Transcript: Hillary Clinton Confirmation Hearing
January 13, 2009
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MASS.): Well, good morning, everyone. We welcome you all here. We're delighted to welcome Senator Clinton, secretary of state designate. I think every member of the committee believes very strongly that in Senator Clinton we have a nominee who is extraordinarily capable and smart, an individual with the global stature and influence to help shape events.
She will take office on a first-name basis with numerous heads of state, but also with billions of people in every corner of the globe, those billions of people that the Obama administration hopes to reach, inspire, and influence. Her presence overseas will send a strong signal immediately that America is back.
This morning, we look forward to a good, healthy dialogue, and, over the coming years, we particularly look forward to a strong, close, cooperative, working relationship.
This is an historic moment for this committee. For the first time in American history, one of our members will be sworn in as president and another one as vice president. Before any of the newer members of our committee get too excited about future prospects, let Dick Lugar, Chris Dodd, and myself -- and perhaps even Hillary will join in this -- in saying trust us, it ain't automatic.
For me, it is a particularly special and personal privilege to be sitting here, having testified before Chairman Fulbright in 1971 and having worked closely with the chairmen since who have set a strong example for this committee's ability to contribute to our security.
And this morning, we should remember one chairman in particular. Last week, Dick Chris, Sheldon, and I attended memorial services for Claiborne Pell in Rhode Island. President Clinton, who first met Chairman Pell when he was a college student interning on this committee, spoke movingly at the funeral.
And today, I know we all join together in expressing our gratitude for Chairman Pell's exemplary service. His commitment to bipartisanship and multilateralism remains the guidepost by which this committee will continue its efforts.
I'm privileged also to follow in the more recent footsteps of two respected chairmen and good friends. Vice President-elect Biden and I first ran for office together in 1972, and we grew up together in politics. I know Joe and his family well, as many of the members of this committee do. I value his friendship, and the country will come to value the wisdom and strength which he brings to the vice presidency. The committee is grateful for his leadership.
I also have the good fortune as chairman to have beside me as ranking member the senior-most Republican in the Senate, a Noble Peace Prize nominee for his groundbreaking nonproliferation work and a trusted, thoughtful voice in our national security dialogue.
Senator Lugar, I look forward to working with you in the same cooperative way that Senator Biden did and others have in the past, and I know that that will characterize the work of this committee as we go forward, and I could not have a better partner, and I thank you for that.
If we do our job correctly, as we begin a new presidency and a new Congress, we stand on the brink of a new era of American diplomacy with great potential for significant, if not transformational, steps forward across the globe, and I look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to seize that potential.
In the last seven years, we have spent the treasure of our nation -- young American soldiers, first and foremost, and billions of dollars -- to fight terrorism, and yet grave questions remain as to whether or not we have chosen our battles correctly, pursued the right strategy, defined the right goals.
That we are engaged in fighting a global insurgency is beyond doubt, but our task is to define the method and means of our response more effectively, and no challenge will be greater in the days ahead than to get this right.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are definitively the front line of our global counterterrorism efforts. Having visited several times recently, it is clear that no amount of additional troops will succeed absent the effective instruments of a functioning state. We face a gargantuan task, and to be successful, I believe we must fundamentally redefine our approach.
We went into Afghanistan to deny Al Qaida sanctuary. Our goals must be defined by our original mission, by the regional security context, and by the tribal decentralized nature of Afghan society. I'm eager to hear Senator Clinton's thoughts on the road ahead in Afghanistan.
Nor should anyone believe that Iraq is a completed task. Despite the Status of Forces Agreement that sets out a schedule for reduction of U.S. forces, Sunni and Shia tensions, the unresolved status of Kirkuk, the distribution of oil revenues, and setbacks to political reconciliation each threaten to upend our fragile progress, and they will require active diplomatic engagement by Secretary of State Clinton and the rest of the Obama administration with Iraq's government and particularly with its neighbors.
Iraq, as well as Iran, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza, all require an approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of each of these challenges. We look forward to working with the administration and the Secretary Clinton on a significantly expanded and vigorous diplomatic effort.
In the age of catastrophic terrorism, it is also urgent -- and I know Senator Lugar joins me in expressing this -- urgent that we restore America's leadership on nonproliferation. Whatever our differences, we must reengage with Russia on nuclear security, specifically the START Treaty.
It is my hope that we will embrace deep reciprocal cuts in our nuclear arsenals, and I'm eager to hear Senator Clinton's thoughts on this matter. Consistent with our security needs, I believe we should set a goal of no more than 1,000 deployed warheads, and that goal should be just the beginning. We should also lay the groundwork for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
The last eight years have resulted in increased suspicion of our motives abroad, especially in the Muslim world where we must do much more to reduce the prevalent and costly perception of an assault on Islam. It is vital that we redouble our efforts to find common ground, including through interfaith dialogue.
KERRY: We must integrate all of the disparate elements of our national power into a single unified effort, and I agree with Secretary Gates that we need a State Department with more resources and greater capacity to deal with 21st-century challenges in conflict zones and in weak and failing states.
I was heartened to hear Senator Clinton signal her desire to radically improve our diplomatic capacity and finally give the State Department the tools it needs to put civilian functions back in civilian hands, and she can count on our support in that effort.
She can also count on our support in efforts to reengage with Latin America and recognize how crucial renewed and expanded relationships with Russia and China are to our overall goals. I believe, Madam Secretary-designate, that China offers us extremely important opportunities for a more productive partnership, and we need to approach that relationship with greater respect for and understanding of our common interests.
Before turning to Senator Lugar, let me just say one thing about global climate change. Many today do not see global climate change as a national security threat, but it is profoundly so. And the consequences of our inaction grow more serious by the day.
