At this point, the New START arms-control treaty with Russia has been endorsed by:
By now it should be a no-brainer that the U.S. Senate should ratify this important treaty, but some senators still need convincing.
Thus, today in a Washington Post op-ed, Secretary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are calling on the U.S. Senate to ratify New START. The duo write that the treaty will allow U.S. inspectors to resume inspecting Russian nuclear forces, including 18 short-notice inspections per year, after a break in inspections since the previous START Treaty -- negotiated by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush -- expired in December 2009. New START will also put into effect a verification regime under which the United States and Russia will reduce their arsenals to 1,550 strategic warheads each.
Clinton and Gates write that the treaty will promote key U.S. national security objectives, including: "Reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons while retaining a safe and effective deterrent; providing direct insight into Russia's nuclear arsenal; and creating a more stable, predictable and cooperative relationship between the world's two leading nuclear powers."
The two secretaries stress that the New START treaty will neither limit the United States in deploying missile defenses nor constrain its modernization of nuclear forces. It also won't restrict U.S. deployment of conventional weapons, "including strike systems that could potentially hit a target anywhere on the globe in less than an hour."
This isn't a Democrat vs. Republican issue. Clinton and Gates point out that every U.S. president since the start of the Cold War has favored verifiable arms-control agreements and that the Senate has wholeheartedly approved these deals. In 1992 in a 93-6 vote, it approved the START Treaty, negotiated under Reagan and the first Bush. In 2003 in a 95-0 vote, it approved the Moscow Treaty, negotiated by George W. Bush.
The Senate needs to push New START through so U.S. inspectors can get back to inspecting those Russian missile silos and the United States can continue advancing its national security.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton welcomed the release of Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi Saturday, after the Nobel Peace Prize laureate spent most of the past two decades under house arrest. Clinton also urged Burmese leaders to start an "inclusive dialogue" with Aung San Suu Kyi as part of the process of creating a more thriving and democratic Burma. Importantly, she also called on the Burmese regime to "immediately and unconditionally" free all 2,100 political prisoners in the country. Below is Clinton's complete statement:
Today I join with billions of people around the world to welcome the long-overdue release of Burmese democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.
Aung San Suu Kyi has endured enormous personal sacrifice in her peaceful struggle to bring democracy and human rights to Burma, including unjustified detention for most of the past twenty years. The Burmese regime has repeatedly rejected her offers to engage in dialogue and work together, trying instead to silence and isolate her. Through it all, Aung San Suu Kyi's commitment to the Burmese people has not wavered.
The United States calls on Burma's leaders to ensure that Aung San Suu Kyi's release is unconditional so that she may travel, associate with her fellow citizens, express her views, and participate in political activities without restriction. They should also immediately and unconditionally release all of Burma's 2,100 political prisoners.
We urge Burma's leaders to break from their repressive policies and begin an inclusive dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratic and ethnic leaders towards national reconciliation and a more peaceful, prosperous, and democratic future.
In the photo above, Aung San Suu Kyi smiles at the gate of her home soon after her release from house arrest.
Secretary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are in New York today to discuss Mideast peace. Not that they haven't been doing so anyway. Before the two met, Netanyahu told journalists that he and Clinton had been talking "quite intensively" by phone during the past few weeks.
During their talks today, Clinton is sure to bring up her disappointment about Israel's recent announcement of 1,300 new housing units in Arab East Jerusalem. Yesterday, when announcing $150 million in U.S. budget assistance to the Palestinian Authority, Clinton said, "The United States was deeply disappointed by the announcement of advanced planning for new housing units in sensitive areas of East Jerusalem. This announcement was counterproductive to our efforts to resume negotiations between the parties. We have long urged both parties to avoid actions which could undermine trust, including in Jerusalem."
Mario Tama/Getty Images
In a videoconference with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad yesterday, Secretary Clinton announced the transfer of $150 million in U.S. direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority to help it build a viable Palestinian state as part of the two-state solution. Clinton said the latest infusion of money brings the United States' total direct budget assistance to $225 million for 2010 and overall U.S. support and investment to almost $600 million for 2010.
"This figure underscores the strong determination of the American people and this administration to stand with our Palestinian friends even during difficult economic times," the secretary of state said in announcing the transfer of funds.
The money -- whose use will be carefully monitored by the United States, the World Bank, and the IMF -- will go toward the important task of building a well-functioning Palestinian state. Clinton explained, "This new funding will help the Palestinian Authority pay down its debt, continue to deliver services and security to its people, and keep the progress going. It will support our work together to expand Palestinians' access to schools, clinics, and clean drinking water in both the West Bank and Gaza. And it will allow Prime Minister Fayyad's government to build and modernize courthouses and police stations, train judges and prosecutors, and launch new economic development initiatives."
This emphasis on building a viable Palestinian state accords with some of Elliott Abram's advice for President Obama, as detailed in his recent FP piece, "Build Up the West Bank." Abrams writes that instead of focusing on an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, Obama should instead spend the rest of his term helping build a Palestinian state in the West Bank. He writes:
If you build it, they will sign. The only way to reassure Palestinians that a state is possible is to make one, and the only way to reassure Israelis that their security will be enhanced rather than diminished is for them to see it with their own eyes. That won't happen for either side at Camp David or Oslo or Annapolis -- only right there on the ground in the West Bank.
