previously, he celebrated the Brexit vote, and in turn, casually predicted the disintegration of Europe. And now, he won’t even commit to protecting our NATO allies against a Russian invasion. It is fair to assume that Vladimir Putin is rooting for a Trump presidency.

More broadly, Trump has apparently decided that America lacks the moral authority to advance our interests and values around the world. He has adopted the logic and positions of China, Russia, and Iran. And there will be plenty of time in the days ahead to address his strategy to strengthen our coalition against ISIS, which apparently can be summed up in one word, ‘meetings.’

The choice in this election is clear. Hillary Clinton will defend our allies. She will protect our people. And she will uphold a bipartisan tradition of American foreign policy that has made us the greatest force for peace, progress, and prosperity the world has ever known.”

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Hillary harks back to her Girl Scout days and a song many of us can remember having sung in rounds: “Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.”

Reminding us that in the days following 9/11 NATO invoked Article V of the Washington Treaty, an attack on one is an attack on all, she launches a review of U.S.-European relations since the end of World War II, through the Cold War, and including deteriorating relations during the George W. Bush administration.

Upon assuming the post of secretary of state, she recalls, she made phone calls to European leaders letting them know we remain tight friends.  Her first opportunity to reinforce that message face-to-face came with her attendance at the April 2009 G-20 summit in London.

Playing Catch-up With Mme. Secretary 2: London

 

She formed an especially good working relationship with then UK Foreign Minister David Miliband, but allows that she also had a good rapport with then Shadow Foreign Minister, William Hague who now holds the post.  She dubs Hague “the David Beckham of toasting.”

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Prime Minister Cameron Meets With U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Playing Catch-up With Mme. Secretary 3: Germany, France, Czech Republic

She also singles out former French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, as one with whom she had an especially good rapport.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R

If your eyes welled up at times when reading the previous chapter about Pakistan, Hillary evokes smiles and laughter with her description of Former French president, Nicholas Sarkozy.  Revealing that often his interpreters had trouble keeping pace with him and that he asked her why all the other diplomats were unforgivably old, gray, and male,  she revisits that simply charming “Cinderella” moment when she lost her shoe on the steps of the Élyseé Palace.  (Posts here are not necessarily deep and analytical – as you may know.)

Hillary Clinton Loses Her Shoe And Looks Adorable Doing It!

 

She speaks of her strong admiration for German Chancellor Angela Merkel with whom she apparently shares a “color memo” phenomenon so uncanny that on a state visit in June 2011 Angela brought her a framed German front page where readers were challenged to guess which was which sans benefit of visible heads.

Slideshow: Hillary Clinton at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s State Visit Today

Video: Secretary Clinton at the State Luncheon in honor of German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel Meets With Barack Obama

Hillary provides a pretty extensive retrospective on NATO, its post Cold War expansion in eastern Europe, and its contributions to operations in Afghanistan and in Libya.  She is very passionate on the subject of NATO calling it one the most successful military alliances in history (and the European Union one of the most successful political ones).  She contrasts 75% of the sorties over Libya striking 90% of the targets with the situation a decade before when the U.S. was responsible for hitting 90% of targets in Kosovo.   Her attestations on pages 231 and 232 are presidential (to the surprise of no one here).   A thing to behold.

Madeleine Albright was known for her brooch-diplomacy. Some of her foreign counterparts came to see her brooches as a mood-coding system.  Hillary, who is, after all, a self-described hair icon,  relates an amusing exchange when she was in Bulgaria (NATO member since 2004) in February 2012.  Prime Minister Boyko Borissov seemed edgy.  He finally confessed that he had heard that when her hair was pulled back it indicated a bad mood.  She reassured him that she was not engaging in hair diplomacy but that it “takes her a little longer” to get her look together.

Secretary Clinton with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov

Turkey has been in NATO since 1952, is strategically very important, but following the G.W. Bush administration the Turkish people took a dim view of the U.S.  Hillary’s first visit there as secretary of state was in March 2009.  She made it a point on that trip to take advantage of mass media.

