Political Headlines August 30, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech: Syria represents ‘a challenge to the world’ – considering ‘limited, narrow act’ military response

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama: Syria represents ‘a challenge to the world’

Source: USA TODAY, 8-30-13

President Obama said Friday he is considering a “limited, narrow act” as a military response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens….READ MORE

Full Text Political Transcripts August 30, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry Statement on Syria and evidence of chemical attack

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Statement on Syria

Remarks

John Kerry
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
August 30, 2013

President Obama has spent many days now consulting with Congress and talking with leaders around the world about the situation in Syria. And last night, the President asked all of us on his national security team to consult with the leaders of Congress as well, including the leadership of the Congressional national security committees. And he asked us to consult about what we know regarding the horrific chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs last week. I will tell you that as someone who has spent nearly three decades in the United States Congress, I know that that consultation is the right way for a president to approach a decision of when and how and if to use military force. And it’s important to ask the tough questions and get the tough answers before taking action, not just afterwards.And I believe, as President Obama does, that it is also important to discuss this directly with the American people. That’s our responsibility, to talk with the citizens who have entrusted all of us in the Administration and the Congress with the responsibility for their security. That’s why this morning’s release of our government’s unclassified estimate of what took place in Syria is so important. Its findings are as clear as they are compelling. I’m not asking you to take my word for it. Read for yourself, everyone, those listening. All of you, read for yourselves the evidence from thousands of sources, evidence that is already publicly available, and read for yourselves the verdict reached by our intelligence community about the chemical weapons attack the Assad regime inflicted on the opposition and on opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods in the Damascus suburbs on the early morning of August 21st.

Our intelligence community has carefully reviewed and re-reviewed information regarding this attack, and I will tell you it has done so more than mindful of the Iraq experience. We will not repeat that moment. Accordingly, we have taken unprecedented steps to declassify and make facts available to people who can judge for themselves. But still, in order to protect sources and methods, some of what we know will only be released to members of Congress, the representatives of the American people. That means that some things we do know we can’t talk about publicly.

So what do we really know that we can talk about? Well, we know that the Assad regime has the largest chemical weapons program in the entire Middle East. We know that the regime has used those weapons multiple times this year and has used them on a smaller scale, but still it has used them against its own people, including not very far from where last Wednesday’s attack happened. We know that the regime was specifically determined to rid the Damascus suburbs of the opposition, and it was frustrated that it hadn’t succeeded in doing so.

We know that for three days before the attack the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons personnel were on the ground in the area making preparations. And we know that the Syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons. We know that these were specific instructions. We know where the rockets were launched from and at what time. We know where they landed and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods.

And we know, as does the world, that just 90 minutes later all hell broke loose in the social media. With our own eyes we have seen the thousands of reports from 11 separate sites in the Damascus suburbs. All of them show and report victims with breathing difficulties, people twitching with spasms, coughing, rapid heartbeats, foaming at the mouth, unconsciousness and death.

And we know it was ordinary Syrian citizens who reported all of these horrors. And just as important, we know what the doctors and the nurses who treated them didn’t report – not a scratch, not a shrapnel wound, not a cut, not a gunshot wound. We saw rows of dead lined up in burial shrouds, the white linen unstained by a single drop of blood. Instead of being tucked safely in their beds at home, we saw rows of children lying side by side sprawled on a hospital floor, all of them dead from Assad’s gas and surrounded by parents and grandparents who had suffered the same fate.

The United States Government now knows that at least 1,429 Syrians were killed in this attack, including at least 426 children. Even the first responders, the doctors, nurses, and medics who tried to save them, they became victims themselves. We saw them gasping for air, terrified that their own lives were in danger.

This is the indiscriminate, inconceivable horror of chemical weapons. This is what Assad did to his own people.

We also know many disturbing details about the aftermath. We know that a senior regime official who knew about the attack confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime, reviewed the impact, and actually was afraid that they would be discovered. We know this.

And we know what they did next. I personally called the Foreign Minister of Syria and I said to him, “If, as you say, your nation has nothing to hide, then let the United Nations in immediately and give the inspectors the unfettered access so they have the opportunity to tell your story.” Instead, for four days they shelled the neighborhood in order to destroy evidence, bombarding block after block at a rate four times higher than they had over the previous 10 days. And when the UN inspectors finally gained access, that access, as we now know, was restricted and controlled.

In all of these things that I have listed, in all of these things that we know, all of them, the American intelligence community has high confidence, high confidence. This is common sense. This is evidence. These are facts.

So the primary question is really no longer: What do we know? The question is: What are we – we collectively – what are we in the world going to do about it?

As previous storms in history have gathered, when unspeakable crimes were within our power to stop them, we have been warned against the temptations of looking the other way. History is full of leaders who have warned against inaction, indifference, and especially against silence when it mattered most. Our choices then in history had great consequences and our choice today has great consequences. It matters that nearly a hundred years ago, in direct response to the utter horror and inhumanity of World War I, that the civilized world agreed that chemical weapons should never be used again.

That was the world’s resolve then, and that began nearly a century of effort to create a clear redline for the international community. It matters today that we are working as an international community to rid the world of the worst weapons. That’s why we signed agreements like the START Treaty, the New START Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, which more than 180 countries, including Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, have signed on to.

It matters to our security and the security of our allies. It matters to Israel. It matters to our close friends Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon – all of whom live just a stiff breeze away from Damascus. It matters to all of them where the Syrian chemical weapons are. And if unchecked, they can cause even greater death and destruction to those friends. And it matters deeply to the credibility and the future interests of the United States of America and our allies.

It matters because a lot of other countries, whose polices challenges these international norms, are watching. They are watching. They want to see whether the United States and our friends mean what we say. It is directly related to our credibility and whether countries still believe the United States when it says something. They are watching to see if Syria can get away with it, because then maybe they too can put the world at greater risk.

And make no mistake, in an increasingly complicated world of sectarian and religious extremist violence, what we choose to do or not do matters in real ways to our own security. Some cite the risk of doing things, but we need to ask, what is the risk of doing nothing?

It matters because if we choose to live in a world where a thug and a murderer like Bashar al-Assad can gas thousands of his own people with impunity, even after the United States and our allies said no, and then the world does nothing about it, there will be no end to the test of our resolve and the dangers that will flow from those others who believe that they can do as they will.

This matters also beyond the limits of Syria’s borders. It is about whether Iran, which itself has been a victim of chemical weapons attacks, will now feel emboldened, in the absence of action, to obtain nuclear weapons. It is about Hezbollah, and North Korea, and every other terrorist group or dictator that might ever again contemplate the use of weapons of mass destruction. Will they remember that the Assad regime was stopped from those weapons’ current or future use, or will they remember that the world stood aside and created impunity?

So our concern is not just about some far off land oceans away. That’s not what this is about. Our concern with the cause of the defenseless people of Syria is about choices that will directly affect our role in the world and our interests in the world. It is also profoundly about who we are. We are the United States of America. We are the country that has tried, not always successfully, but always tried to honor a set of universal values around which we have organized our lives and our aspirations. This crime against conscience, this crime against humanity, this crime against the most fundamental principles of international community, against the norm of the international community, this matters to us. And it matters to who we are. And it matters to leadership and to our credibility in the world. My friends, it matters here if nothing is done. It matters if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens.

America should feel confident and gratified that we are not alone in our condemnation, and we are not alone in our will to do something about it and to act. The world is speaking out, and many friends stand ready to respond. The Arab League pledged, quote, “to hold the Syrian regime fully responsible for this crime.” The Organization for Islamic Cooperation condemned the regime and said we needed, quote, “to hold the Syrian Government legally and morally accountable for this heinous crime.” Turkey said there is no doubt that the regime is responsible. Our oldest ally, the French, said the regime, quote, “committed this vile action, and it is an outrage to use weapons that the community has banned for the last 90 years in all international conventions.” The Australian Prime Minister said he didn’t want history to record that we were, quote, “a party to turning such a blind eye.”

So now that we know what we know, the question we must all be asking is: What will we do? Let me emphasize – President Obama, we in the United States, we believe in the United Nations. And we have great respect for the brave inspectors who endured regime gunfire and obstructions to their investigation. But as Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General, has said again and again, the UN investigation will not affirm who used these chemical weapons. That is not the mandate of the UN investigation. They will only affirm whether such weapons were used. By the definition of their own mandate, the UN can’t tell us anything that we haven’t shared with you this afternoon or that we don’t already know. And because of the guaranteed Russian obstructionism of any action through the UN Security Council, the UN cannot galvanize the world to act as it should.

So let me be clear. We will continue talking to the Congress, talking to our allies, and most importantly, talking to the American people. President Obama will ensure that the United States of America makes our own decisions on our own timelines based on our values and our interests.

Now, we know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war. Believe me, I am, too. But fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility. Just longing for peace does not necessarily bring it about. And history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency. These things we do know.

We also know that we have a President who does what he says that he will do. And he has said very clearly that whatever decision he makes in Syria, it will bear no resemblance to Afghanistan, Iraq, or even Libya. It will not involve any boots on the ground. It will not be open-ended. And it will not assume responsibility for a civil war that is already well underway. The President has been clear: Any action that he might decide to take will be a limited and tailored response to ensure that a despot’s brutal and flagrant use of chemical weapons is held accountable. And ultimately, ultimately, we are committed – we remain committed, we believe it’s the primary objective – is to have a diplomatic process that can resolve this through negotiation, because we know there is no ultimate military solution. It has to be political. It has to happen at the negotiating table, and we are deeply committed to getting there.

So that is what we know. That’s what the leaders of Congress now know. And that’s what the American people need to know. And that is at the core of the decisions that must now be made for the security of our country and for the promise of a planet where the world’s most heinous weapons must never again be used against the world’s most vulnerable people.

Thank you very much.

RELATED LINKS

Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013»

Political Headlines August 30, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry Outlines Evidence of Chemical Attack by Syria

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Kerry Outlines Evidence of Chemical Attack by Syria

Source: NYT, 8-30-13

Secretary of State John Kerry made a statement on Friday about Syria at the State Department in Washington.
Charles Dharapak/Associated Press

Secretary of State John Kerry made a statement on Friday about Syria at the State Department in Washington.

Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday there is “clear” and “compelling” evidence that the government of President Bashar al-Assad used poison gas against its citizens….READ MORE

Full Text Political Documents August 30, 2013: White House: US Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013

Source: WH, 8-30-13

The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013. We further assess that the regime used a nerve agent in the attack. These all-source assessments are based on human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open source reporting.Our classified assessments have been shared with the U.S. Congress and key international partners. To protect sources and methods, we cannot publicly release all available intelligence – but what follows is an unclassified summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s analysis of what took place.

Syrian Government Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21

A large body of independent sources indicates that a chemical weapons attack took place in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. In addition to U.S. intelligence information, there are accounts from international and Syrian medical personnel; videos; witness accounts; thousands of social media reports from at least 12 different locations in the Damascus area; journalist accounts; and reports from highly credible nongovernmental organizations.

A preliminary U.S. government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed in the chemical weapons attack, including at least 426 children, though this assessment will certainly evolve as we obtain more information.

We assess with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack against opposition elements in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. We assess that the scenario in which the opposition executed the attack on August 21 is highly unlikely. The body of information used to make this assessment includes intelligence pertaining to the regime’s preparations for this attack and its means of delivery, multiple streams of intelligence about the attack itself and its effect, our post-attack observations, and the differences between the capabilities of the regime and the opposition. Our high confidence assessment is the strongest position that the U.S. Intelligence Community can take short of confirmation. We will continue to seek additional information to close gaps in our understanding of what took place.

Background:

The Syrian regime maintains a stockpile of numerous chemical agents, including mustard, sarin, and VX and has thousands of munitions that can be used to deliver chemical warfare agents.

Syrian President Bashar al-Asad is the ultimate decision maker for the chemical weapons program and members of the program are carefully vetted to ensure security and loyalty. The Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) – which is subordinate to the Syrian Ministry of Defense – manages Syria’s chemical weapons program.

We assess with high confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year, including in the Damascus suburbs. This assessment is based on multiple streams of information including reporting of Syrian officials planning and executing chemical weapons attacks and laboratory analysis of physiological samples obtained from a number of individuals, which revealed exposure to sarin. We assess that the opposition has not used chemical weapons.

The Syrian regime has the types of munitions that we assess were used to carry out the attack on August 21, and has the ability to strike simultaneously in multiple locations. We have seen no indication that the opposition has carried out a large-scale, coordinated rocket and artillery attack like the one that occurred on August 21.

We assess that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons over the last year primarily to gain the upper hand or break a stalemate in areas where it has struggled to seize and hold strategically valuable territory. In this regard, we continue to judge that the Syrian regime views chemical weapons as one of many tools in its arsenal, including air power and ballistic missiles, which they indiscriminately use against the opposition.

The Syrian regime has initiated an effort to rid the Damascus suburbs of opposition forces using the area as a base to stage attacks against regime targets in the capital. The regime has failed to clear dozens of Damascus neighborhoods of opposition elements, including neighborhoods targeted on August 21, despite employing nearly all of its conventional weapons systems. We assess that the regime’s frustration with its inability to secure large portions of Damascus may have contributed to its decision to use chemical weapons on August 21.

Preparation:

We have intelligence that leads us to assess that Syrian chemical weapons personnel – including personnel assessed to be associated with the SSRC – were preparing chemical munitions prior to the attack. In the three days prior to the attack, we collected streams of human, signals and geospatial intelligence that reveal regime activities that we assess were associated with preparations for a chemical weapons attack.

Syrian chemical weapons personnel were operating in the Damascus suburb of ‘Adra from Sunday, August 18 until early in the morning on Wednesday, August 21 near an area that the regime uses to mix chemical weapons, including sarin. On August 21, a Syrian regime element prepared for a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus area, including through the utilization of gas masks. Our intelligence sources in the Damascus area did not detect any indications in the days prior to the attack that opposition affiliates were planning to use chemical weapons.

The Attack:

Multiple streams of intelligence indicate that the regime executed a rocket and artillery attack against the Damascus suburbs in the early hours of August 21. Satellite detections corroborate that attacks from a regime-controlled area struck neighborhoods where the chemical attacks reportedly occurred – including Kafr Batna, Jawbar, ‘Ayn Tarma, Darayya, and Mu’addamiyah. This includes the detection of rocket launches from regime controlled territory early in the morning, approximately 90 minutes before the first report of a chemical attack appeared in social media. The lack of flight activity or missile launches also leads us to conclude that the regime used rockets in the attack.

Local social media reports of a chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs began at 2:30 a.m. local time on August 21. Within the next four hours there were thousands of social media reports on this attack from at least 12 different locations in the Damascus area. Multiple accounts described chemical-filled rockets impacting opposition-controlled areas.

Three hospitals in the Damascus area received approximately 3,600 patients displaying symptoms consistent with nerve agent exposure in less than three hours on the morning of August 21, according to a highly credible international humanitarian organization. The reported symptoms, and the epidemiological pattern of events – characterized by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers – were consistent with mass exposure to a nerve agent. We also received reports from international and Syrian medical personnel on the ground.

We have identified one hundred videos attributed to the attack, many of which show large numbers of bodies exhibiting physical signs consistent with, but not unique to, nerve agent exposure. The reported symptoms of victims included unconsciousness, foaming from the nose and mouth, constricted pupils, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing. Several of the videos show what appear to be numerous fatalities with no visible injuries, which is consistent with death from chemical weapons, and inconsistent with death from small-arms, high-explosive munitions or blister agents. At least 12 locations are portrayed in the publicly available videos, and a sampling of those videos confirmed that some were shot at the general times and locations described in the footage.

We assess the Syrian opposition does not have the capability to fabricate all of the videos, physical symptoms verified by medical personnel and NGOs, and other information associated with this chemical attack.

We have a body of information, including past Syrian practice, that leads us to conclude that regime officials were witting of and directed the attack on August 21. We intercepted communications involving a senior official intimately familiar with the offensive who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on August 21 and was concerned with the U.N. inspectors obtaining evidence. On the afternoon of August 21, we have intelligence that Syrian chemical weapons personnel were directed to cease operations. At the same time, the regime intensified the artillery barrage targeting many of the neighborhoods where chemical attacks occurred. In the 24 hour period after the attack, we detected indications of artillery and rocket fire at a rate approximately four times higher than the ten preceding days. We continued to see indications of sustained shelling in the neighborhoods up until the morning of August 26.

To conclude, there is a substantial body of information that implicates the Syrian government’s responsibility in the chemical weapons attack that took place on August 21.As indicated, there is additional intelligence that remains classified because of sources and methods concerns that is being provided to Congress and international partners.

Syria: Damascus Areas of Influence and Areas Reportedly Affected by 21 August Chemical Attack

Full Text Political Transcripts August 26, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry condemns chemical weapons attack in Syria

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks on Syria

Source: State Dept, 8-26-13

Remarks

John Kerry
Press Briefing Room
Washington, DC
August 26, 2013

Well, for the last several days President Obama and his entire national security team have been reviewing the situation in Syria, and today I want to provide an update on our efforts as we consider our response to the use of chemical weapons.What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.