In Copenhagen this December, we have a chance to forge a treaty that will profoundly affect the conditions of life on our planet itself. A resounding message from the recent Climate Change Conference in Poland was that the global community is looking overwhelmingly to our leadership. This committee will be deeply involved in crafting a solution that the world can agree to and that the Senate can ratify, and, as we proceed, the lesson of Kyoto must remain clear in our minds: All countries must be part of the solution.
Each of these challenges present major opportunities for a new administration and for a new secretary of state. After the polarization of the last eight years, diplomacy must be directed domestically as well. Senator Clinton's record in the Senate shows her to be an alliance builder in the finest traditions of this body. She has repeatedly sought out the best people, the best ideas, and the common ground upon which solutions could be found.
KERRY: While the committee still has some questions with respect to the fund-raising activities of the Clinton Foundation, I'm pleased that Senator Clinton will have an opportunity today to address them beyond the ways in depth that they have already been addressed.
I understand that Senator Lugar will be speaking to this issue in greater detail, and we look forward to hearing the senator's responses.
Let me just say personally that in the year 2000, I had the privilege of joining the then first lady and her husband on the first visit by an American president to Viet Nam after the normalization of relations.
I've seen Senator Clinton's diplomatic acumen up close. I saw her immense curiosity, her quick and impressive grasp of detail, and her authoritative approach, all of which will serve her will in this new undertaking.
Hillary Clinton has shown the intelligence to navigate the complex issues that we face, the toughness and the tireless work ethic that this job will require, the stature to project America's world leadership, and the alliance building -- at home and abroad -- that will be vital to our success in the years ahead.
As senator, Hillary has earned the respect of her colleagues, Democrat and Republican alike, and we are honored to welcome her here today to our committee for confirmation as America's next secretary of state.
LUGAR: Mr. Chairman, I congratulate you on taking the gavel and wish you every success. And we appreciate the very gracious comments you have made about previous chairmen. And I join you especially in your tribute to our former colleague Senator Pell, whose life we celebrated together last week.
It's a great pleasure to welcome Senator Hillary Clinton to the Foreign Relations Committee. Those of you who have served with her during the past eight years can attest to her impressive skills, her compassion, her collegiality. I've enjoyed the opportunity to work with her in the Senate. I look forward to the prospect of much more frequent collaboration when she is secretary of state.
I also want to congratulate Senator Kerry on the assumption of chairmanship of this committee. My first hearing as chairman of the committee in 1985 was one of the proudest moments of my career. And I'm sure Senator Kerry is feeling the gravity as well as the joy of this historic occasion.
And I want to thank him and his staff for their graciousness during the last several weeks. It's been a pleasure to work with them. And I look forward to all that we can achieve together under Senator Kerry's chairmanship.
I've frequently said the foremost criteria for selecting a national security cabinet official should be whether the nominee is a big leaguer who has achieved extraordinary accomplishments, is well known to the world, understands both process and policy, and can command global respect.
In Senator Clinton, President-elect Obama has boldly chosen the epitome of a big leaguer. Her qualifications for the post are remarkable. Her presence at the helm of the State Department could open unique opportunities for United States diplomacy and could bolster efforts to improve foreign attitudes toward the United States. She has a long-standing relationship with many world leaders that could be put to great use in the service of our country.
Her time in the Senate has given her a deep understanding of how United States foreign policy can be enriched by establishing a closer relationship between the executive and legislative branches. She is fully prepared to engage the world on a myriad of issues that urgently require attention.
During the last six years, this committee has held more hearings than any other committee in the Senate, and we have tried to come to grips with issues involving Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Russia, the Middle East peace process, Africa, the Western Hemisphere, the NATO Alliance, non-proliferation, foreign assistance reform, the State Department budget, and numerous other priorities.
All of these challenges will continue to occupy Senator Clinton as secretary of state. I would highlight several other points to which I hope the secretary will very high priority in addition to the ongoing crises that will press for her attention.
First, it is vital that the START Treaty with Russia be renewed. When the Senate gave its consent to ratification to the Moscow Treaty in 2002, it did so knowing that the United States could rely on START Treaty's verification regime. It provides important assurances to both sides.
At the time, this committee was assured that extension of START was a very high priority. Unfortunately, little progress has been made, and the treaty will expire in 11 months.
In other words, the conceptual underpinning of our strategic relationship with Russia depends upon something that is about to expire. Such an outcome will be seen as weakening the international nonproliferation regime. Second, energy security must be given a much higher priority in our diplomacy. Earlier this month, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered a cutoff in natural gas supplies that struck allies across Europe. And this dispute is only the most recent example of how energy vulnerability constrains our foreign policy options around the world, limiting effectiveness in some cases and forcing our hand in others.
I look forward to supporting President-elect Obama in taking the necessary steps to dramatically reduce our domestic dependence on oil. Yet domestic reform alone will not be sufficient to meet the global threats to our national security, our economic health or climate change.
In my judgment, energy security must be at the top of our agenda with nearly every country. Progress will require personal engagement by the secretary of state.
Third, eradicating global hunger must be embraced as both a humanitarian and national security imperative. Precipitous food price increases that occurred in 2007 and 2008 created havoc in many parts of the world, causing riots in some 19 countries and plunging an additional 75 million people into poverty and increased vulnerability to malnourishment.
Nearly 1 billion people are presently food insecure. It is predicted the world's population will grow to such an extent that by 2050 current food production will need to double in order to meet demand. There is no reason why people should be hungry when we have the knowledge, the technology and the resources to make everyone food secure.
The United States is uniquely situated to help the world feed itself and has the opportunities to recast its image by making the eradication of hunger a centerpiece of United States foreign policy.
LUGAR: And with these issues in mind, it's especially important we move forward with Senator Clinton's nomination. President-elect Obama has expressed his confidence in her, and he deserves to have his secretary of state in place at the earliest opportunity.