Hillary Clinton’s Interviews in Turkey

On pages 234-235 she explains the term Islamist Party.  It is an important read.  She discusses [now outgoing] Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at length and states her concerns regarding his “Zero Problems with Neighbors” policy, which, on first take, can appear very positive.  Hillary cites the real and potential pitfalls of such a policy, especially when Iran is one of your neighbors. [Reports are that Erdogan will continue calling the shots, so it is unlikely that this policy will be abandoned.]

Ahmet Davutoglu came into the picture early as a close advisor to Erdogan but soon became the Turkish foreign minister with whom she collaborated over nearly her entire term.  (Ali Babacan was the foreign minister she encountered on her first trip there.)  Only three months after that trip, Davutoglu arrived at the State Department as foreign minister and a long working relationship commenced.

(As I returned to the first draft of this post to edit it, Davutoglu was named the new prime minister of Turkey.  Congratulations, Mr. Prime Minister and the best of luck to you in your new post!)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu shakes hands with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before taking part in meetings in Istanbul on June 7, 2012.  AFP PHOTO / POOL / Saul LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu shakes hands with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before taking part in meetings in Istanbul on June 7, 2012. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sh Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ahmet Davutoglu

 

Hillary Clinton’s Bilaterals Today

Concerns remain.  Dissent is not easily tolerated.  Religious freedom is an issue.  Hillary  hosted Patriarch Bartholomew at a dinner in his honor early in her tenure at State.

Hillary Hosts The Patriarch

He, in turn, received her at the Patriarchy in 2011.  She has known him for a long time and has enormous respect for his opinion.   There is a beautiful slideshow at the link below.  Hillary mentions seized church property that has not been returned.  The photos provide an idea of the nature of what the government is holding.

Hillary Clinton Visits the Patriarchy in Istanbul

In chapter 9, we saw Hillary negotiate the re-opening of the supply lines from Pakistan into Afghanistan.  She never makes a big deal of that, but it was a testament to her diplomatic skills.  Without those lines open, important supplies could not get to the troops,  and they were closed for many months.

Another of her major accomplishments was one which she was never intended to handle and which she describes blow-by-blow.   She had traveled to Zurich simply to witness the signing of the Turkey-Armenia Accord.  It was to be a quick stop on the way to London.  A formality.  At the last minute  Armenian Foreign Minister Nalbandian balked about a speech Davutoglu was planning to make.   Hillary took it upon herself to fetch him and, using two cell phones,  negotiate an agreement for the parties to go ahead with the signing.  She operated mostly  in her SUV.  It was a very dramatic day.  She saved it, and at the event stepped aside for her Swiss counterpart,  Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, who was the host, to orchestrate the formalities.  I remember her giving Micheline a little wink of encouragement.  In typical Hillary fashion, she did not care to boast or take credit for this.  She only cared that the work got done.

OK! Now it is a done deal! Hillary helped negotiate the agreement

Turkey-Armenia Accord Salvaged and Signed – Hillary Helps Make History!

Video: Signing of the Armenia Turkey Protocols

How Hillary Saved The Day

 

She departed for the trip to the Balkans that she speaks of on the day of her wedding anniversary 2010.

The Balkans: A Family Affair

There were several notable stops and events on this trip, but she refers specifically to this town hall.

Hillary Clinton’s Town Hall at National Theater Sarajevo

And then there was Kosovo where there was a huge reception in Pristina.  She stood beneath the enormous statue of Bill Clinton, and then discovered a store named for her (so Bill wouldn’t be lonely).

Hillary in Clinton Country (Kosovo, That Is!)

No matter where she traveled as secretary of state, Hillary always made sure to hold a meet-and-greet at the embassy or consulate that had hosted her to thank them for all of the work they had done to make her visit go smoothly.  As it happened, her final stop as secretary of state was especially significant because it was at the Consulate General of Belfast.  Peace in Northern Ireland had been a high priority of the Clinton administration and hard work on both sides of the Atlantic and both sides of the Irish Sea had brought that troubled land closer to that goal than it ever had been before.