The meaning of this attack goes beyond the conflict in Syria itself, and that conflict has already brought so much terrible suffering. This is about the large-scale, indiscriminate use of weapons that the civilized world long ago decided must never be used at all – a conviction shared even by countries that agree on little else. There is a clear reason that the world has banned entirely the use of chemical weapons. There is a reason the international community has set a clear standard and why many countries have taken major steps to eradicate these weapons. There is a reason why President Obama has made it such a priority to stop the proliferation of these weapons and lock them down where they do exist. There is a reason why President Obama has made clear to the Assad regime that this international norm cannot be violated without consequences. And there is a reason why no matter what you believe about Syria, all peoples and all nations who believe in the cause of our common humanity must stand up to assure that there is accountability for the use of chemical weapons so that it never happens again.

Last night after speaking with foreign ministers from around the world about the gravity of this situation, I went back and I watched the videos, the videos that anybody can watch in the social media, and I watched them one more gut-wrenching time. It is really hard to express in words the human suffering that they lay out before us. As a father, I can’t get the image out of my head of a man who held up his dead child, wailing while chaos swirled around him; the images of entire families dead in their beds without a drop of blood or even a visible wound; bodies contorting in spasms; human suffering that we can never ignore or forget. Anyone who can claim that an attack of this staggering scale could be contrived or fabricated needs to check their conscience and their own moral compass.

What is before us today is real, and it is compelling. So I also want to underscore that while investigators are gathering additional evidence on the ground, our understanding of what has already happened in Syria is grounded in facts informed by conscience and guided by common sense. The reported number of victims, the reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, the firsthand accounts from humanitarian organizations on the ground like Doctors Without Borders and the Syria Human Rights Commission – these all strongly indicate that everything these images are already screaming at us is real, that chemical weapons were used in Syria.

Moreover, we know that the Syrian regime maintains custody of these chemical weapons. We know that the Syrian regime has the capacity to do this with rockets. We know that the regime has been determined to clear the opposition from those very places where the attacks took place. And with our own eyes, we have all of us become witnesses.

We have additional information about this attack, and that information is being compiled and reviewed together with our partners, and we will provide that information in the days ahead.

Our sense of basic humanity is offended not only by this cowardly crime but also by the cynical attempt to cover it up. At every turn, the Syrian regime has failed to cooperate with the UN investigation, using it only to stall and to stymie the important effort to bring to light what happened in Damascus in the dead of night. And as Ban Ki-moon said last week, the UN investigation will not determine who used these chemical weapons, only whether such weapons were used – a judgment that is already clear to the world.

I spoke on Thursday with Syrian Foreign Minister Muallim and I made it very clear to him that if the regime, as he argued, had nothing to hide, then their response should be immediate – immediate transparency, immediate access – not shelling. Their response needed to be unrestricted and immediate access. Failure to permit that, I told him, would tell its own story.

Instead, for five days, the Syrian regime refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack that would allegedly exonerate them. Instead, it attacked the area further, shelling it and systematically destroying evidence. That is not the behavior of a government that has nothing to hide. That is not the action of a regime eager to prove to the world that it had not used chemical weapons. In fact, the regime’s belated decision to allow access is too late, and it’s too late to be credible. Today’s reports of an attack on the UN investigators, together with the continued shelling of these very neighborhoods, only further weakens the regime’s credibility.

At President Obama’s direction, I’ve spent many hours over the last few days on the phone with foreign ministers and other leaders. The Administration is actively consulting with members of Congress and we will continue to have these conversations in the days ahead. President Obama has also been in close touch with the leaders of our key allies, and the President will be making an informed decision about how to respond to this indiscriminate use of chemical weapons. But make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny.

Thank you.

Political Headlines July 7, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife Teresa Heinz Kerry in critical condition

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

John Kerry’s wife in critical condition

Source: USA TODAY, 7-7-13

Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of Secretary of State John Kerry, is in critical but stable condition in a Massachusetts hospital. Heinz Kerry, 74, was admitted into the emergency room at Nantucket Cottage Hospital about 3:30 p.m….READ MORE

Political Headlines June 12, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry Defends NSA Program, ‘Welcomes’ Dept. Scrutiny

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Secretary Kerry Defends NSA Program, ‘Welcomes’ Dept. Scrutiny

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-12-13

State Department photo/ Public Domain

At a joint press conference Wednesday with United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague, Secretary of State John Kerry defended the National Security Agency, saying that Congress understands the program, passed it and voted for it several times. He also said the judiciary branch has also reviewed it and the program and has been actively engaged.

“This is a three-branch-of-government effort to keep America safe. And in fact, it has not read emails or looked at or listened to conversations, and — the exception of where a court may have made some decision, which was predicated on appropriate evidence,” said Kerry….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 7, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry to press Turkey on Israel ties, Syrian border, Iraq

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Kerry to press Turkey on Israel ties, Syrian border, Iraq

Source: NBCNews.com (blog), 4-7-13

Kerry arrived in Istanbul some two weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama brokered a rapprochement between Turkey and Israel, whose relations were shattered by the killing of nine Turkish citizens in a 2010 Israeli naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 14, 2013: White House Releases More Information on Benghazi Attack

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

White House Releases More Information on Benghazi Attack

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-14-13

In a bid to clear the way for a vote on Chuck Hagel’s delayed nomination to be Defense Secretary, the White House has turned over more information on the president’s activities during the 24 hours after the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi….READ MORE

Here is a key passage from the White House letter:

This intensive response, which was directed by the President, included 13 meetings of interagency Principals and Deputies within a week of the attack and involved continuous outreach by senior administration officials to the Government of Libya, including by the President and members of his Cabinet. As to the specific question in your February 12 letter, Secretary Clinton called Libyan President Magariaf on behalf of the President on the evening of the September 11, 2012 to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya and access to the Libyan territory. At that time, President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation. The President spoke to President Magariaf on the evening of September 12th.

Political Headlines February 6, 2013: John Kerry officially sworn in as Secretary of State

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

John Kerry officially sworn in

Source: WWLP 22News, 2-6-13

Although he officially took office last Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry was sworn-in again today….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 4, 2013: John Kerry’s First Speech as Secretary of State: ‘I Have Big Heels to Fill’

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Secretary John Kerry: ‘I Have Big Heels to Fill’

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-4-13

US State Dept

Former Senator John Kerry entered the State Department as the 68th Secretary of State for the first time on Monday morning, greeted by the cheers and applause of hundreds of State Department employees.

A jovial Kerry peppered his remarks with jokes, eliciting laughter from the crowd throughout his roughly 10 minute speech, given in the same spot former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her emotional farewell on Friday.

“Here’s the big question before the country and the world and the State Department after the last eight years:  Can a man actually run the State Department?” joked Kerry, referencing his most recent predecessors, Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. “As the saying goes, I have big heels to fill.”…READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines February 4, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry’s Welcome Remarks to Employees — Speech Transcript

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Welcome Remarks to Employees

Source: State.gov, 2-4-13

Remarks

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 4, 2013

Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you very much, Susan. Thank you very much for that welcome. Secretary Nides, who’s an old friend, I’m grateful to him. I told him that’s probably the first and only time he’s ever bowed to me and – (laughter) – I know I’ll never, ever get that again.But anyway, thank God I had a couple of photo IDs so I could get in. (Laughter.) It was – happy for that. Secretary Kennedy, thank you very much for your leadership. Ambassador Marshall, I’m really looking forward to working with you, and with all of you.
I have to tell you, I liked my cubicle over there in transition corner. (Laughter.) But I cannot tell you how great it feels to sort of be liberated to know that I actually get to explore the whole building now. (Laughter.) So I’ve been freed. I’m the first person you guys freed today. This is pretty good. (Laughter.) And if I’m wandering around the building later, and I sort of wind up in your office, it’s not because I’m there for a meeting, it’s because I’m lost and I need directions. (Laughter.) So just tell me who you are, tell me what you do, and tell me where I am – (laughter) – and we’ll rely on that.

So here’s the big question before the country and the world and the State Department after the last eight years: Can a man actually run the State Department? (Laughter.) I don’t know. (Applause.) As the saying goes, I have big heels to fill. (Laughter.) But this is beyond a pleasure. I’m going to utter five words that certainly no sitting senator, and probably a former senator, have ever uttered, and that is: These remarks will be brief. (Laughter.) And I promise you that, because I don’t know what we’re doing for the productivity of the building right now. (Laughter.) If this goes on too long, I may get a phone call from the President on a recall. (Laughter.)

I want to begin by thanking my predecessor, Secretary Clinton, and I want to thank her entire team. They tirelessly advocated the values of our country and pushed for the accomplishment of any number of things to advance the interests of our nation. I know from my conversations with Hillary how passionate she was about this undertaking and how much confidence and gratitude she had for the work that every single one of you do, and I just want to join with all of you today in saying to her: Job well done, the nation is grateful, the world is grateful. Thank you, Hillary Clinton, and thank you to her team. Thank you. (Applause.)

Also, I want to thank President Obama for his trust in me to take on this awesome task, and for his trust in you, every single one of you, and what you do every single day. I think it is beyond fair to say that this President’s vision and what he has implemented through your efforts over the course of the last years, without any question, has restored America’s reputation and place in the world, and we thank you for what you have done to do that. (Applause.)

Now, I said the other day at the hearings, if any of you had a chance to see any of it, that – I said that the Senate was in my blood, and it is after 28-plus years. But it is also true that the Foreign Service is in my genes, and everything that we do here is. I have a sister who worked for most of her career in New York at the UN, and most recently at the UN Mission. My wife, who was born in Mozambique, and you will see here on Wednesday, speaks five languages; at some occasion did some translating, but mostly worked with the then-UN Trusteeship Council, and has powerful beliefs in the mission of this great Department and of USAID. And my father, as was mentioned, spent a number of years as a Foreign Service Officer, and I come here with these 28 years of stewardship of the Foreign Relations Committee and oversight of the foreign – of the Department, oversight of the budget, oversight of everything we do. And so I’m glad to represent your favorite committee among many favorite committees on the Hill. (Laughter.)

But I will tell you that I have things to learn, for sure, and I know that, and as much as I have to learn, I have learned some things. And some of what I’ve learned is how difficult life can be for people in the Foreign Service who have to uproot kids and uproot families and move from school to school and struggle with those difficulties. It’s not hard – not easy. It’s particularly not easy in this much more complicated and dangerous world. So I understand that. I also understand how critical it is that you have somebody there advocating for you. The dangers could not be more clear. We’re reminded by the stars and names on the wall, and we are particularly reminded by Chris Stevens and Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods and Sean Smith. And I know everybody here still mourns that loss, and we will.

So I pledge to you this: I will not let their patriotism and their bravery be obscured by politics, number one. Number two, I guarantee you – (applause) – and I guarantee you that, beginning this morning when I report for duty upstairs, everything I do will be focused on the security and safety of our people. We have tough decisions to make, but I guarantee I’ll do everything I can to live up to the high standards that Secretary Clinton and her team put in place.

Now I mentioned earlier the sort of earlier part of my life. I will tell you, I was back in Boston two weeks ago and I was rummaging through some old stuff and I found the first evidence of my connection to this great diplomatic enterprise – my first diplomatic passport. (Applause.) There it is. Number 2927 – there weren’t a lot of people then. (Laughter.) And if you open it up, there’s a picture of a little 11-year-old John Kerry and no, you will not get to see it. (Laughter.) And then in the description it says, “Height: 4-foot-3.” (Laughter.) “Hair: Brown.” So as you can see, the only thing that’s changed is the height. (Laughter.)

And the first stamp in it, the first arrival, was 1954 in Le Havre. And back then the State Department, we went over – we spent six days at sea on the S.S. America and the State Department and the United States Government sent us over, the entire family, first class. Don’t get any ideas. (Laughter.) Anyway, I – we went to Berlin, and this was not too long after the war, and I used to ride my bicycle around Berlin, it was my pastime, my passion, and rode everywhere, the Grunewald, around the lakes, up and down the Kurfurstendamm, the church where the steeple burned down, past the Reichstag, burned out, past Brandenburg Gate, past Hitler’s tomb with these amazing, huge concrete slabs blown up. And I just roamed around. It was stunning how little control there was.

And one day – in my sense of 12-year-old adventure, I think it was then – I used this very passport to pass through into the East Sector, the Russian sector, and I bicycled around, and I’ll tell you, as a 12-year-old kid, I really did notice the starkness, the desolation. In fact, I was thinking about it the other day. If the tabloids today knew I had done that, I can see the headlines that say, “Kerry’s Early Communist Connections,” something like that. (Laughter.) That’s the world we live in, folks.

But I would reassure them by saying I really noticed the difference between the east and west. There were very few people. They were dressed in dark clothing. They kind of held their heads down. I noticed all this. There was no joy in those streets. And when I came back, I felt this remarkable sense of relief and a great lesson about the virtue of freedom and the virtue of the principles and ideals that we live by and that drive us. I was enthralled.

Now when my dad learned what I’d done, he was not enthralled. (Laughter.) And I got a tongue-lashing, I was told I could’ve been an international incident. He could’ve lost his job. And my passport, this very passport, was promptly yanked – (laughter) – and I was summarily grounded. Anyway, lessons learned.

But that was a great adventure and I will tell you: 57 years later today, this is another great adventure. I am so proud to enter into the Harry Truman building – the mothership, as I think you call it – and I’ll tell you. Harry Truman, whose office was just down the hall from mine in the United States Senate, within about a year of being president came and said the principles of American foreign policy are firmly the or the foundation is firmly rooted in righteousness and justice. We get to do great things here. This is a remarkable place. And I’m here today to ask you, on behalf of the country, I need your help. President Obama needs your help, to help us to do everything we can to strengthen our nation and to carry those ideals out into the world.

Here, we can do the best of things that you can do in government. That’s what excites me. We get to try to make our nation safer. We get to try to make peace in the world, a world where there is far too much conflict and far too much killing. There are alternatives. We get to lift people out of poverty. We get to try to cure disease. We get to try to empower people with human rights. We get to speak to those who have no voice. We get to talk about empowering people through our ideals, and through those ideals hopefully they can change their lives. That’s what’s happening in the world today. We get to live the ideals of our nation and in doing so I think we can make our country stronger and we can actually make the world more peaceful.

So I look forward to joining with you as we march down this road together living the ideals of our country, which is the best – imagine: What other job can you have where you get up every day and advance the cause of nation and also keep faith with the ideals of your country on which it is founded and most critically, meet our obligations to our fellow travelers on this planet? That’s as good as it gets. And I’m proud to be part of it with you. So now let’s get to work. Thank you very, very much. (Applause.)

Political Headlines February 1, 2013: John Kerry Sworn in as Secretary of State

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

John Kerry Sworn in as Secretary of State

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-1-13

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Meet Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry, the longtime Democratic senator from Massachusetts, was sworn in Friday on Capitol Hill, succeeding Hillary Clinton.

“I was very honored to be sworn in and very anxious to get to work, so I will be reporting Monday morning at 9 o’clock,” Kerry told reporters, with his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, by his side.

Kerry was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan inside the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing room. He was surrounded by his wife, daughter Vanessa, brother Cam and staff for a private ceremony….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 1, 2013: Hillary Clinton Officially Steps Down from State Department

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Hillary Clinton Officially Steps Down from State Department

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-1-13

Win McNamee/Getty Images

The woman who once went head-to-head with President Obama before becoming a pivotal member of his cabinet is poised to return to the private sector after more than three decades in the public eye.

Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who steps down from her post at the State Department Friday, leaves behind a legacy of 31 years of public service.

The Senate quickly confirmed Obama’s nominee to replace her — one of its own, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. — Tuesday. The president had chosen him last December to take Clinton’s place. Clinton has spent the past couple of months helping Kerry move into the post so she could bow out….READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines February 1, 2013: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Farewell Remarks to State Department Employees — Speech Transcript

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Farewell Remarks to State Department Employees

Source: State.gov, 2-1-13

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
C Street Lobby
Washington, DC
February 1, 2013

DEPUTY SECRETARY BURNS: Good afternoon, everyone. Madam Secretary, four years ago, I stood on this same spot and had the honor of introducing you to the men and women of the Department of State. From that first day on, you’ve touched the lives of millions and millions of people around the world, you have left a profoundly positive mark on American foreign policy, and you have done enormous good for all of us and for the country we serve. We will miss you deeply, but none of us – (applause) – but none of us will ever forget your extraordinary leadership, and each of us will always be deeply proud to say that we served in Hillary Clinton’s State Department. (Applause.)And so now it’s my great honor to introduce, one last time, the 67th Secretary of State of the United States of America, Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you. Well, just standing here looking out at all of you, the people I have been honored to serve and lead and work with over the last four years, is an incredible experience.

When I came into this building as the Secretary of State four years ago and received such a warm welcome, I knew there was something really special about this place, and that having the honor to lead the State Department and USAID would be unique and singular, exciting and challenging. It has been all of those things and so much more. I cannot fully express how grateful I am to those with whom I have spent many hours here in Washington, around the world, and in airplanes. (Laughter.)

But I’m proud of the work we’ve done to elevate diplomacy and development, to serve the nation we all love, to understand the challenges, the threats, and the opportunities that the United States faces, and to work with all our heart and all of our might to make sure that America is secure, that our interests are promoted, and our values are respected. As I look back over these past four years, I am very proud of the work we have done together.

Of course, we live in very complex and even dangerous times, as we saw again just today at our Embassy in Ankara, where we were attacked and lost one of our Foreign Service nationals and others injured. But I spoke with the Ambassador and the team there, I spoke with my Turkish counterpart, and I told them how much we valued their commitment and their sacrifice.