The main issue related to Senator Clinton's nomination that has occupied the committee has been the review of how her service as secretary of state can be reconciled with the sweeping global activities of President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.
To this end, the Obama transition and the Clinton Foundation completed a memorandum of understanding outlining steps designed to minimize potential conflicts of interest.
I share the president-elect's view that the activities of the Clinton Foundation and President Clinton himself should not be a barrier to Senator Clinton's service. But I also share the view implicitly recognized by the memorandum of understanding that the work of the Clinton Foundation is a unique complication that will have to be managed with great care and transparency.
The core of the problem is that foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state. Although neither Senator Clinton nor President Clinton has a personal financial stake in the foundation, obviously its work benefits their legacy and their public service priorities.
There is nothing wrong with this, and President Clinton is deservedly proud of the Clinton Foundation's good work in addressing HIV/AIDS, global poverty, climate change, and other pressing problems.
But the Clinton Foundation exists as a temptation for any foreign entity or government that believes it could curry favor through a donation. It also sets up potential perception problems with any action taken by the secretary of state in relation to foreign givers or their countries.
The nature of the secretary of state post makes recusal from specific policy decisions almost impossible, since even localized U.S. foreign policy activities can ripple across countries and continents. Every new foreign donation that is accepted by the foundation comes with the risk it will be connected in the global media to a proximate State Department policy or decision.
Foreign perceptions are incredibly important to United States foreign policy, and mistaken impressions or suspicions can deeply affect the actions of foreign governments toward the United States. Moreover, we do not want our own government's deliberations distracted by avoidable controversies played out in the media.
The bottom line is that even well-intentioned foreign donations carry risks for United States foreign policy. The only certain way to eliminate this risk going forward is for the Clinton foundation to forswear new foreign contributions when Senator Clinton becomes secretary of state.
I recommend this straightforward approach as the course most likely to avoid pitfalls that could disrupt United States foreign policy or inhibit Senator Clinton's own activities as secretary of state.
Alternatively, the Clinton Foundation and the Obama transition have worked in good faith to construct a more complex approach based on disclosure and ethics reviews that would allow the foundation the prospect of continuing to accept foreign donations deemed not to have the appearance of a conflict of interest.
The agreement requires, among other measures, the disclosure of all the foundation donors up to this point and annual disclosure of donations going forward and a State Department ethics review process that would evaluate proposed donations from foreign governments and governmental entities.
All of these are positive steps. But we should be clear that this agreement is a beginning and not an end. It is not a guarantee against conflict of interest or its appearance. And for the agreement to succeed, the parties must make the integrity of United States foreign policy their first principle of implementation.
For this reason, the requirements for transparency in the memorandum of understanding should be considered a minimum standard. I'm hopeful the Clinton Foundation and the Obama administration will go further to ensure that the vital business of United States foreign policy upon which the security of our country rests is not encumbered by perceptions arising from donations to the foundation.
If there is a slightest doubt about the appearance that a donation might create, the foundation should not take that donation. If there are issues about how a donation should be disclosed, the issue should be resolved by disclosing the donation sooner and with as much specificity as possible.
Operational inconveniences for the foundation or a reduction in some types of donations that have been accepted in the past are small prices to pay when balanced against the serious business of United States foreign policy that affects the security of every American.
With this in mind, I have suggested several additional transparency measures that could be embraced by the Clinton Foundation and the Obama administration going forward. Because time is limited I will not discuss each one explicitly now, but I have provided a background sheet -- Attachment A -- that outlines these measures. And my understanding is the Clinton Foundation has already accepted the fourth item listed. The willingness of all parties to voluntarily implement these additions would strengthen the commitment to transparency and at least partially mitigate the risk inherent in foreign contributions.
I believe that every member of this committee will seek ways to support Senator Clinton's work as secretary of state. I am certain every member wants her to succeed. We have the opportunity through the leadership of President-elect Obama and Senator Clinton to establish a new foreign policy path that will greatly benefit the security and prosperity of the United States.
And I look forward to our discussion with our esteemed colleague today. I applaud her willingness to take on the role of secretary of state at a very difficult moment in history.
And I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
KERRY: Well, I thank you, Senator Lugar.
And let me just say that, for the record, first of all the attachment will be made part of the record with the statement.
And secondly, I think it's fair to say that Senator Lugar is not speaking from a partisan's perspective, but I think he is really expressing a view of the committee as a whole. And we look forward to having a good discussion about this.
If I could just say to my colleagues that what we're going to do is I'm about -- I want to take a personal privilege to let Senator Dodd say something because he has to go chair a hearing. But we're going to have a 10-minute round. We have not yet, obviously, been able to have our organizational meeting, so we'll have a chance to talk about procedures going forward.
KERRY: But today we will go, as we have in the past, as a matter of seniority. My hope is we can get a full round, maybe plus, before we break.
We will take a break at about 12:45 until 2 o'clock, thereabouts, and that's by agreement with Senator Clinton and some other needs that we have to attend to.
We also intend to try to do the business meeting in order to try to expedite this nomination Thursday morning, when we have another hearing on another nominee. So we look forward to trying to have the cooperation of everybody to be able to do that.
I think Senator Lugar, again, spoke to the committee and expressing our desire to have a secretary of state in place and ready to go as rapidly as possible and, obviously, on Tuesday of next week.
That said, let me turn to Senator Dodd. I know, Senator Schumer, you've being very patient and we appreciate it.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D-CONN.): Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I apologize to my colleagues, but as we're in the midst of all of this, it's sort of a New York day. I'll leave here and Shaun Donovan is the nominee to be the new secretary of HUD and I have to chair that hearing as chairman of the Banking Committee.