Here is a video of Clinton's and Fayyad's remarks:
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Today, Nov. 11, is the 35th anniversary of Angola's independence from Portugal in 1975. Secretary Clinton, who visited Angola last year, as seen in the photo above with Angolan Foreign Minister Assuncao dos Anjos, issued the following statement congratulating the African country:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Angola on your 35th Independence Day this November 11.
I was honored to help launch a new phase in the bilateral relationship between Angola and the United States during my visit to your country last year. This summer, we took another step forward and signed a Memorandum of Understanding that formally recognizes Angola as a strategic partner for the United States in Africa. Through this dialogue, we will advance our cooperation on energy and security, strengthen institutional capacity, improve transportation systems, and build a brighter future for Angola. The United States is also committed to helping Angola continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and improve its health systems. I look forward to finding new ways to deepen our partnership as we continue our work together.
I wish all Angolans a wonderful holiday, with a peaceful and prosperous year to come.
(Random interesting factoid: When Clinton was in Angola in August 2009, dos Anjos described her visit as "the most sublime, most magnanimous moment" that "changes everything," according to the New York Times.)
LOUISE REDVERS/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton is back in D.C., and Madam Secretary is back in business! Thanks for bearing with me during my two-week hiatus while I was busy focusing on the print edition of Foreign Policy. It was tough not being able to blog about Clinton while she was doing so much amazing diplomacy overseas.
After a relatively light day in Washington yesterday (her first day back in town), Clinton today has a full plate of meetings on her schedule (an edited version is pasted below). Cheerful and non-jet-lagged-looking, she already videoconferenced this morning with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, as seen in the photo above. Expect more posts to come!
10:15 a.m. Clinton announces the transfer of budget-assistance funds to the Palestinian Authority. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad participates via videoconference.
11 a.m. Clinton meets with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House.
1 p.m. Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
3:30 p.m. Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Iveta Radicova.
5 p.m. Clinton meets with Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Today, Oct. 26, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton turns 63 years young! Happy birthday!
Clinton was born Oct. 26, 1947, in Chicago to Dorothy Rodham and the late Hugh Rodham.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton presided today over the signing of $275 million in U.S. aid to Jordan for three water and wasterwater projects in the water-poor Middle Eastern country. The assistance, made through the U.S. government's Millennium Challenge Corporation, will help Jordan upgrade its water-supply network, improve wastewater collection, and expand an important wastewater treatment plant, thereby giving nearly 2 million people better access to clean water, Clinton said in her remarks.
Clinton also acknowledged that the $275 million in aid comes at a time when many Americans are struggling with finances, but explained that Americans are "committed to Jordan's future" because a thriving Jordan benefits the entire world:
I want to say a few words directly to the people of Jordan. In a time when many families here in the United States are tightening their own belts and making difficult sacrifices, we are making this investment in your country because we believe in Jordan's promise and we are committed to Jordan's future. Americans understand that a strong and prosperous Jordan is good for the region and good for the world. We want to work with you to realize our shared aspirations and shape the future together.
Clinton also thanked Jordan for its support in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, saying, "The Jordanian Government … [has] worked with us literally side by side and telephone by telephone to support direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians with the goal of two states for two peoples and a comprehensive peace in the region. We could not do this without Jordan's leadership."
In the photo above, Clinton and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh stand as U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO Daniel Yohannes (seated at right) and Mohammad Najjar, Jordan's minister of water and irrigation, sign the compact today in Washington. Below is a video of the remarks from the signing ceremony:
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Over the weekend, the prime minister of Barbados, David Thompson, passed away at age 48 after suffering from pancreatic cancer. He leaves behind a wife and three daughters. Secretary Clinton offered condolences on behalf of the people of the United States in the following statement on Saturday, Oct. 23:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I offer my deepest condolences to the people of Barbados on the passing of Prime Minister David Thompson. Barbados has lost a leader and the nations of the Americas have lost a friend and valued partner. Prime Minister Thompson was a champion for democracy and justice in the Caribbean and an advocate for wider prosperity and opportunity throughout the region. Today my thoughts and prayers are with his wife Mara and their daughters.
Barbados is blessed with strong democratic institutions that will ensure a smooth transition of power, and I am confident that under its new leadership, Barbados' strong friendship with the United States will continue.
YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Ever wonder about the complex logistics involved in coordinating an overseas trip by the U.S. secretary of state? If so, check out the National Geographic special, Inside the State Department, to air on Monday, Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. U.S. Eastern and Pacific times. The National Geographic Channel followed Secretary Clinton for 20,000 miles as she traveled around the world, from New York to Pakistan, and places in between such as Morocco and Jerusalem. You'll see all sorts of behind-the-scenes stuff, such as bomb-sniffing dogs hard at work and the State Department's "gift vault."
A news release states, "The State Department's role on the world stage has never been more important and the stakes have never been higher. Its leader is arguably the most famous woman in the world, with a traveling staff providing 24/7 support. Now, the National Geographic Channel goes Inside the State Department to open a window into the efforts of the men and women representing critical U.S. interests abroad."
