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Posts Tagged ‘Nicholas Sarkozy’

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

Her questions:

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

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

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

Suspension of United States Embassy Operations in Libya

Hillary Clinton: Holding the Qadhafi Government Accountable

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

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Human Rights Council

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

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

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

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

Secretary Clinton’s Travel to Europe and the Middle East

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

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

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

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

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

Slideshow: Hillary Clinton at Paris G8

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

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

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

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

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

Hillary Clinton à Paris : Chapitre Deux

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

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

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

Hillary Clinton’s Press Availability in Paris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Secretary Clinton To Travel to London, United Kingdom

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

Hillary Clinton: Remarks at the International Conference on Libya

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

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

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

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

In late August, Qaddafi fled.

Secretary Clinton’s Statement on Libya

Secretary Clinton’s Travel to Paris

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

Secretary Clinton: A New Future Dawning in Libya

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

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

 

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

Secretary Clinton: Wheels Down in Malta

 

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

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

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

Video: Secretary Clinton with TNC Prime Minister Jibril in Tripoli

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

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

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

Secretary Clinton’s Town Hall Meeting in Tripoli

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

She also visited a hospital.

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

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

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

 

Then she was wheels-up and out.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

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

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

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

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

Leading to this:  Texts From Hillary

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

And ultimately this!

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

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

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

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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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.”

BRITAIN-FINANCE-ECONOMY-G20

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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We loved Nicholas Sarkozy in the role of Prince Charming when our gorgeous Cinderella lost her slipper on the steps of the Elysee Palace once-upon-a-time.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, loses her shoe as she is greeted upon her arrival by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, on the steps of the Elysee palace, Paris, Friday, Jan. 29, 2010. Clinton flew to Paris on Friday for talks with French officials and to give a speech on European security in which she will underscore the Obama administration’s commitment to the continent’s security. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Last month she clearly charmed French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on a visit to Paris.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe (R) turns to speak to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the family photo during the meeting of “The Friends of Syria” in Paris April 19, 2012. Major international powers meeting in Paris on Thursday called a U.N.-backed peace plan the “last hope” to resolve the Syrian crisis and said they would do all they could to help it succeed, according to draft conclusions obtained by Reuters. The agenda of the “Friends of Syria” meeting, which includes France, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is to ensure the Arab League-U.N. plan succeeds. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (FRANCE – Tags: POLITICS)

It is all history now as a new French government prepares to step to the fore under Socialist François Hollande.  We will watch with interest as our intrepid SOS greets the new leadership.  We expect to see smart power on steroids in the coming weeks.

Hollande defeats Sarkozy in French presidential election


Top story: Francois Hollande beat French President Nicolas Sarkozy with just over 51 percent of the vote in a runoff election on Sunday, becoming the first Socialist to win the presidency since Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995. Sarkozy, the first French president since 1981 to not win a second term, will officially transfer power to Hollande on May 15.

Read more >>>>

Meanwhile, on the Russian front. he-man superstar Vladimir Putin has reclaimed his former post as president.

Vladimir Putin Sworn In For Third Term As Russia’s President

By LYNN BERRY 05/07/12 07:48 AM ET AP

MOSCOW — Vladimir Putin took the oath of office in a brief but regal Kremlin ceremony on Monday, while on the streets outside thousands of helmeted riot police prevented hundreds of demonstrators from protesting his return to the presidency.

Putin, 59, has ruled Russia since 2000, first as president and then during the past four years as prime minister. The new, now six-year term will keep him in power until 2018, with the option of running for a fourth term.

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Four years ago, when Dmitri Medvedev stepped into the presidency, there was speculation that he was a placeholder for Putin.  Those whispers   have never died down. We see her here with Putin at a meeting at his residence in Russia which had not been scheduled but which she requested.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo just outside Moscow, Friday, March 19, 2010. Clinton said Friday that American and Russian negotiators are “on the brink” of agreement on a nuclear arms reduction treaty. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool)

We can reasonably expect that aside from dealing anew with Putin, Mme. Secretary will continue her successful working relationship with Sergei Lavrov whom we do not expect to see replaced and with whom she successfully hammered out the New START Treaty.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov smile as they exchange documents after finalizing the New START treaty during the Conference on Security Policy in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

So, at least as far as Russia is concerned, plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.

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I smiled to see them ranked as one.   I could argue pretty powerfully for why they should have ranked ahead of certain folks on the list.  Really? Obama and Cheney rank above them?  Well, it is what it is. These lists sometimes leave me scratching my head.  Nonetheless, they are in excellent company as one of my very favorite “global thinkers” (and Twitter follower) Bernard-Henri Lévy is number 22 (right behind Sarkozy).  I will give BHL a nice fat tag on this post.  I miss him.  Since CNN took Spitzer off, I never see BHL anymore.  He is a big fan of  HRC  and simply brilliant.  So 20, 21, 22 are all OK by me!

The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers

Foreign Policy presents a unique portrait of 2011’s global marketplace of ideas and the thinkers who make them.

DECEMBER 2011

The Clintons are nothing if not the ultimate survivors. Nearly two decades after they burst onto the national stage, they are still dominating it, with Hillary mounting an extraordinary comeback to the extent that she now polls as America’s most admired political figure, while Bill virtually runs a parallel United Nations from his Manhattan offices.

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

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

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

Fewer than 24 hours after she landed home at Andrews AFB, she was once again wheels up for a Paris Summit hastily arranged by French President Nicholas Sarkozy upon the news that the U.S. was on board for a NFZ.  We see her below being greeted by Sarkozy, the UK’s David Cameron, Canada’s Stephen Harper, and others.  Following the summit, there was a luncheon and a “class picture.”  She remained in Paris for a few meetings with Sarkozy and Cameron, gave a press briefing,  and once again was wheels up for home.

We are very proud of Hillary Clinton.  She exerted the kind of leadership this country needs.  More power to you, Mme. Secretary, and I mean that literally.  I would love to be able to address you by another title, and I do not mean Grandma!  (Although that would be nice, too, but it does not preclude other titles.)

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We see one photo from last night as she departed Andrews AFB, and then we see her landing in Paris. She was greeted by French President Nicholas Sarkozy, met with the recently appointed FMs of France, Alain Juppe,and Japan’s Takeaki Matsumoto, as well as with UK FM Hague, German FM Westerwelle, Russian FM Lavrov.

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When Secretary Clinton meets with President Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace, for some reason they appear to break into a choreography. You will remember their balletic version of Cinderella in late January of last year. He partnered her beautifully, and she was so graceful.


At today’s meeting they seemed to be executing a ballroom number.  There is a lot of grim news in the world, and certainly their business with each other today is very serious, but this greeting made me smile.  And, no, despite what she said, I do not think she will go on Dancing With The Stars, but if she did, I know she would win!








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