Video: Hillary Clinton with Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness

Hillary Clinton at The Ireland Funds Luncheon

Hillary Clinton with Staff and Families of Consulate General Belfast

Her remarks in the bilaterals at the link below contain references to the March 2009 attacks in Antrim and Armagh that she speaks about in this chapter.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Hillary Clinton’s Statement of Northern Ireland Decommissioning

She mentions, as well, her address to the Northern Ireland Assembly in October 2009.

Address of Secretary Clinton to Full Session of the Northern Ireland Assembly

The passages I bolded in the background briefing [in the link below] reflect,  I think,  what is so typical of the Hillary Clinton so many of us know and love,  the Hillary who works tirelessly in the background and declines credit for the good she does.   I am very certain that her intervention was integral in attaining this latest ascension up the tall ladder of unity in Northern Ireland.  But Hillary Clinton will always deflect the praise and aim the limelight on others with whom she has labored to reach an accord.  That is simply who she is and how she operates.  It is also very much a quality of character so many of us accept and admire about her.  I,  for one, am very mindful of the role she has long been playing in this peace process.   I know the devolution will succeed,  and there will be a final and lasting peace.  When it does, I and many, will forever remember the key role she played in the process, even as she disclaims it.

Secretary Clinton on Northern Ireland

This European chapter has been somewhat active re: updates prior to publication.  In the latest news, may this peacemaker rest in peace.

Former Ireland prime minister Reynolds dies aged 81

 

Statement by President Clinton on the Passing of Albert Reynolds

Statement August 21, 2014

I am saddened by the passing of former Prime Minister of Ireland Albert Reynolds, who worked hard and risked much as Taoiseach to advance the Northern Ireland peace process.  His leadership alongside British Prime Minister John Major was instrumental in laying the foundation for the Good Friday Agreement, and our world owes him a profound debt of gratitude.  I will always be grateful for his encouragement, advice, and support in the peace process.  I join with his wife, Kathleen, his children, his many friends, and the people of Ireland in mourning his loss.

 

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

 

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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Hillary made a swing through California and Canada the first week of March, was in New York at the U.N. on March 7, was in Montreal yesterday, and back in New York again today.  At most of these stops she had some very strong words for Vladimir Putin and his land grabbing ways.   Yet it appears that this now private citizen cannot spend 10 days out of the public eye without some concern troll inventing a health condition or making a tasteless remark like one I saw yesterday involving the missing airliner.

Beginning her speech to the Association of American Publishers at Manhattan’s McGraw -Hill Conference Center today with a shout-out to WaPo’s In the Loop contest to suggest titles for her upcoming tome,  Hillary offered tongue-in-cheek guidelines for would-be authors one of which was “quit your day job,” a recommendation she quickly revised.

When Clinton wrote Living History, her 2003 title about her life up until that point, she was a U.S. senator and was overwhelmed by the amount of work necessary for doing her day job and writing a book in the evenings.

This time around, her departure from the State Department would provide her with the peace and quiet necessary to write a book:

“I was leaving the State Department, stepping off that high wire of American diplomacy. There’d be no more interview requests, no more frantic media speculation about my plans — just peace and quiet. So I thought, let’s write another book. It has not worked out exactly that way,” she said, referring to the constant media speculation that she is planning on running for president in 2016.

Read more guidelines >>>>

Absolutely, Hillary!   It has not worked out exactly that way.  At all!

I combed Twitter for twitpics. The only one was this one from Amy Chozick of the New York Times.  Being the only one, and especially high resolution for a twitpic, it went semi-viral.

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We know that copies Lisa Rogak’s fine collection of Hillary quotes was being raffled off and hope the lucky winners are pleased with their prizes.

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Meanwhile, in D.C. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was receiving the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security at Georgetown University.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen gestures while speaking after receiving the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security at Georgetown University in Washington, March 19, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing

The buzz around Cipriani in New York is that political heavy hitters will attend an AJC dinner this evening in Hillary’s honor but that one big name will be missing.