Clinton tells National Geographic, "This job is both a great privilege and an extraordinary challenge. We live on the balance beam of war and peace, of terrorism and stability, of poverty and prosperity."
Steve Hoggard, who filmed Clinton during her travels overseas, states in the news release, "It is astounding to witness the brutal 16- to 20-hour days worked by Secretary Clinton and her team.… They only get a few hours of sleep and are constantly working at a rapid pace traveling from one destination to the next. I have truly been in awe of what they do to represent our county across the globe."
Clinton will be delivering remarks at 7:30 p.m. today at the film's world premier at National Geographic's headquarters. Below are a couple of clips from the special:
Screen shot from National Geographic Channel, "Inside the State Department"
When it comes to Mideast peace, Secretary Clinton appealed yesterday to all who care about the issue: "Please don't give up in the face of difficulty."
She made the remark last night in a keynote speech at a gala event hosted by the American Task Force on Palestine. She acknowledged that moving foward with peace talks is tough and that there's no "magic formula" to overcoming obstacles: "I cannot stand here tonight and tell you there is some magic formula that I have discovered that will break through the current impasse. But I can tell you, we are working every day, sometimes every hour, to create the conditions for negotiations to continue and succeed."
Clinton also acknowledged that coming to peace is tough psychologically for the parties involved because it requires moving past so much historical animosity. To rounds of applause, she quoted Palestinian poet Naomi Shihab Nye as saying, "I'm not interested in who suffered the most. I'm interested in people getting over it"; then after the applause, Clinton went on to say, "And that is the biggest obstacle of them all. I know people cannot forget. I know most people cannot forgive. But I do know also that the future holds the possibility of progress, if not in our lifetimes then certainly in our children's."
Clinton also encouraged people to be look forward, not backward, saying, "People on all sides of this conflict must choose to move beyond a history they cannot change to embrace a future they can shape together." She also urged people to adopt a glass-half-full, as opposed to glass-half-empty, mentality: "Now, in any tough negotiation, it is natural to focus on what we are being asked to give up. But it is important to keep in mind what you, the Palestinians and Israelis, stand to gain."
Clinton was also optimistic in her assessment of prospects of an independent Palestinian state, saying:
It is easier than ever to envision an independent Palestine able to govern itself, uphold its responsibilities to provide for its own people, and ensure security. This gives confidence to negotiators on both sides and hope to those who have long looked forward to that day.
Under President [Mahmoud] Abbas and Prime Minister [Salam] Fayyad's leadership, and under Prime Minister Fayyad's two-year plan, the Palestinian Authority is going beyond rhetoric and actually building a new reality. It is reversing a history of corruption and working hard to produce results that matter in Palestinians' daily lives.
Clinton also pointed out promising news from the World Bank:
The World Bank recently reported that if the Palestinian Authority maintains its momentum in building institutions and delivering public services, it is, and I quote, "well-positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future."
Below is the video of her remarks:
Screen shot from U.S. State Department video
Secretary Clinton delivered a special message of support to LGBT teens yesterday in the wake of several suicides by American teenagers who were bullied for being gay or being perceived as gay. To all the teens out there who are bullied and feel all alone in the world, Clinton said, "Hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important." She told them, "Please remember that your life is valuable and that you are not alone."
She offered a message of hope, saying, "It will get better for you." She referred to the advances made by women and members of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities over the course of U.S. history and said the same progress is being made by gays and lesbians. "The story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights, and insist on equality, not only for themselves, but for all people," she said.
Clinton has long been a supporter of LGBT rights (10 years ago she was the first First Lady to march in a pride parade), and she declared in June that "Human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights." During her tenure as secretary of state, several LGBT-friendly policies has been enacted at the State Department, including equal benefits for same-sex partners of State Department employees, new regulations that make it easier for transgender Americans to amend their passports, and grants to help human rights advocates in other countries who are in danger due to their LGBT status or their work on LGBT issues.
Below is the video of Clinton's special message, with the text of the complete message pasted underneath.
Like millions of Americans, I was terribly saddened to learn of the recent suicides of several teenagers across our country after being bullied because they were gay or because people thought they were gay. Children are particularly vulnerable to the hurt caused by discrimination and prejudice and we have lost many young people over the years to suicide. These most recent deaths are a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred.
I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future: First of all, hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important—to your family, your friends, and to your country. And there is so much waiting for you, both personally and professionally— there are so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions.
And these opportunities will only increase. Because the story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights, and insist on equality, not only for themselves but for all people. And in the process, they create a community of support and solidarity that endures. Just think of the progress made by women just during my lifetime by women, or ethnic, racial and religious minorities over the course of our history —and by gays and lesbians, many of whom are now free to live their lives openly and proudly. Here at the State Department, I am grateful every day for the work of our LGBT employees who are serving the United States as foreign service officers and civil servants here and around the world. It wasn’t long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can—because it has gotten better. And it will get better for you.
So take heart, and have hope, and please remember that your life is valuable, and that you are not alone. Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strength. Count me among them.