Mr. Duncan is the designee to be the new secretary of education. I'm the ranking Democrat on that committee, as well. So we have a busy day in front of us. I'm going to be very, very brief and ask consent, Mr. Chairman, that a longer statement be included in the record.
But I wanted to, first of all, commend you, Mr. Chairman. This is a -- you are so well suited to this job as chairman of this committee, your background and experience, your knowledge of these issues, and I'm very excited about your leadership of this committee.
And let me, as well, underscore the point you made about Claiborne Pell and Dick Lugar, as well, Joe Biden. We've been blessed in this committee over the years with some remarkable people to chair this committee and you're going to carry on in that tradition.
Let me also welcome and congratulate my wonderful friend from New York, the nominee, Senator Clinton. I've worked with her over the years and I am very excited, as all of us are, about your nomination and look forward to having a very strong and healthy relationship between the State Department and this committee.
I don't think it's overstating the case to say that you will be inheriting some of the largest and most difficult international challenges the United States has faced in over half a century and, as has been said by Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar, the threat of terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction still loom large and our own prestige, influence and elements of our soft power have been questioned, and as our commitment to the rule of law.
And while these issue and others, including the crisis in Gaza and our relationships with China and Russia, are very much at the forefront of our minds, I want to just raise one issue briefly before departing and hopefully getting back later in the day to discuss this with you further.
But as I mentioned, I'm chairman of the Banking Committee and the one issue that overlaps almost all of this, in many ways, is the global economic crisis. While we're very much aware of it here in our own country, with the problems we're grappling with every single day, I think most are aware today this is not just a localized problem in the sense that every other issue we are dealing with will be affected by our ability to grapple effectively with the economic crisis we face.
This crisis has inflicted seriously and wide-reaching damage to which no nation is immune. As important as our domestic response is to this crisis, I think it is particularly critical that we developed a well coordinated international strategy to deal with what, in many ways, as fundamental to our own well being as our physical security, our economic security.
Both the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, as well as the Senate Committee on Banking, maintain jurisdiction over a wide array of international economic issues and my intent is, along with Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar, to work together on these issues.
We have jurisdiction in the Banking Committee over many of the international institutions and, yet, obviously, it's a matter of deep concern to this committee, as well.
So we need to coordinate our activities and I raise that because the jurisdictional overlap is similar to the jurisdictional overlap that currently exists within the executive branch, the State Department and the Treasury Department.
Senator Clinton, you and I have discussed this issue briefly and had a chance to talk about it, but in order to implement an effective international policy response to the economic crisis, we first must ensure that there's a coordinated leadership on this issue.
And so I raise that point before leaving. You may address it in your statement. I'm not sure if you're going to or not, but it's tremendously important. And I certainly look forward to working with Senator Kerry and you and others on these issues and how we can coordinate our activities.
But again, I welcome you. I'm excited about your leadership role as the new secretary of state. I commend you and Senator -- President-elect Obama for doing this. There's been a lot of speculation about having two candidates who sought the presidency taking on these responsibilities.
I think it says volumes about both of you. The idea that this president-elect is not in any way threatened by a significant challenger to ask her to be a part of his team and your willingness to step up and accept that challenge, as well, is, I think, what makes this country so unique in the eyes of the world.
So I wish you the very best.
KERRY: Thank you, Senator Dodd, for those arm and generous comments and we appreciate it, and we very much look forward, obviously, to working very closely with you on that.
The international and global economic linkages nowadays have really transformed foreign policy and we're already looking within our staff structure on the committee for ways to try to address that more effectively.
Senator Schumer and Senator Clinton, you've both been very patient and we appreciate it enormously.
Let me, as I introduce you, Senator Schumer, also welcome Chelsea. We are delighted to have you here. Your mother said, as we were walking across the dais, that she wished you weren't sitting behind her, but she could look at you up here.
So since your father served as an intern on this committee, maybe we can make you an intern for a day, chairman's prerogative. So if you want to come up here later and look out, we're happy to welcome you.
So, Senator Schumer, thanks so much for joining here. Happy to have you.
Is that for Senator Schumer or for Chelsea?
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.): Chelsea, for sure.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and it is a true honor to be here. I want to thank you and Ranking Member Lugar, all the members of the committee for the opportunity for the honor, the true honor of introducing my friend and colleague, Senator Clinton.
Before I do, I want to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your ascension to the chairmanship and I share the confidence of many that you'll be a truly great chairman of this committee and look forward to watching the committee work.
Now, colleagues, I've known Hillary a long time and I'm confident that there is no one -- no one -- who would better serve our country and the world as the next secretary of state.
We're in a new era. The world is yearning for strong, but consultative American leadership and foreign policy. Hillary Rodham Clinton, as secretary of state, is exactly the right person at the right time.
Hillary has spent more time under the national political spotlight than almost anyone, first as first lady, then in her race for the New York Senate seat, her subsequent eight years at Senate, and then her historic victories in her campaign for the democratic presidential nomination, and now, finally, as President-elect Obama's choice for secretary of state.
Through all of this time, Hillary has demonstrated the equanimity, prudence, the fortitude that have made her an exceptional leader and public servant.
SCHUMER: In her years as first lady, Senator Clinton was one of the country's most important and best loved ambassadors. She traveled to over 80 countries, meeting with heads of state from the Czech Republic to Nepal.
She served as a representative to the United Nations, addressing forums around the world. She has negotiated aid packages in Asia, pushed democratic reforms in the former Soviet Bloc, and promoted peace plans in northern Ireland and Serbia.
But Hillary didn't just meet with world leaders. She has met with private citizens around the world whose lives are shaped by international decisions.
She has met survivors of the Rwandan genocide. She has met with advocates for social justice and women's rights in Pakistan and with the families of children kidnapped in Uganda.
