Posts Tagged ‘Ukraine’

Hillary delivered her Luskin Lecture at UCLA this afternoon and was awarded the UCLA Medal, their highest honor.  The front of the medal has the UCLA seal with a banner of the school’s motto: “Let there be light.”  The back has a picture of Royce Hall, the venue where this event took place, as presenter, university Chancellor and CEO Gene Block explained.

She began her address with an anecdote telling the audience that when she and Bill Clinton were younger they were in LA and visited Campbell’s bookstore where they purchased a few botanical prints which have made the rounds with them and now are in their Chappaqua home.  She said every time she looks at them she thinks of UCLA.

Moving on, and before getting to the main messages of her lecture, she took a few moments to speak about the situation in Ukraine and clarify previous remarks and actions.  Voicing support for President Obama’s position, she stated unequivocally that Putin has violated international law.   She called on all parties to work toward reconciliation and support for all Ukrainian citizens.

Calling Putin a “tough guy with thin skin” whose vision of a greater Russia is a re-Sovietized Russia, she said he is squandering Russia’s potential.  She encouraged her fellow Americans to recognize the complexity of the situation and support diplomacy as we all seek a path toward deescalation.

Then she launched into her lecture proper which concerned the dilemma of ensuring college graduates find jobs after graduation. Saying that one-third in the 16-24 age group is out of both work and school she told the audience that a generation is being deprived of rights and opportunities that earlier generations took for granted.

Recounting her personal experiences with her first job at 13 which, she said, gave her a sense of responsibility and moving on to her law school job with the Children’s Defense Fund,  she stressed the personal skills that develop from a first paid job.   While internships can be valuable, she stated that unpaid internships need to give way to on-the-job training and that industries need to move interns into positions of paid employment.

Recalling some of her experiences as secretary of state, she told her audience that in countries where young people cannot find employment the economies also suffer, but she also stressed that government alone cannot solve this problem and explained how the Clinton Foundation is working on programs that bring young people into the work force.  She also pointed out the importance of training people for the jobs that are actually there and cited a Clinton Global Initiative effort that aims to draw talent into the burgeoning healthcare industry.

Calling for workforce training and cooperation, she reiterated her support for compromise and an end to policy-making in evidence-free zones.  She closed her prepared remarks with a call for her audience to bring the light from UCLA with them when they graduate.

The Q&A session began with more questions about the Ukraine situation.  Specifically the question was whether leaders who do not stand up to Putin will face the same kind of  disapproval as those who did not stand up to Hitler.  Hillary said there is not one right way to respond. Clarifying her remarks from yesterday regarding Germany’s 1938 claims of protecting German minorities outside its borders, she stated that she was not making a comparison between Hitler and Putin but rather adding perspective.

She went to to specify that when the USSR dissolved there was a commitment to leave European borders alone, and that while there was an agreement to maintain the Black Sea Fleet in place,  it was clear that the location was within Ukrainian borders.  The commitment, she went on, was violated with Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia where Russian-seized territories have not been relinquished.  She called Germany key in resolving the crisis due to its fuel dependence on Russia and the path delicate.

Asked about the effectiveness of her 2009 “reset” with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, she specifed that there were clear objectives, accomplishing the New START Treaty and achieving rights of transit that were indeed  met by that reset and that progress made with Medvedev was primarily with regard to those goals.

Questions then turned to elections – presidential elections particularly – and the likelihood of a woman president.  Hillary pointed out that many countries have preceded the U.S. down this path but also pointed out that the hardest, highest glass ceiling is somewhat easier to crack in parliamentary democracies where the head of state is not the head of government and allowed that the diminishing of resistance to the idea of a woman president is a sign of progress.

A follow-up question addressed the nomination process.  Hillary said the hybrid process works differently for different people and did not predict any changes there.

On the issue of the Affordable Care Act, she took a two-pronged approach saying people need to appreciate what has been accomplished and that perhaps things need to be better explained citing parents’ ability to keep adult children on their plans to age 26, emphasis on preventive care, ending preexisting condition discrimination, a new transparency on disparities in cost for services and medications, and the inclusiveness of Medicaid expansion where it has been implemented.   Challenges to ACA, she said were ideological, political, and commercial.

In response to a question about her evolution on marriage equality she gave credit to Chelsea saying her activism was greatly responsible for enlightening her view but did remind her audience that very early in her tenure as secretary of state she extended spousal benefits to partners of Foreign Service officers (we should not forget that, either).  She told the audience that much of the world is far behind the U.S and Europe on this issue.  Many world leaders deny that there are any LGBT people in their countries and gay people are persecuted in many nations.