Take care of yourself.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Normally, U.S. officials and politicians want American companies to create jobs in the United States and keep jobs at home, but today, Secretary Clinton encouraged U.S. business executives to create jobs across the ocean in Northern Ireland. Doing so might sound counterintuitive to many Americans, but creating jobs in Northern Ireland serves a good cause -- peace.
At a U.S.-Northern Ireland economic conference she hosted in Washington today, Clinton praised the 1,000 new jobs that American companies have created recently in Northern Ireland and explained, "[A] stronger economy in Northern Ireland will help secure a lasting peace. And peace in Northern Ireland is a bedrock foreign-policy priority for the United States."
In her remarks, she went on to add:
[E]conomic opportunities are what we are focusing on today because we know that to survive, peace must be visible beyond the halls of government or even the meeting places where former adversaries come together to work out their differences. It must be seen in daily improvements in people's lives, not just in the absence of violence, but the presence of good jobs, business starts, skills learned, communities recovered from decline.
Essentially, Clinton understands that for there to be long-lasting peace, people must have jobs and some sense of economic security. She acknowledged that when many Americans, particularly American business executives, have heard the words "Northern Ireland," they haven't exactly thought "investment opportunities." But Clinton said that mentality has been changing recently, and more people are associating Northern Ireland with "reconciliation, hope, and opportunity."
Of the 1,000 new jobs created by American companies in Northern Ireland, Clinton mentioned 100 positions established by GE Energy and over 300 in the New York Stock Exchange's Belfast office. She also hailed Dow Chemical's announcement that it was starting a supply-chain consulting service in Belfast.
The video of her complete remarks is below:
U.S. State Dept., video screen shot
Thousands of Filipinos have fled to evacuation centers and at least 14 people have died due to Typhoon Megi, which hit the Philippines yesterday with winds exceeding 155 mph (250 kph). Today, it's dumping heavy rain on the country and is expected to reach southern China later this week. Secretary Clinton offered the following condolences today:
On behalf of the people of the United States, I offer our condolences for the damage and loss of life caused on the island of Luzon by Typhoon Megi. Our embassy in Manila has offered immediate disaster relief assistance, and we are working closely with Philippine authorities to offer additional assistance as needed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Luzon and all Filipinos affected by this tragedy.
Last November, Clinton visited the Philippines, where she toured a flood-stricken school and announced $5 million in aid to help recover from three massive storms that had hit the country in the previous six weeks.
In the Oct. 19 photo above, people survey typhoon damage in San Jose, Isabela, Philippines. In the Oct. 19 photo below -- too cute to pass up -- an evacuated baby eats handout rice at a converted basketball court in Manila.
Photos, top to bottom: Bradley Ambrose/Getty Images, NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
Describing Secretary Clinton as among a group of "luminaries," Foreign Affairs* announced today that America's top diplomat is a contributor to its next issue -- a special issue called "The World Ahead" on "trends and challenges that will shape the future and how the … global role of the United States will be transformed."
Here is a blurb from the news release (the bold is in the original):
Foreign Affairs latest issue looks, through the eyes of such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Eric Schmidt, Richard Haass, and Roger Altman, at the trends and challenges that will shape the future and how the how the [sic] global role of the United States will be transformed. The issue's contributors reach some startling conclusions about a range of trends, including the widening chasm between China and the United States, the "fertility implosion" that will produce shortages of working-age populations in half the world, and the growing obstacles to cooperative approaches to solving global problems, such as climate change.
David Kellogg, the publisher, stated in the news release: "This special issue of Foreign Affairs has already raised the bar for the magazine - it is the first single-themed and largest issue ever produced. The cover has added a gatefold and dramatic cover graphics."
This special issue hits newsstands Nov. 2, so check it out if you want to read about Clinton's views on the next decade's most important trends.
*No, Foreign Affairs is not the same thing as Foreign Policy.
Image: Thumbnail from www.magazineline.com/magazineline/foreignaffairs.htm
Pakistani civilian and military leaders are arriving in Washington this week for a U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue, and Secretary Clinton will be formally introducing them to the new U.S. ambassador to their country, Cameron Munter, seen above in Brussels last week, whom she swore in on Oct. 6.
"No country has gotten more attention from Secretary Clinton than Pakistan," Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told the New York Times recently. Indeed, when Clinton visited Pakistan in July, she announced a giant slew of development projects for the country -- hydroelectric dams, refurbishment of municipal water-supply systems, hospital renovations, agricultural projects, etc. -- that are being funded through the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation passed in the United States last year that provides $7.5 billion over five years to fix Pakistan's infrastructure and promote its economic develpment. And, she appealed to Americans to text help to Pakistanis during this year's historic floods and last year's refugee crisis in the Swat Valley.
The new ambassador has a huge job ahead of him. Winning hearts and minds isn't easy, as research by an FP contributor recently concluded: "it's easiest for Westerners to win hearts and minds only when that's not what they're explicitly setting out to do."
GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton is hosting a U.S.-Northern Ireland economic conference today in Washington that brings together American business leaders currently or potentially invested in Northern Ireland with political leaders from that area. "This conference will allow us to sell the Northern Ireland product directly to some of America's most successful and best-known companies," Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said, as reported in the Irish Times.
