Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

Bill Clinton’s Vision

In Bill and Hillary Clinton, Draft Hillary, economy, Global News, HILLARY in 2012, Smart Power on January 6, 2012 at 10:39 pm

To the Editor:

In his Dec. 11 review of Bill Clinton’s “Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy,” Jeff Madrick trots out the three fallacies that have prevented conventional liberals from understanding the importance of the Clinton administration’s approach and achievements.

First, he posits an imagined tension between Clinton’s criticism of reflexive antigovernment thinking and his work to end big, bureaucratic government. He also chides Clinton for not pushing for a return to the 80-year-old policies of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. And he wraps everything up in an accusation of political timidity.

What Madrick and others haven’t accepted is that Clinton actually believed in the new vision of government he put into action. “For at least a decade, the system we constructed in the Great Depression has been breaking down,” he said in a speech in July 1980 — long before he became president and long before his latest book. “Our challenge today, as Democrats, is to recognize that this is the time of transition and respond to it. . . .

I honestly believe the issue is not less government and the issue is not more government. The issue is what kind of government we are going to have.” Clinton’s remarkable consistency over a long career has been a testament to his personal faith in his vision. Madrick and others may not agree, but they should at the very least grapple with the ideas Clinton promoted during a presidency that stands as the most economically successful in the past half-century.

The writer is president of the journal Democracy and a former Clinton White House aide


To our French speaking Friends in Canada and the World… enjoy!

French speaking Video profiling Hillary



In Americans, Draft Hillary, economy, HILLARY 2012, Human Rights, JOBS, Madame President HILLARY CLINTON 2012, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton on December 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm

New Hampshire voters should draft Hillary

Taken almost one year ago today- December 23, 2010- GIVE US HILLARY for PRESIDENT in 2012

We are now calling on Democratic voters nationally — particularly in New Hampshire — to organize a write-in campaign for Clinton. This is something that New Hampshire voters have a long history of doing.



We advocate this DRAFT HILLARY movement not because of the desire to make political mischief — but to put the country on the right course.

It’s clear that Obama has been unable to build consensus and, with the polarizing campaign he is now running, will be unable to govern effectively even if reelected. Only Clinton can commit the Democratic Party — and, indeed, the nation — to a unification and healing process. This could allow Washington, in a bipartisan manner, to finally address the economic and governmental
crises that now grip America.

We are facing a crisis of national leadership, so citizens should step up and take charge of their country the way demonstrators in the Middle East did earlier this year. And, stunningly, as the people of Russia are now doing.

It’s time to take the decision about America’s leadership out of the hands of the established powers and return it to the citizens of our country. That opportunity to change U.S. politics will appear in the second week of 2012 in New Hampshire.

To seize this moment two things are required:

First, and most important, ordinary Democrats and independents in New Hampshire should mobilize behind a grass-roots effort to write in Clinton’s name during the Jan. 10 Democratic primary.

Second, a committed group of Democrats with resources and stature needs to help facilitate an authentic citizens’ movement — independent of party structure, Clinton and organized interests — to support a massive New Hampshire write-in campaign and put this before a deeply disaffected electorate.

There is already an online petition to draft Clinton, created by Democrats.
“We the undersigned Democrats want a new Democratic nominee for president who can win in 2012. We are convinced that the only person with the national stature, experience … who can win in the general election in 2012 is Hillary Rodham Clinton. We are fully prepared to take matters in to our own hands and launch our own massive write-in campaign,” it reads.

Even if one does not agree with their every argument, we urge everyone who shares our beliefs go to that website now — and to tell their friends to go to there and sign it.

Since 1944, when approval ratings first became reliable, there have been five cases in which the incumbent president had an approval rating below 49 percent a year ahead of the election. Each time, the incumbent party lost.

Obama’s approval rating has dropped to 43 percent — less than Jimmy Carter’s. Obama now has the worst job approval rating of any president at this stage of his term in modern political history. Many, particularly on the left, have begun to demonstrate with signs reading,

“Buyer’s remorse.”

DRAFT HILLARY 2012 ... Hillary Can Fix This: New Hampshire residents Write in Hillary Clinton for President Primary Day!

In a recent Daily Beast piece, “Hillary Told You So,” angry, frustrated liberals were quoted saying, “No one ever had to tell Hillary” that the economy is crucial, and “Hillary is TOUGHER (and 10X SMARTER ).”

Indeed, the most active calls for Clinton to run have come from the left — indicating that there is substantial support for this idea across the board and not just from centrist Democrats.

Certainly, the recent barrage of articles by former Obama allies saying that the White House has lost white, working-class voters — a key part of the Democratic coalition — is cause enough for Clinton, who has been that voting bloc’s champion in the past, to be the Democratic standard-bearer.