Pols planning to attend AJC dinner for @hillaryclinton tonight at Cipriani: Schumer, Schneiderman, Rangel, Maloney + more. No @deBlasioNYC.

Best compliments, Mme. Secretary, for yet another well-earned honor!

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We have known for weeks that Hillary Clinton would be in Los Angeles next Wednesday to receive the Warren Christopher Public Service Award from the Pacific Council on International Relations.   We did not know, however,  that she would be honored last night at the Atlantic Council Awards dinner.

Henry Kissinger presented her with the council’s Distinguished Leadership Award with a quip about “at least four” secretaries of state who went on to become president.*  Apparently unfazed, Hillary responded, “When I became secretary of state, I spent a lot of time thinking about my illustrious predecessors – not primarily the ones who went on to become president.”

As secretary of state,  Hillary often expressed her deep admiration for several of those predecessors  While it has always seemed that George Marshall  topped her list, we have seen a strong, cordial relationship develop between Hillary and Henry over the years as the photos attest.  If  the text of her remarks are released, I will add them here.

Bill Clinton presented an award to Tony Bennett.  Also honored at the event was NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

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Here is a partial account from the Atlantic Council website.  There are additional photos there as well.

Distinguished Leadership Awards Offers Perfect Mix of Substance and Style

Former US President Bill Clinton presented the next award via video address for Distinguished Artistic Leaership to legendary performer and humanitarian Tony Bennett. President Clinton praised Bennett for his illustrious musical career, but also his significant work as an advocate and humanitarian. “As long as I’ve known him,” said President Clinton, “he has truly been a citizen of the world: an extraordinary individual who served his country in World War II, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in Selma in 1965, and has devoted his generous spirit to charitable causes all across the globe.”

The final award for Distinguished International Leadership was presented to former First Lady, US Senator, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Secretary Clinton was presented with video tributes by President of Malawi Joyce Banda and internationally-renowned political activist Aung San Suu Kyi. She was introduced in person by former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger. Secretary Clinton accepted her award and delivered brief remarks on the state of the transatlantic alliance and the three primary challenges facing NATO in the coming decades: energy security, trade cooperation, and conflict readiness. Secretary Clinton seized the opportunity to endorse a comprehensive transatlantic trade agreement, and to stress that all members of NATO must redouble their efforts to promote transatlantic values around the world. “We cannot afford to let the greatest alliance in history slide into military irrelevance,” she urged.

Read more >>>>

Click on the playlist to find Hillary’s speech.  (Wow!  Did I ever hit the nail on the head with George Marshal!  I did not even know what was in this speech!)

*In case you wondered, it was six secretaries of state who went on to become president.  The last was James Buchanan.

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Oh, how she will be missed!
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Public Schedule for December 5, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
December 5, 2012

 


DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Brussels, Belgium and Dublin, Ireland. Secretary Clinton is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Ambassador Marshall, Spokesperson Nuland, Director Sullivan, Senior Director for European Affairs Liz Sherwood Randall, and VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS. Please click here for more information.

8:45 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in the meeting of the NATO-Georgia Council, in Brussels, Belgium.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

10:30 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers with Non-NATO ISAF Contributing Countries, in Brussels, Belgium.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

11:30 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at NATO, in Brussels, Belgium.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

12:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere at NATO, in Brussels, Belgium.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

1:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a press availability at NATO, in Brussels, Belgium.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

2:10 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in the NATO Balkans meeting, in Brussels, Belgium.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

2:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at NATO, in Brussels, Belgium.
(OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHER)

3:20 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in the U.S.-EU Energy Council meeting, in Brussels, Belgium.
(CAMERA SPRAY)

4:50 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with EU Parliament President Martin Schulz, in Brussels, Belgium.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

5:05 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends a reception in her honor hosted by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, in Brussels, Belgium.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

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Over the past few weeks and months we have seen many “lasts.”  It is bittersweet since we have loved following Mme. Secretary’s diligent service, but having watched we also have an idea of how the physical investment has  weighed on her.  There are only a few weeks left for her in this post, and here, to the press, she uses the word “final” perhaps for the first time.