It's all part of Clinton's effort to support the Northern Ireland peace process through promotion of economic development, something she touched upon when visiting Northern Ireland last October, as seen in the photo above with Robinson (left) and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness outside Belfast's Stormont Castle.
PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton said today that she and the U.S. government support reintegration and reconciliation with Taliban members who meet specific criteria. We are "willing to support what's called reintegration -- namely, people on the battlefield coming off and going back into their society -- and reconciliation, which is a much more political process to work out terms of peace with people who [have] led the Taliban, but only on very clear conditions," she told ABC's Robin Roberts during an interview in Brussels, where she attended a NATO ministerial meeting.
Those "clear conditions" are:
Clinton was cautious with her remarks and said she's unsure how many Taliban leaders would agree to these conditions. In fact she said, "I think it's highly unlikely that the leadership of the Taliban that refused to turn over bin Laden in 2001 will ever reconcile. But stranger things have happened in the history of war, but it can only happen if they [are] willing to abide by the red lines that we and the Afghan government have established."
Other the other hand, Clinton sounded somewhat optimistic about lower-level Taliban members who likely joined in the first place just to get a paycheck. "I am increasingly convinced that many of the lower-level Taliban, young men who frankly went to fight for the Taliban because they got paid more than they could make anywhere else -- I believe that they are, in increasing numbers, laying down their arms and coming back into society."
She also told Roberts, "What we are seeing is a move by the lower-level fighters, many of them, to leave the battlefield, which is all to the good because they are being convinced that this fight is no longer one they want to be part of."
Anything about the Taliban joining peace talks or becoming part of the Afghan government will make most Americans nervous. Anyone can pay mere lip service to meeting the three "red line" conditions listed above; how do you tell whether someone isn't surreptitiously supporting violence and al Qaeda on the side? I also wish Clinton had reiterated that no political reconciliation should come at the price of Afghanistan's women -- which is one of the scariest things about involving the Taliban in peace talks and the government. Back in July during her visit to Kabul, Clinton made it starkly clear that Afghan women can't be marginalized in the reconciliation process, saying:
I don't think there is such a political solution that would be a lasting, sustainable one that would turn the clock back on women. That is a recipe for a return to the kind of Afghanistan -- if not in the entire country, in significant parts of the country -- that would once again be a breeding ground for terrorism. So we've got our red lines, and they are very clear: Any reconciliation process that the United States supports, recognizing that this is an Afghan-led process, must require that anyone who wishes to rejoin society and the political system must lay down their weapons and end violence, renounce al Qaeda, and be committed to the Constitution and laws of Afghanistan, which guarantee the rights of women.
Below is an edited video of today's interview:
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton blasted Pakistan's government today for not taxing its rich more, yet expecting developed countries to aid the country. She declared, "It is absolutely unacceptable for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people while the taxpayers of Europe, the United States, and other contributing countries are all chipping in to do our part."
Clinton made the remarks at a news conference in Brussels with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton (seen above) in which they discussed flood-recovery efforts in Pakistan. Clinton mentioned that a stable Pakistan is essential to the fight against terrorism, which is when she started on her pet peeve: poor countries that don't tax their elite. Here are her demands of the Pakistani government, which you can also listen to in the video below:
We also believe that stability in Pakistan is essential to our shared fight against terrorism and to protect the security of the people of our country and friends and allies like those in Europe. Now, of course, the international community can only do so much. Pakistan itself must take immediate and substantial action to mobilize its own resources, and in particular to reform its economy.
The most important step that Pakistan can take is to pass meaningful reforms that will expand its tax base. The government must require that the economically affluent and elite in Pakistan support the government and people of Pakistan. We have been very clear on that, and I am pleased that the government is responding. I know how difficult this is, but it is absolutely unacceptable for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people while the taxpayers of Europe, the United States, and other contributing countries are all chipping in to do our part. The government must also take steps to alleviate the crippling power shortages that stifle economic growth while making life difficult for the Pakistani people.
If U.S. President Barack Obama is having such a hard time repealing the Bush tax cuts on America's rich, his administration is going to have an even harder time getting another country's government to increase taxes on its rich (or begin collecting taxes from the rich in the first place). Clinton is certainly right that Pakistan's elite should pay its fair share of taxes -- the rich there pay laughably small amounts or none at all, Clinton pointed out last month. But, the United States has limited influence on the country's government. Just two weeks ago, Pakistan closed the Torkham Gate crossing into Afghanistan after U.S. forces accidentally killed several Pakistani border guards. The crossing has since been reopened, but the multiday closure held up trucks that supply international forces in Afghanistan. So, who's really in a position to be calling the shots?
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Aisha, the 19-year-old Afghan whose nose and ears were hacked off by her husband and who appeared on the cover to Time magazine this summer, has a new prosthetic nose!
With her new look, she attended the Grossman Burn Foundation's benefit event in California on Oct. 8 and received an Enduring Heart award from Maria Shriver, wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "This is the first Enduring Heart award given to a woman whose heart endures and who shows us all what it means to have love and to be the enduring heart," Shriver said.
