Friday, February 13, 2009

Secretary's remarks at the Asia Society

This afternoon Secretary Clinton, in a speech at the Asia Society in NY, gave her first major policy speech on Asia and outlined her future plans for her upcoming trip as well as the long term. She started off talking about the new administration and how they are ready to lead in a new direction. God, I LOVE hearing this!
"The United States is committed to a new era of diplomacy and development in which we will use smart power to work with historic allies and emerging nations to find regional and global solutions to common global problems. As I’ve said before, America cannot solve the problems of the world alone, and the world cannot solve them without America. And we are ready to listen. Actively listening to our partners isn’t just a way of demonstrating respect. It can also be a source of ideas to fuel our common efforts. Too often in the recent past, our government has acted reflexively before considering available facts and evidence, or hearing the perspectives of others. But President Obama and I are committed to a foreign policy that is neither impulsive nor ideological, one that values what others have to say."
She talked a lot about North Korea. Obviously because of all the swirling rumors about possible testing of nuclear missiles and whatnot. She said something very frank and direct. Almost as if she was speaking to Kim Jong-il himself:
"If North Korea is genuinely prepared to completely and verifiably eliminate their nuclear weapons program, the Obama Administration will be willing to normalize bilateral relations, replace the peninsula’s longstanding armistice agreements with a permanent peace treaty, and assist in meeting the energy and other economic needs of the North Korean people."
Now, that sounds like a deal to me! But I think Kim Jong is quite comfortable in his non-penetrable little country. Heck, if I had that much power I'd prolly be doing the same crazy-ass things... Clime Change and energy was a huge part of her speech. She mentioned Todd Stern will be accompanying her on the trip overseas; he is the new United States Special Envoy for Climate Change that she and Obama appointed. My favorite thing she said on Energy was after he speech in response to a question. She says:
"Part of what we have to do is have the leadership in both the public and the private sectors look to academia – you know, ask for good ideas – and then begin implementing them, and do so with courage and a pioneering spirit. You know, we are supposed to be the problem solvers... And it’s time, when we face these global challenges, we demonstrate that that’s who we continue to be. And I’m excited by it. I think, you know, our children and our children’s children will live very well if we make the right decisions now. And if we don’t, I don’t think we can look them in the eyes and make that claim, and I don’t want to live like that as an American. I think it’s far preferable that we step up to our responsibilities"
This reminded me of her campaign speeches. When she talks about the future and working hard today for a better tomorrow I feel confident in our government and in my own future... Sigh.. Ok but enough gushing over this... on to the next.

She outlined the key issues that she will be addressing next week, country by country. Which she kinda giggled at and I did too. It sounded funny, like oh god, we will be here all day! But I want to put down an outline of what she said:

Japan- In Tokyo, she will sign the Guam International Agreement, which will position our security alliance to meet the challenges of this time by moving 8,000 American troops from Okinawa to Guam.

Indonesia- She said "I don’t need to remind you that our new President is well known and much admired there. We now have an opportunity for stronger partnerships on education, energy, and food security."

South Korea- She mentioned South Korea "one of our staunchest historic allies." Committed to expanding trade in a manner that benefits both of our countries.

China- There is always so much controversy surrounding China. And since we've been living in fear for the past 8 years, it seems like all Americans are afraid of the power of China. She touched on that same point saying "some believe that China on the rise is, by definition, an adversary." Well, not Hillary! She goes on to say how essential it is that we have a positive, cooperative relationship and that it is vital to peace and prosperity worldwide. "We believe that the United States and China can benefit from and contribute to each other’s successes. It is in our interest to work harder to build on areas of common concern and shared opportunities. China has already asserted itself in positive ways as chair of the Six-Party Talks and in its participation in international peacekeeping efforts. And our two countries, I’m happy to say, will resume mid-level military-to-military discussions later this month."

To conclude, this was a great speech and a great Q&A! I'm super excited to see and hear what amazing things she will be doing overseas. And I would agree with Vishakha N. Desai in saying that with our foreign policy in her hands, our hearts are at ease.

Full transcript.

No comments:

Post Your Comment Below:

Grab this Widget ~ Blogger Accessories