I know that the world we are trying to help bring into being in the 21st century will have many difficult days, but I am more optimistic today than I was when I stood here four years ago, because I have seen, day after day, the many contributions that our diplomats and development experts are making to help ensure that this century provides the kind of peace, progress, and prosperity that not just the United States, but the entire world, especially young people, so richly deserve. I am very proud to have been Secretary of State.

I will miss you. I will probably be dialing Ops just to talk. (Laughter and applause.) I will wonder what you all are doing, because I know that because of your efforts day after day, we are making a real difference. But I leave this Department confident – confident about the direction we have set, confident that the process of the QDDR, which we started for the first time, has enabled us to ask hard questions about what we do, how we do it, and whether we can do it even better. Because State and AID have to always be learning organizations. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to the President, we owe it to the American people. And so I will be an advocate from outside for the work that you continue to do here and at AID.

So it’s been quite a challenging week saying goodbye to so many people and knowing that I will not have the opportunity to continue being part of this amazing team. But I am so grateful that we’ve had a chance to contribute in each of our ways to making our country and our world stronger, safer, fairer, and better.

Those of you who are staying, as many of you will, please know that I hope you will redouble your efforts to do all that you can to demonstrate unequivocally why diplomacy and development are right up there with defense; how, when we think about who we are as Americans, it’s because we are united and committed across our government to do whatever is required to fulfill the missions we have assumed as public officials and public servants.

So next week, I would expect that all of you will be as focused and dedicated for Secretary Kerry as you have been for me, and that you will continue to serve President Obama and our nation with the same level of professionalism and commitment that I have seen firsthand.

On a personal basis, let me wish all of you the very best, whether you’ve been here a week or 30 or even 40 years, Pat. (Laughter.) Let me give you the very best wishes that I can, because I’m proud to have been a part of you. I leave thinking of the nearly 70,000 people that I was honored to serve and lead as part of a huge extended family. And I hope that you will continue to make yourselves, make me, and make our country proud.

Thank you all, and God bless you. (Applause.)

# # #

Political Headlines February 1, 2013: Hillary Clinton Delivers Final Words as Secretary of State at the Council on Foreign Relations

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Hillary Clinton Delivers Final Words as Secretary of State

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-1-13

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered her last official remarks as America’s top envoy on Thursday, although the public undoubtedly has not heard the last from her.

Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, Clinton stayed on message in describing how the nation must move forward amid an ever-changing and increasingly dangerous international landscape….READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines January 31, 2013: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Farewell Speech to the Council on Foreign Relations About her Tenure — Transcript

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Hillary’s Farewell Speech: Read the Transcript

Source: The Daily Beast, 2-1-13

On the day before she retires as secretary of state, Clinton spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations about her tenure. Read her remarks here.

130201-clinton-low-point-cheat

Clinton speaking on Thursday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty)

Thank you, Richard, for that introduction and for everything you’ve done to lead this very valuable institution. I also want to thank the board of the Council on Foreign Relations and all my friends and colleagues and other interested citizens who are here today, because you respect the Council, you understand the important work that it does, and you are committed to ensuring that we chart a path to the future that is in the best interests not only of the United States, but of the world.

As Richard said, tomorrow is my last day as Secretary of State. And though it is hard to predict what any day in this job will bring, I know that tomorrow, my heart will be very full. Serving with the men and women of the State Department and USAID has been a singular honor. And Secretary Kerry will find there is no more extraordinary group of people working anywhere in the world. So these last days have been bittersweet for me, but this opportunity that I have here before you gives me some time to reflect on the distance that we’ve traveled, and to take stock of what we’ve done and what is left to do.

I think it’s important, as Richard alluded in his opening comments, what we faced in January of 2009: Two wars, an economy in freefall, traditional alliances fraying, our diplomatic standing damaged, and around the world, people questioning America’s commitment to core values and our ability to maintain our global leadership. That was my inbox on day one as your Secretary of State.
Here’s the definitive guide to Clinton’s term as Secretary of State, from the Arab Spring and Benghazi, to women’s empowerment and gay rights.

Today, the world remains a dangerous and complicated place, and of course, we still face many difficult challenges. But a lot has changed in the last four years. Under President Obama’s leadership, we’ve ended the war in Iraq, begun a transition in Afghanistan, and brought Usama bin Ladin to justice. We have also revitalized American diplomacy and strengthened our alliances. And while our economic recovery is not yet complete, we are heading in the right direction. In short, America today is stronger at home and more respected in the world. And our global leadership is on firmer footing than many predicted.

To understand what we have been trying to do these last four years, it’s helpful to start with some history.

Last year, I was honored to deliver the Forrestal Lecture at the Naval Academy, named for our first Secretary of Defense after World War II. In 1946, James Forrestal noted in his diary that the Soviets believed that the post-war world should be shaped by a handful of major powers acting alone. But, he went on, “The American point of view is that all nations professing a desire for peace and democracy should participate.”

And what ended up happening in the years since is something in between. The United States and our allies succeeded in constructing a broad international architecture of institutions and alliances – chiefly the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, and NATO – that protected our interests, defended universal values, and benefitted peoples and nations around the world. Yet it is undeniable that a handful of major powers did end up controlling those institutions, setting norms, and shaping international affairs.

Now, two decades after the end of the Cold War, we face a different world. More countries than ever have a voice in global debates. We see more paths to power opening up as nations gain influence through the strength of their economies rather than their militaries. And political and technological changes are empowering non-state actors, like activists, corporations, and terrorist networks.

At the same time, we face challenges, from financial contagion to climate change to human and wildlife trafficking, that spill across borders and defy unilateral solutions. As President Obama has said, the old postwar architecture is crumbling under the weight of new threats. So the geometry of global power has become more distributed and diffuse as the challenges we face have become more complex and crosscutting.

So the question we ask ourselves every day is: What does this mean for America? And then we go on to say: How can we advance our own interests and also uphold a just, rules-based international order, a system that does provide clear rules of the road for everything from intellectual property rights to freedom of navigation to fair labor standards?

Simply put, we have to be smart about how we use our power. Not because we have less of it – indeed, the might of our military, the size of our economy, the influence of our diplomacy, and the creative energy of our people remain unrivaled. No, it’s because as the world has changed, so too have the levers of power that can most effectively shape international affairs.

I’ve come to think of it like this: Truman and Acheson were building the Parthenon with classical geometry and clear lines. The pillars were a handful of big institutions and alliances dominated by major powers. And that structure delivered unprecedented peace and prosperity. But time takes its toll, even on the greatest edifice.

And we do need a new architecture for this new world; more Frank Gehry than formal Greek. (Laughter.) Think of it. Now, some of his work at first might appear haphazard, but in fact, it’s highly intentional and sophisticated. Where once a few strong columns could hold up the weight of the world, today we need a dynamic mix of materials and structures.

Now, of course, American military and economic strength will remain the foundation of our global leadership. As we saw from the intervention to stop a massacre in Libya to the raid that brought bin Ladin to justice, there will always be times when it is necessary and just to use force. America’s ability to project power all over the globe remains essential. And I’m very proud of the partnerships that the State Department has formed with the Pentagon, first with Bob Gates and Mike Mullen and then with Leon Panetta and Marty Dempsey.

By the same token, America’s traditional allies and friends in Europe and East Asia remain invaluable partners on nearly everything we do. And we have spent considerable energy strengthening those bonds over the past four years.

And, I would be quick to add, the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, and NATO are also still essential. But all of our institutions and our relationships need to be modernized and complemented by new institutions, relationships, and partnerships that are tailored for new challenges and modeled to the needs of a variable landscape, like how we elevated the G-20 during the financial crisis, or created the Climate and Clean Air Coalition out of the State Department to fight short-lived pollutants like black carbon, or worked with partners like Turkey, where the two of us stood up the first Global Counterterrorism Forum.

We’re also working more than ever with invigorated regional organizations. Consider the African Union in Somalia and the Arab League in Libya, even sub-regional groups like the Lower Mekong Initiative that we created to help reintegrate Burma into its neighborhood and try to work across national boundaries on issues like whether dams should or should not be built.

We’re also, of course, thinking about old-fashioned shoe-leather diplomacy in a new way. I have found it, and I’ve said this before, highly ironic that in today’s world, when we can be anywhere virtually, more than ever, people want us to actually show up. But while a Secretary of State in an earlier era might have been able to focus on a small number of influential capitals, shuttling between the major powers, today we, by necessity, must take a broader view.

And people say to me all the time, “I look at your travel schedule; why Togo?” Well, no Secretary of State had ever been to Togo. But Togo happens to hold a rotating seat on the UN Security Council. Going there, making the personal investment has a strategic purpose.

And it’s not just where we engage, but with whom. You can’t build a set of durable partnerships in the 21st century with governments alone. The opinions of people now matter as to how their governments work with us, whether it’s democratic or authoritarian. So in virtually every country I have visited, I’ve held town halls and reached out directly to citizens, civil society organizations, women’s groups, business communities, and so many others. They have valuable insights and contributions to make. And increasingly, they are driving economic and political change, especially in democracies.

The State Department now has Twitter feeds in 11 languages. And just this Tuesday, I participated in a global town hall and took questions from people on every continent, including, for the first time, Antarctica.

So the point is: We have to be strategic about all the levers of global power and look for the new levers that could not have been possible or had not even been invented a decade ago. We need to widen the aperture of our engagement, and let me offer a few examples of how we’re doing this.

First, technology. You can’t be a 21st century leader without 21st century tools, not when people organize pro-democracy protests with Twitter and while terrorists spread their hateful ideology online. That’s why I have championed what we call 21st century statecraft.
We’ve launched an interagency Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications at State. Experts, tech-savvy specialists from across our government fluent in Urdu, Arabic, Punjabi, Somali, use social media to expose al-Qaida’s contradictions and abuses, including its continuing brutal attacks on Muslim civilians.

We’re leading the effort also to defend internet freedom so it remains a free, open, and reliable platform for everyone. We’re helping human rights activists in oppressive internet environments get online and communicate more safely. Because the country that built the internet ought to be leading the fight to protect it from those who would censor it or use it as a tool of control.

Second, our nonproliferation agenda. Negotiating the New START Treaty with Russia was an example of traditional diplomacy at its best. Then working it through the Congress was an example of traditional bipartisan support at its best. But we also have been working with partners around the world to create a new institution, the Nuclear Security Summit, to keep dangerous materials out of the hands of terrorists. We conducted intensive diplomacy with major powers to impose crippling sanctions against Iran and North Korea. But to enforce those sanctions, we also enlisted banks, insurance companies, and high-tech international financial institutions. And today, Iran’s oil tankers sit idle, and its currency has taken a massive hit.

Now, this brings me to a third lever: economics. Everyone knows how important that is. But not long ago, it was thought that business drove markets and governments drove geopolitics. Well, those two, if they ever were separate, have certainly converged.

So creating jobs at home is now part of the portfolio of diplomats abroad. They are arguing for common economic rules of the road, especially in Asia, so we can make trade a race to the top, not a scramble to the bottom. We are prioritizing economics in our engagement in every region, like in Latin America, where, as you know, we ratified free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama.

And we’re also using economic tools to address strategic challenges, for example, in Afghanistan, because along with the security transition and the political transition, we are supporting an economic transition that boosts the private sector and increases regional economic integration. It’s a vision of transit and trade connections we call the New Silk Road.

A related lever of power is development. And we are helping developing countries grow their economies not just through traditional assistance, but also through greater trade and investment, partnerships with the private sector, better governance, and more participation from women. We think this is an investment in our own economic future. And I love saying this, because people are always quite surprised to hear it: Seven of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. Other countries are doing everything they can to help their companies win contracts and invest in emerging markets. Other countries still are engaged in a very clear and relentless economic diplomacy. We should too, and increasingly, we are.

And make no mistake: There is a crucial strategic dimension to this development work as well. Weak states represent some of our most significant threats. We have an interest in strengthening them and building more capable partners that can tackle their own security problems at home and in their neighborhoods, and economics will always play a role in that.

Next, think about energy and climate change. Managing the world’s energy supplies in a way that minimizes conflict and supports economic growth while protecting the future of our planet is one of the greatest challenges of our time.

So we’re using both high-level international diplomacy and grassroots partnerships to curb carbon emissions and other causes of climate change. We’ve created a new bureau at the State Department focused on energy diplomacy as well as new partnerships like the U.S.-EU Energy Council. We’ve worked intensively with the Iraqis to support their energy sector, because it is critical not only to their economy, their stability as well. And we’ve significantly intensified our efforts to resolve energy disputes from the South China Sea to the eastern Mediterranean to keep the world’s energy markets stable. Now this has been helped quite significantly by the increase in our own domestic production. It’s no accident that as Iranian oil has gone offline because of our sanctions, other sources have come online, so Iran cannot benefit from increased prices.

Then there’s human rights and our support for democracy and the rule of law, levers of power and values we cannot afford to ignore. In the last century, the United States led the world in recognizing that universal rights exist and that governments are obligated to protect them. Now we have placed ourselves at the frontlines of today’s emerging battles, like the fight to defend the human rights of the LGBT communities around the world and religious minorities wherever and whoever they are. But it’s not a coincidence that virtually every country that threatens regional and global peace is a place where human rights are in peril or the rule of law is weak.

More specifically, places where women and girls are treated as second-class, marginal human beings. Just ask young Malala from Pakistan. Ask the women of northern Mali who live in fear and can no longer go to school. Ask the women of the Eastern Congo who endure rape as a weapon of war.

And that is the final lever that I want to highlight briefly. Because the jury is in, the evidence is absolutely indisputable: If women and girls everywhere were treated as equal to men in rights, dignity, and opportunity, we would see political and economic progress everywhere. So this is not only a moral issue, which, of course, it is. It is an economic issue and a security issue, and it is the unfinished business of the 21st century. It therefore must be central to U.S. foreign policy.

One of the first things I did as Secretary was to elevate the Office of Global Women’s Issues under the first Ambassador-at-Large, Melanne Verveer. And I’m very pleased that yesterday, the President signed a memorandum making that office permanent.

In the past four years, we’ve made – (applause) – thank you. In the past four years, we’ve made a major push at the United Nations to integrate women in peace and security-building worldwide, and we’ve seen successes in places like Liberia. We’ve urged leaders in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya to recognize women as equal citizens with important contributions to make. We are supporting women entrepreneurs around the world who are creating jobs and driving growth.

So technology, development, human rights, women. Now, I know that a lot of pundits hear that list and they say: Isn’t that all a bit soft? What about the hard stuff? Well, that is a false choice. We need both, and no one should think otherwise.

I will be the first to stand up and proclaim loudly and clearly that America’s military might is and must remain the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. I will also make very clear, as I have done over the last years, that our diplomatic power, the ability to convene, our moral suasion is effective because the United States can back up our words with action. We will ensure freedom of navigation in all the world’s seas. We will relentlessly go after al-Qaida, its affiliates, and its wannabes. We will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

There are limits to what soft power on its own can achieve. And there are limits to what hard power on its own can achieve. That’s why, from day one, I’ve been talking about smart power. And when you look at our approach to two regions undergoing sweeping shifts, you can see how this works in practice.

First, America’s expanding engagement in the Asia Pacific. Now, much attention has been focused on our military moves in the region. And certainly, adapting our force posture is a key element of our comprehensive strategy. But so is strengthening our alliances through new economic and security arrangements. We’ve sent Marines to Darwin, but we’ve also ratified the Korea Free Trade Agreement. We responded to the triple disaster in Japan through our governments, through our businesses, through our not-for-profits, and reminded the entire region of the irreplaceable role America plays.

First and foremost, this so-called pivot has been about creative diplomacy:

Like signing a little-noted treaty of amity and cooperation with ASEAN that opened the door to permanent representation and ultimately elevated a forum for engaging on high-stakes issues like the South China Sea. We’ve encouraged India’s “Look East” policy as a way to weave another big democracy into the fabric of the Asia Pacific. We’ve used trade negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership to find common ground with a former adversary in Vietnam. And the list goes on. Our effort has encompassed all the levers of powers and more that I’ve both discussed and that we have utilized.

And you can ask yourself: How could we approach an issue as thorny and dangerous as territorial disputes in the South China Sea without a deep understanding of energy politics, subtle multilateral diplomacy, smart economic statecraft, and a firm adherence to universal norms?

Or think about Burma. Supporting the historic opening there took a blend of economic, diplomatic, and political tools. The country’s leaders wanted the benefits of rejoining the global economy. They wanted to more fully participate in the region’s multilateral institutions and to no longer be an international pariah. So we needed to engage with them on many fronts to make that happen, pressing for the release of political prisoners and additional reforms while also boosting investment and upgrading our diplomatic relations.

Then there’s China. Navigating this relationship is uniquely consequential, because how we deal with one another will define so much of our common future. It is also uniquely complex, because – as I have said on many occasions, and as I have had very high-level Chinese leaders quote back to me – we are trying to write a new answer to the age-old question of what happens when an established power and a rising power meet.

To make this work, we really do have to be able to use every lever at our disposal all the time. So we expanded our high-level engagement through the Strategic & Economic Dialogue to cover both traditional strategic issues like North Korea and maritime security, and also emerging challenges like climate change, cyber security, intellectual property concerns, as well as human rights.