The Grossman Burn Foundation paid for Aisha's surgery in California, and plastic surgeon Peter H. Grossman, co-director of the Grossman Burn Centers, is hoping that a "permanent solution" can be found, perhaps reconstructing Aisha's nose and ears from bone, cartilage, and tissue from other parts of her body, reports the Daily Telegraph. Now, Aisha is beginning a new life in the United States. What a brave young woman.
Update, 4:13 p.m.: The brutality inflicted on women like Aisha shows us why Secretary Clinton is so adamant that absolutely no political reconciliation in Afghanistan should come at the price of Afghan women's well-being. As she said in July in Kabul:
I don't think there is such a political solution that would be a lasting, sustainable one that would turn the clock back on women. That is a recipe for a return to the kind of Afghanistan -- if not in the entire country, in significant parts of the country -- that would once again be a breeding ground for terrorism.
Here is a CNN video about Aisha, whose surname has not been disclosed, and her new look:
Thumbnail images, left to right: Grossman Burn Foundation, Getty Images
Secretary Clinton is in Kosovo today, and many people there love the Clintons. In the capital, Pristina, Clinton visited an 11-foot statue of her husband Bill, who as U.S. president backed the 1999 NATO air campaign that stopped a crackdown by Serbian forces on Kosovo's ethnically Albanian majority. When he attended the unveiling of the statue last year, he was greeted with a giant cake bearing his portrait. And, both Hillary and Bill have been lauded on billboards in Pristina.
Update, 5:09 p.m.: At a "townterview" today, Clinton said the statue's bronze hair reminds her of how Bill Clinton looked when she first met him, back in the 1970s:
I have to say it's quite a statue. And my husband -- it still looks like he has bronze-colored hair, which I like. Because when I met him -- you know we've been married as of Monday 35 years -- so when I met him when we were in law school, he had very brownish, reddish hair. And the statue reminds me of that, so of course I like the statue. Nobody should paint it white. Don't paint it white. Keep it that color.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Today in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Secretary Clinton urged Bosnians to "reject the false promise of self-serving nationalist agendas." She made the remark while dedicating the new U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, saying that's the advice she gave to young people earlier in the day when they asked her how they can get to the goals they had for their country. Clinton said nationalist agendas "will lead only to more distrust, disunion, stagnation, and poverty. No one will create a stable and prosperous future for this country by stoking the animosities of the past."
Here's the remark in context:
I just finished an excellent event with the young people at the National Theater. Their questions were all about how to get to the goal that they believed in, a country that is part of Europe, part of NATO, but most importantly its full self, the promise being realized, the potential fulfilled. I urged them, as I urge every citizen, to reject the false promise of self-serving nationalist agendas. Those will lead only to more distrust, disunion, stagnation, and poverty. No one will create a stable and prosperous future for this country by stoking the animosities of the past.
The only way forward lies in working together toward shared aspirations -- so you can create the jobs, attract the investment, build a better life for everyone.
In the photo above, Clinton poses during the dedication of the new U.S. Embassy and the Robert C. Frasure Street in Sarajevo. Frasure was one of three Americans killed in an automobile accident near Sarajevo in 1995 while on their way to the besieged capital to attend peace talks. Next to Clinton are Frasure's wife Katharina and their daughters, Sarah and Virginia.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton flew into Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, yesterday, and today she has a many meetings in both that city and in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. In the photo below, she meets with Serbian President Boris Tadic to discuss the beginning of EU-sponsored talks between Serbia and Kosovo, which broke away from Serbia in 2008. (And for a bit more on what's been happening in Serbia lately, read the recent FP article "Battle in Belgrade," about this past Sunday's anti-gay rioting in the capital.)
The overall purpose of Clinton's visit to the Balkans, according to an Oct. 8 briefing by Assistant Secretary to State Philip Gordan, is to "underscore the continued commitment of the United States to supporting all the Balkan states as they build prosperous, peaceful, and democratic societies and move to take their rightful places as full members of the European and Euro-Atlantic community."
Tomorrow, Clinton will be in Kosovo, which based on the welcome billboard above, eagerly awaits America's top diplomat. (Kosovo also loves Bill Clinton, who as U.S. president backed the NATO air campaign that drove Serbian forces out of Kosovo in 1999. When he visited the Kosovar capital, Pristina, for the unveiling of a larger-than-life statue of himself last year, he was welcomed with a giant cake. And, he's already had his own billboard in Pristina.)
In Kosovo, Secretary Clinton will meet with the acting president, the prime minister, and the foreign minister. She'll also visit Gracanica, a Serb-majority municipality, and meet with community leaders there. Once she returns to Pristina, she will meet with leaders of women's groups as well as other civil society leaders.
Finally, on Thursday the 14th, Clinton will leave the Balkans and head to Brussels, where she'll meet with various EU officials and join U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates for a NATO ministerial meeting between the foreign and defense ministers of the various NATO countries. At the meeting, the ministers will discuss progress in the war in Afghanistan. On the evening of the 14th, Clinton will fly out of Europe and head back over the Atlantic to Washington.
