Dean Acheson Auditorium
May 1, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Director General Harry Thomas. I appreciate your leadership and words today. And it’s always a pleasure to be with so many members of the State Department family. We’re joined by career ambassadors, retired officers returning to State after decades of distinguished service, young diplomats and civil servants just beginning their careers, and all of you who care deeply about our country and who have served it, are serving it, and know what a difference that can make.
I want to thank Jack Lew and Bill Burns. It is a pleasure working with both of them. And I am delighted that we are going to have an opportunity in just a few minutes to come with another award for Foreign Service professionals that will be both named for and given to Ryan Crocker. And I’m delighted that Ryan Crocker and Christine Crocker are here with us.
We have a message from the President on this May 1st that sends warmest greetings and thanks you all for your years of service to build a better, more democratic, secure and prosperous world for the American people and the international community. And we’re delighted that we have such strong support from President Obama for the mission of the State Department.
I think that those of you here may feel that your years of service were more of a calling than a job. Certainly as I travel around the world and meet many of you, both currently serving and retired, that is the impression that I get from you. This is my 100th day serving as Secretary of State. And I know that there are many – (applause) – people who have been here a thousand days, 5,000 days, 10,000 days. (Laughter.) But no matter how long we have been here, we’re all working toward the same future – of greater stability, prosperity, and opportunity.
I see our work as really based on principled and pragmatic partnerships. Bill Burns referenced how we are trying to tend, once again, a lot of the important relationships that we have in the world, while we reach out and deal with the crises and the opportunities. And let me just give you a brief snapshot.
We’ve reinforced our relationships with key allies and historic partners in Europe and Asia. We’ve engaged emerging nations and pivotal regional actors on issues of common concern, from climate change and energy, to democracy and good governance, and regional and global security.
We know very well that the work we’ve done so far to strengthen our relationships throughout this hemisphere and around the world are just a beginning. We don’t have any illusions about how challenging the environment is that we are navigating. But we are encouraged by the positive responses that we have received to date.
As I have traveled on behalf of our country, we have been heartened by the positive outreach that many who had either withdrawn or become somewhat adversarial are willing to evidence. And we’ve worked closely with the White House and the Defense Department on strategic reviews of Afghanistan and Pakistan, of Iraq. We’re trying to chart the best course forward of the Middle East and to deal with the difficulties presented by Iran.
I testified yesterday with Secretary Gates, who is quite passionate about increasing the resources for diplomacy and development. And I was delighted to sit beside him while he made that case for us. Now, there’s a difference between making a case and getting the money – (laughter) – but better that the case be made than not. And I know that Secretary Gates is going to be a great partner with us.
I was just in Baghdad this last weekend. Chris Hill got there about 18 hours before me, having finally been confirmed. And I was struck as I met with the leaders there how committed they are to seeing this through, something that owes a great deal to the partnership that Ambassador Crocker has had with both General Petraeus and General Odierno. But again, we have no illusions about what a long and difficult road lies ahead.
We have worked to reset our relationship, even though we didn’t spell “reset” right in Russian. (Laughter.) We have actually thought back on that as a moment of levity which may well have increased their willingness to cooperate with us.
We are working hard on our comprehensive relationship with China. In fact, as we speak, we have several of our people from the State Department and Treasury in China defining the parameters of the new strategic and economic dialogues that we will begin with China. I had thought, and was pleased that others in the Administration agreed, that our relationship had become much too economy-centric, and there is a range of issues to discuss with the Chinese, and that’s what we intend to do.
We are also proceeding on a lot of the transnational problems. Just on Monday last, we hosted the Major Economies Forum as part of an effort to get set up and ready for Copenhagen. This Administration is committed to addressing climate change. And we know, again, that it will be difficult, both domestically and internationally, but we intend to give it our very best efforts.
Srsly you guys--how the hell *dont* we have a "LOOK @ THIS FUCKING MADAME SECRETARY OF STATE, GODDAM"-themed macro for Hillary? Let's get on that pls; CHOP-CHOP.
On a more serious note, I've genuinely been impressed by Hillary's first 100 days as Secretary of State, she'd been a major contributor to the foreign policy "face lift" the Obama admin is attempting to employ with regard to the US's relationships overseas. Even on hot topics on which she articulates strategies that I may not necessarily agree with, she--like Obama--puts forth the kind of firm, though negotiable pragmatism I had hoped to see in this admin. The bolded bit about China is a prime example (re: talks with China being too "economic-centric").
Get it, bb. Happy 100 Days.