And after serving her country eight years as first lady, when most people would retire, Hillary stepped up and has served as a vital and powerful advocate on behalf of the people of New York, going from the White House to White Plains.
Hillary has continued to show just as much acumen as in her dealings with national and global leaders as she shows empathy and interest in the needs of private individuals around New York.
In all of her many roles as a public servant, Hillary has always shown the insight to see the heart of a problem, the courage to tackle it, and the talent to solve it.
What could be a better description of what we need as secretary of state?
And no matter how abstract the problem, no matter how esoteric the question, Hillary has never once forgotten the peoples whose lives and happiness depend on her work.
Hillary, you've dedicated your career to improving the lives of the least fortunate. Since your work 30 years ago with the Children's Defense Fund, you've come a long way, but you've always retained your tireless efforts to better the world.
For me, it's been a pleasure and a privilege serving with you in the Senate and I will sorely miss you. But I wish you the best of luck and I know that you will be a brilliant secretary of state. KENNEDY: Thank you very much, Senator Schumer.
And I know we need to excuse you post cog to go about other duties and I know that our Republican colleagues are thrilled that those duties no longer include being chairman of the Campaign Committee.
SCHUMER: Mr. Chairman, it is, as Chris Dodd mentioned, a New York day and I have to go introduce Shaun Donovan at the Banking Committee.
KENNEDY: We understand that. Thank you so much.
SCHUMER: Thank you, colleagues. I appreciate it very much.
KENNEDY: Well, Madam Secretary-designate, we are, again, really delighted to welcome you here and we look forward to your testimony and have a chance to get some questions in. Thanks so much.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-N.Y.): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And as he's leaving, I want to thank Senator Schumer for that generous introduction and even more for his support and our partnership over so many years.
He's been a valued and trusted colleague, a friend and a tribute to the people of New York whom he has served with such distinction.
Mr. Chairman, I join in offering my congratulations as you take on this new role. You've traveled quite a distance from that day back in 1971 when you testified here as a young Vietnam veteran.
You have never faltered in your care and concern for our nation, its foreign policy and its future, and America is in good hands with you leading this committee.
And, Senator Lugar, I look forward to working with you on a wide range of issues, especially those of greatest concern to you, including the Nunn-Lugar initiative.
And let me say a word to Senator Voinovich because of his announcement yesterday. I want to commend you for your service to the people of Ohio and I ask for your help in the next two years on the management issues that you have long championed.
It is an honor and a privilege to be here this morning as President-elect Obama's nominee for secretary of state. I am deeply grateful for the trust and keenly aware of the responsibility that the president-elect has placed in me to serve our country and to serve our people at a time of such grave dangers and great possibilities.
If confirmed, I will accept the duties of the office with gratitude, humility and firm determination to represent the United States as energetically and faithfully as I can.
At the same time, I must confess that sitting across the table from so many colleagues brings me sadness, too. I love the Senate and if you confirm me for this new role, it will be hard to say goodbye to so many members, Republicans and Democrats, whom I have come to know, admire and respect deeply, and to this institution where I have been so proud to serve on behalf of the people of New York through some very difficult days over the past eight years.
But I assure you I will be in frequent consultation and conversation with the members of this committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Appropriations Committees, and with Congress as a whole, and I look forward to working with my good friend, Vice President-elect Biden, who has been a valued colleague and a very valued chairman of this committee.
For me, consultation is not a catch word. It is a commitment. The president-elect and I believe that we must return to the time honored principle of bipartisanship in our foreign policy, an approach that has served our nation well.
I look forward to working with all of you to renew America's leadership through diplomacy that enhances our security, advances our interests, and reflects our values.
Today, our nation and our world face great peril from ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the continuing threats posed by terrorist extremists, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, from the dangers of climate change to pandemic disease, from financial meltdowns to worldwide poverty.
The 70 days since the presidential election offer fresh evidence of these challenges, new conflict in Gaza, terrorist attacks in Mumbai, mass killings and rapes in the Congo, cholera in Zimbabwe, record high greenhouse gases and rapidly melting glaciers, and even an ancient form of terror -- piracy -- asserting itself in modern form off the Horn of Africa.
CLINTON: Always and especially in the crucible of these global challenges, our overriding duty is to protect and advance America's security, interests and values, to keep our people, our nation and our allies secure, to promote economic growth and shared prosperity at home and abroad, and to strengthen America's position of global leadership so we remain a positive force in the world, whether in working to preserve the health of our planet or expanding opportunity for people on the margins whose progress and prosperity will add to our own.
Our world has undergone an extraordinary transformation in the last two decades. In 1989, a wall fell and old barriers began to crumble after 40 years of a Cold War that had influenced every aspect of our foreign policy. By 1999, the rise of more democratic and open societies, the expanding reach of world markets, and the explosion of information technology had made globalization the word of the day.
For most people, it had primarily an economic connotation, but, in fact, we were already living in a profoundly interdependent world in which old rules and boundaries no longer held fast, a world in which both the promise and the peril of the 21st century could not be contained by national borders or vast distances.
Economic growth lifted more people out of poverty faster than at any time in our history, but economic crises can sweep across the globe even more quickly. A coalition of nations stopped ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, but the conflict in the Middle East continues to inflame tensions from Africa to Asia. Non-state actors fight poverty, improve health, and expand education in the poorest parts of the world, while other non-state actors traffic in drugs, children, and women and kill innocent civilians across the globe.
Now, in 2009, the clear lesson of the last 20 years is that we must both combat the threats and seize the opportunities of our interdependence, and to be effective in doing so, we must build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries. America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America.
The best way to advance America's interests in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions. That isn't a philosophical point. This is our reality.
The president-elect and I believe that foreign policy must be based on a marriage of principles and pragmatism, not rigid ideology, on facts and evidence, not emotion or prejudice. Our security, our vitality, and our ability to lead in today's world oblige us to recognize the overwhelming facts of our interdependence.