Photos, top to bottom: ARMEND NIMANI/AFP/Getty Images, MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Applauding the selection of Liu Xiaobo as the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, Secretary Clinton urged China "to uphold its international human rights obligations and to respect the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Chinese citizens." She also demanded "Liu Xiaobo's immediate release from prison."
Clinton's statement today is refreshing after remarks she made in February 2009 that seemed to place human rights in China as a back-burner priority. At the time she said, "[O]ur pressing on those [human rights] issues can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis."
Below is Clinton's complete statement, issued today:
I applaud the Nobel Committee's decision to award this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. Throughout its history, the Peace Prize has often been used to recognize the heroism of those who have, through persistent and peaceful efforts, sought to build a world that is more fair and free.
Mr. Liu has been a consistent advocate for fundamental freedoms and human rights for his fellow citizens and for peaceful political reform. Mr. Liu's work, including his role in the drafting of Charter '08, and his receipt of this honor highlight the fact that while China has made tremendous economic progress in the last three decades, political reform has lagged behind. As I said in Krakow this summer, governments should recognize the constructive role that citizens such as Liu Xiaobo play. We urge China to uphold its international human rights obligations and to respect the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Chinese citizens. We reiterate our call for Liu Xiaobo's immediate release from prison.
MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images
Brazil's Dilma Rousseff is on course to become the first female president of Brazil. In yesterday's election, she won the most votes -- 46.6 percent, with 98 percent of ballots counted -- and on Oct. 31 will face No. 2 Jose Serra in a runoff vote, which she is expected to win.
Secretary Clinton, whose presidential hopes were dashed in 2008, must be so happy for Rousseff. To learn more about Rousseff, a Marxist guerrilla turned economist, grandmother, and cancer survivor, check out the recent FP article, "Becoming Lula."
Also, for a photo essay on the world's female presidents and prime ministers, check out FP's "Women in Control."
JEFFERSON BERNARDES/AFP/Getty Images
To everybody in Germany, happy 20 years of reunification! Secretary Clinton congratulates the people of Germany and says, "Today, Germany is a global champion for human liberty and economic freedom -- values that form the foundation for the enduring friendship between our nations."
She made the remark in a statement issued Oct. 1, two days before today's Oct. 3 anniversary:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Germany as you celebrate the 20th anniversary of German unification.
A year ago, I travelled to Berlin to commemorate the moment in 1989 when history pierced concrete and concertina wire, and Germans tore down the Berlin Wall. It was an hour when the hopes and prayers and sacrifices of millions came together in an unwavering exclamation of freedom. On October 3, 1990, the German people embraced that freedom again. They proclaimed their desire to live as one nation. And they began building a new Germany that would become an anchor of democracy, stability, and prosperity. The progress of the last two decades was not inevitable, and it stands as a monument to the all those who worked for generations to realize the goal of a Germany whole and free.
Today, Germany is a global champion for human liberty and economic freedom - values that form the foundation for the enduring friendship between our nations. The United States joins Germany in honoring this day of national unity. And I look forward to our continuing cooperation to advance the values we celebrate on this anniversary.
In the photo above from Berlin, the Reichstag, the meeting place of Germany's parliament, is illuminated in the colors of the German flag on Oct. 3 as part of celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of reunification.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton announced yesterday that for the first time ever, the United States is imposing sanctions against Iran based on human rights abuses. She said that President Obama signed an executive order on Sept. 28 that sanctions eight Iranian officials who have been involved in "serious and sustained" human rights violations since June 2009's disputed presidential election. Under these officials' watch, Iranians have been "arbitrarily arrested, beaten, tortured, raped, blackmailed, and killed," Clinton said.
These sanctioned officials include Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Sadeq Mahsouli, who was responsible for forces that attacked students at Tehran University dormitories on June 15, 2009. Also among the eight are officials with responsibility over the infamous Evin Prison and Kahrizak Detention Center. Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations told the New York Times that these officials are "first-class thugs."
The sanctions were imposed under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, which allows the U.S. government to target individual Iranians and make them subject to financial sanctions and U.S. visa denials. Alluding to criticisms that broad-based sanctions can hurt everyday people, Clinton mentioned that those against the eight officials will not adversely affect ordinary Iranian citizens:
We now have at our disposal a new tool that allows us to designate individual Iranians, officials responsible for or complicit in serious human rights violations, and do so in a way that does not in any way impact on the well-being of the Iranian people themselves.
She also said that with these sanctions, the United States is acting as a voice for the voiceless in Iran:
In [announcing sanctions] today, we declare our solidarity with [the] victims and with all Iranians who wish for a government that respects their human rights and their dignity and their freedom. By doing so, we convey our strong support for the rule of law, and we speak out for those unable to speak for themselves because they are jailed or frightened or fear retribution against themselves or their families.
Of course, how much impact will sanctions against eight people have on the Iranian government's behavior? Clinton said the sanctions are both practical and symbolic: The sanctions announcement "is a both a practical announcement in that there are financial and travel restrictions that will be imposed, but it is a statement of our values." She also said in her briefing, "We're not naive. We know that thus far, this government has been impervious to our pleas and the pleas of many others. But we think it's essential that we continue to make the case, and today we are adding in very specific terms with specific names to that case."