Now, this approach was put to the test last May when we had to keep a summit meeting of the dialogue on track while also addressing a crisis over the fate of a blind human rights dissident who had sought refuge in our American Embassy. Not so long ago, such an incident might very well have scuttled the talks. But we have though intense effort, confidence building, we have built enough breadth and resilience into the relationship to be able to defend our values and promote our interests at the same time.

We passed that test, but there will be others. The Pacific is big enough for all of us, and we will continue to welcome China’s rise – if it chooses to play a constructive role in the region. For both of us, the future of this relationship depends on our ability to engage across all these issues at once.
That’s true as well for another complicated and important region: the Middle East and North Africa.

I’ve talked at length recently about our strategy in this region, including in speeches at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Saban Forum, and in my recent testimony before Congress. So let me just say this.

There has been progress: American soldiers have come home from Iraq. People are electing their leaders for the first time in generations, or ever, in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. The United States and our partners built a broad coalition to stop Qadhafi from massacring his people. And a ceasefire is holding in Gaza. All good things. But not nearly enough.

Ongoing turmoil in Egypt and Libya point to the difficulties of unifying fractured countries and building credible democratic institutions. The impasse between Israel and the Palestinians shows little sign of easing. In Syria, the Assad regime continues to slaughter its people and incite inter-communal conflict. Iran is pursuing its nuclear ambitions and sponsoring violent extremists across the globe. And we continue to face real terrorist threats from Yemen and North Africa.

So I will not stand here and pretend that the United States has all the solutions to these problems. We do not. But we are clear about the future we seek for the region and its peoples. We want to see a region at peace with itself and the world – where people live in dignity, not dictatorships, where entrepreneurship thrives, not extremism. And there is no doubt that getting to that future will be difficult and will require every single tool in our toolkit.

Because you can’t have true peace in the Middle East without addressing both the active conflicts and the underlying causes. You can’t have true justice unless the rights of all citizens are respected, including women and minorities. You can’t have the prosperity or opportunity that should be available unless there’s a vibrant private sector and good governance.

And of this I’m sure: you can’t have true stability and security unless leaders start leading; unless countries start opening their economies and societies, not shutting off the internet or undermining democracy; investing in their people’s creativity, not fomenting their rage; building schools, not burning them. There is no dignity in that and there is no future in it either.

Now, there is no question that everything I’ve discussed and all that I left off this set of remarks adds up to a very big challenge that requires America to adapt to these new realities of global power and influence in order to maintain our leadership. But this is also an enormous opportunity. The United States is uniquely positioned in this changing landscape.

The things that make us who we are as a nation – our openness and innovation, our diversity, our devotion to human rights and democracy – are beautifully matched to the demands of this era and this interdependent world. So as we look to the next four years and beyond, we have to keep pushing forward on this agenda, consolidate our engagement in the Asia Pacific without taking our eyes off the Middle East and North Africa; keep working to curb the spread of deadly weapons, especially in Iran and North Korea; effectively manage the end of our combat mission in Afghanistan without losing focus on al-Qaida and its affiliates; pursue a far-ranging economic agenda that sweeps from Asia to Latin America to Europe.

And keep looking for the next Burmas. They’re not yet at a position where we can all applaud, but which has begun a process of opening. Capitalize on our domestic energy renewal and intensify our efforts on climate change, and then take on emerging issues like cyber security, not just across the government but across our society.

You know why we have to do all of this? Because we are the indispensable nation. We are the force for progress, prosperity and peace. And because we have to get it right for ourselves. Leadership is not a birthright. It has to be earned by each new generation. The reservoirs of goodwill we built around the world during the 20th century will not last forever. In fact, in some places, they are already dangerously depleted. New generations of young people do not remember GIs liberating their countries or Americans saving millions of lives from hunger and disease. We need to introduce ourselves to them anew, and one of the ways we do that is by looking at and focusing on and working on those issues that matter most to their lives and futures.

So because the United States is still the only country that has the reach and resolve to rally disparate nations and peoples together to solve problems on a global scale, we cannot shirk that responsibility. Our ability to convene and connect is unparalleled, and so is our ability to act alone whenever necessary.

So when I say we are truly the indispensible nation, it’s not meant as a boast or an empty slogan. It’s a recognition of our role and our responsibilities. That’s why all the declinists are dead wrong. (Laughter.) It’s why the United States must and will continue to lead in this century even as we lead in new ways. And we know leadership has its costs. We know it comes with risks and can require great sacrifice. We’ve seen that painfully again in recent months. But leadership is also an honor, one that Chris Stevens and his colleagues in Benghazi embodied. And we must always strive to be worthy of that honor.

That sacred charge has been my north star every day that I’ve served as Secretary of State. And it’s been an enormous privilege to lead to the men and women of the State Department and USAID, nearly 70,000 serving here in Washington and in more than 270 posts around the world. They get up and go to work every day, often in frustrating, difficult, and dangerous circumstances, because they believe, as we believe, that the United States is the most extraordinary force for peace and progress the world has ever known.

And so today, after four years in this job, traveling nearly a million miles and visiting 112 countries, my faith in our nation is even stronger, and my confidence in our future is as well. I know what it’s like when that blue and white airplane emblazoned with the words “United States of America” touches down in some far-off capital and I get to feel the great honor and responsibility it is to represent the world’s indispensable nation. I’m confident that my successor and his successors and all who serve in the position that I’ve been so privileged to hold will continue to lead in this century just as we did in the last – smartly, tirelessly, courageously – to make the world more peaceful, more safe, more prosperous, more free. And for that, I am very grateful.

Thank you. (Applause.)

Political Headlines January 30, 2013: John Kerry defends Senate, bidding farewell to a ‘great’ institution

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

John Kerry defends Senate, bidding farewell to a ‘great’ institution

Source: WaPo, 1-30-13

Video: Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) gave a more than hour-long farewell speech to the Senate Wednesday, the day after he was confirmed as secretary of state. He hailed the Senate’s history and said the legislative body would always be in his soul.

n an unusually emotional speech, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) bid farewell to his colleagues Wednesday by rejecting criticisms of a “broken Senate,” forcefully defending the chamber and all its unique rules as an institution that is meant to forge great compromise among competing personalities.

The next secretary of state — once considered aloof and always searching for a promotion out of the Senate — tearfully sketched out a 50-minute rebuttal to the growing cacophony that deems the Senate’s customs and procedures outdated in today’s political environment. He declared the current version of the chamber “a lasting memorial to the miracle of the American experiment.”…READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines January 30, 2013: John Kerry’s Senate Farewell Speech

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Text of John Kerry’s farewell speech

Source: Boston.com, 1-30-13

Below is the full text of John Kerry’s farewell address to the Senate, as delivered.

I want to begin by thanking my colleagues, all of them for their unbelievably generous comments to me personally, in the committee, and on the floor, in the halls, meetings over the course of the last weeks. I will always be grateful for our friendships, and I thank my wife Teresa who is here sitting in the family gallery, and my entire family for their unbelievable support through this journey.

Five times Massachusetts has voted to send me to the United States Senate. Yesterday, nearly three decades after the people of Massachusetts first voted me into this office, the people I worked with in the Senate voted me out of it.

As always, I accept the Senate’s sound judgment!

Eight years ago, I admit that I had a very different plan, slightly different anyway, to leave the Senate, but 61 million Americans voted that they wanted me to stay here with you.

And so staying here – I learned about humility, and I learned that sometimes the greatest lesson comes not from victory, but from just dusting off a defeat and starting over when you get knocked down.

I was reminded throughout this journey of something that’s often said but not always fully appreciated. All of us Senators are only as good as our staff. Staff that gives up their late nights and weekends; postpones vacations; doesn’t get home in time to tuck children in to bed—and all of these lost moments because they’re here helping us serve. They’re not elected, they didn’t get into public service to get rich, that’s for sure, and their names are rarely in the newspapers, but from the staff in the mailrooms to the people who answer the front phones to the policy experts and the managers — the legislative correspondents who write the letters, the caseworkers who make government accountable, and the people everywhere in between — they make the Senate work for people. I’ve been blessed to have a spectacular staff and while I know every one of my colleagues would say the same about their staffs – its true about mine.

If I start naming names I’m sure to miss someone –so I’m not going to – but I think everyone on my staff will understand why I want to acknowledge five who are not with us any longer. They’re up in heaven looking down on all of us and Ted Kennedy’s probably drafted them all: Jayona Beal, Jeanette Boone, Bill Bradley, Louise Etheridge and Gene Heller, the latter two of whom were senior citizen volunteers in my Boston office who opened our mail for over a decade, not paid, they just did this out of their love for country. What a special twosome they were. We miss them all, and we thank them for their selflessness and their contribution, as I do the entire staff of 561 incredible men and women in Massachusetts and Washington that I’ve been privileged to work with through these 28 plus years.

I also think about the interns – 1,393– who have come in and out of our offices from Washington to Worcester. And I’m especially proud of those who started as interns and ended as my Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, senior policy staffers, or the Kerry interns who went on to work not just for me, but who have for the last four years been top speechwriters, trip directors, and senior communications staff at the White House for the President of the United States. I’m proud of our internship program, and grateful to the people who built it and who sustain it.

I also want to thank the incredible group of unsung heroes who literally make the Senate work – people who work not for individual Senators but for all of us, in every room and nook and cranny of this great series of buildings, the men and women who operate the Senate subways, Darrell, many others and the trains and elevators. They take us to and from votes and meetings. They are really the glue and we couldn’t function without them. The Capitol Police who protect us, police who many started to notice a little bit more after that awful day in 1998 when two were shot and killed on a busy Wednesday afternoon.

The parliamentarians and the clerks and staff here on the floor — including Gary, Tim, Tricia, Meredith, and all the folks on the cloakroom and Dave on the other side and all the folks in the Republican cloakroom, all of whom help keep us going and are unfailingly patient when we call for the umpteenth time to find out whether the vote schedule is going to let us make it home to a child’s dance recital or birthday party. I want to thank the many Bertie Bowmans who came here more than forty years ago, dug in, and made the Senate their cause and their concern. People like Meg Murphy of the Foreign Relations Committee who makes everybody’s life easier.

And, I thank the reporters who catch us in the hallways, trap us, ambush us in the hallways —- , despite all the changes and challenges in their own business, still dutifully document the first drafts of American history. I thank all the incredible people who travel through these halls working incredibly hard to get it right, people of character who cover this place as a public service not a sport – and I thank them. I thank David Rogers for all he’s stood for so long in this institution. It is hard to imagine my job without seeing him in that long green coat waiting by the elevators after a late night vote.

Sometimes in politics, it’s now almost a sport in America to dismiss the contributions of the people who work in government, people who make the Senate work, but people that the public never see. I admired the way our former colleague Ted Kaufman used to come down here once a week and tell the story of one individual federal worker. The stories are legion. Instead of tearing these people down, we should be lifting them up, and I thank them all for the part they play in our democracy.

I will share with you that now that I’ve come to this moment in the journey, I can say without reservation that nothing prepares you for it.

Many times now in 29 years, I’ve been at my desk here on the floor, starting way over there, number 99, listening as colleagues bid the Senate farewell. Sometimes a farewell speech signals a complete departure from public life, sometimes a new journey altogether. Sometimes a forced departure. Sometimes a leap for freedom. I’m grateful that at this moment, thanks to my colleagues, serendipity and the trust of our President, while I’m closing a chapter, it’s not the final one. But I assure you, amid the excitement and the possibility, I do feel a wistfulness about leaving the United States Senate. And that’s because, despite the obvious frustrations of recent days and years, a frustration we all share — this place remains one of the most extraordinary institutions of any kind on the face of the earth.

On occasion we’ve all heard a Senator take their leave condemning the Senate for being broken, or for having become an impossible setting in which to do the peoples’ business.

Of course, many have later confessed just how much they missed and appreciated the Senate’s unique character after they’d bid it farewell.

I want to be very clear about my feelings: I do not believe the Senate is broken — certainly not as an institution. There is nothing wrong with the Senate that can’t be fixed by what’s right about the Senate – the predominant and weighty notion that 100 American citizens, chosen by their neighbors to serve from states as different as Massachusetts and Montana, can always choose to put parochial or personal interests aside and find the national interest.

I believe it is the honor of a lifetime, an extraordinary privilege to have represented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States Senate for more than 28 years, just like each of you feel about your state. What a remarkable gift it has been to carry the banner of Senator from Massachusetts, a banner passed from the sons of the American Revolution like Daniel Webster to the sons of immigrants like Paul Tsongas, and to know that a state where the abolitionists crusaded at Faneuil Hall and the suffragettes marched in Quincy Market could send to Washington sons like Ted Kennedy and Ed Brooke who fought to expand civil rights – and now a woman, Elizabeth Warren, who proved that in Massachusetts the glass ceiling has finally been forever shattered.

And what a remarkable gift Massachusetts has given me to come here and learn so much about the rest of our country. I’ve had the privilege of learning what really makes our nation tick. What a gift to have been the nominee of my party, to have come within a whisper of winning the Presidency against a wartime incumbent, but more importantly, to have experienced the magic of our nation in such personal ways.

To experience the gift of traveling along the banks of the mighty Mississippi, through Iowa and South Dakota and along the rivers where Lewis and Clark marked and measured the dream of our first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, who foresaw an America that would advance into the West. To experience a journey that took me to Alabama where I stood silently in the very pulpit from which Dr. King preached his dream of an America united and dipped my fingers into the fountain in Birmingham, where water flows over the names of those murdered trying to vote, or just registering to vote; to see the water trickle over the words of Dr. King’s prayer that justice might “roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” I drove across the Hoover Dam and wondered as I did at what America can accomplish when we want to; driving across the Golden Gate Bridge at dawn and reminded that it was built at the height of the Great Depression when so many feared our best days were behind us. What I’ve seen and heard and learned in traveling across our country as a Senator from Massachusetts has prepared me more for my travels to other countries as a Secretary of State than any travel to any foreign capital.

I already know I will miss the best reward of carrying the title Senator, and that’s when you open a letter from someone who has traveled every route and exhausted every option, and who ultimately turned to you as the last resort and they finally got the help they needed. There is nothing that beats a letter that says, “I tried everything and no one would listen but you got it done!” Or, sometimes when you’re walking a street in a community at home and someone thanks you for a personal response they never expected to receive. That’s when public service has more meaning than the war of words our constituents dodge on the cable news.

Standing here at this desk that once belonged to President Kennedy and to Ted Kennedy, I can’t help but be reminded that even the nation’s greatest leaders — and all the rest of us — are merely temporary workers. I am reminded that this chamber is a living museum, a lasting memorial to the miracle of the American experiment.

No one has captured this phenomenon more eloquently or comprehensively as Robert Caro did in his masterpiece about the Senate, called Master of the Senate. I’m sure many in this room have read it. In that book, before we learn of the levers that Lyndon Johnson pulled to push our nation toward civil rights, Caro described the special powers that the Founders gave the Senate — and only the Senate. “Powers,” Caro writes, “designed to make the Congress independent of the President and to restrain and act as a check on his authority: power to approve his appointments, even the appointments he made within his own Administration, even appointments to his own Cabinet.” This body has now exercised that power on my behalf, and I will always be grateful.

Another master of the Senate, Massachusetts’ Daniel Webster, delivered 183 years ago this week what has often been praised as the greatest speech in Senate history. He stood at the desk that now belongs to the senior Senator from New Hampshire and argued forcefully in favor of the very idea that makes us the United States: that we’re all in this together, that we each have a stake in the successes and failures of our countrymen, that what happens in Ohio matters to those in South Carolina, or in Massachusetts or to Montanans. “Union and Liberty,” Webster shouted. “Now and forever, one and inseparable!”

As Caro retells it, “those words, spoken among the desks, in the Senate” left those in the gallery in tears and cast a model for how those of us in this chamber must consider the constituents of our colleagues, as well as our own.

But the truth is that none of us ran for office because of a great debate held centuries ago. None of us moved here because of the moving words of a Senator long since departed. We honor this history, but we’re here because of the legacy that we can and want to leave. It is up to us–to my colleagues here today and those to come after us, it is up to us to keep the Senate great. I fully believe we will meet that obligation— if, as the President told the nation and the world last week, we seize this moment together.

Yes–Congress and public life face their difficulties these days, but not because the structure that our Founding Fathers gave us is inherently flawed. For sure, there are moments of great frustration — for the American people and for everybody in this place. But I don’t believe they are the fault of the institution itself. It’s not the rules that confound us per se. It’s the choices people make about those rules. The rules we work by now are essentially the same ones that were here when I joined the Senate and found things to move much more easily than they do today.

They are essentially the same rules under which Daniel Webster and Lyndon Johnson operated, and they did great things. They are almost the same rules Mike Mansfield, Everett Dirksen, Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch used to pass great pieces of legislation. They are the same rules under which the Senate Democrats and President George H.W. Bush passed an agreement including tax increases to at last begin to tackle the deficit. I would remind everyone here, as I take my leave from the Senate, when President George H.W. Bush returned from agreeing to a deficit reduction deal at Andrews Air Force Base, he wrote in his diary that he might well have sealed his fate as a one term President. He did what he thought was right for the country and laid the groundwork for our ability to three times balance the budget at the end of the 1990s. That’s courage and the Senate and the Congress and the country need more of it.

