Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hillary Clinton attends Obama's speech on National Security

Today Secretary Clinton attended President Obama's big speech on national security at the National Archives. After reviewing the speech, I realize how important it is. Obama basically laid out the plan going forward on his foreign policy decisions, including the closing of Guantanamo.

Let me just mention that Obama began his speech by giving a shout out to Hillary Clinton... among others of course, but she was first.

"Thank you all for being here. Let me just acknowledge the presence of some of my outstanding Cabinet members and advisors. We've got our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton."
After the thank yous and shout outs, he began speaking of the importance of robust national security efforts and upholding American’s core identity and Constitutional principles, explaining how each can enforce the other:
For the first time since 2002, we're providing the necessary resources and strategic direction to take the fight to the extremists who attacked us on 9/11 in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We're investing in the 21st century military and intelligence capabilities that will allow us to stay one step ahead of a nimble enemy. We have re-energized a global non-proliferation regime to deny the world's most dangerous people access to the world's deadliest weapons. And we've launched an effort to secure all loose nuclear materials within four years. We're better protecting our border, and increasing our preparedness for any future attack or natural disaster. We're building new partnerships around the world to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates. And we have renewed American diplomacy so that we once again have the strength and standing to truly lead the world.

These steps are all critical to keeping America secure. But I believe with every fiber of my being that in the long run we also cannot keep this country safe unless we enlist the power of our most fundamental values."

He recounted and explained the decisions he has made as President to date including discussing the ban of torture, closing Guantanamo, and the ordering of a comprehensive review of all cases there.

He detailed the rationale of closing the detention facility, saying how deeply it has tarnished America in the war for hearts and minds, and noting that as a result "the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained."

He pretty much tore into the Bush Administration. When talking about Gitmo, Obama called it a "mess."

"We're cleaning up something that is, quite simply, a mess -- a misguided experiment that has left in its wake a flood of legal challenges that my administration is forced to deal with on a constant, almost daily basis, and it consumes the time of government officials whose time should be spent on better protecting our country."
Obama goes on to explain this "new" stance on "prolonged detainees" at Gitmo.
"Now, finally, there remains the question of detainees at Guantanamo who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger to the American people... There may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases because evidence may be tainted, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. Examples of that threat include people who've received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, or commanded Taliban troops in battle, or expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans. These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States.

Let me repeat: I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people... Having said that, we must recognize that these detention policies cannot be unbounded. They can't be based simply on what I or the executive branch decide alone. That's why my administration has begun to reshape the standards that apply to ensure that they are in line with the rule of law. We must have clear, defensible, and lawful standards for those who fall into this category. We must have fair procedures so that we don't make mistakes. We must have a thorough process of periodic review, so that any prolonged detention is carefully evaluated and justified."

Still a little confused about what went on in Obama's speech??Read President Obama's full speech here!

Later in the day, the Secretary had a few bilaterals. Including one with His Excellency Ansuncao Afonso dos Anjos, Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Angola.

"We are impressed by the progress that Angola has made, and we look forward to a very close and deep coordination and working relationship that will enable both of our countries to have a greater understanding and a commitment to a better future."
Read full text of their brief remarks here or watch below:

Next Secretary Clinton met with the member institutions of the Joint Summit Working Group. The discussion focused on concrete, coordinated actions in the following areas: economic recovery, the Inter-American Social Protection Network, the Microfinance Growth Fund, the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, citizen safety, and democratic governance.

The first U.S.-JSWG Meeting was on April 19, 2009 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on the margins of the Fifth Summit of the Americas.

In the Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain, the Hemisphere’s leaders called upon “the institutions of the Joint Summit Working Group to further strengthen their commitment and to develop coordinated programs of action aimed at achieving the goals for the Americas set out in this Declaration.”

Next was a bilateral with His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and following the Secretary joined the Tanzanian President on his meeting with President Obama.

"This is a particular pleasure and honor for me to welcome the President here. We will be having a working meeting, and then he will be meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office. But Tanzania is a country that has made so much progress and has an extraordinary potential that we wish to partner with and assist in every way possible.

I myself have had a wonderful visit to your country, Mr. President. And I am delighted that I am the Secretary of State at this moment and have this chance to commit our efforts to working closely with you and to commend you on your leadership."


Jackie said...

Hillary and Gates seem to get along pretty well. It's good to see.

Still4Hill said...

The across-the-aisle picture is adorable.

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