The final question was what can liberal arts graduates do to change the world.  Hillary encourage them to pursue exposure to all that is available to them, believe that they can effect change, and, as her hero Eleanor Roosevelt said, “grow skin like a rhinoceros.”

She advised them to take criticism seriously but not personally and to attend to the source.  She told the women that there is still a double standard that will manifest itself in comments about appearance.  She advised them to learn how they want to present themselves and to be persistent.

Closing with advice from her own mom (one of my favorite people), she quoted Dorothy Howell Rodham telling her that you can be a bit walk-on in someone else’s play or you can be a star in your own.  Great advice for young people!

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Aside from all the obsessive polling and GOP strategizing over a candidacy that remains undeclared,  Hillary is making news rather than always having news made up about her.  While day one of her latest swing through California yielded not even a single twitpic (that I could find), it has caused something of a stir.

As a former secretary of state, she is expected to comment on current events and foreign policy from time to time.   When Secretary Kerry was forging his Iran deal, she remained silent while media folk clamored for a comment.  She has proven far less reticent on the unfolding situation in Ukraine and specifically more recently in Crimea.

Last week, at a conference in Orlando, she responded to a question about Putin’s plans and actions in Ukraine.  Apparently yesterday,  at a Boys and Girls Club fundraiser in Long Beach, she elaborated a bit on Putin’s latest moves in Crimea causing the ripple effect we see in today’s headers.


In early June, 2012, referring to the “avalanche” of news leaks that may or may not have originated in the White House, Dianne Feinstein used the word “Anchluss.”   Yesterday in California,  Hillary did not use that word,  but unmistakably was comparing Putin’s behavior toward Ukraine, specifically the autonomous republic of Crimea,  and conceivably his plans for other former SSRs  (keep an eye on Georgia and Moldova) to Hitler’s absorption of Austria (the Anschluss of 1938) and subsequent annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938.

Hillary did not compare Putin to Hitler.  She compared his behavior to Hitler’s in 1938.  It is an important distinction.  She was comparing tactics and their bases not personalities.

Report: Hillary Clinton Says Putin Behaving Like Adolf Hitler

Putin has justified the Russian incursion into the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea by saying that ethnic Russians there need to be protected from attacks.


An attendee at the fundraiser, Harry Saltzgaver, a newspaper executive, told Buzzfeed that Clinton clarified that “while that makes people nervous, there is no indication that Putin is as irrational as the instigator of World War II.”


Putin “believes his mission is to restore Russian greatness,” Clinton said, according to the report. “When he looks at Ukraine, he sees a place that he believes is by its very nature part of Mother Russia.”

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It is unremarkable that a retired secretary of state might comment on a situation in which she has insight and familiarity.  That these remarks should have incited a flurry of mocking tweets is a concern since there is historical accuracy in what Hillary said, even if she used neither of the A-words.  We all knew (or should have) what she was talking about, and she is right.  It makes people nervous.

On a bright note, I thought I would share this little gem from HuffPo excerpted from Lisa Rogak’s “Hillary Clinton in Her Own Words.”   It has wonderful quotes and is illustrated with some cute and amusing pics and gifs.  Enjoy!

The Hillary Clinton Guide To Being An Empowered Woman

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According to Twitter reports, Hillary knew she was being tweeted from the HIMSS14 Conference , asked to be photographed on her best side (as if she has a bad one), broke out the political and  geopolitical talk early, and praised the health care community.  “You have continued on a path I made just a few footprints on.”

Telling  healthcare professionals that we are on the cusp of extraordinary advances in healthcare due to technology, she encouraged the gathering of evidence and discouraged decision making in “evidence-free zones.”  Telling her audience. “We need to leave the blaming, gaming, shaming and point-scoring at the door,” she suggested we “fix what doesn’t work together”  saying “good data leads to good decisions.”

In the Q & A session, the first question was about Russia, Putin, and the situation in Ukraine.  Hillary did not hold back.  Citing Putin’s Soviet KGB background, she told the audience that from his perspective the breakup of the Soviet Union was the greatest catastrophe and that his aim is to reconsolidate the union.   Comparing Putin’s regime to those of the czars and the communists, she said there is no doubt that he holds absolute authority.  Affirming her support for the people of Ukraine,  she warned that we need to thread the needle carefully in our relationship with Putin.