Also at the briefing was Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (seen in the photo above), who explained that the logic of targeting Iranian individuals involves turning them into international pariahs:
We have found that when we single out individuals and expose their conduct, banks, businesses, and governments around the world respond by cutting off their economic and financial dealings with these individuals, these institutions, these businesses.
And this strategy can be very effective. We've seen a growing number of companies and financial institutions in countries around the world cut or substantially curtail their financial ties with Iran. They … have assessed the risks of continuing to do business with these entities, and they have decided that those risks are too great. And we already have indications that Iran's leadership is concerned about the implications, about the impact of this trend.
Clinton, Geithner, and Obama are turning up the heat!
Video of the briefing:
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton said yesterday that one of her pet peeves is poor countries that don't tax their elite and then expect the United States to come in and save their people.
Clinton made the remark in a round-table discussion on the U.S. administration's new global development policy. Her complete remark was:
It's one of my pet peeves: Countries that will not tax their elite, who expect us to come in and help them serve their people, are just not going to get the kind of help from us that historically they may have.
Moderator Frank Sesno of George Washington University followed up by asking, "You're going to go to countries that are getting [aid] now and say we're going to stop?" Clinton responded by singling out Pakistan:
There's got to be some reciprocity here. Because one of the things that is now happening in Pakistan, and I said this when I was there last year, you cannot have a tax rate of 9 percent of GDP when big landholders and all the other elites do not pay anything or pay so little it's laughable, and you've got such a rate of poverty and everybody is looking to the United States and other donors to come in and help.
Sesno pushed further, asking whether Clinton was truly prepared to tell governments of countries filled with poor people that the U.S. government would withdraw or scale back aid if they didn't tax their elite, who are often the base of political support for those countries' leaders. Clinton said that was one of the messages that the United States was starting to deliver and mentioned that Pakistan's finance minister has already introduced a set of tax and economic reforms.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, another of the participants in the round-table discussion, backed Clinton up, saying:
I've been doing this for a long time. I have never heard a discussion like this where you have a secretary of state saying what Secretary Clinton just said, which is recognizing that unless we are tougher on how we provide assistance, unless we look at those basic simple things, like are they running their country in a way that gives us confidence that our resources will be used well, we should not be financing them at this level. That is an enormously consequential thing.
Something tells me that if Barack Obama's administration is having such a difficult time increasing taxes on the richest Americans, then it's going to have an even harder time getting another country's government to do the same. And in the case of Pakistan, is that country really going to do the United States' bidding? In the interest of national security, the United States will continue pouring billions of dollars into Pakistan; with so many Islamist extremist groups on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the United States isn't going to scale back development efforts just because the Pakistani government won't reform its tax code and crack down on tax evasion.
(For more on this topic, check out my colleague Josh Rogin's report, "Clinton presses Pakistan to raise taxes on wealthy" over at FP's The Cable.)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Just for fun, here's a list of 10 things that Secretary Clinton and Lady Gaga have in common, according to a lighthearted piece from the Collegian, the University of Tulsa's independent student newspaper. Elaborations of everything on this list are in the original article.
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Speaking at a U.N. Security Council meeting on terrorism today, Secretary Clinton said when it comes to human rights and the rule of law, "We cannot sacrifice those values in our zeal to stop terrorists."
Alluding to the horrific maltreatment of females by Islamist extremists, Clinton went on to say, "Our values are what makes us different from those who are trying to tear down so much of the progress that has been made over the course of history, and I have to add, especially for women and girls."
Clinton said that members of the international community must work harder in their joint efforts against terrorism and strengthen the multilateral institutions in place to tackle the problem:
[O]ur joint efforts [are] only as strong as our shared commitment. And today, let me emphasize that the United States is committed to working through multilateral institutions, including the United Nations, to confront the threats posed. We are also committed to strengthening this multilateral architecture. We believe it can do better. So although we are very supportive, we want to work with all of you to improve it.
Clinton also reminded the Security Council that efforts must be made to stop people from becoming terrorists in the first place, which means "addressing the political, economic, and social conditions that make people vulnerable to exploitation by extremists." She went on to say:
For people whose lives are characterized by frustration or desperation, for people who believe that their governments are unresponsive or repressive, al Qaeda and other groups may offer an appealing view. But it is a view rooted in destruction, and we have to provide an alternative view that is rooted in hope, opportunity, and possibility.
This sounds like a huge, daunting "save the world" job, but Clinton is right -- improved political, economic, and social conditions would go a long way toward giving people an outlook of hope and opportunity and a sense that there's more to be lost than gained by joining or supporting terrorists. But giving people an "alternative view that is rooted in hope, opportunity, and possibility" (if outsiders can even do so) would be a long-term, multiyear effort that would span generations -- 25 or even 100 years, depending on whom you ask. Would the American public be up for such a long-haul effort? Perhaps if it didn't involve too much money or too many American lives lost. But this does seem to be the only true way to ultimately nip terrorism at its roots.
Here is the video of her remarks:
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
Madam Secretary is an obsessive blog about all things Hillary Clinton. From her policies to her pantsuits, Madam Secretary delivers up-to-the-minute news, analysis, and gossip about America's top diplomat.