Many argue that our approach is impractical and is unlikely to work because Obama will not stand down. But make no mistake, we are political realists.
As political realists, we know that every recent presidential candidate who has emerged — from Obama in 2008 to Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and now Newt Gingrich — has been citizen-driven. The elites have not driven the process; ordinary voters have filled the void.

Such a void exists now.

Clinton pulled off a stunning New Hampshire primary victory over Obama during the 2008 primaries. There is every reason to believe that, as a write-in candidate, she would get a substantial number of votes in the Granite State next year.

NEW HAMPSHIRE is one state where grass-roots politics predominates. As presidential historian Theodore White wrote in 1965, New Hampshire’s primary allows candidates “to appeal directly to people” and “over the heads of the politicians.”
This primary — traditionally well before other primaries — allows independents to cast ballots for either Democrats or Republicans, unlike most other “closed primaries,” in which only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote on their respective parties’ ballots. It’s justly famous for write-in candidates, who often had substantial success.

In 1964, write-in candidate Henry Cabot Lodge had an upset victory over GOP front-runners Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller. In 1968, incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson was not on the ballot, but as a write-in, he received nearly 50 percent of all Democratic votes.

A write-in candidacy in 2012 can send a message that the Democratic Party must stand for something more than Obama’s reelection at all costs.

We are not asking the president or the secretary of state to take action. We ask the people of the United States, Democrats and, especially, New Hampshire voters to exercise their right to be heard by writing Clinton’s name on the primary ballot.

Voters have had enough of the establishment powers dictating who can run.

All that is needed is a spark on the dry tinder of political frustration and anxiety. A few Democratic patriots can provide the means to make it possible — and change the course of U.S. history.

article written by: PATRICK H. CADDELL and DOUGLAS E. SCHOEN

Even Hillary Clinton doesn’t get to see President Obama…

In Barack Obama, economy on October 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

by Michael Goodwin

The reports are not good, disturbing even. I have heard basically the same story four times in the last 10 days, and the people doing the talking are in New York and Washington and are spread across the political spectrum.

The gist is this: President Obama has become a lone wolf, a stranger to his own government.

He talks mostly, and sometimes only, to friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett and to David Axelrod, his political strategist.

Everybody else, including members of his Cabinet, have little face time with him except for brief meetings that serve as photo ops. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner both have complained, according to people who have talked to them, that they are shut out of important decisions.

The president’s workdays are said to end early, often at 4 p.m. He usually has dinner in the family residence with his wife and daughters, then retreats to a private office. One person said he takes a stack of briefing books. Others aren’t sure what he does.

If the reports are accurate, and I believe they are, they paint a picture of an isolated man trapped in a collapsing presidency. While there is no indication Obama is walking the halls of the White House late at night, talking to the portraits of former presidents, as Richard Nixon did during Watergate, the reports help explain his odd public remarks.

Obama conceded in one television interview recently that Americans are not “better off than they were four years ago” and said in another that the nation had “gotten a little soft.” Both smacked of a man who feels discouraged and alienated and sparked comparisons to Jimmy Carter, never a good sign.

Blaming the country is political heresy, of course, yet Obama is running out of scapegoats. His allies rarely make affirmative arguments on his behalf anymore, limiting themselves to making excuses for his failure. He and they attack Republicans, George W. Bush, European leaders and Chinese currency manipulation — and that was just last week.

The blame game isn’t much of a defense for Solyndra and “Fast and Furious,” the emerging twin scandals that paint a picture of incompetence at best.

Obama himself is spending his public time pushing a $450 billion “jobs” bill — really another stimulus in disguise — that even Senate Democrats won’t support. He grimly flogged it repeatedly at his Thursday press conference, even though snowballs in hell have a better chance of survival.

If he cracked a single smile at the hour-plus event, I missed it. He seems happy only on the campaign trail, where the adoration of the crowd lifts his spirits.

When it comes to getting America back on track to economic growth, he is running on vapors. Yet he shows no inclination to adopt any ideas other than his own Big Government grab. His itch for higher taxes verges on a fetish.

Harvey Golub, former chairman of American Express, called the “jobs” bill an incoherent mess. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, he said that among other flaws, the bill includes an unheard of retroactive tax hike on the holders of municipal bonds.

“Many of us have suspected that economic illiterates were setting the economic policy of this administration,” Golub wrote, adding that the bill “reveals a depth of cluelessness that boggles the mind.”

The public increasingly shares the sentiment. A new Quinnipiac polls finds that 55 percent now disapprove of Obama’s job performance, with only 41 percent approving. A mere 29 percent say the economy will improve if the president gets four more years.