Some in the audience seemed confused, even disconcerted,  that foreign policy was a point of discussion at a healthcare conference.  We who know Hillary’s work well know that she would have no problem drawing the lines of relation between the two.  Others seemed surprised that she works without a teleprompter.  We would simply remind them that this is how it is with somebody who knows her stuff.

Here are some twitpics from the event.

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Flying home from South Africa’s memorial to Nelson Mandela, Hillary was catching up with international news.


On my way back to the U.S. from Madiba’s funeral and watching what’s going on in Ukraine with alarm.

Several hours later, having landed in New york, she tweeted again.

Just landed in NY. The Ukrainian government must follow Madiba’s example & choose dialogue with its people, not force.

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Treatment of Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 1, 2012


The United States is deeply concerned by the treatment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other imprisoned members of her former government. The photographs of Mrs. Tymoshenko released by the Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudsman further call into question the conditions of her confinement. We urge the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that Mrs. Tymoshenko receives immediate medical assistance in an appropriate facility and request that the U.S. Ambassador be given access to her. We continue to call for her release, the release of other members of her former government and the restoration of their full civil and political rights.

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The picture, alas, is not from today but from another signing back in February. If a video should appear, I will post it here.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko shakes hands as they exchange documents during a signing ceremony at the State Department Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Signing Ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding With Ukraine on Nuclear Security Cooperation


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Remarks With Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko
New York, New York
September 26, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: If I could, let me just say a word about the importance of what we have just done together. It is, for me, a great pleasure to welcome my colleague, the foreign minister of Ukraine, as we take yet another step in the strategic partnership between our nations. And in particular today, we are advancing our shared interests in making the world safer and more secure.

Ridding the world of nuclear weapons is a priority for both of our countries. And at last year’s Nuclear Security Summit, both President Yanukovych and President Obama vowed to work together to prevent proliferation and to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials. And in fact, President Yanukovych announced Ukraine’s decision to get rid of all of its stocks of highly enriched uranium by March 2012, when the next Nuclear Security Summit will convene.

The United States matched that old commitment from Ukraine with commitments of our own. We are providing Ukraine with financial and technical assistance to modernize its civil nuclear research facilities. We are helping convert those facilities so they operate on safer low enrichment uranium fuel. The United States is also building a state-of-the-art neutron source facility in Ukraine, where scientists will be able to expand their nuclear research and produce more than 50 different medical isotopes to treat cancer and other diseases. At present, these are isotopes that Ukraine must import from other countries today. The United States is committed to meet all agreed milestones for construction of the neutron source facility by March 2012 and to provide a fully operational facility by 2014.

The Memorandum of Understanding we’ve just signed formalizes our intent to fully implement the commitments our presidents made last year. I think it’s fair to say we’ve already made significant progress. Ukraine has already removed a substantial portion of its highly enriched uranium, and the United States has made progress on the neutron source facility project, and we expect to break ground in Ukraine soon. This deal is a win-win for both countries and both peoples. It provides tangible benefits for the people of Ukraine, and it makes the world safer for all people.

On another note, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, and it gives us an opportunity to reflect on another key aspect of the strategic partnership between our nations, our joint commitment to democracy and shared values. It’s not been easy to build a strong democracy from the aftermath of the Soviet collapse, but Ukraine has made significant gains. As we know, democracies are built on checks and balances, fair and impartial institutions, judicial independence, sound election laws, and an independent media and civil society.

We believe Ukraine is on its way to achieving these goals, and we urge it to continue to press forward. We are very committed to democratic progress continuing in Ukraine. And therefore, it is vital that the government avoid any actions that could undermine democracy or the rule of law or political participation and competition. We believe that Ukraine stands at the cusp of achieving a stable, functioning democracy that will advance its prosperity and security, that will strengthen its relations with its partners and neighbors, and provide greater opportunities for Ukrainian citizens.

I enjoy working with the foreign minister and his government, and I look forward, on behalf of the United States, to continuing our work together. Thank you very much, Minister.

FOREIGN MINISTER GRYSHCHENKO: Thank you. If I may, a couple of words. I fully share what my colleague, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has just stated. We are working together to relieve Ukraine of the burden of having highly enriched uranium in the time when low enriched uranium is really an answer to many of the issues, to many of the challenges that Ukraine as a nation faces in the area of nuclear safety, future of nuclear energy, medical uses of isotopes, and many other areas of use of peaceful atom.