Press Availability Following Ministeral Meetings at NATO Headquarters

Press Availability

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
NATO Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium
December 5, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. Well, today marks my final attendance at a NATO foreign ministerial. I’ve spent a good amount of time in this building during the past four years, and I think it was time well spent. The alliance has made great strides, and we’ve seen, just in the past 24 hours, how much ground member-states can cover when we are working together. And it proves, once again, why this alliance is one of the greatest forces for security and stability in history.

Yesterday, at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, we reached a decision to augment Turkey’s air defenses to protect against a threat of ballistic missiles from Syria and reinforce our commitment to Turkey’s security. The United States expects to make a contribution to this essential NATO mission.

At yesterday’s meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, we reviewed our extensive cooperation with Russia in places like Afghanistan and also spoke frankly about the areas of disagreement that continue to exist between NATO and Russia, including Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the need for a political transition in Syria.

At today’s meeting with our non-NATO ISAF partners, we reviewed the situation on the ground in Afghanistan as the transition to 2014 continues, when the Afghan National Security Forces will have full responsibility for Afghanistan’s security, with the U.S. and ISAF forces in a supporting role. And we discussed the need for an efficient, transparent, accountable mechanism to channel the international community’s contributions to the Afghan forces.

At the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting this morning, we continued our conversation with Georgia about how it can keep making progress toward NATO, especially by continuing to strengthen democratic institutions, reform their armed forces, and contribute to our common security.

When you take a step back and consider all the important issues that we covered in a single ministerial meeting here at NATO, it reveals, again, how critical our alliance is. After more than 60 years, it keeps us safe; it projects security and stability globally. And through our partnerships, we’re able to do more in more places. For the United States, we find it extremely valuable to be able to consult closely with our European allies on challenges from Syria to the Middle East to North Korea.

When I think back on the past four years and all we have accomplished together, it really is quite impressive: summits in Strasberg, Lisbon, and Chicago that put forth very substantive outcomes; a new strategic concept to guide NATO in the 21st century; a major successful operation in Libya; a plan to protect all allies from ballistic missiles; a substantive dialogue with Russia started again after having been frozen; chartering a course for the transition in Afghanistan; and of course, enlarging the alliance to include Albania and Croatia.

So the United States is grateful to NATO. We believe it’s needed more than ever, and therefore we believe we all must continue to invest in it, politically, financially, diplomatically, and communicate to our people the value that NATO brings, because these investments are worth it.

And finally, on a personal note, I’ve been very proud to work with Secretary General Rasmussen and the extraordinary team here at NATO, along with my foreign ministerial colleagues. And I thank all of them for the excellent working relationship that we’ve enjoyed the past four years.

MS. NULAND: We’ll take three today. We’ll start with AP, Brad Klapper, please.

QUESTION: Yes. Thank you. Madam Secretary, you and National Security Advisor Donilon have spoken with your Egyptian counterparts about Egypt’s constitution process, but you’ve expressed no public concern, despite what some people in your Administration warn is the draft’s attempts to roll back the rights of women, religious minorities, freedom of speech, and the press. Madam Secretary, what shortcomings do you see in the draft constitution, and what would be the repercussions of the constitution entering into force on the democratic transition? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Bradley, first let me say we have been watching very closely this process as it is unfolding in Cairo with concern. We’ve expressed that repeatedly over the last weeks. Because almost two years the Egyptian people took to the streets because they wanted real democratic change. And they, therefore – not the Americans, not anyone else but the Egyptian people – deserve a constitution that protects the rights of all Egyptians, men and women, Muslim and Christian, and ensures that Egypt will uphold all of its international obligations. They also want and deserve a constitutional process that is open, transparent, and fair and does not unduly favor one group over any other.