I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called smart power, the full range of tools at our disposal -- diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural -- picking the right tool or combination of tools for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of our foreign policy. This is not a radical idea. The Ancient Roman poet Terence declared that "In every endeavor, the seemly course for wise men is to try persuasion first." The same truth binds wise women as well.
I assure you that if I am confirmed, the State Department will be firing on all cylinders to provide forward-thinking, sustained diplomacy in every part of the world, applying pressure wherever it may be needed, but also looking for opportunities: exerting leverage; cooperating with our military and other agencies of government; partnering with non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and international organizations; using modern technologies for public outreach; empowering negotiators who can protect our interests while understanding those of our negotiating partners. Diplomacy is hard work, but when we work hard, diplomacy can work, not just to defuse tensions, but to achieve results that advance our security interests and values.
Secretary Gates, as the chairman said, has been particularly eloquent in articulating the importance of diplomacy. As he notes, it's not often that a secretary of defense makes the case for adding resources to the State Department and elevating the role of the diplomatic corps. Thankfully Secretary Gates is more concerned about having a unified, agile, and effective U.S. strategy than in spending precious time and energy on petty turf wars. As he has stated, "Our civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long." That is a statement that I can only heartily say amen to.
President-elect Obama has emphasized that the State Department must be fully empowered and funded to confront multidimensional challenges from thwarting terrorism to spreading health and prosperity in places of human suffering, and I will speak in greater detail about that in a moment.
We should also use the United Nations and other institutions whenever possible and appropriate. Both Democratic and Republican presidents have understood that these institutions, when they work well, enhance our influence, and when they don't work well, as in the cases of Darfur and the farce of Sudan's election to the former U.N. Commission on Human Rights, we should work with like-minded friends to make them more effective.
We will lead with diplomacy because that's the smart approach, but we also know that military force will sometimes be necessary, and we will rely on it to protect our people and our interests when and where needed as a last resort. All the while, we must remember that to promote our interests around the world, America must be an exemplar of our values.
Senator Isakson made the point to me the other day that our nation must lead by example rather than edict. Our history has shown that we are most effective when we see the harmony between our interests abroad and our values at home. Our first secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson, subscribed to that view, reminding us across the centuries, "The interests of a nation when well understood will be found to coincide with their moral duties."
Senator Lugar, I'm going to borrow your words here, too. As you said, "The United States cannot feed every person, lift every person out of poverty, cure every disease, or stop every conflict, but our power and status have conferred upon us a tremendous responsibility to humanity."
Of course, we must be realistic. Even under the best of circumstances, our nation cannot solve every problem or meet every global need. We don't have unlimited time, treasure, or manpower, especially with our own economy faltering and our budget deficits growing. So, to fulfill our responsibility to our children, to protect and defend our nation, while honoring our values, we have to establish priorities.
I'm not trying to mince words here. As my colleagues in the Senate know, establishing priorities means making tough choices. Because these choices are so important to the American people, we must be disciplined in evaluating them, weighing the costs and consequences of action or inaction, gauging the probability of success, and insisting on measurable results.
Right after I was nominated, a friend told me, "The world has so many problems. You've got your work cut out for you." Well, I agree, but I don't get up every morning thinking only about the threats and dangers we face. In spite of all the adversity and complexity, there are so many opportunities for America out there, calling forth the optimism and can-do spirit that has marked our progress for more than two centuries.
Too often, we see the ills that plague us more clearly than the possibilities in front of us, but it is the real possibility of progress, of that better life free from fear and want and discord, that offers our most compelling message to the rest of the world.
I've had the chance to lay out and submit my views on a broad array of issues and written responses to questions from the committee. So this statement will only outline some of the major challenges we face and the major opportunities we see as well.
First, President-elect Obama is committed to responsibly ending the war in Iraq and employing a broad strategy in Afghanistan that reduces threats to our safety and enhances the prospects of stability and peace. Right now, our men and women in uniform, our diplomats, and our aid workers are risking their lives in these two countries. They have done everything we have asked of them and more.
But, over time, our larger interests will be best served by safely and responsibly withdrawing our troops from Iraq, supporting a transition to full Iraqi responsibility for their sovereign nation, rebuilding our overtaxed military, and reaching out to other nations to help stabilize the region and employ a broader arsenal of tools to fight terrorism. We will use all the elements of our power -- diplomacy, development, and defense -- to work with those in Afghanistan and Pakistan who want to root out Al Qaida, the Taliban, and other violent extremists who threaten them as well as us in what President-elect Obama has called the central front in the fight against terrorism.
As we focus on Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, we must also actively pursue a strategy of smart power in the Middle East that addresses the security needs of Israel and the legitimate political and economic aspirations of the Palestinians; that effectively challenges Iran to end its nuclear weapons program and its sponsorship of terror; and persuade both Iran and Syria to abandon their dangerous behavior and become constructive regional actors; and that also strengthens our relationship with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, other Arab states, along with Turkey and our partners in the Gulf, to involve them in securing a lasting peace in the region.
As intractable as the Middle East problems may seem -- and many presidents, including my husband, have spent years trying to work out a resolution -- we cannot give up on peace. The president-elect and I understand and are deeply sympathetic to Israel's desire to defend itself under the current conditions and to be free of shelling by Hamas rockets.
However, we have also been reminded of the tragic humanitarian cost of conflict in the Middle East and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians. This must only increase our determination to seek a just and lasting peace agreement that brings real security to Israel; normal and positive relations with its neighbors; independence, economic progress, and security to the Palestinians in their own states.
We will exert every effort to support the work of Israelis and Palestinians who seek that result. It is critical not only to the parties involved, but to undermining the forces of alienation and violent extremism around the world.