Frankly, the problems we live through today come from individual choices made by Senators themselves—not the rules. When an individual Senator – or a colluding caucus — determine that the comity essential to an institution like the Senate is a barrier to individual ambition or party ambition, the country loses. Those are the moments in which the Senate fulfills, not its responsibility to the people, but its reputation as a sanctuary of gridlock.

I ask colleagues to remember the words of Ben Franklin as that long Philadelphia summer yielded our remarkable Constitution. Late at night, after their work was complete, Dr. Franklin was walking down the steps of Constitution Hall, of Independence Hall, and a woman called out to him and she said: “Well, Doctor, what have we got– a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin answered: “A republic — if you can keep it.” Sustaining a functioning republic is work and it’s more than ever, I believe, our challenge today.

I’m hardly the first and will not be the last to call on Congress to remember why we’re here, to prioritize our shared interests above the short-term, to bridge the breadth of the partisan divide and reach across the aisle and take the long view.

Many have stood here, delivering farewell speeches and lamented what became of the Washington where President Reagan and Speaker O’Neill could cultivate an affiliation stronger than party, or a Congress that saw true friendships between Senators like Kennedy and Hatch, Inouye and Stevens, Obama and Coburn—the odd couples as they have been dubbed.

I can’t tell you why, but I think it’s possible this moment may see a turn in the spirit of the Senate. There are new whispers of desire for progress, rumors of new coalitions, and sense of possibility whether it is on energy or immigration. I am deeply impressed by a new generation of Senators who seem to have come here determined not to give in to the cynicism but to get the people’s business done. I am confident that when today’s freshmen take their turns in leaving the Senate, they will be able to tell of new Senators added to that inestimable list of odd couples. And with any luck, by then it will not be odd.

So I leave here convinced that we can keep our republic strong. When President Kennedy observed that “Our problems are manmade; therefore they can be solved by man,” he was talking about a much more literal kind of nuclear option than the euphemism we use today to discuss Senate rules. But his vision is just as important for us to recognize in our time, whether we are talking about the ability of Senators to debate and vote, or about any of the issues on which they do so. It is still true today, as he said 50 years ago, that “reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe he said they can do it again.” I believe that too.

So what effort do we need to put our reason and spirit into? I believe there are three challenges that have conspired to bring about a dangerous but reversible erosion in the quality of our democracy: the decline of comity, the deluge of money and the disregard for facts.

First, I have witnessed what we all have: a loss of simple comity, the respect that we owe one another and the sense of common cause that brings all of us here. The Senate as a body can change its rules to make it more efficient, sure. But only Senators, one by one, in their own hearts, can change their approach to legislating, which Henry Clay correctly defined as the art of consensus.

I came to the Senate in 1985 as a member of a hopeful and hard-charging class of freshmen. Paul Simon, Tom Harkin, Al Gore, Phil Gramm, Jay Rockefeller and I all have at least three things in common: we were all sworn in as Senators on the same day, we each explored running or ran for the White House, and none of us made it there. The last remaining member of that class, Senator Mitch McConnell, has now again been elevated by his peers as the Republican Leader.

I see a lot of a very similar aspiration to what we felt when I came here in 1985, and today’s freshmen and sophomores. Many came to the Senate running on the premise that it’s broken beyond repair. I encourage each and every one of them to reject this premise in order to restore the promise of the Senate. The Senate cannot break unless we let it. After all, the value of this institution, like any instrument of power, is in how we use it.

But we cannot ignore the fact that today, treaties that would have years ago passed 100-0 don’t pass at all. People who want to vote for something that they believe in actually don’t do so, for fear of retribution. That is a reflection on all of us. As I prepare to represent our nation in capitals around the world, I’m conscious that my credibility as a diplomat – and ours as a country – is determined to a great degree by what happens in our own capital city. The antidote to that, and it is pushed by rival countries is to demonstrate that we can get our economic house in order. We can be no stronger abroad than we are at home.

The unwillingness of some to yield to national interest is damaging to America’s prospects in the world. We are quick to talk about the global economy and about global competition, but it’s our own procrastination and outright avoidance of obvious choices that threatens our own future. Other nations are both quick and glad to fill the vacuum that’s brought about by our inaction.

If the Senate favors inaction over courage and gimmicks over common ground, the risk is not that we will fail to move forward. It is that we will fall behind, we will stay behind and we will surrender our promise to those who are more than willing to turn our squandered opportunity into their advantage. The world keeps turning; the Senate cannot afford to forever stand still.

Just as failing to deal with our deficit and our debt puts our long-term interests at risk, so does taking America to the brink of default. Our self-inflicted wounds reduce our leverage and influence in the world. And by failing to act, Congress is making it harder to actually advance America’s interests, and making it harder for American business to compete and for American workers to succeed. If America is to continue to lead the free world, this must end.

Now we’ve all bemoaned the lack of comity in the Senate, but you who remain here will have the power to restore it. The choice to work respectfully with one another is about as simple as it gets.

One suggestion perhaps while I’m honored by the presence of so many colleagues here now, Republicans, Democrats, I have to say we would all look forward to more days when United States Senate desks are full with Senators debating and deliberating, learning, listening, and leading. We would all be stronger if this Chamber is once again crowded because it is the world’s greatest deliberative body, the home of debate and deliberation, and not only when it becomes a departure lounge.

There is another challenge we must address – and it is the corrupting force of the vast sums of money necessary to run for office. The unending chase for money, I believe, threatens to steal our democracy itself. I’ve used the word corrupting – and I mean by it not the corruption of individuals, but a corruption of a system itself that all of us are forced to participate in against our will. The alliance of money and the interests it represents, the access it affords those who have it at the expense of those who don’t, the agenda it changes or sets by virtue of its power, is steadily silencing the voice of the vast majority of Americans who have a much harder time competing, or who can’t compete at all.

The insidious intention of that money is to set the agenda, change the agenda, block the agenda, define the agenda of Washington. How else could we possibly have a US tax code of some 76,000 pages? Ask yourself, how many Americans have their own page, their own tax break, their own special deal?

We should not resign ourselves Mr. President to a distorted system that corrodes our democracy. This is what contributes to the justified anger of the American people. They know it. They know we know it. And yet nothing happens. The truth requires that we call the corrosion of money in politics what it is: it is a form of corruption and it muzzles more Americans than it empowers, and it is an imbalance that the world has taught us can only sow the seeds of unrest.

Like the question of comity in the Senate, the influence of money in our politics also influences our credibility around the world. And so too does the difficulty, the unacceptable and extraordinary difficulty, we have in 2013 in operating the machinery of our own democracy here at home. How extraordinary and how diminishing that more than 40 years after the Voting Rights Act, so many of our fellow citizens still have great difficulty when they show up on election day to cast their vote and have their voice heard. That too is an issue that matters to all of us – because for a country that can and should extol the virtues of democracy around the world, our job is made more difficult when through long lines and overt voter suppression, and efforts to suppress people’s ability to exercise the right that we extol, so many struggle still to exercise that right here at home.

The last of these three obstacles that we have the ability, if not yet the will, to overcome is the unbelievable disregard for facts and science in the conduct of our affairs. It, like the first two, degrades our credibility abroad as well as at home.

My friends, the persistent shouting match of the perpetual campaign, one that takes place in parallel universes thanks to our polarized, self-selecting media, makes it harder and harder to build consensus among people. The people don’t know what to believe. So in many ways it encourages an oversimplification of problems that too often retreat to slogans, not ideas for real solutions.

America, I regret to say, is increasingly defaulting rather than choosing — and so we fail to keep pace with other nations in the renewal of our infrastructure, in the improvement of our schools, in the choice of our energy sources, in the care and nurturing of our children, in the fulfillment of our God-given responsibility to protect life here on earth. That too must change or our experiment is at risk.

To remain a great nation, we must do the business of our country. That begins by putting our economic house in order. And it begins by working from the same set of facts.

Though I believe we can’t solve any of these problems unless you really solve all of them, I note these three challenges because I believe the Senate is going to be locked into stalemate or our politics are going to be irreversibly poisoned unless we break out. I do so hopefully, as someone who respects and loves this institution and loves this country and wants to see us move forward.

Some things we know are moving forward. In the same time that comity has decreased and the influence has money has increased, I have seen the Senate change for the better. These halls used to be filled with the voices of men and men only. Decisions affecting more than half the population were made by people representing the other half. When I walked into the Old Senate Chamber to take my first ceremonial oath 28 years ago, I was joined by my two teenage daughters. It struck me that I had twice as many daughters as there were women in the Senate. Today, with the service of 20 women, including Massachusetts’ new junior Senator, this is a stronger, smarter place; more representative of our belief that out of many, we are one; more capable of fulfilling the vision carried from Washington to Webster to our current President that we are a stronger nation when our leadership reflects our population.

We have made huge strides in turning the page on gay rights. In 1993, I testified before Strom Thurman’s Armed Services Committee pushing to lift the ban on gays serving in the military and I ran into a world of misperceptions. I thought I was on a Saturday Night Live skit. Today at last, that policy is gone forever and we are a country that honors the commitment of all willing to fight and die for our country. We’ve gone from the Senate that passed DOMA over my objections to one that just welcomed its first openly gay Senator. There are good changes that have taken place for our Senate and our country. But we have more work to do. This place needs more women, more people of color, more diversity of background and experience.

But it is still a remarkable place. I’m reminded of the letters Harry Truman used to write home to his wife, Bess, as he sat in the back row of the chamber. Late one night, after one of the great debates of the New Deal era, he wrote, “I hear my colleagues, and I pinch myself and ask, ‘How did I get here?’” Several months later, he wrote Bess once more: “Again it is late at night and I am sitting here listening to the debate, I look across the aisle at my colleagues and I listen and listen, and I hear my colleagues and I ask myself, How did they get here?”

Well, I have no doubt that colleagues have asked that question about me or any one of us. Its been back and forth. But, 29 years after I came here, I have learnt something about how you solve that.

I learned that the Senate runs on relationships. I know that some of my more recent colleagues, sent here in tumultuous election cycles, hear that and think it’s code for checking their beliefs at the door, and “going Washington.” It’s not — and I’d add, don’t kid yourself: no one got here on a platform of pledging to join an exclusive club and forget where they came from.

When I say that relationships matter, I don’t mean back-slapping, glad-handing, hail-fellow well-met, go-along-to-get-along relationships. I mean real relationships.

And today’s hard charging colleagues who came to Washington to shake things up, I’d remind them: so did I, so did Tom Harkin, and the others I mentioned. If I told you that a 40-year-old newly minted Senator John Kerry was going to tell you that relationships matter most, I would have looked at you like you had three heads. I cut my teeth in grassroots activism. I didn’t come up through the political ranks. I burst onto the scene as an activist and when you’re an activist, all that singularly matters to the exclusion of almost all else are the issues. Where are you on an issue. Right or wrong and that’s the ballgame. Wrong, that’s not the ballgame.

That’s not what makes a good Senator. That’s not what makes the Senate work.

My late colleague of 25 years, Ted Kennedy, taught me that. I saw him late nights on the Senate floor sitting with his colleagues. Talking. Listening. He wanted to know about your state. He wanted to know about your family. He wanted to know why you came here. He had a unique ability to know not just what he needed from you, on a vote or a piece of legislation, but to know what you needed on a personal level, as a friend, as a colleague, as a partner. My old friend now Vice President, Joe Biden, had a saying in his family: “if you have to ask, it’s too late.” With Teddy, you never had to ask, he already knew – and he was there. He was there on a foggy morning on Nantucket when my father passed away, when Teddy just materialized almost out of nowhere, and there he was there at my front door. He didn’t call ahead. He didn’t ask. He just came to mark the passage. He came to listen. He was there. It was an instinct for people and an impulse to help. He taught that to so many of during that period time somewhere along the line, he passed it on not just to me, but to others in my class of Senators who came here in 1984. I will never forget in 2007, on the day when I announced I wouldn’t be running again for President, a tough day, another passage, when I got a call that Tom Harkin wanted to come see me. My staff surmised that he was probably coming to ask for money for the Iowa Democratic Party. They were wrong. It was a visit where Tom came just to share a few words that were very simple but which meant the world to me. A colleague visiting just to say he was proud that I was our party’s nominee in 2004 and that he looked forward to working with me more in this institution. Let me tell you, those are the conversations that make the difference, that you never forget, and that is the Senate at its best, the place where relationships matter most.

And it matters. Because Teddy and Tom Harkin and so many others here understood instinctively that if 100 Senators really knew each other, and our leader has worked very hard to try to find a way to make this happen, then you can find ways to work together.

And, to my surprise, I learned it and lived it in my time here in ways I never could’ve predicted, alongside people I never thought I’d count among my proudest friends.

John McCain last week introduced me at my confirmation hearing. John and I met here in the Senate coming from very different positions and perspectives. We both loved the Navy. I still do to this day, but I had different feelings from John about a war. For both of us, Vietnam was a demarcation point in our lives the way it was for so many of our generation.

But here in the Senate, late one night on a CODEL – for people listening who don’t know, it’s a trip of Senators, Congressmen going somewhere in the world – we were going to Kuwait after the first Gulf War, John and I found ourselves on a C-130 sitting opposite each other. Neither one of us could sleep, so we talked. We talked late into the night about our lives and our war.

Shortly thereafter, George Mitchell and Bob Dole threw us together on a select committee to investigate the fate of Americans still missing from the war in which we’d fought. It was a tough time and an emotional issue in an era where Rambo was a box office smash and Newsweek magazine cover printed provocative photos which asked whether Americans were still alive over there.

Into that cacophonous cauldron, John McCain and I were thrown together. Some were suspicious of both of us. But together we found common ground. I will never forget standing with John in the very cell in the Hanoi Hilton in which he spent a number of years of his life, just the two of us, alone in the cell listening to him talk about that experience. I will always be grateful for his partnership in helping to make real peace with Vietnam by establishing the most significant process in the history of our country, or of any country, for the accounting for missing and dead in any war, and afterwards then working to lift the embargo and ultimately normalizing relations with an old enemy. John had every reason to hate but he didn’t. Instead, we were able to heal deep wounds and end a war that divided an awful lot of people for much too long. And that is a common experience and only the relationships forged in the Senate could have made that happen.

John has this great expression, “a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed.” He loves to debate, he loves to battle. And so do I. But I’ll tell you having fought besides him and fought against him, I can tell you it’s a heck of a lot better and more fun to have John fighting alongside you.

And we still have differences. There’s been a lot of newsprint has been used up covering some of them. But we both care about the Senate as an institution, and we both care about our country’s leadership in the world, even when we see it differently. And we both know that at some point, America’s got to come together.

We’ve shared this common experience and we’ve seen a lot together. We both were able to travel the country as the presidential nominee for our party and both returned to the Senate to carry on in a different way. Few people know what all that feels like. But just being by his side in Hanoi made it impossible not to be overwhelmed by his sense of patriotism, and his devotion to country. But it meant something else: if you can stand on the kind of common ground we found at the Hanoi Hilton, finding common ground on issues isn’t hard at all. I will always thank John McCain for that lesson. One of the magical things about the Senate is this amazing mix of people and how they can come together to make something happen.

I have learned and been impressed by the experiences of every single one of my colleagues and I honestly marvel at each state’s special character in the people they send here. I have learned from all: from the fiery, street-smart social worker from Maryland; from a down-to-earth, no-nonsense farmer from Montana; from a principled, conservative doctor from Oklahoma; from an amazingly tenacious advocate for women and the environment who blazed a trail from Brooklyn to Rancho Mirage and the United States Senate, who teams with a former Mayor of San Francisco who took office after the assassination of Harvey Milk and is committed to stand against violence and for equality; from a cantankerous, maverick patriot and former prisoner of war from Arizona; from a songwriting, original compassionate conservative from Utah; from a fervent, gravel-voiced people’s champion from Ohio; from a soft-spoken, loyal Medal of Honor winner from Hawaii who used to sit right here, from a college professor turned proud prairie populist and Senate Pied Piper taken from all us far too soon and far too quickly. From every member of the Senate, there are characteristics, passions, quirks and beliefs that bring this place alive and unite to make it the most extraordinary legislative body on earth.

That’s what I love about the Senate.

I love that instead of fighting against each other, Bill Frist, the former Republican Leader, and I were able to join forces to fight HIV and AIDS around the globe, and to convince an unlikely conservative named Jesse Helms to support and pass a bill unanimously that has saved millions of lives on our planet. That’s what makes this place so special.

Instead of ignoring a freshman Senator, Chairman Claiborne Pell allowed me to pass my very first amendment to change our policy on the Philippines, and so I found myself with Dick Lugar paired as Senate election observers who helped expose the voter fraud of the Marcos regime, ending a dictatorship and giving a nation of more than 90 million people the opportunity to know democracy again. That’s what the Senate can do, and that’s what I love about it.

Instead of focusing on our different accents and opposite ideologies, Jesse Helms and I found that our concern for illegal drugs was greater than any political differences between us, and so Jesse made it possible for an investigation to proceed and for the Senate to expose the linkages between the Contras in Nicaragua and the flow of drugs to American cities. That’s what the Senate can do.

Mr. President, the Senate can still work if we learn from and listen to each other — two responsibilities that are, like Webster said about liberty and union, “one and inseparable.”

And so as I offer my final words on the Senate floor, I remember that I came of age in a Senate where freshman Senators didn’t speak all that often.