The election, unfortunately, is nearly 13 months away.

The way Obama’s behaving, by then we’ll all be talking to portraits of past presidents, asking why this one turned out to be such a flop.

They doth protest too much

Even as desperate Pander-crats, including the president, continue to baby-talk the Wall Street hooligans, some of whom have violently attacked police, Mayor Bloomberg gets the point and tone just right.

“What they’re trying to do is take the jobs away from people working in this city,” the mayor told radio man John Gambling Friday. “And some of the labor unions, the municipal unions that are participating, their salaries come from the taxes paid by the people they are trying to vilify.”

Sanity also comes from readers. Sheri Rosen said she works downtown, at 111 Broadway, and is sick of the filth and mayhem.

“We work very hard every day for not that much money,” she writes. “We don’t camp out at a park and act like animals by urinating and stealing milk from the coffee vendors that are also trying to make a living.”

She blasted Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Comptroller John Liu for supporting the demonstrators, saying, “True New Yorkers who work hard for their money won’t forget this on Election Day.”

Reader Harold Theurer sees another angle. Noting the passing of Steve Jobs, he wonders how many protesters carrying Apple products understand how those gadgets came to exist.

“What started out as two men in a garage with ideas and passion would have been nothing more than two guys in a garage with ideas and passion had it not been for an IPO on Dec. 12, 1980, when Apple went public at $22 per share,” he writes.

“Big Bad Wall Street raised $101 million for Mr. Jobs to expand his ideas, create jobs and change the landscape of technology. The next time any of the Wall Street occupiers makes an iTune purchase, it can be traced back to some Big Bad Banker’s belief in Mr. Jobs and his company.”

Class dismissed.

Read more:

GIVE em’ Hell, Hillary!

In Climate Change, economy, Environmental Crisis, fabulous women, Global News on June 4, 2010 at 4:12 am

If hindsight is 20/20, then Hillary Clinton needs to be President!

Watch the video and see why…

Why hasn’t Obama given BP a deadline for capping the oil well before we, (the country,) step in with US resources? Our infamous US See-bees are experts at setting underwater demolition as well as the Navy Seals, I’m sure they can blow this well up as one would suspect and seal this well now and forever. The next question is: then why haven’t they done this?

Why hasn’t the President set a drop dead date for BP to handle what it so far, has been unable to handle? If they consider themselves to be the experts in their field but have never dealt with an insurmountable problem such as this runaway spill? Then why do we continue to sit around taking the wait and see approach advised by the “OIL” company running the show?

Meanwhile, marine animals, bird life, fragile ecosystems have to die; because why? BP needs time, months, to drill a relief beside the runnaway well?

“President Barack Obama might also hear some of that anger. He will return to the Louisiana coast Friday to assess the latest efforts, his third trip to the region since the disaster unfolded and his second in a week.

He told CNN’s Larry King that he, too, was frustrated and used his strongest language in assailing BP.

“I am furious at this entire situation because this is an example where somebody didn’t think through the consequences of their actions,” Obama said. “This is imperiling an entire way of life and an entire region for potentially years.”

Obama tells us nothing what we don’t already know… Get off your rear-end and give BP an ultimatum- IT’S NOW or NEVER!. Remember, we do not know if WE with all the military resources at our disposal can get this well capped off and under control.


After meeting and dining yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shown above, Secretary Clinton devotes herself to humanitarian issues this morning.

In economy, foreign policy, Global News, Humanitarian Aide, Madame Secretary Clinton, Middle East, Peace on May 20, 2009 at 12:21 am

After meeting and dining yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shown above, Secretary Clinton devotes herself to humanitarian issues this morning.

After meeting and dining yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shown above, Secretary Clinton devotes herself to humanitarian issues this morning.

9:45 a.m. Meeting with Representatives of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

11:15 a.m. Announcement of Humanitarian Aid to Pakistan, in the Brady Room at the White House

11:50 a.m. Global Press Conference at Foreign Press Center in Washington, DC
To view via web:
Users can log in and select “Enter as a Guest” using their name and affiliation

1:30 p.m. Meeting with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

Clinton promotes US-Mexican relations in Monterrey..

In economy, foreign policy, Madame Secretary Clinton, Mexico, news, Politics, Secretary Clinton on March 26, 2009 at 8:29 pm

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton:


is visiting a police station in Mexico’s capital in a show of support for authorities caught up in a struggle with powerful drug cartels. She also is ready to have a discussion with university students in Monterrey about U.S.-Mexican relations in general as she continues a brief tour which started with a pledge to stand with Mexico in the fight against drug-related crime. “The criminals and kingpins spreading violence are trying to corrode the foundations of law, order, friendship and trust between the United States and Mexico “will fail.”

