The Minkoff Minx {Go Ahead…Make Your Move!}

"I get very passionate about what I think is right."-Hillary Rodham Clinton

This is one fabulous Woman!

Hillary Clinton yesterday had this to say about the federal debt:

MR. HAASS: Let me start where you began – where you ended rather – which was with all these things we want to do, and you called for strategic patience in Afghanistan and so forth. Yet the United States is soon approaching a point where the scale or size of our debt will exceed our GDP. It’s a question of when more than if. Where does national security contribute to the solution to running deficits of $1.5 trillion a year, or do we continue to carry out a foreign and defense policy as if we were not seriously resource constrained?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Richard, first, as I said, I think that our rising debt levels poses a national security threat, and it poses a national security threat in two ways. It undermines our capacity to act in our own interests and it does constrain us where constraint may be undesirable. And it also sends a message of weakness internationally. I mean, it is very troubling to me that we are losing the ability not only to chart our own destiny, but to have the leverage that comes from this enormously effective economic engine that has powered American values and interests over so many years.

So I don’t think we have a choice. It’s a question of how we decide to deal with this debt and deficit. I mean, it is – we don’t need to go back and sort of re-litigate how we got to where we are. But it is fair to say that we fought two wars without paying for them and we had tax cuts that were not paid for either, and that has been a very deadly combination to fiscal sanity and responsibility.

So the challenge is how we get out of it by making the right decisions, not the wrong decisions. There’s a lot of wrong things we could do that would further undermine our strength. I mean, it is going to be very difficult for those decisions. And I know there’s an election going on and I know that I am, by law, out of politics, but I will say that this is not just a decision for the Congress; it’s a decision for the country. And it’s not a Republican or a Democratic decision. And there are a lot of people who know more about what needs to be done and who, frankly, have a responsible view, whose voices are not being heard right now, and I think that is a great disservice to our nation. Whether one is a Republican or a Democrat, a conservative, a progressive, whatever you call yourself, there is no free lunch and we cannot pretend that there is without doing grave harm to our country and our future generations.

So when you specifically say, well, what about diplomacy, development and defense, we will have to take our share of the burden of meeting the fiscal targets that can drag us out of this deep hole we’re in, but we’ve got to be smart about it. And I think from both my perspective and Bob Gates’s perspective, and we talked about this a lot, Bob has made some very important recommendations that are not politically popular, but which come with a very well thought out policy. And what I’ve tried to do is to say, “Look, we’re going to try to be smarter, more effective.” In our QDDR, we’re recommending changes in personnel policies, in all kinds of approaches that will better utilize what we have. But we needed to get a little more robust in order to catch up to our responsibilities.

A quick final point on that. When our combat troops move out of Iraq, as they’ve been, that will save about $15 billion. That’s a net win for our Treasury, and it’s the policy that we have committed to along with the Iraqis. The Congress cuts my budget of the State Department and USAID for trying to pick up the pieces that we’re left with. We now have the responsibility for the police training mission, for opening up consulates that have to be secure. So even though our troops are coming down and we’re saving money, and what we’re asking for is considerably less than the $15 billion that we are saving by having the troops leave, the Congress cuts us.

And so we have to get a more sensible, comprehensive approach. And Bob and I have talked about trying to figure out how to present a national security budget. It’s a mistake to look at all of these items – foreign aid, diplomatic operations, defense – as stovepipes. Because what we know, especially from the threats that we have faced in Iraq and now in Afghanistan, is you have to be more integrated. So let’s start thinking from a budget perspective about how to be more integrated.

So there’s a lot that we can do on our side to help. But the bottom line is that the public and the Congress and the Administration have to make some very tough decisions, and I hope we make the right decisions.

And this was her answer to a question from the floor…she is always proving her ability to lead over and over again.  Hillary is amazing on so many different levels. She always has a wonderful presence and her delivery of her message is always top notch.