For terrorism, we must have a comprehensive strategy, levering intelligence, diplomacy, and military assets to defeat Al Qaida and other terrorist groups by rooting out their networks and drying up their support for violent and nihilistic extremism.
The gravest threat that America faces is the danger that weapons of mass destruction will fall into the hands of terrorists. We must curb the spread and use of these weapons -- nuclear, biological, chemical, or cyber -- and prevent the development and use of dangerous new weapons. Therefore, while defending against the threat of terrorism, we will also seize the parallel opportunity to get America back in the business of engaging other nations to reduce nuclear stockpiles.
The Nonproliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime, and the United States must exercise leadership needed to shore it up. So we will seek agreements with Russia to secure further reductions in weapons under START, we will work with this committee and the Senate toward ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and we will dedicate efforts to revive negotiations on a verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.
At the same time, we will continue to work to prevent proliferation in North Korea and Iran, to secure loose nuclear weapons and materials, and to shut down the market for selling them, as Senator Lugar has pushed for so many years.
These threats, however, cannot be addressed in isolation. Smart power requires reaching out to both friends and adversaries to bolster old alliances and to forge new ones. That means strengthening the alliances that have stood the test of time, especially with our NATO partners and our allies in Asia. Our alliance with Japan is a cornerstone of American policy in Asia, essential to maintaining peace and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region, and based on shared values and mutual interests.
We also have crucial economic and security partnerships with South Korea, Australia, and other friends in ASEAN. We will build on our economic and political partnership with India, the world's most populous democracy and a nation with growing influence in the world. Our traditional relationships of confidence and trust with Europe will be deepened. Disagreements are inevitable, but on most global issues, we have no more trusted allies.
The new administration will reach out across the Atlantic to leaders in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and others, including and especially the new democracies.
President-elect Obama and I seek a future of cooperative engagement with the Russian government on matters of strategic importance while standing strongly for American values and international norms.
China is critically important as an actor who will be changing the global landscape. We want a positive and cooperative relationship with China, one where we deepen and strengthen our ties on a number of issues and candidly address differences where they persist. But this is not a one-way effort. Much of what we will do depends on the choices China makes about its future at home and abroad.
CLINTON: With both Russia and China we should work together on vital security and economic issues like terrorism, proliferation, climate change, and reforming financial markets.
The world is now, as Senator Dodd said, in the crosscurrents of the most severe global economic contraction since the Great Depression. The history of that crisis teaches us the consequences of diplomatic failures and uncoordinated reactions.
We have already seen this crisis extend beyond the housing and banking sectors, and our solutions will have to be as wide in scope as the causes themselves, taking into account the complexities of the global economy, the geopolitics, and the continued political and economic repercussions from the damage already done.
But here again, as we work to repair the damage we can find new ways of working together. For too long we've merely talked about the need to engage emerging powers in global economic governance. The time to take action is upon us.
The recent G-20 meeting that President Bush hosted was a first step. But developing patterns of sustained engagement will take hard work and careful negotiation. We know that emerging markets like China and India, Brazil and South Africa and Indonesia are feeling the effects of the current crisis. And we all stand to benefit, in both the short and long term, if they are part of the solution and become partners in maintaining global economic stability.
In our efforts to return to economic growth here in the United States, we have an especially critical need to work more closely with Canada, our largest trading partner, and Mexico, our third largest.
Canada and Mexico are also our biggest suppliers of imported energy. More broadly, we must build a deeper partnership with Mexico to address the shared dangers arising from drug trafficking and the challenges along our border, an effort begun this week with the meeting between President-elect Obama and President Calderon.
Throughout our hemisphere, we have opportunities to enhance our relationships that will benefit all of us. We will return to a policy of vigorous involvement, partnership even, with Latin America, from the Caribbean to Central America to South America. We share common political, economic, and strategic interests with our friends to the south, as well as many of our citizens who share ancestral and cultural legacies. We're looking forward to working on many issues during the Summit of the Americas in April and taking up the president-elect's call for a new energy partnership around shared technology and new investments in renewable energy.
And in Africa the foreign policy objectives of the Obama administration are rooted in security, political, economic and humanitarian interests, including combating Al Qaida's efforts to seek save havens in failed states in the Horn of Africa, helping African nations conserve their natural resources and reaping fair benefits from them, stopping war in the Congo, ending autocracy in Zimbabwe and human devastation in Darfur.
But we also intend to support the African democracies like South Africa and Ghana, which just had its second peaceful change of power in a democratic election. We must work hard with our African friends to reach the millennium development goals in health education and economic opportunity.
Many significant problems we face will challenge us not only on a bilateral basis but all nations.
You, Mr. Chairman, were among the very first in a growing chorus from both parties to recognize that climate change is an unambiguous security threat. At the extreme, it threatens our very existence. But well before that point, it could well incite new wars of an old kind over basic resources like food, water, and arable land.
President-elect Obama has said America must be a leader in developing and implementing a global and coordinated effort to climate change. We will participate in the upcoming UN Copenhagen climate conference and a global energy forum and will pursue an energy policy that reduces our carbon emissions while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and gas, fighting climate change and enhancing our economic and energy security.
George Marshall noted that our gravest enemies are often not nations or doctrines but hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos. So to create more friends and fewer enemies, we must find common ground and common purpose with other peoples and nations to overcome hatred, violence, lawlessness, and despair.
The Obama administration recognizes that even when we cannot fully agree with some governments we share a bond of humanity with their people. By investing in that common humanity, we advance our common security.