She said the White House would seek an additional $80 million to help Mexico buy Blackhawk helicopters in addition to a three-year, $1.4 billion Bush administration-era program to support Mexico’s anti-crime and drug efforts.

A day before Clinton arrived in Mexico City, the Obama administration pledged to send more money, technology and manpower to secure the border in the Southwest U.S. and help Mexico battle the cartels.

Kansas City Star

CNN POLL: Hillary Clinton Getting High Marks (70% approval rating)

In economy, Global News, Politics, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Smart Power on March 25, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Hillary recognized by World as making progress unlike the president who signed and approved the AIG Bonus Payouts.

From CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

The poll's release comes as Clinton teams up with Mexican officials to kick off several weeks of meetings designed to find ways to fight drug violence on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

The poll's release comes as Clinton teams up with Mexican officials to kick off several weeks of meetings designed to find ways to fight drug violence on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

(CNN) – As Hillary Clinton flies to Mexico for a high level summit, a new national poll indicates 7 in 10 Americans are happy with the job she’s doing as secretary of state.

Seventy-one percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday say they approve of how Clinton is handling her job as America’s top diplomat. Fewer than one in four disapprove.

“Nine in 10 Democrats approve of Clinton — that’s no surprise,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “But by a 50 percent to 43 percent margin, Republicans also think she is doing a good job at the State Department. That’s an interesting result for a polarizing figure like Clinton.”

The poll’s release comes as Clinton teams up with Mexican officials to kick off several weeks of meetings designed to find ways to fight drug violence on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Tuesday the Obama administration announced a major increase in security funding and agent deployments along the border.

“Since taking office in January, Clinton has been at the White House nearly every day, meeting with President Obama, Vice President Biden and other members of the cabinet and national security staff,” says CNN State Department producer Elise Labott. “The secretary maintains close ties with her former colleagues on Capitol Hill, and meets regularly with congressional leaders.”

The former first lady, senator from New York and one-time primary rival to Obama has already clocked close to 60,000 miles in her first two trips overseas — one journey to China, another to the Middle East and Europe — since taking over as secretary of state in January.

Clinton was met by large crowds and warmly received by world leaders on both trips, says Labott, although “she met some criticism in Beijing, where she was criticized for a lower-key approach that seemed to downplay the importance of human rights in the overall relationship with China.

“Her aides said she wanted a new approach to dealing with China’s human rights record, including less public criticism and more private discussions, which may prove more productive in changing Chinese behavior.”

Clinton’s approval rating is actually higher than that of her boss: The same CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll put Obama’s approval rating at 64 percent, 7 points lower than Clinton’s.

Clinton has a couple of advantages over Obama in public opinion today, says Holland. “She hasn’t had a prominent role in the administration’s economic or budget policies,” he says. “There haven’t been any international issues that have caused as much outrage as the AIG bonuses. And her name wasn’t on the ballot in November, so any partisan animosity to her that is left over from 2008 is not as fresh in the public’s mind.”

Clinton’s approval rating is also 10 points higher than the one predecessor Condoleezza Rice had in March 2005, two months into her tenure as secretary of state.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll of 1,019 Americans was conducted by telephone March 12-15. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Hillary arrives in Mexico..

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets journalists as she arrives at the international airport while Mexico's Ambassador to the U.S looks on in Mexico City March 25, 2009. Clinton said on Wednesday the United States and Mexico were making headway on efforts to resolve a dispute over Mexican trucks operating in the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets journalists as she arrives at the international airport while Mexico's Ambassador to the U.S looks on in Mexico City March 25, 2009. Clinton said on Wednesday the United States and Mexico were making headway on efforts to resolve a dispute over Mexican trucks operating in the United States.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon (R) greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton inside the Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City, March 25, 2009. An "insatiable" appetite in the United States for illegal drugs is to blame for much of the violence ripping through Mexico, Clinton said on Wednesday.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon (R) greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton inside the Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City, March 25, 2009. An "insatiable" appetite in the United States for illegal drugs is to blame for much of the violence ripping through Mexico, Clinton said on Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures during a press conference in Mexico City, Wednesday, March 25, 2009. Clinton is in Mexico for a two-day visit. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures during a press conference in Mexico City, Wednesday, March 25, 2009. Clinton is in Mexico for a two-day visit. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is greeted by Mexico's Foreign Minister to the U.S., Patricia Espinosa, as she arrives at the Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City March 25, 2009. Clinton is in Mexico for a two-day visit.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is greeted by Mexico's Foreign Minister to the U.S., Patricia Espinosa, as she arrives at the Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City March 25, 2009. Clinton is in Mexico for a two-day visit.

Thank goodness our girl hasn’t deserted US!