Senators no longer hold their tongues through whole sessions of Congress, and they shouldn’t. Their voices are just as valuable, and their votes count just as much as the most tenured member of this body. But being heard by others does not exempt them from listening to others.

I came to the National Mall in 1971 with fellow veterans who wanted only to talk to our leaders about the war. President Nixon tried to kick us off the Mall. We knocked on door after door on Capitol Hill, but too often couldn’t get an audience with our representatives. A precious few, including Ted Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey, came to where we were camped out and heard what we had to say. And I saw first-hand that our political process works only when leaders are willing to listen — to each other, but also to everyone else.

That is how I first came to the Senate — not with my vote, but with my voice — and that is why the end of my tenure here is in many ways a bookend.

Forty-two years ago, I testified before Senator Fulbright’s Foreign Relations Committee about the realities of war in Vietnam.

It wasn’t until last week that I would sit before that Committee again, this time testifying in my own confirmation hearing. It completed a circle, which I could never have imagined drawing, but one our Founders surely did: That a citizen voicing his opinion about a matter of personal and national consequence could one day use that voice as a Senator, as the Chairman of that same Committee before which he had once testified a private citizen, and then as the President’s nominee for Secretary of State — that is a fitting representation of what we mean when we talk about a government “of the people, for the people and by the people.”

In the decades between then and now, this is what I’ve learned above all else: The privilege of being here is in being able to listen to your constituents. It is the people and their voices – much more than the marble buildings and the inimitable institutions they house – that determine whether or not our democracy works.

In my first appearance before the United States Senate, at the Fulbright Hearings, I began by saying, “I am not here as John Kerry. I am here as one member of the group of one thousand, which is a small representation of a much larger group.”

I feel much the same way today, as I leave. We are still symbols, representatives of the people who have given us the honor to speak and advocate and vote in their name. And that, as the Bible says, is a “charge to keep.”

One day the 99 other Senators who continue on for now and soon to be a 100 again in a few days, will also leave in their own turn — some by their own choosing and some of the people’s. Our time here is not meant to last forever.

If we use the time posture politically in Washington, we weaken our position across the world. If democracy deadlocks here, we raise doubts about democracy everywhere. If we do not in our deeds prove our own ideals, we undermine our security and the sacred mission as the best hope of earth.

But, if we do our jobs right, if we treat our colleagues with respect and build the relationships required to form consensus – and find the courage to follow through on our promises of compromise – the work we do here will long endure.

So let us in the Senate and the House be bigger than our own districts, our own states. Let us in spirit and purpose be as big as the United States of America. Let us stand for our beliefs, but above all let us believe in our common history, our common destiny, and our common obligation to love and lead this exceptional nation.

They say politics stops at the water’s edge. That is obviously not always true, but if we care for our country, politics has its limits at home and abroad. As I leave here, I do so knowing that forever the Senate will be in my soul – and that our country is my cause – and yours.

I thank you all for your friendship and the privilege of serving with you.

Political Headlines January 29, 2013: John Kerry confirmed as secretary of state

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

John Kerry confirmed as secretary of state

Source: WaPo, 1-29-13

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Senate voted 94 to 3 Tuesday to approve Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) as the next secretary of state, with bipartisan tributes and a few words of caution.

Kerry is set to formally take over from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday, becoming the 68th top U.S. diplomat and the first white male to hold the post since Warren Christopher in 1997….READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines January 29, 2013: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Holds a Farewell Global Townterview — Townhall Interview Transcript

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Secretary Clinton Holds a Global Townterview

Townhall

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Newseum
Washington, DC
January 29, 2013

MS. SALES: Hello. I’m Leigh Sales from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Welcome to this town hall-style event with the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has her last day at the State Department this Friday. This is a town hall with a difference though because we have people all around the world ready to ask to questions from Britain to Beirut to Colombia.

Here’s how the event will run in front of our live audience here in the Newseum’s Knight Studio in Washington, D.C. I’ll start the ball rolling with five minutes of discussion with the Secretary, and then we’ll cross to locations around the globe to hear other questions, and we’ll also be taking submissions from social media. Now, of course, live TV is fraught with peril to begin with, but when you throw in six lives satellites around the world, it’s a bit of a high-wire act, so please bear with us if the technology doesn’t quite cooperate as we’d like.

So to start, and for her final town hall, please welcome the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello, Leigh.

MS. SALES: Hi Secretary Clinton. Have a seat.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello, everyone. Hello.

MS. SALES: Super warm welcome there. This is your 59th event like this, so there’s nothing new I can ask you, is there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I’m sure there is. (Laughter.)

MS. SALES: I’ve had a look at some of the transcripts of previous events like this and you’ve been asked some very funny things, from what was Chelsea’s first word, which was Mommy, for the record, to what you favorite film was. I bet they’re all quite memorable in their own way.

SECRETARY CLINTON: They really are because part of what I’ve tried to do in the last four years is to reach out to people across the world, particularly young people, and I’m so happy to see so many of them here in the Newseum. And for me it’s been a learning experience as well, because as I’ve traveled around doing these – this is the 59th, as you said – of these kinds of events, all over the globe I’ve heard what’s on people’s minds and what their questions were, and so it’s been a great two-way communication.

MS. SALES: I have seen some interesting statistics: You’ve had 1,700 meetings with world leaders, 755 meetings at the White House, 570 airplane meals – (laughter) – and three times caught dancing on camera.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, dear. Yes. (Laughter.) That’s supposed to be erased from the record, you know. (Laughter.)

MS. SALES: Now, in a moment I’m going to throw to questions around the world, as I just explained. But first of all, I just want to us to set the scene a little bit by talking about some of the big foreign policy issues that are around in the news. So let’s start with North Africa, which has been very prominent lately. We’ve seen the Islamist extremists in Algeria, of course the ongoing problems in Libya, the crisis in Mali, in recent days violent protests in Egypt. How much of a global security threat is this region?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Leigh, it is becoming a threat, first and foremost, to the people of the region. This is not what the Arab revolution was about, and there’s a great deal of concern across the region about people who choose to use violence to try to impose their extremist views rather than participate in politics. It does have the potential, however, of expanding beyond the region, which is why I think you’re seeing an international concern and coalition coming together to support the people of Mali, to stand by the Government of Algeria, to work with the Government of Libya, so that they themselves are given the tools they need to combat this extremist threat.

MS. SALES: Has there been an insufficient global focus on that part of the world to now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think historically there has been exactly that, that much of Africa – you can separate North Africa from Sub-Saharan Africa – have not had the kind of attention on a range of issues, whether it’s security or development. But that is changing, and it’s very exciting to me that I think seven of the fastest performing economies in the world now are in Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s also exciting to see people in North Africa, after so many decades of oppression, looking to find their own way forward democratically.

But transformations are never easy and they are never preordained. If North Africa and the fruits of the Arab revolution are to be democracy, prosperity, better opportunities particularly for the young people of the region, the people themselves will have to ensure that. And in Sub-Saharan Africa, helping to improve governance and create more opportunity has been one of my primary goals.

MS. SALES: The world saw your passionate response to a Senate committee last week about what happened in Benghazi. You said that you want the focus to be on making sure that something like that can’t happen again. But is it really possible to prevent things like that from happening?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we live in a dangerous world and it’s unpredictable and complex. I think we in government have to do everything we can to provide as secure conditions as possible for our diplomats, our development experts, in order that we don’t end up in bunkers, abdicating from regions that are important to us. But it’s also now an increasing threat, as we saw with the Algerian hostage taking, to businesses, to cultural institutions. We’ve seen the extremists destroying shrines and libraries that were holding priceless remnants and artifacts that were of great meaning to people. So yes, it’s something we have to deal with, but we have to also be realistic that we live in this dangerous world and we can’t retreat from it.

MS. SALES: When we were watching that hearing, we saw the Republican committee members go on the attack. Is Washington today more bitterly partisan than it was when you were first lady, or has it always been like this and we just have a recency bias?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It has been increasingly partisan. It was 20 years ago, 30 years ago, you can go back in history and see certain constituencies represented in our Congress and our politics certainly squaring off against each other. But it’s become more so, and it’s also resulted in less productivity. You can be partisan, you can have a strong sense of the rightness of your position, but democracy and certainly legislative bodies require compromise. And you can’t let compromise become a dirty word because then you veer toward fanaticism.

I mean, we were just talking about extremists who think it’s only their way, they are the ones who have the truth, none of the rest of us have any kind of claim on what is real in their views. And so it’s important in our democracies – like Australia, like the United States – that yes, be passionate, be intense about your feelings, but at the end of the day you’ve got to serve the people who sent you there, and that requires compromise.

MS. SALES: I think at these events you are always asked a question that involves the year 2016, and so I’m not going to ask it because I think somebody else around the world will. So let’s start our criss-cross discussions around the world with the Middle East Broadcasting Corporation, which is based in Dubai. Presenter Muna AbuSulayman is standing by in Beirut.

Muna.

MS. ABUSULAYMAN: Hello, hi. I just wanted to tell you thank you for inviting us to this global town hall. We are very happy to be a part of this. We have a lot of Arab students in the studio in Beirut to ask Madam Secretary a few questions. But I want to actually start the ball rolling and ask the first question myself: Madame Secretary, what is your biggest unfulfilled mission in leaving the Department of State?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Muna, it’s wonderful to see you in Beirut and to have the students there with you. Obviously, I want to see peace in the Middle East and I want to see prosperity that includes all people, and I want to see women and girls given their rights and opportunities. So those are three of the pieces of unfinished business.

Now, as a Secretary of State, a diplomat, I know that a lot of the work that I have done is, by its very nature, complicated and difficult. So it’s not a surprise that some of these big issues would be unfinished. But what’s important is that we continue the work and that we build bridges across our world, across cultures and societies, so that we engage in moving toward a better world that will certainly give more opportunity, peace, and prosperity to the young people in your studio.

MS. ABUSULAYMAN: Well, thank you. We all know how much you’ve worked on linking women rights with human rights, so it is quite appreciated in our parts of the world, but I also have a few questions from the students. And the first question is from Haled.

QUESTION: Yes. Good afternoon, Madam Secretary. Haled Kaber from the Lebanese American University.

My question to you, Madam Secretary is: What is your opinion? The main obstacle these opposition-led demonstrations that are being held in the Arab world are facing, is it the lack of clear organization between its members and not having a unified, clear vision for the future of the country? Is it the involvement of international or regional actors, or maybe the actions that are practiced by the ruling regimes? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it probably is all three. I think you did an excellent summary of three factors that are involved, and let me quickly respond.

The Arab revolutions which have swept the region hold such great promise. But I don’t think that you go from a top-down society that often imposed oppressive regulations and punishments on people for expressing themselves to a democracy overnight. And so when you look at the trajectory, this will take some time, and there has to be a combination of persistence and patience, and I would hope that the opposition demonstrators are demonstrating because they want to participate in the political process, not to derail it. Part of our problem is that there are elements within the countries, certainly in North Africa, who don’t believe in democracy, who don’t believe in equal rights for women and men, who don’t believe that there can be cooperation among people who have different points of view. That has to be overcome.

Now, Lebanon, which has suffered for so many years, as you all know better than I, has this uneasy balance in your democracy, but so far it has sustained the stability of your country. So different countries will reach different conclusions about how to fashion and manage their democracy, but everyone should stand against those who wish to hijack it, whether they are internal or external, who believe that their extremist point of view should cancel out everyone else’s point of view, and really stand up and speak out and work toward what were the aspirations of the people, particularly the young people who stood up and said, “We want a better, different life.”

MS. ABUSULAYMAN: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Of course, extremism is something that we actually have to deal with a lot in the Middle East, and is something that needs to be negotiated quite delicately. And I think the second question from one of our students will lead to that.

QUESTION: Good afternoon. Ahmadin Mohaissen, American University of Beirut. I would like to ask you: With the recent reelection of Benjamin Netanyahu, the chances of peace are almost negligible. Out of your experience, what’s needed to achieve to the most comprehensive and long-lasting peace in the Middle East? What about the role of the USA? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I actually think that this election opens doors, not nails them shut. I think the outcome of the election in which a significant percentage of the Israeli electorate chose to express themselves by saying, “We need a different path than the one we have been pursuing internally and with respect to the Middle East peace process.” So I know that President Obama, my successor, soon-to-be Secretary of State John Kerry, will pursue this, will look for every possible opening.

I have been involved in, one way or another, working toward peace for more than 20 years, first with my husband, then as a senator, now as Secretary of State. And what rests at the core of the problem is great mistrust, great concern on both sides, because I also speak frequently with our Palestinian counterparts. And somehow, we have to look for ways to give the Palestinian people the pathway to peace, prosperity, and statehood that they deserve and give the Israeli people the security and stability that they seek. I think that still is possible, and I can assure you the United States under President Obama will continue to do everything we can to move the parties toward some resolution.

MS. SALES: We’re going to leave Beirut there for now, Muna and the people there. Thank you so much. I mentioned before that maybe we would have some technical issues, and as you could see with the audio there, we did indeed. And also, please just bear with the delay that you have when you’re traveling enormous distances like this.

Let’s go across the other side of the world now to NHK in Tokyo, Japan’s national public broadcaster, where the director of the international news division, Kenji Kohno, is ready with a question.

MR. KOHNO: Good evening from Tokyo. Madam Secretary, thank you very much for this opportunity to talk to you again. We have here a group of 10 Japanese college students, very good students, and let me turn this microphone to them. They have some questions. So who wants to ask the first question? Okay. Here you go.

QUESTION: Hello, Madam Secretary. I’m Yuki Kao coming from the University of Tokyo, so I would like to ask about the future of U.S.-Japan economic relationship. It is widely said that the U.S.-Japan relationship, especially in the field of economy, are becoming weaker and weaker. In my opinion, it is because a lot of Japanese companies are switching their focus onto the emerging markets in Asia.

So how can we reinforce or maintain the U.S.-Japan relationship? Could the Trans-Pacific Partnership be one of the solutions?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m glad you mentioned that at the end of your question, because I certainly believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership holds great benefits for Japan’s economy. And it is true that the United States and Japan have both expanded economically on a broader scale, which of course is necessary because consumers in the middle class in many emerging democracies or emerging economies are now demanding more goods and services.

But I think the Japanese-U.S. relationship is a very secure one, and what we want is to look for new ways that we can work together on behalf of our common values and our hopes for the future. I highly appreciate the excellent working relationship that I’ve had over the last four years with my Japanese counterparts. But I think you’re right to point out that in today’s world, we have to be more creative, innovative, open and transparent about our economies, because Japan and the United States have comparative advantage. We’re high tech, we have highly educated workforces. In order to keep producing jobs and rising incomes, we have to be smart about how we use our economies. So I think the Trans-Pacific Partnership is one way that could really enhance our relationship.

MR. KOHNO: Madam Secretary, let me add my questions, which is on the possibly imminent nuclear test by North Korea. North Korea has still threatened to do this, but your spokesperson said that if they do, the U.S. would take very significant action. I wonder what this significant action means, and I wonder this – more – simply more sanctions would be enough to stop their provocations?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you for that, because we, of course, share Japan’s concerns and the concerns of the entire region about what the new regime in North Korea is doing and threatening. And let me express my regret, because I think with a new young leader we all expected something different. We expected him to focus on improving the lives of the North Korean people, not just the elite, but everyone to have more education, more openness, more opportunity. And instead, he has engaged in very provocative rhetoric and behavior.

So we did go to the United Nations after the missile launch, and with very good work on behalf of our teams, we came up with additional and much tougher sanctions. But we’re going to have to work closely together to try to change the behavior of the North Korean regime. I’ve had long conversations with my Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Chinese counterparts, because this is a threat to all of us. And it is something that is so regrettable when young people the world over, including in North Korea, are getting better connected with the rest of the world, to remain as closed off and denied the opportunities they should have.

So it’s going to be a lengthy consultation. I don’t want to preview what the outcome might be in terms of actions that would have to be taken, because we still hope that there is a way to convince the North Korean regime not to pursue this path.

MR. KOHNO: Now, let me have a student to have the second question. Who wants to have the second question? Okay, you.

QUESTION: Good evening, Madam Secretary. I’m Yosuke Kawanebe from Tokyo University of Science. As mentioned, I think Japan and U.S. will need to have stronger relationships in the future. And I’m an entrepreneur, and I feel our generation is now taking over important positions in politics and businesses. So I want to ask your advice for younger people who want to become leaders, tomorrow’s leaders in the future.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m so happy you asked that question because I think that is something every young person should be considering, particularly in a democracy like Japan. There are many roads to leadership. You mentioned being interested in entrepreneurship. Those kinds of business investment opportunities are leadership ones – starting businesses, building businesses, creating employment. That has to go hand in hand with whatever the political leadership is able to do.

And I believe strongly that we need to open up all of our economies, knock down barriers to the participation of young people, of women. I think you can take any economy in the world, including mine and including yours, and see that there are still barriers to the dreams of young business leaders. And I hope that in the next few years, we will do more to open up our markets, open up credit, clear away the barriers so that a young man like yourself will have a chance to make a real contribution to your country’s economy.

MS. SALES: That’s where we’re going to leave Tokyo; wonderful to see that enthusiasm there with the hands. We might take a Facebook question that we received, Secretary Clinton. It was received in Farsi from Rasoul Ali Asgari.