Wonk the Vote over at TC had this to say:

I also caught this headline from Tunku Varadarajan at the Daily Beast — “Hillary Clinton Foreign Policy Speech: Better than Obama…. Hillary’s Home Run of a Speech” :

The secretary of State delivered the best speech of the Obama administration this morning. Tunku Varadarajan on her “new American moment”—and why she’s better than her boss.

Behold the Hillary Doctrine. And heap abundant gratitude—and rose petals if you have them on hand—on the firm, unfussy, deeply reassuring woman who has just offered it up to the world.

In the 20 months since this administration began administering (a verb I use only in the loosest sense), the speech Wednesday morning by Hillary Clinton, delivered at the Council on Foreign Relations, was the first time we have been given an unreserved lift of the heart by any of its members. It was, by far, the best speech of this administration. Whereas her president has frequently wrung his elegant hands, doing the rounds of the world to reassure foreign leaders that America is a cuddly bunny at heart, the secretary of State declared Wednesday that we are all living “a new American moment—a moment when our global leadership is essential.” There was no bowing from her to potentates in robes; there was, instead, a promise that “we will do everything we can to exercise the traditions of American leadership at home and abroad.”

And, that’s just the beginning. It gets better:

In her speech, Clinton referred to the sources of “American might.” The first, of course, is “economic power.” But it is her hailing of the second—America’s “moral authority”—that was so invigorating.

It was Acheson who said: “The most important aspect of the relationship between the president and the secretary of state is that they both understand who is president.” What is so piquant here, in this administration, is not the fact, plain to behold, that Hillary understands that Obama is president. It is the growing sense that Hillary would have made a much, much better president than Obama.

This was from Laura Rozen’s preview of Hillary’s speech at Politico — “Hillary Clinton finds her ‘groove’” :

“She is definitely getting her sea legs; she is past the learning curve and has developed her team and her agenda and her reputation to the point she can really get things done,” former Clinton-era National Security Council official David Rothkopf said.

“With Defense Secretary Robert Gates leaving within a year and [National Security Adviser Jim] Jones probably leaving too … she looks like she is the stable center of it all and the leading figure in the Cabinet.”

What’s more, Rothkopf said, several foreign policy issues with which the administration is contending are now at a point where the State Department’s role is more prominent than the Pentagon’s.

The efforts of Middle East peace envoy Mitchell “are bearing fruit and bringing that issue to the fore … which is a State issue,” Rothkopf noted, while the hand over in Iraq, and critical issues in Afghanistanl, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea and with China “are all State issues.”

Clinton “needs to be the real timeline between the president and the [Middle East peace] negotiations,” veteran U.S. Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller told POLITICO. “Neither now should be the desk officer for those talks. … But by upping her involvement — in the substance — she is the pivot if the talks reach a stage where they get serious, just like Kissinger and Nixon and Baker and Bush.”

And, from Rozen’s reporting after the speech, “Clinton: World needs U.S. leadership” :

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday pushed back on America’s sense of domestic crisis and declining power, saying U.S. leadership in the world is more important than ever despite the economic woes at home.

“I know these are difficult days for many Americans, but difficulty and adversity have never defeated, or deflated, our country,” Clinton told the Council on Foreign Relations in her second major foreign policy address to the think tank as secretary of state.

“Let me say it clearly: The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century,” Clinton said. “Indeed, the complexities and connections of today’s world have yielded a new American Moment — a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways.”

“This is a moment that must be seized — through hard work and bold decisions — to lay the foundations for lasting American leadership for decades to come,” she went on, adding that America will not “go it alone. … The world looks to us because America has the reach and resolve to mobilize the shared effort needed to solve problems on a global scale.”

Speaking for almost an hour, Clinton several times connected America’s role in the world with its domestic strength. The State Department, she said, is willing to absorb its share of national security fiscal cutbacks, but asserted “we have to be smart about it.”

Yes, we do have to be smart about it, Hillary. That’s why we need your voice and your smart power out there — you get how the big and small pictures fit together. I wish we had you more on the domestic stage too, but I am glad to have you on the world stage. Keep on fighting for us!

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