In Afghanistan, economy, fabulous women, Global News, Rise Hillary Rise, Smart Power on March 24, 2009 at 8:45 am

She was my first choice. She was my ONLY choice. How many of you needed a “CHANGE”? How many of you thought just about anyone could be president IF they surrounded themselves with brilliant, competent people? Yes, YOU and Oprah… Thanks a bunch, you silly ignorant, erstwhile people for closing your eyes to the Grandest Theft of another presidency. Playing directly into the hands of power players standing in the wings laughing at your stupidity, patiently waiting for the biggest Power Grab in the history of the World. By WHO, you say? You still don’t know? The WORLD BANKERS if you’re too busy to pay attention because you think you are immune to this financial crisis!

Well, common sense was overruled by impetuosity. The petulance of children wanting something shiny and new. Something that never had value for the price they were willing to pay. Something plastic. Something that would never hold up under the strain and difficulties of the problems facing the next president that would be needing immediate attention. Plastic is not steel and plastic is exactly what you forced us into by having your children take the lead and advising YOU who would be the best choice for the next president of this country.

When I heard Caroline Kennedy announce to the World, her children took her by the hand to hear Obama speak; she then claimed, Obama (HE)..his vision is the closest she has come to hearing a presidential candidate with the inspiration and vision of her father. … I might have beena child myself at the time of the Kennedy assassination but I did pick up a book or two during my formative years when my Dad heavily invested in my unorthodox college education. Having private tutelage is not always representative of privilege and wealth. My father felt children need to be trained to think for themselves. Obviously, somewhere along the way, Caroline has been caught up in her own celebrity and has lost the good sense of the culture and values her mother and father truly represented.

Thank goodness, Governor Paterson did not succumb to the pressure of the gated Caroline community who gave their half hearted endorsements to a another wayward Kennedy grown up around the core values of her Uncle rather than the legacy left to her by her parents.

My Dad was a fanatic about committing cumulative errors because it leads to irreconcilable events. Obama and Caroline are sterling examples of cumulative mistakes. I’m thankful New Yorkers woke up in time and discouraged Paterson doing just that, making a bad situation worse . And I’m happy to say, timing is everything. It wasn’t the time to distract the focus with inane candidates. It was the time to stay focused on the prize and proceed unrelentingly until we prevailed.

We did and were rewarded with Paterson’s appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand , as the next NY Senator. The thrill of victory is sweet for those wonderful New Yorkers who “thought for themselves.”

Hillary to attend Afghan Conference on March 31…

state-dept-logoReuters) – The State Department announced on Monday that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would attend a Conference on Afghanistan next week but did not say whether she would meet Iranian officials there.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Clinton would be accompanied by U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, to the conference, which is set to be held on March 31 in the Dutch city of The Hague.

“The Hague ministerial should reaffirm the solid and long-term commitment of the international community to supporting the government of Afghanistan in shaping a better future for Afghanistan and its people,” Wood said.

Clinton and Holbrooke are expected to provide details of a review of U.S. strategy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is set to be released by the Obama administration before the Dutch conference.

Earlier this month, Clinton said Iran’s foreign minister also would be invited to attend The Hague conference, setting up her first chance to meet a senior official from Tehran in her new role as top U.S. diplomat.

Last week U.S. President Barack Obama sent a video message to Iran’s government and people in which he said Washington wanted to have “constructive ties” with Tehran.

In an about face from President George W. Bush’s isolation policy of Tehran, the Obama administration has said it would like to engage Iran on a range of issues, from its nuclear program to assistance in stabilizing Afghanistan.

Wood said he knew of no meetings planned between Clinton and the Iranians, but also did not rule it out.

Iran has said it would be interested in attending the meeting in the Netherlands but has not yet said who could be there.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attended several conferences aimed at stabilizing Iraq, where Iran was also invited.

Rice exchanged pleasantries with Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at those events but never had substantive talks with him.

US and Ireland share history and friendship..

In economy, Human Rights, Ireland, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, news, Politics on March 16, 2009 at 9:47 pm


WASHINGTON -msnbc-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has harsh words for violent opponents of the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at a press conference with Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin, Clinton praised Northern Ireland’s leaders for unity in condemning recent violence.

She called attacks this month that killed two British soldiers and a policeman “an affront to the values of everyone community, every ethnicity, every religion and every nation that seeks peace.”

Clinton responded to a reporter who referred to opponents of the peace process as dissidents, saying “Not dissidents. I’m all in favor of dissidents, I’m not in favor of criminals.”