It said: I’m glad she – meaning you – has regained her health. My only question is if you have issues with the Government of Iran, why destroy the people with the current sanctions in place? It’s very difficult to find medicine in Iran. Where is your sense of humanity?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say on the medicine and on food and other necessities, there are no sanctions. And what we have tried to do, and in fact, I have approved the sending of medicines to Iran for exactly the purpose that is pointed out. We do not want the people of Iran to suffer and certainly to be deprived of necessary medicines. But this is a dilemma for us, and for the entire world, because when I say “us,” I’m not talking only about the United States. But if you look at the United Nations sanctions, the European Union sanctions, across the globe, people are very worried about what the Iranian Government’s actions and intentions are.

We know that there is a lot of support for terrorism by the Iranian Government. We know they send out agents and proxies across the world to do bombings and assassinations. That’s deeply troubling. And we also know that their pursuit of a nuclear weapon would be incredibly dangerous to Iran, to the region and the world.

So we have tried diplomatic outreach. President Obama came into office saying that he wanted to engage in diplomacy with Iran to see if there were a way to end their nuclear weapons program. And we hope that that will still be possible. And we think the people of Iran, in their upcoming election, have the opportunity to send a very clear message. Iranian people are educated, intelligent, historically significant; they deserve to have a government that integrates them into the world, not isolates from the world. So we hope that the Iranian people will speak out and make known their views to their own government.

MS. SALES: Secretary Clinton, let’s see if we can go now to Bogota, in Colombia, to journalist Andrea Bernal. She interviewed you in 2010 in Ecuador, and she’s at NTN24, which is a 24-hour news channel based in South America.

Andrea.

We’ll just wait for the audio to come up on that. Hopefully we can get it. No, we might just see if we can go somewhere else while we wait for that to come up. Let’s go for a Twitter question, Secretary Clinton. We have one here from @ManxNige, Nigel Walker to the State Department: “Can you tell me why the USA didn’t engage with the democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza?”

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, because we believe, and there’s unfortunately a lot of evidence to support this, that Hamas is not interested in democracy, not interested in political participation and pursuits, but instead is largely still a military resistance group. And we’ve made it very clear that if Hamas renounces violence, if they morph themselves into a political entity the way that Fatah and the Palestinian Authority have, from the origins in the PLO. If they accept the previous commitments by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, there’s a place for them at the table. And it would be my great hope that they would do that.

MS. SALES: We’ve had an email question that’s come in from the Antarctic.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, the Antarctic. (Laughter.)

MS. SALES: We’re going everywhere in this discussion —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, my goodness.

MS. SALES: — all around the world. From Marcelo Leppe, a Chilean scientist, he wants to ask if your government has defined any position about the future of the mineral resources in Antarctica.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Excellent question, and hello to everybody in Antarctica. It’s the one continent I haven’t been to so I’m very jealous that you’re down there. (Laughter.) We are working on that. We want the same kind of international agreements and enforcement that has preserved the Antarctic as an international treasure and resource for research and scientific experimentation. I think it’s an important question to raise. I thank you for doing so. I hope that we’ll make progress in order to protect the treasure of the Antarctic that belongs to all of us.

MS. SALES: Let’s have one more Twitter question. It’s from @OliverSB022: “Which former Secretary of State does Hillary Clinton most admire and why?”

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, well, if I say any of my recent successors, I will lose friends, which I don’t want to do. (Laughter.) But I will say that one of the people who I especially admire and am identifying with is Secretary Seward, who was President Lincoln’s Secretary of State. And he was from New York. He was a very successful politician from New York when he became Secretary of State. He had run against President Lincoln – (laughter) – so there’s a little bit of parallel here in the whole team-of-rivals concept. And if anyone has seen the Steven Spielberg movie, “Lincoln,” you see Secretary Seward by Lincoln’s side the whole time, advising and supporting him. And in fact, the night that President Lincoln was assassinated, the conspirators broke into his house and tried to kill him. So I don’t want that to happen to anybody – (laughter ) – but I like his willingness to work with President Lincoln, he made a real difference during our civil war, and I admire him greatly.

MS. SALES: We will try to go to Colombia again shortly, we’re just having some technical issues getting that up. So instead let’s swing over to London, to the BBC, where Ros Atkins is waiting. He’s the presenter of the BBC World Service program “World Have Your Say.” Ros, tells us who’s with you there.

MR. ATKINS: Leigh, hi. And, Secretary Clinton, you’re very welcome to the BBC’s new home here in London. I’ve got five guests; they come from Britain, Greece, Germany and Italy. And our first question is from Carolina.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, my name is Carolina. I come from Turin, in Italy. And I wanted to ask you, what do you think is the most powerful diplomatic tool? Do you think that it’s more economic preponderance or legitimacy in international status, or perhaps just access to the media? And would you have given me the same answer four years ago?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a great question. I think all three are different and they are used differently at different times. Certainly one of my responsibilities, when I became Secretary of State, was to restore American leadership in the world. It had been somewhat damaged and we needed to get out there and reach out to people, demonstrate our willingness to be everywhere in the world, working with people who shared our values and our aspirations, solving crises, doing what we could to deal with many of the underlying problems.

It’s also very important, however, to focus on technology and communication because four years ago, that was not part of diplomacy. We have brought a lot of the tools of modern technology – social media – into the State Department. In fact, we’re using them now with Twitter and Facebook. Because there needs to be a two-way conversation. It’s no longer governments just talking at people, whether it’s talking at other leaders or talking at populations. There has to be a dialogue and people are hungry for that, young people in particular. They deserve to have their views heard and acted on as we shape the world for the future. So these are the kinds of considerations that we are constantly balancing, and we need to do a better job, frankly, at those tools you mentioned and others that have to be deployed.

MR. ATKINS: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much for answering Carolina’s question. We certainly appreciate the chance to connect BBC viewers and listeners with you today. Our next question comes from Octavia, who’s from Germany.

QUESTION: Good morning, Madam Secretary. My name is Octavia. I’m from Frankfurt, in Germany.

My question is the following: The Obama Administration has stressed its intentions to reset and improve its relationship with Russia. So far, however, it seems like this project has failed, if we think, for example, of recent disputes over Russia’s stance towards the Assad regime in Syria, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the Magnitsky bill. In your opinion, do the United States need Europe as an intermediary in order to achieve a relationship of mutual trust and cooperation with Russia one day?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, another excellent question. I think it’s not either/or. The United States has a very important bilateral relationship with Russia. During the last four years, we got a new nuclear weapons agreement to decrease our stockpiles, we worked together to enhance our efforts in Afghanistan, we had a bilateral commission that didn’t draw headlines but produced results in many areas of mutual interest and concern.

But it’s also important that we work with Europe and that Europe also work to make sure that we try to shape and create a positive relationship with Russia. And I will admit it is challenging right now. Russia ended all of our aid programs where we were working on ending tuberculosis, helping abused children, and so much else.

So it’s going to have to be a mutual effort, Europe and the United States both bilaterally and together, working to try to persuade Russia and particularly Russian leadership that they should become more integrated into and connected with Europe and the West. That’s where the future lies, and we hope that the next few years will be more successful doing that.

MR. ATKINS: (Inaudible) Octavia’s question, and I should mention that before this program began, we all sat around discussing the kind of questions everyone here would like to ask you, and one came up a number of times. Sahara is a British Pakistanian; you were suggesting this one.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, my name is Sahara Sawar. I’m from Dubai, but a British Pakistani. My biggest question to you was: Firstly, are you planning on writing your memoirs already? And if you are following in the footsteps of Madeleine Albright in hers, where she said that her lasting regret was what happened in Rwanda, what would you say was your lasting regret?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, certainly, the loss of American lives in Benghazi was something that I deeply regret and am working hard to make sure we do everything we can to prevent.

When you do these jobs, you have to understand at the very beginning that you can’t control everything. There are terrible situations right now being played out in the Congo, Syria, where we all wish that there were clear paths that we could follow together in the international community to try to resolve. So every day is a mixture of trying to end crises, help people be smart about using the tools of American diplomacy and development to join in with others who are facing similar crises as we are.

But I take away far more positive memories. And yes, I will write a memoir. I don’t know what I’ll say in it yet, but – (laughter) – I’ll have a chance to go into greater detail on this and other matters.

MS. SALES: That’s where we’ll leave London, and we will pick up instead in New Delhi, to NDTV, which is one of India’s top broadcasters, and presenter Barkha Dutt, India’s top female journalist and news anchor, who did one of these events with you, Secretary Clinton, last year.

Barkha, are you there with us?

MS. DUTT: I absolutely am. And Secretary Clinton, good evening from India. It’s an absolute pleasure to be talking with you again. We all remember that wonderful town hall with you in Kolkata on your last trip here to India. I have here with me a bunch of very bright young students all itching to ask you a question.

But before I take my microphone to the students, just by way of comment, Secretary Clinton, I know despite all your denials, all of us are waiting to see you back in political action in 2016 as possibly – (laughter) – the United States’ first woman president. So I’m not saying that as a question. I’m just observing that we think – (laughter) – that might happen. Great to have you on the show, Secretary.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good to see you again. Thank you so much.

MS. DUTT: I notice that you didn’t answer that. I’ll try get a little more out of you as this program goes along.

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) That’s why you’re such a good journalist, Barkha.

MS. DUTT: We have a lot of people here – (laughter) – thank you. And I will probe that a little further, but I’m going to hand over the mike to a young boy on my right who has a question for you, Secretary Clinton.

QUESTION: Thank you. Good evening, ma’am. My question concerns the recent Richard Headley case and the sentence that was handed out.

MS. DUTT: David Headley.

QUESTION: Sorry, David Headley case and the sentence that was handed out to him. Given that he’s pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the 26/11 attacks, why is America so hesitant to extradite him to India?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is not directly under my jurisdiction, but I will say this: There was intensive amount of investigation and interrogation of him by Indian authorities as well as American authorities. A lot of useful information was obtained, and I think that this sentence represents both the punishment that he richly deserves for his participation, but also a recognition of the role that he has played and is expected to continue to play in supporting Indian and American efforts to prevent the kind of horrific attack that occurred in Mumbai.

MS. DUTT: Secretary Clinton, if I can just pick up on that question by this young boy here, I know that when we were doing the town hall in Kolkata, you assured Indians that it was you who had cleared the $10 million bounty on Hafiz Saeed’s head, who, as you know, is a key architect of the Lashkar-e Tayyiba, the terrorist group. You also spoke about al-Zawahiri being in Pakistan according to your information.

I know a lot of people in India want to hear from you tonight. When you look back at your term, are you satisfied with the success that you were able to achieve in bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 to justice? Or are you left with a sense of regret? Are you left with a sense that more could have been done, and somehow you didn’t have enough time or weren’t able to put enough pressure on Pakistan to get it done?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Barkha, I think it is unfinished business that we are not in any way walking away from. I’m leaving office, but I can assure you and the Indian people this remains one of our very highest priorities.

We were successful in capturing and eliminating a number of the most dangerous terrorists who have safe haven inside Pakistan. We have continued to press the Pakistani Government, because of course the terrorists inside Pakistan are first and foremost an ongoing threat to the stability of Pakistan, and they need to deal with it because of that, as well as the implications for India, Afghanistan, the United States, and elsewhere.

I also think that the efforts that both Prime Minister Singh and President Zardari in Pakistan have made to improve communication, business, trade, commerce between India and Pakistan helps to create a more receptive environment for dealing with these serious threats. So of course, I’m not satisfied. As I told you in Kolkata, I believe going after terrorism is an obligation of every country, everywhere, every sensible person. We can have disagreements, but they cannot be in any way using violence or condoning the use of violence.

So we’re not giving up. We are on this job literally every single day. And we’ve improved our information sharing, our law enforcement cooperation with India, and I think that will pay dividends in years to come.

MS. DUTT: We’re testing (inaudible).

MS. SALES: Just lost audio to Barkha there. Let’s see if we can get that back up because it would be great to hear one more question from India if we can.

MS. DUTT: As you must know, we’ve been seeing street protests by young students here related to the horrific gang rape that took place in Delhi recently, and gender rights are really on the top of public consciousness here in India. So, a question from this young boy here.

QUESTION: So my question to you is this: Why is it that women in politics, even in supposedly progressive societies like the United States, have to conform to masculinist and privileged constructions of a statesman in the public sphere? And I must ask you, how difficult is it for a woman politician to access political space that is heavily gendered and that dictates how a woman leader has to behave and conduct herself?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) That could be a topic for a whole show because it’s a profound question, but let me make two brief points. First, although it is better than it was, having been in and around politics for many years now, there is still a double standard. And it is a double standard that exists from the trivial, like what you wear, to the incredibly serious, like women can’t vote, women can’t run for office, women are not supposed to be in the public sphere. But there is a spectrum of the double standard, and of the both legal and cultural barriers to respect for women, for the full participation of women.

So we do have a ways to go, and even in democracies. And a democracy like yours, unlike mine, that’s had a woman leader and has a woman at the head of the current governing party where women have achieved a lot of political success, there is still a tremendous amount of discrimination and just outright abuse of women, particularly uneducated women, women who can’t stand up for themselves, but clearly, even as we saw in the terrible gang rape, a woman trying to better herself, go to school.

Secondly, this has been the cause of my life and will continue to be as I leave the Secretary of State’s office, because we are hurting ourselves. The young woman who essentially was raped and then died of her terrible injuries, who knows what she could have contributed to India’s future? When you put barriers in the way of half the population, you, in effect, are putting brakes on your own development as a nation.

And there is more than adequate research to prove this, but just in a personal, everyday life example, I’m looking at one of the leading journalists in the world, certainly one of the leading journalists in India, Barkha. She brings to her job her experiences that are then infusing the coverage that she provides. And if you lose that kind of perspective, you are really doing a disservice to your society. So I personally was very encouraged and even proud to see young men and young women out in the streets protesting the way that young women are treated by men who do not understand or have never been taught to accept that it’s not just their sisters and their mothers that they should respect, but all girls and women. So I’m looking for big changes in India in the years to come.

MS. SALES: Thank you, Secretary Clinton, and thank you Barkha and our friends in India. Now, I can already tell you, we’re probably going to have some technical issues with this but we would really like to try to go to Lagos in Nigeria. So let’s give it a go. We have some people there at Channels Television, and news presenter Maupe Ogun is waiting with some young people.

Maupe, can you hear us?

MS. OGUN: Yes, I can, loudly, too. Well, it’s a pleasure to be here, and I’m joined by a group of people who have warned me not to call them young boys or girls. (Laughter.) They’re all young professionals and we’re absolutely delighted to be a part of this conversation. Well, Madam Secretary, I’m going to take my first question, and it’s from in-house. We’re asking that, in 2009, when President Obama did visit Ghana, he said that what Africa needed was strong institutions, not strongmen, something that you’ve also echoed as well. Can you uphold any models in Africa where you can say that they’re making progress in building strong institutions?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, and in fact, both politically and economically, I see progress happening in Africa. I don’t want to overstate it because some places are more stable, but let me give you just an example or two. When the President of Malawi recently died, the Vice President – now President Banda – was in line to become President. But there was an immediate reaction by some in the government and some in society who said, we can’t have a woman president, or we don’t agree with her politics. But thankfully, the people of Malawi said, no, we have a constitution, we want the rule of law, we want Joyce Banda to be the President since she is in line to be President. That was a big move, and it was very important, and we obviously supported it.

When you look at the reelection of President Sirleaf in Liberia – tough job, post-conflict society, but peaceful transition despite a hard-fought election. The recent election in Ghana, another example where President Atta had passed away, his Vice President came into office, but he still had to go through an election. So when you look through the countries in Africa, you can see democratic institutions getting stronger and you can see economies getting stronger. Now, you are sitting in one of the most important countries in Africa – I would say in the world. It really matters how well the next election in Nigeria goes, whether it’s free and fair and transparent. It really matters whether the endemic corruption is finally pursued so that everybody in Nigeria feels that they’re not going to be left out.

So I think there is work being done and challenges ahead, but I see positive steps that I want to recognize.

MS. OGUN: Well, we’ll take the next question now. Chude would like to ask the next question.

QUESTION: Right. Hello, Madam Secretary. Congratulations on the spectacular run and we’re looking forward to the next one in 2016. But moving on quickly, when you look at the things that have happened in – I mean, some the crises in Mali or South Sudan or Benghazi, Libya, some people have said that the U.S. has led from behind mostly, and perhaps that’s a mistake in some of these cases. What would you say is the biggest mistake? I (inaudible) even though you’ve had the June 2012 review. What would you say is the biggest mistake that you – that has happened over the past few years, and how will the incoming Secretary of State be able to work on those issues moving forward after you’re gone?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me clarify that I think what President Obama and I have tried to do is to build international coalitions to address serious crises. We believe that, of course, the United States remains the paramount military and economic power in the world, but the future we want to see are more nations taking responsibility and playing a role. And I think that is visionary leadership. I think it is looking over the horizon and recognizing that in Africa, for example, what we hope to see are key countries, anchor countries like Nigeria, dealing with your own internal challenges, but also playing a role externally in order to help keep and create peace.