Today, we have signed a document that provides for practicalities, which clearly stipulates the obligations of each party, and we have full confidence in ability of both Ukraine and the United States to meet the stated goals and timelines.

On the issues of overall political dialogue and cooperation between two nations, I would like to stress that for us, United States has been for the last 20 years and will continue to be a major strategic partner in this global economy and in the politics of the world, where much of the risks happen or appear unexpectedly and need to have quick response from international community. The Ukraine has been active in so many of the problems where our role was crucial. The events in Cote d’Ivoire is just one example where, far from our borders, we were able to play a pivotal role in bringing peace and security to this African nation. But Ukraine is also participating in almost all peacekeeping operations led by United Nations, but also by NATO, among other institutions.

We believe that democratic developments in our country need to be based on an understanding that democracy brings with itself full responsibility of those who are elected or appointed to high positions in government. We believe that listening to the people, interacting with them, is important for our own future and our own success. In that respect, we are open and continue dialogue with the United States based on our common understanding of values and a future which should unite us in bringing the world to – closer to these standards for all.

Thank you.


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Normally, I would have posted this at the Department of Homegirl Security, but this blog gets more traffic, and I wanted as many as possible to see this. I was disappointed when Tymosheko dropped her challenge of the election results.  She should not be prosecuted. (Cross-posted … for the heck of it!)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) shakes hands with former Ukrainian prime minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko as they meet in Kiev, July 2, 2010. Clinton told Ukraine on Friday that the door to entering NATO remained open and she backed the ex-Soviet republic's efforts to secure a new deal with the International Monetary Fund. REUTERS/Alexander Prokopenko/Pool (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS)

Prosecution of Ukrainian Opposition Leaders

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 24, 2011

The United States is aware of the opening of the trial against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and reiterates its concern about the appearance of politically-motivated prosecutions of opposition figures in Ukraine. When the senior leadership of an opposition party is the focus of prosecutions, out of proportion with other political figures, this creates the appearance of a political motive. We urge the Government of Ukraine to refrain from actions that create such an appearance and undermine the rule of law in Ukraine. We will closely monitor the legal proceedings against Yulia Tymoshenko and other opposition figures.

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Third Meeting of the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership Commission and Signing of a Cooperative Plan on Combating Human Trafficking in Ukraine


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko
The Thomas Jefferson Room
Washington, DC
February 15, 2011

Vodpod videos no longer available.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you all very much for being here. I am pleased to join the minister in hosting the third session of the United States-Ukraine Strategic Partnership Commission. We are committed to broadening and deepening the relationship between our two countries. I would like to extend a special welcome to Presidential Adviser Akimova, Justice Minister Lavrynovych, Energy Minister Boyko, Ambassador Tefft, Assistant Secretary Gordon, Ambassador Verveer, Ambassador CdeBaca, and the other distinguished participants here today.

Since we began these meetings in December 2009, we have sought to use our partnership commission to plan and implement concrete actions that improve the life for both of our peoples. The extent of Ukrainian representation in this room sends a clear message about Ukraine’s commitment and the progress that it seeks to promote.

In my conversation today with Foreign Minister Gryshchenko, we discussed the challenges that we face. We covered many topics, including our effective cooperation to stop nuclear proliferation, our support for Ukraine’s efforts to strengthen its own democracy and the rule of law, and progress on global issues from food security to HIV/AIDS, as well as steps to help Ukraine develop its domestic energy resources and attract greater private investment, particularly from the United States.

We have rolled up our sleeves, Minister, to pursue our common goal of a Ukraine that is more secure, prosperous, and democratic.

The truth is that Ukraine is well positioned to realize its own citizens’ hope for a genuine democracy and a prosperous economy. It has an educated, innovative population, deep foundations of democracy, including a vibrant civil society – some of whom I met earlier today – the potential to become energy independent, and the capacity to lead on key regional and global issues.

President Yanukovych has said he is ready to take bold initiatives to exercise that leadership. Last year, he pledged to eliminate Ukraine’s highly enriched uranium, and Ukraine is fully on schedule to eliminate all of its HEU in 2012. That leadership elevated Ukraine’s standing in the global community, bringing full circle a process that began in 1994 with Ukraine’s historic decision to give up nuclear weapons. With U.S. assistance, Ukraine has ushered in a new era of peaceful nuclear power.

Now we are also looking to Ukraine to continue the commitments that President Yanukovych has made to transparent government, strong rule of law, protection of freedom of speech and media, comprehensive judicial reform in partnership with the Ukrainian people, with stakeholders throughout the country, including opposition leaders and members of civil society. Many of the civil society activists here from Ukraine really are committed to strengthening their country, and we support their goals. They are really committed to also being a partner with their government, and they will be working to see more progress.