Remarks with Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin After Their Meeting

In economy, foreign policy, Human Rights, Ireland, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, news, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United States on March 16, 2009 at 7:59 pm

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SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. Well, I am delighted to welcome the foreign minister here today. I know this comes a little early, but, Minister Martin, I wish you and the people of Ireland and all people who are connected to the wonderful Irish history and traditions a very happy St. Patrick’s Day.

I had the great honor of representing a very large Irish American citizenry in New York for eight years, and I know well the contributions that Ireland and Irish Americans have made to the United States. They’re so numerous, they’re impossible to quantify. And indeed, we now have a President and a Vice President who trace some of their family roots back to Ireland.

So I am grateful that the foreign minister could join us here today ahead of the holiday tomorrow to acknowledge both the history and friendship that we share, but also the working relationship that we have enjoyed on a number of important issues that are really significant to both the people of Ireland and to Americans.

I told the foreign minister how much we appreciate that strong partnership. And we discussed and had a very productive meeting about a range of issues. Our countries share a vital economic relationship that has created tens of thousands of jobs in Ireland and the United States. We need to coordinate closely to preserve those benefits in the face of global economic challenges.

Ireland also makes significant contributions to global security. Over 800 troops, 10 percent of the country’s armed forces, are currently deployed overseas on peacekeeping missions in Chad, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and other countries.

And on the subject of conflict prevention, I want to address the recent events in Northern Ireland. As many of you know, this is an issue of great personal concern and commitment to both me and to my husband. It was an honor to work on behalf of peace in Northern Ireland and to do so with the leadership of Senator George Mitchell as our negotiator. I had the privilege of visiting Northern Ireland numerous times to meet with activists from both communities. I spent a lot of time in particular with women, Catholic and Protestant, who were working to build bridges in their own communities, to find common ground as mothers and wives, and to create conditions for peace from the ground up.

Thanks to the brave efforts of government leaders and community activists like the women that I was privileged to know, the people of Northern Ireland, with the strong support of the Government of Ireland and the Government of Great Britain, reached a peace agreement, the Good Friday Agreement, that has delivered more than a decade of calm and progress.

Now, in recent days, a handful of rejectionists have tried to drag the people of Northern Ireland back into a full cycle of violence and retaliation. The recent attacks which killed two British soldiers and a police officer are an affront to the values of every community, every ethnicity, every religion, and every nation that seeks peace. I want to commend the entire leadership of Northern Ireland as well as the Irish and British governments for their constructive statements and their strong resolve in the face of this attack.

I hope that the recent arrests will bring an end to these tragic events and allow the people of Northern Ireland to continue to move forward not only with the important work of reconciliation, but with prosperity and progress that will redound to the benefit of all. The success of the peace process has consequences that go far beyond Northern Ireland. It provides proof to people everywhere that negotiations, dialogue, reconciliation, diplomacy can end conflicts that have tormented generations. The United States stand with the people of Northern Ireland. We will not let criminals destroy the gains that have been achieved through great courage and sacrifice.

Now, this issue is, of course, only a small facet of our relationship with Ireland. Whether it is supporting the Middle East peace process; strengthening democratic institutions in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Western Balkans; promoting human rights; finding solutions to the global financial crisis and climate change; working together on development, we know Ireland is and will remain a strong and steady partner and leader. We share responsibilities, a common agenda, and a proud history.

So Minister Martin, I am grateful for your friendship and for the friendship that you represent on behalf of your country, and I look forward to working with you as we address these and other challenges.

FOREIGN MINISTER MARTIN: Thank you very much indeed, Secretary of State, and may I say that it’s a particular pleasure for me and indeed a privilege to be here with you and to have the opportunity to have our first bilateral meeting here in Washington.

I think you will agree that our meeting was substantive, it was productive, and very fruitful. And indeed, I, of course, congratulated Secretary of State Clinton on her recent appointment and, of course, said all of us in Ireland look forward to working with you in the months and indeed in the years ahead.

It is especially appropriate that the meeting should take place on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, when Ireland again has been honored so warmly here in Washington. And indeed there’s a special bond of friendship between Ireland and the United States, and again this is reflected, I think, in the very generous way in which St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated here today and tomorrow in Washington and indeed across the United States itself.

Secretary Clinton has been an extraordinary friend of Ireland and continues to be. For many years you’ve played a key role in our peace process, as you’ve just articulated, and you’ve been a frequent visitor to Ireland over the years. Your engagement at a political and civic level, particularly in terms of developing political awareness among women’s groups in Northern Ireland, was particularly important and earned you the greatest respect on the island of Ireland and indeed amongst our Irish American community here in the United States. And of course, we look forward very much indeed to welcoming you to Ireland for an official visit at an early opportunity.

In addition to that, we did discuss, of course, the situation in Northern Ireland, including the tragic events of last – of the past week, when three lives were needlessly and senselessly lost as a result of unacceptable and criminal attacks by dissidents. We – what has emerged from the past week, as I spoke and discussed with Secretary Clinton, has been a very strong unity of purpose from both the Irish and the British Government and indeed from all of the political parties on the island of Ireland. It has demonstrated a very significant unity of purpose in ensuring that we will never go back to the bad old days and that we’re very anxious to build on the political momentum and develop very strong political structures and community structures to ensure the continuation and the enhancement of the extraordinary achievements of the past ten years. And of course, America has been particularly important in relation to those achievements.

In terms of the ongoing bilateral relationship that we – Secretary Clinton has expressed interest in the new strategic framework that the Taoiseach announced last evening, which will in many ways be the framework for the development of our relationship with the United States in the decades ahead. And we want to work on quite a number of those issues into the future, not least in developing bilateral frameworks whereby young Irish people can come to America and indeed young Americans can come to Ireland to work and to study and to learn more about each other’s cultures and experiences. And in that context, we look forward to working bilaterally on issues such as development and other issues where we can add value to the world by working in partnership.

I wish to pay tribute to Secretary Clinton’s intensive engagement with the international community over the past few weeks. We look forward to the United States assuming a strong and progressive global leadership role in the years ahead. And already within the European Union community, there is strong anticipation, excited anticipation about the relationship that will develop across the Atlantic between the European Union and indeed the United States.

We’ve discussed, as the Secretary of State said, issues pertaining to the Middle East, to Afghanistan, to global economic downturn, and developments within the European Union itself. We welcome your very energetic engagement in the pursuit of a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East. And of course, we were particularly warm in our welcome of the appointment of Senator George Mitchell as Middle East envoy, a person who did an enormous amount of work for Ireland in developing the peace process back in Ireland. And anywhere we’ve gone in the Middle East, we have made it very clear a man of integrity, a man of fairness, and a man who listens has been appointed to a very sensitive post. And that speaks volumes in terms of your commitment to the resolution of that issue. And indeed, if we can be of any assistance in that regard, given our own experiences, we’re only too willing to provide such assistance.

We look forward to tomorrow, St. Patrick’s Day. I was intrigued by the Secretary of State Clinton’s memories of the capacity of the Irish to party in a unique way – (laughter) – and she interrogated the Ambassador in terms of where the real parties were going to be tomorrow evening. (Laughter.) And I think, you know, we’re looking forward to it, and the Taoiseach – and the meeting between President Obama and the Taoiseach tomorrow as well, which of course is the highlight of the remarkable celebration of our national day in the United States.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Minister Martin.

MR. WOOD: We’ll take a couple of questions. The first one is to Elise Labott of CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. On Pakistan, I’d like to talk to you about your message to Pakistan over the weekend, which certainly seemed to help, at least, calm the situation. What sort of pressure did you apply to Pakistan? Did you warn that Congress may not be forthcoming with aid if the political turmoil continues? And given the political turmoil, can you say that the government is stable and are you concerned that it’s distracted from the very important task at hand at fighting the war on terrorism? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, the Pakistanis themselves resolved the difficulties that were manifest over the last several days. The work that was done by our Ambassador Anne Patterson and the Embassy staff, along with our Special Representative Richard Holbrooke and his staff, was, I think, very helpful in both working with the Pakistani leaders themselves and in keeping our government informed. I did speak with both President Zardari and Nawaz Sharif. And I believe that the resolution that they have agreed upon is the first step of what has to be an ongoing reconciliation and compromising of political views that can stabilize civilian democracy and the rule of law, both of which are essential to the efforts that the Pakistanis themselves see as so critical; namely, preventing extremism and violence from stalking the Pakistani people and the country.

So we are going to continue our very close working relationship with the government and a number of Pakistani leaders in the days and weeks ahead. We have another trilateral meeting scheduled a few months off. So there will be an ongoing effort to make our services available and to help the Pakistanis fight against our common enemy.

QUESTION: Are you worried that (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think they understand what’s at stake.

MODERATOR: Last question is from Denis Coghlan of the Irish Times.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Denis, how are you?

QUESTION: Very well. Thank you, Madame Secretary. The Administration has asked a number of European countries, including Ireland, to help with the resettlement of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. I wanted to ask you, first, how important is our help with that issue? And secondly, what would you say to European citizens who say that Guantanamo was an American creation that most Europeans didn’t approve of, and that the United States really has the responsibility to resolve the problems it created?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the President has made it clear that we will close Guantanamo. That is a position that was widely advocated by Europeans, both European governments and the EU, as well as European citizens from, I guess, every country. We believe that that is the right step for the United States to take, and we are going through our process now to evaluate the disposition with respect to each detainee.