So the upheaval we are seeing now, once again in the streets of Cairo and other cities, indicates that dialogue is urgently needed, and it needs to be a two-way dialogue, not one side talking at another side, but actual, respectful exchanges of views and concerns among Egyptians themselves about the constitutional process and the substance of the constitution. It’s also important that Egypt’s courts be allowed to function during this period.

So we call on all stakeholders in Egypt to settle their differences through democratic dialogue, and we call on Egypt’s leaders to ensure that the outcome protects the democratic promise of the revolution for all of Egypt’s citizens. Ultimately, it is up to the Egyptian people to chart their way forward. But we want to see a process that is inclusive and a dialogue that is truly open to a free exchange of ideas that will further the democratic process in Egypt.

MS. NULAND: Next will be Javid Hamim from Pajhwok News Agency, Afghanistan.

Please.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, here? Here.

QUESTION: Thank you. What is the latest development of negotiation about bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan, and what’s its impact on negotiation and reconciliation?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we are off to a productive start about the bilateral security agreement. It follows, as you know, on the Strategic Partnership Agreement that we signed between the United States and Afghanistan last May. And with the launching of the talks on a bilateral security agreement, we’ve had the first round of negotiations November 15th. There is an agreed date to have the next round with the goal being to conclude an agreement within one year. And these talks really illustrate our commitment to a post-2014 Afghanistan that can secure itself and to a political process that is able to move Afghanistan further toward democracy and stability that respects the rights of all Afghans, and which puts into writing the partnership that the United States and Afghanistan enjoy.

We also continue to support an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process. Ultimately, we believe there has to be a political resolution to the ongoing disputes among themselves. So the United States strongly supports that and we would like to see progress made. We think the two are reinforcing, because we want everyone in the region to know that the United States intends to stand by the people of Afghanistan, and that we want to see all Afghans enter a political process, lay down their arms, absolutely denounce violence, and work together for the betterment of their country.

MS. NULAND: Last one today will be Alexandra Mayer DPA, Germany.

QUESTION: Right here, Madam Secretary. Just to get back on the Patriot missiles, how worried are you that this deployment could actually intensify tensions in the region rather than calm down the situation? And is the United States ready to go further if there are chemical weapons used inside Syria or against neighbors? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well first, I think it’s a great tribute to NATO that this decision to deploy the Patriots was taken, because it’s very much in line with our solidarity among all of the members. This is for defensive purposes; that’s made absolutely clear in the statement that was agreed upon. It is solely for the defense of Turkey. It will have no offensive or other purpose. I don’t believe that it necessarily brings any greater attention to the tragedy unfolding in Syria, but it does send a clear message to the Syrians that Turkey has the full support of all its NATO allies.

And I have to say again what I said on Monday, what President Obama has said repeatedly: We’ve made our views absolutely clear to the Syrians, to the international community, through various channels – public, private, direct, indirect – that this is a situation that the entire international community is united on. And our concerns are that an increasingly desperate Assad regime might turn to chemical weapons or might lose control of them to one of the many groups that are now operating within Syria. And so as part of the absolute unity that we all have on this issue, we have sent an unmistakable message that this would cross a redline and those responsible would be held to account. And we intend to make that view as clear as we possibly can.

Now ultimately what we should be thinking about is a political transition in Syria and one that needs to start as soon as possible. Now that there is a new opposition formed, we are going to be doing what we can to support that opposition. I’m looking forward to the Friends of the Syrian People meeting next week in Marrakesh, where we will explore with likeminded countries what more we can do to try bring this conflict to an end. But that will require the Assad regime making the decision to participate in a political transition, ending the violence against its own people. And we hope that they do so because we believe, as you know, that their fall is inevitable. It’s just a question of how many people will die until that date occurs.

So on Syria there’s great concern here at the alliance but a great solidarity in defending Turkey and sending a clear message to the Assad regime and in trying to work toward the day when we can see the conflict come to an end.

MS. NULAND: Thank you all very much.

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With NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, U.K. Foreign Minister William Hague, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and others.

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