We also are hoping to see the investment climate improve and business open up. We want to see Ukraine prosper and think that there is an enormous opportunity for that. One example will be the memorandum Ambassador Morningstar and Minister of Energy and Coal Boyko will sign today. This MOU will launch a U.S. geological survey effort to develop exploration and development of unconventional gas, and that is a direct result of a conversation that the foreign minister and I began in Kiev about cooperative energy ventures.

We have negotiated a five-year partnership framework to strengthen the delivery of health services and treatment for Ukrainians living with HIV/AIDS. And we’re launching a five-year, $20 million program to strengthen Ukraine’s agricultural sector and help build its potential as a major contributor to global food security.

I’m pleased we’re making progress also on another issue, human trafficking. Today, we will sign a bilateral Cooperation Plan on Combating Human Trafficking in Ukraine. The recent repatriation from Ukraine to the United States of a trafficker accused of taking more than $1 million in profits from the women he exploited is just one way we are working to end this tragic worldwide blight.

So Ukraine is on a remarkable journey. The United States wants to assist on that journey. We want to make sure that the progress is tangible and the benefits real for the Ukrainian people. And I thank you very much, Minister, for being part of the leadership that is heading in the right direction for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

FOREIGN MINISTER GRYSHCHENKO: Well, thank you, Madam Secretary. It’s a great honor to be here, to be in the State Department at this very important occasion.

Now, strategic partnership with the United States has become a very important part of our foreign policy, and we do rely on this strategic partnership to help us guide the shape of our statehood through the waters which are not easy that surrounds us in this global economic situation that changes with every year.

I don’t want to repeat what you have already underlined, the importance of the current agreements that we have – we are going to sign right now. We see a very important task before us in the future, that is, to make sure that the progress Ukraine is making in transforming our economy and social fabric. To meet the high standards of transatlantic democracies is something which is very dear to us and an important factor which should be helping in our success.

We have discussed, prior to this signing event and opening the commission’s session, some of the issues that are extremely important for this strategic partnership to develop for mutually successful progress. And we take – Ukrainian delegation, some of the messages back home. And I believe that some of the messages we have tried to get across here were carefully noted, and we will continue this dialogue in all areas – in the economic (inaudible), in making this cooperation in the nonproliferation area more effective still, and in continuous of the high-level political dialogue between two countries, which is important to understand that the logic and motivation of the events, and the programs that we have inside our country.

The world is changing all the time, but we rely as a constant on your understanding and your support in fulfilling our ambitious European agenda. We believe that Ukraine is destined to be an integral part for European Union and we think that this strategic cooperation between the U.S. and EU should be upheld for (inaudible) in promoting our own goals. Today, we have an opportunity to continue our work, to hear reports of our working groups. We have brought a very important delegation to underline the need to have these high-level exchanges for the benefit of our both countries.

Thank you so much, Madam Secretary, for your hospitality, for the frankness, but also the positive attitude that you have expressed in discussing many of the important priorities that we place before us. Thank you (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. So now, we will be signing.

(The cooperative plan is signed.) (Applause.)

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Ukraine’s Independence Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 23, 2010

A video message is available here: http://www.state.gov/video/?videoid=587663945001 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfkK9ylB-5Q

Congratulations, and happy Independence Day to all Ukrainians. This August 24th, you celebrate 19 years of independence for Ukraine, and you honor the democratic values that not only Ukrainians, but also Americans, share.
I had the privilege of visiting Ukraine in July. I met with your President, Foreign Minister, university students, so many others eager to share their ideas and talents with your country. It is a testament to the determination, persistence, and spirit of the Ukrainian people that your country has made such remarkable progress in a short time. The United States is proud to be your partner. We know you will continue working with the same energy and diligence to protect and strengthen your democratic institutions, advance civil society, promote transparent markets to lay the basis for a future of stability and prosperity.
In the coming year, our Strategic Partnership will enhance cooperation between our countries across a broad range of issues were we are already working — trade, investment, economic growth, energy cooperation, political dialogue, the rule of law, regional security, and territorial integrity. We will also explore ways to expand our people-to-people exchanges.
The United States has stood by Ukraine and the people of Ukraine since Independence, and we will continue to support you as you work to achieve the full benefits of democracy and all of the blessings that go with it.

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