But it is clear that we will need help because many of the detainees cannot safely, for themselves or others, be sent back to the countries from which they came. There are some countries that have made it very clear if the detainees are returned that they will face consequences; imprisonment, for example. So we need help to avoid the human rights problems that might arise with the release and resettlement of the detainees. And we are trying to do the best we can with the problem that we inherited, and that certainly is something that Europe, from one end to the other, called upon us to do. So we would hope to have the cooperation of European governments.

FOREIGN MINISTER MARTIN: First of all, we warmly welcomed the decision to close Guantanamo, and indeed Ireland was one of the first countries out calling for its closure. And it has been welcomed warmly across the European Union. And as I have said, and I’m on the record publicly as saying, that given the fact that we called for the closure of Guantanamo, we have – there’s a compelling logic to being responsive to the situation and to see what – where we can help in – within the context of the European Union as well, because we do believe that Europe is working on this at the moment, and I understand that the European Union is engaged with the Administration in terms of information and so on. And I know it will be the subject matter of discussions perhaps tomorrow as well between the President and the Taoiseach, so I’m not going to preempt anything the Taoiseach may say.

But we’re a friend of America and we will respond to the issues as they emerge. And we’ve made it clear that we want to be positive in our engagement on this issue with the Administration.

SECRETARY CLINTON: We appreciate that.

MR. WOOD: Thank you all very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: One – you want one more on each side?

MR. WOOD: Sure.


QUESTION: Madame Secretary, how do you respond to criticism from Senators McCain and Graham and Brownback that Chris Hill is – does not have the experience necessary to become ambassador in Baghdad? He doesn’t have the experience in the Arab countries. And they also allege that he doesn’t have the negotiating skills necessary, and they point to the recent deadlock in the negotiations with North Korea as an example.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, obviously, I think both of those criticisms are unjustified and unfounded. Chris Hill is a distinguished, experienced diplomat who has served in some very difficult positions on behalf of our country. Another very distinguished, experienced diplomat, John Negroponte, was our ambassador to Iraq. He did not have Middle East or Arabic language skills when he was sent to Iraq. I believe the people you’ve just mentioned, my former colleagues, all voted for former Deputy Secretary Negroponte. So I think on the experience basis, he is not only very well-qualified in terms of running a large embassy, helping to deal with the myriad of issues that will arise as we conduct our withdrawal, but we’ll have around him, as any ambassador does, people who have particular skills and expertise.

With respect to the North Korean mission that we believe Ambassador Hill carried out with great persistence and success despite some difficult challenges, this is a hard set of challenges to meet. And it is our perspective that he made a lot of lemonade out of some pretty bad lemons, and he was able to get the North Koreans on record as agreeing to certain obligations. We now have to follow through on those obligations.

So our assessment, which we believe is rooted in the facts, may be different from those who, you know, are rightfully distressed with and extremely critical of North Korean actions on human rights, on their continuing effort to obtain nuclear weapons, on their belligerence and their provocative actions. But that is something that is not in any way reflective of the job that Chris Hill did in the Six-Party Talks, where we think he did a very good job.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: A question for the Secretary of State. You had strong words there for the dissidents in Northern Ireland. Can I just ask —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Not dissidents, not – I’m all in favor of dissidents. I’m not in favor of criminals.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, your strong words, how – I just want to ask how you felt personally last week when you saw the events unfolding. And just secondly on that, you’ve been asked to make an official visit at the earliest opportunity.


QUESTION: When do you think that will be and will President Obama be coming with you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Well, I told the minister that unfortunately, my colleagues in the State Department know my great affection for Ireland and they’re somewhat skeptical that it’s a work job for me to go. So I’m working that through. I will get there at my earliest opportunity.

I think like all people who value peace and who know what it’s like to feel secure sending your, you know, son to the store or waiting for your husband to come home from work, those days were thankfully behind us. And so when these criminal elements, these rejectionists, determined to kill and try to set the communities against one another in Northern Ireland again, to relive the troubles and the bad days that everyone worked so hard to resolve, it was distressing.

But I was immediately heartened by the response across Northern Ireland, indeed, the island of Ireland with people speaking out against the murders and the violence and the provocation that these actions represented. I particularly appreciated the very strong statements of Northern Ireland’s leaders from both communities. So I believe this did, as the minister said, fortunately foil the efforts of the criminal elements to try to provoke violence again. In fact, it did show a unity of purpose, a commitment to a positive future.

Now that doesn’t mean all of the problems are over and all of the difficulties that people live with day-to-day – the minister and I talked about some of the economic issues that we wanted to help address in Northern Ireland. But it did, in a resounding way, demonstrate a commitment to peace that touched my heart and was incredibly moving to me.

Thank you all.