Mr. Chairman, you were one of the first, again, to underscore the importance of our involvement in the global AIDS fight. Now, thanks to a variety of efforts, including President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, as well as the work of NGOs and foundations, the United States enjoys widespread support in public opinion polls in many African countries. Even among Muslim populations in Tanzania and Kenya, America is seen as a leader in the fight against AIDS, malaria, and TB. We have an opportunity to build on this success by partnering with NGOs to help expand health clinics in Africa so more people can have access to lifesaving drugs, fewer mothers transmit HIV to their children, and fewer lives are lost.
We can generate more goodwill through other kinds of social investments, again partnering with international organizations and NGOs, to build schools and train teachers. The president-elect supports a global education fund to bolster secular education around the world.
I want to emphasize the importance to us of this bottoms-up approach. The president-elect and I believe in this so strongly: Investing in our common humanity through social development is not marginal to our foreign policy but essential to the realization of our goals.
More than two billion people worldwide live on less than $2 a day. They're facing rising food prices and widespread hunger. We have to expand civil and political rights in countries that are plagued by poverty, hunger, and disease. But our pleas will fall on deaf ears unless democracy actually improves people's lives while weeding out the corruption that too often stands in the way of progress.
Our foreign policy must reflect our deep commitment to help millions of oppressed people around the world. And of particular concern to me is the plight of women and girls, who comprise the majority of the world's unhealthy, unschooled, unfed, and unpaid. If half the world's population remains vulnerable to economic, political, legal and social marginalization, our hope of advancing democracy and prosperity is in serious jeopardy. The United States must be an unequivocal and unwavering voice in support of women's rights in every country on every continent.
As a personal aside, I want to mention that President-elect Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, was a pioneer in microfinance in Indonesia. In my own work on microfinance around the world, from Bangladesh to Chile to Viet Nam to South Africa and many other countries, I've seen firsthand how small loans given to poor women to start businesses can raise standards of living and transform local economies.
The president-elect's mother had planned to attend a microfinance forum at the Beijing Women's Conference in 1995 that I participated in. Unfortunately, she was very ill and couldn't travel and, sadly, passed away a few months later. But I think it's fair to say that her work in international development, the care and concern she showed for women and for poor people around the world, mattered greatly to her son, our president-elect. And I believe that it has certainly informed his views and his vision. We will be honored to carry on Ann Dunham's work in the years ahead.
Mr. Chairman, I know we'll address many issues in the question and answer session. But I want to underscore a final point. Ensuring that our State Department is functioning at its best is absolutely essential to America's success. The president-elect and I believe strongly that we need to invest in our capacity to conduct vigorous American diplomacy, provide the kind of foreign assistance that I've mentioned, reach out to the world, and operate effectively alongside our military.
Now, the entire State Department bureaucracy in Thomas Jefferson's day consisted of a chief clerk, three regular clerks and a messenger. And its entire budget was $56,000 a year.
But over the past 219 years, the world has certainly changed. Now the department consists of Foreign Service officers, the civil services, and our locally engaged staff, working not only at Foggy Bottom but in offices across our country and in some 260 posts around the world. And USAID carries out its critical development missions in some of the most difficult places on our earth.
These public servants are too often the unsung heroes. They are in the trenches putting our policies and values to work in a complicated and dangerous world. Many risk their lives, and some have lost their lives in service to our nation. They need and deserve the resources, training and support to succeed.
I know this committee, and I hope the American public, understands that Foreign Service officers and civil service professionals and development experts are doing invaluable work. And it is the work of the American people, whether helping American businesses make inroads in new markets or being on the other end of the phone when someone gets in trouble beyond our shores, needs a passport, needs advice at an embassy, or doing the delicate work of diplomacy and development with foreign governments that leads to arms control and trade agreements, peace treaties and post-conflict reconstruction, standing up for greater human rights and empowerment, broader cultural understanding and building alliances.
State Department is a large, multidimensional organization but not the placid, idle bureaucracy that some have suggested. It is an outpost for American values that protects our citizens and safeguards our democratic institutions in times both turbulent and tame. State Department employees offer a lifeline of hope and help, often the only lifeline for people in foreign lands who are oppressed, silenced and marginalized. We must not shortchange them or ourselves.
One of my first priorities is to make sure that the State Department and USAID have the resources they need, and I will be back to make the case to the committee for full funding of the president's budget requests. But I will work just as hard to make sure we manage those resources prudently, efficiently and effectively.
You know, like most Americans, when I was growing up I never had the chance to travel widely. Most of my early professional career was as a lawyer and an advocate for children and the poor who found themselves disadvantaged here at home.
But during the eight years of my husband's presidency and now eight years as the senator from New York, I have been privileged to travel on behalf of our country. And I've had the opportunity to get to know many world leaders.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I've spent time with our military commanders as well as our brave troops. I've immersed myself in a number of military issues. And I've spent many hours with American and non-American aid workers, business men and women, religious leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, students, volunteers, all who have made it their mission to help other people across the world. And I've seen countless ordinary people in foreign capitals, small towns and rural villages who live in a world far removed from our experiences.
In recent years, as other nations have risen to compete for military, economic, and political influence, some have argued that we have reached the end of the American moment in world history. Well, I disagree.
Yes, the conventional paradigms have shifted. But America's success has never been solely a function of our power. It has always been rooted in and inspired by our values.
With so many troubles here at home and around the world, millions of people are still trying to come to this country, legally and illegally. Why? Because we are guided by unchanging truths: that all people are created equal, that each person has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
And in these truths we will find, as we have for more than two centuries, the courage, the discipline and the creativity to meet the challenges of this ever-changing world.
I am humbled to be a public servant and honored by the responsibility placed on me should I be confirmed by our president- elect who embodies the American dream, not only here at home but far beyond our shores.
No matter how daunting the challenges may be, I have a steadfast faith in this country and in our people. And I am proud to be an American at the dawning of this new American moment.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of this committee for granting me your time and attention today. I know there's a lot more territory to cover, and I'd be delighted to answer your questions.