We just had a quite successful outcome in Somalia. Still a long way to go for Somalia, but thanks to African troops – from Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya – trained and funded by the United States along with others, they were able to push al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida affiliate, out of key cities and territory in Somalia, and then we were able to have an election. So we now have an elected government for the first time in many decades, and we want to support that. Because one thing that President Obama and I believe is that ultimately what happens inside a country is up to the people of that country; they are the ones who have to stand up against oppression, corruption, the kind of poor governance that holds countries back. The United States wants to be your partner. We want to help you economically and in other ways. But we want to create the conditions where more countries can achieve the kind of outcomes that will benefit them.

So it’s a different model than what we had in the prior Administration to the Obama Administration. But we believe strongly in supporting reform in Burma, for example, where I was privileged to go to make a statement and then accompany President Obama back there, to helping Mali fend off these extremists who are trying to disrupt and destabilize the country. But we want other people to step up and learn more about what they are capable of doing themselves.

MS. SALES: Okay, we’re going to leave Nigeria there and we will take another Twitter question, Secretary Clinton. This one was received via Sina Weibo, which is the Chinese sort of micro-blogging network, like Twitter. It’s from somebody named “Terracotta Warriors on Horseback.” (Laughter.) The question is: “Do you not think that competition between the United States and China in Asia will not lead to both sides losing?”

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I don’t. I think healthy competition is part of development, human nature. I don’t see any problem with healthy competition as long as it is rules-based. Healthy competition requires that everybody know what the rules are, and then you go out and compete, whether it’s on the sporting field or in the economic or political arena.

My hope – and I have written about this, I’ve spoken about it – is that the United States and China will together defy history. Historically, a rising power and a predominant power have had clashes, whether they were economic or military. Neither of us want to see that happen. We want to see a rising power like China join the international community as a responsible stakeholder, continue its extraordinary efforts to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, create a strong, vital middle class, have respectful relations with its neighbors in all of the ways on land and sea that that is required.

And the United States wants to deepen and broaden our engagement with China. I helped to put together the strategic and economic dialogues, which we then used to discuss everything, from border security to food safety to cyber matters. And we want to continue that, because we believe strongly that the world is big enough for a lot of nations to be important players, and that is certainly true of China, and we want to see the kind of cooperative, comprehensive, positive relationship that I worked for.

MS. SALES: We’re still desperately hoping we can get up the Bogota satellite, but in the meantime we’ll take one quick question again from London once more. So Ros, are you standing by there?

MR. ATKINS: I am. Hello, Leigh. Secretary Clinton, our next question comes from Elisa, who’s German. It’s as much a plea as a question, I think.

QUESTION: Yes, very much. Dear Madam Secretary, I’m Elisa from Germany, and just before the show, we’ve been talking about how we would really like you to run for president. And we were wondering when you’re going to make a decision on this really important question, and we believe that would be a really important symbol for women essentially all over the world. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am not thinking about anything like that right now. I am looking forward to finishing up my tenure as Secretary of State and then catching up on about 20 years of sleep deprivation. (Laughter.)

In fact, you say you’re from Germany. I spoke this morning to your chancellor, Chancellor Merkel, and someone I have admired and watched over a number of years. I do want to see more women compete for the highest positions in their countries, and I will do what I can, whether or not it is up to me to make a decision on my own future. I right now am not inclined to do that, but I will do everything I can to make sure that women compete at the highest levels not only in the United States, but around the world, because I take seriously your question, and I think it’s not only for young women; it’s for young men, it’s for our future.

We have to break down these attitudes that kind of pigeonhole and stereotype people. Like what does a leader look like; well, a leader looks like somebody who’s a man. And in so many ways around the world today, sitting here with a journalist from Australia, which has a woman prime minister, women are subjecting themselves to the political process, which is never easy anywhere, and I want to see more of that. You have to have a thick skin. I will tell you that. But it’s really important that women are out there competing at the highest levels of government and business not only to demonstrate the capacity and quality of women’s leadership, but also to take advantage of the talents of every person we have.

MS. SALES: All right. Let’s see if we can get lucky now with Bogota, and journalist Andrea Bernal hopefully is able to speak to us this time. Andrea, are you there?

MS. BERNAL: Leigh, how are you? I’m here. Thanks again for giving us the entrance. Good morning, Mrs. Secretary Hillary Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning.

MS. BERNAL: Thanks for being here with us at NTN24, the international news network for the Hispanic audience. We had the chance to have a conversation back three years ago in Quito, Ecuador. Thanks for being again with us here.

I would want to start with a question. Barack Obama’s government and you as a Secretary of head – State have led an international policy acknowledging the fact that the United States is not the only powerful nation in the world, recognizing the relevant roles of other countries in the world’s order, and considering dialogue as the right path. However, Latin America does not seem still to be a high priority for the United States. If it were in your decision, in your hands, how could the United States build a closer, more productive relationship with Latin America?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I want to say very clearly that Latin America has been a very high priority. I have spent a lot of time, as you know when I saw you in Ecuador, traveling throughout Latin America. We want to build on a couple of very important initiatives that the United States is partnering on.

One is energy. We are working hard to help bring greater access to affordable energy to all of Latin America. In fact, we’re working very closely with Colombia to do that, to come down from Mexico all the way down through Chile as well as in the Caribbean. We are working on climate change together, because a lot of the Latin American countries are quite advanced in using alternative forms of energy. We’re working on security now, particularly in Central America. The United States, Mexico, and Colombia are working to help our neighbors in Central America. We’re working on expanding education. I want to see many more students from Latin America coming to the United States and more students from the United States coming to Latin America. We’re working on technology transfers. So there’s a long list of what we’re working on.

But I must say, in part because Latin America is doing so well, your countries are resolving old problems and making progress democratically and economically. A lot of the conflict that was present decades ago has been resolved, and so it’s not a relationship that’s in the headlines all the time, because it’s so positive. We spend time working together. We don’t have to worry about threats to democracy, to security that have unfortunately found their way around the world. So I think we have a very close working relationship. I want it to be even closer. I’m working with President Obama for some second term initiatives that I think will be more headline comprehensive initiatives so that everybody knows how much we value our relationships with our closest neighbors.

MS. SALES: We’ve unfortunately lost —

MS. BERNAL: (Inaudible) a business management student at the University of Tolima in Colombia.

MS. SALES: Andrea, can you repeat that, please? Here we go.

QUESTION: Hi, Ms. Clinton. Well, it’s a pleasure to have you here. And since we have you here, I would like to ask you about democracy. Okay. Latin America, it’s currently experiencing an economic breakthrough that has helped most country in the region reduce poverty. However, it is not clear if this economic progress has actually strengthened our democracies.

So now with that in mind, the question would be: How do you evaluate the diverse democracies in our region, and how do you see our future?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think I see a lot of progress, but still work that needs to be done. If you look at Colombia, you are not the country you were 15 years ago. You have consolidated democracy. You – I know President Santos is attempting to try to negotiate a peace agreement so that people will turn away from violence and participate politically. In Mexico, we see great economic growth but also a very vibrant political system in the last election. In Brazil, similarly, we see the same kind of trends. There are others that you can point to.

But there are some outliers. Unfortunately, we still have a dictatorship in Cuba, which we hope will change soon. We have democratic challenges in other countries in Latin America. But overall, I think that progress has been made and you have to stay the course. It doesn’t happen quickly, but there is great reason to be quite optimistic about the institutionalization of democracy throughout Latin America.

MS. BERNAL: And we have a last question, Mrs. Secretary, thanks for your time, from Ana Maria Rodriguez. She’s a journalist and a student here in our studio. Ana Maria.

QUESTION: Ms. Clinton, good morning. I am Ana Maria Rodriguez. I’m a journalism student. I want to know, today, President Barack Obama will talk about immigration in Vegas. This is a very important (inaudible). And I want to know exactly, all of those immigrants at U.S., what can they expect from this speech from President Barack Obama?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they can expect that the President will put specifics behind his commitment to provide a path to citizenship for the immigrants who are here undocumented in the United States. And I was very pleased that even before the President’s speech, we had a bipartisan group of senators come out with a plan that would accomplish the same goal. So the President is very committed. We have leaders in our Congress who are very committed. And we’re going to do everything we can finally to achieve immigration reform.

MS. SALES: And that is where we’re going to leave Colombia. We have one final request today, Secretary, and we’re going to go to Australia via Skype to hear from two very serious, experienced foreign policy experts – people I know you rely on – your old mates, Hamish and Andy. (Laughter.) For those of you in the audience who don’t know, they’re Australian comedians. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, hello. Welcome.

SECRETARY CLINTON: These guys are hilarious.

QUESTION: Hamish and Andy here. It was an honor to interview you a couple of years ago. Here we are at Government House.

QUESTION: Yeah, this is it.

QUESTION: The Royal Palace here in Australia. It’s wonderful. We’re out in the back, so it’s not as fancy as it is from out in the front. But we just wanted to say, first of all, congratulations on a wonderful term as Secretary of State, and it was amazing having you out here. Certainly a career highlight for us to get to meet you. So many Australians took a lot away from your trip, Madam Secretary. We were just wondering, what was the best thing you took away from Australia?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, clearly my interview with you two.

MS. SALES: Oh, excuse me. (Laughter.) Excuse me. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: (Inaudible) a lot of people will accuse us of having scripted this. (Laughter.) But thank you. Obviously, someone is saying that to you in your ear.

QUESTION: We were hoping it might have been the gravy chips that we gave you, but that was part of the interview, so that’s fine. We must stress, do not eat them under any circumstances. They’re well past their use-by date.

QUESTION: They’re still poisonous.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, obviously a lot of the good questions that we had were taken earlier tonight by some of the wonderful participants around the world, but luckily we still have a few. I have a friend, and I know obviously as you’re stepping back from the Secretary of State position, I have a friend who is about 31. He’s a cute-looking brunette.

QUESTION: Just a friend.

QUESTION: He’s very good, he’s been to university. He did two degrees; he graduated from one, so that’s quite good. (Laughter.) What qualifications – let’s just say John Kerry, something comes up, he can’t do the job, he can’t be the next Secretary of State. What qualifications could I tell my friend he should put on his CV if he wants to become the Secretary of State of the United States?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think his educational background is important – the fact that he finished one degree out of two, that gives him a 50 percent record. (Laughter.) Better than most baseball players or other professional athletes. I think his good looks, that’s important. Yeah, because you’re going to be given a lot of TV time. I know you guys are radio guys, but it’s good that he doesn’t have just a face for radio. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Nothing (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: I guess, thirdly, broad travel, willingness to meet other people, listen to them, as you —

QUESTION: He loves petting zoos.

SECRETARY CLINTON: — have a lot of experience from interviewing. I would drop the gravy chips. I think the gravy chips would be misunderstood in diplomatic settings, especially since I sent them to a lab to be analyzed and you don’t want to know what’s in them. (Laughter.) So – but I think he’s got a good start here.

QUESTION: Unfortunately, gravy chips are the center of our policy, so I guess we’re (inaudible). (Laughter.) But you did say politics is about compromise, so I’m sure we could find a way there. Probably the big question on everyone’s lips is when you step back from being Secretary of State —

QUESTION: Well, she won’t be having to be called Madam Secretary.

QUESTION: You’re no longer Madam Secretary.

QUESTION: No.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.

QUESTION: I think on behalf of all the global citizens joining in the town hall meeting tonight, which of these three names would you like to adopt? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: We spent three or four months on this.

QUESTION: The Incredible Hillary, the Artist Formerly Known as the Secretary – (laughter), or just Hill Clinton – but it does sound a bit like your husband.

QUESTION: Like Bill, yeah.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah, I think we’re going to have to work on that list. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: None. Okay.

QUESTION: None. (Laughter.) We will need another four or five months then to come back with another three at least. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: We’re going to sack it. We’re here at Government House so we can sack some of our advisors right now. (Laughter.) Junk.

QUESTION: We understand that you’ve been trying to cross to every single continent today at the town hall meeting. You haven’t got down to Antarctica. There’s one email – we’ve got a recent telegram that’s just come in here.

QUESTION: Yes, because we’re closest to Antarctica, our signals are a little bit better from them. Just a little telegram from Antarctica. I think it’s very important, obviously, that we recognize the frozen continent.

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: It says, “Dear Madam Secretary – stop. Alien spaceship reactivated – stop. Help – stop. Send” – and then that’s it.

QUESTION: That’s it. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: So what should we write back to our stricken comrades in Antarctica? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s quite distressing. I think, as your first diplomatic mission, you may have to go to Antarctica and find evidence about what happened. The person sending that to you clearly is counting on you. (Laughter.) We will be happy to provide satellite support. I don’t know how fast you can get there, and you’re going to need different clothes than the ones you have on. But I think you need to follow through on this. You guys need to go to Antarctica and broadcast from Antarctica what you find.

QUESTION: That’s nice. Can we have a —

QUESTION: That’s so late here, it’s 2:30, and these are such cheap suits. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: We’ll have a swell, and then we’ll get right on. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: We’re going to have the first (inaudible) for having that comment. (Laughter.) Thank you. Amazing advice. This is why – we always say this. This is why you’re the Secretary of State, and we are not. (Laughter.)

MS. SALES: That’s exactly why.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Bye. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Thanks. Congratulations.

MS. SALES: I hope everyone around the world gets them.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, Leigh, I meant radio interview. Yes, great.

MS. SALES: Well, thank you. Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton. (Laughter.) I think Andy is unfortunately out of luck because while we have been talking, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has confirmed John Kerry as Secretary of State.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good. Excellent. Well, that’s good news. (Applause.)

MS. SALES: Have they hit you up for John Kerry’s number yet?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) No, but they will.

MS. SALES: They will.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Don’t you think?

MS. SALES: They will. They absolutely will. To wrap it up, let me just ask you one question. As you prepare to hand over to John Kerry, what would you like to see American diplomacy focused on?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t think we have a choice. We have to deal with the immediate crises that come across our desk every day. We have to work on the longer-term challenges like security in North Africa. And we have to deal with what I call the trend lines, not the headlines. So continuing to use technology, women and girls, climate change, alternative energy – the kind of big projects that will have a tremendous impact on what kind of world we have. And there will be two alternative visions. If we don’t deal with climate change, food security, energy access that is sustainable, we could have increasing conflict over resources, for example. That’s not in the headlines today, but in ten years, it could be.

So when I think about the sort of buckets of responsibilities I have, very often what first comes across my desk is an attack here, a terrorist threat there, the immediate crises. And then I also am constantly asking for what are we – what do we do to get ahead of the crises, and then thirdly, what do we do that is not in those two buckets, but instead helps us shape the kind of world that these young people deserve to have.

MS. SALES: Secretary Clinton, thank you so much for making time in your schedule all throughout your term as Secretary of State to speak directly to people all around the world. And all the very best for the next leg of your journey. Thank you so much. Please thank Hillary Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, Leigh, thank you so much. You were masterful.

MS. SALES: Oh, thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Just masterful. Have you ever done anything like that, with satellites?

MS. SALES: I have done a few things.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That was really good. Thank you all.

MS. SALES: Thank you. And wherever you are in the world, thank you for your company. Goodbye.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all. (Applause.)

Political Headlines January 29, 2013: Sen. John Kerry Closer to Being Confirmed as Secretary of State

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Sen. John Kerry Closer to Being Confirmed as Secretary of State

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-29-13

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry could be cleared to be Secretary of State by the end of Tuesday.

By a unanimous voice vote Tuesday morning, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Kerry used to head, approved his nomination to take over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s post.

The nomination will now move to the full Senate — likely as early as Tuesday afternoon — for final confirmation….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 24, 2013: John Kerry Tears Up During His Secretary of State Senate Confirmation Hearing

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

John Kerry Tears Up During His Confirmation Hearing

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-24-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

First there were near-tears, and then a protester had to be forced out, but Sen. John Kerry took it all in stride.

Kerry choked up at his secretary of state confirmation hearings Thursday morning when discussing his father’s history in the U.S. Foreign Service, and how he was “equally proud” of both that history and his own as part of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“If you confirm me, I would take office as secretary proud that the Senate is in my blood, but equally proud that so, too, is the Foreign Service,” the Massachusetts Democrat told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 10, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Cabinet Shuffle: Who Is Leaving, Who Was Asked to Stay

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama’s Cabinet Shuffle: Who Is Leaving, Who Was Asked to Stay

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-10-13

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

With the departure of Hilda Solis at the Labor Department, we have now seen five members of the President Obama’s Cabinet announcing their intention to leave since the election: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and now, Secretary of Labor Solis.

Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood has also long suggested he would not stay for a second term.

At least three other cabinet secretaries have been asked to stay as the Obama begins his second term:

  • Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki

READ MORE

Political Headlines January 7, 2013: Hillary Clinton Returns to Work at State Department After Blood Clot

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Hillary Clinton Returns to Work After Blood Clot

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-7-13

State Department photo by Nick Merrill

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got a standing ovation from colleagues as she returned to work on Monday. She was also the subject of some office ribbing as colleagues presented her with a football helmet and jersey.

Clinton had been away from work while recovering from a fall where she hit her head. Doctors later detected a blood clot.

The State Department released three new photos of Clinton at the staff meeting where she was surprised with the gifts by Deputy Secretary Tom Nides.

[ PHOTOS: Hillary Clinton Returns to Work (PHOTO 1) (PHOTO 2) (PHOTO 3) ]

According to State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, Clinton entered the room to a rousing standing ovation from the 75 people gathered for the meeting of top State Department officials. Nides then presented her with a box and said, “As you know, Washington is a contact sport.”…READ MORE

%d bloggers like this: