Friday, August 22, 2014

Hillary Clinton Book Signing: Sunday in Westhampton

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Long Island Book Signing

Books & Books in Westhampton

Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 02:00 PM

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective Part Four Between Hope and History Chapter 10 Europe: Ties That Bind

Hillary harks back to her Girl Scout days and a song many of us can remember having sung in rounds: "Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold."

Reminding us that in the days following 9/11 NATO invoked Article V of the Washington Treaty, an attack on one is an attack on all, she launches a review of U.S.-European relations since the end of World War II, through the Cold War, and including deteriorating relations during the George W. Bush administration.

Upon assuming the post of secretary of state, she recalls, she made phone calls to European leaders letting them know we remain tight friends.  Her first opportunity to reinforce that message face-to-face came with her attendance at the April 2009 G-20 summit in London.

Playing Catch-up With Mme. Secretary 2: London


She formed an especially good working relationship with then UK Foreign Minister David Miliband, but allows that she also had a good rapport with then Shadow Foreign Minister, William Hague who now holds the post.  She dubs Hague "the David Beckham of toasting."

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Prime Minister Cameron Meets With U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Playing Catch-up With Mme. Secretary 3: Germany, France, Czech Republic

She also singles out former French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, as one with whom she had an especially good rapport.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R

If your eyes welled up at times when reading the previous chapter about Pakistan, Hillary evokes smiles and laughter with her description of Former French president, Nicholas Sarkozy.  Revealing that often his interpreters had trouble keeping pace with him and that he asked her why all the other diplomats were unforgivably old, gray, and male,  she revisits that simply charming "Cinderella" moment when she lost her shoe on the steps of the Élyseé Palace.  (Posts here are not necessarily deep and analytical - as you may know.)

Hillary Clinton Loses Her Shoe And Looks Adorable Doing It!

 

She speaks of her strong admiration for German Chancellor Angela Merkel with whom she apparently shares a "color memo" phenomenon so uncanny that on a state visit in June 2011 Angela brought her a framed German front page where readers were challenged to guess which was which sans benefit of visible heads.

Slideshow: Hillary Clinton at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s State Visit Today

Video: Secretary Clinton at the State Luncheon in honor of German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel Meets With Barack Obama

Hillary provides a pretty extensive retrospective on NATO, its post Cold War expansion in eastern Europe, and its contributions to operations in Afghanistan and in Libya.  She is very passionate on the subject of NATO calling it one the most successful military alliances in history (and the European Union one of the most successful political ones).  She contrasts 75% of the sorties over Libya striking 90% of the targets with the situation a decade before when the U.S. was responsible for hitting 90% of targets in Kosovo.   Her attestations on pages 231 and 232 are presidential (to the surprise of no one here).   A thing to behold.

Madeleine Albright was known for her brooch-diplomacy. Some of her foreign counterparts came to see her brooches as a mood-coding system.  Hillary, who is, after all, a self-described hair icon,  relates an amusing exchange when she was in Bulgaria (NATO member since 2004) in February 2012.  Prime Minister Boyko Borissov seemed edgy.  He finally confessed that he had heard that when her hair was pulled back it indicated a bad mood.  She reassured him that she was not engaging in hair diplomacy but that it "takes her a little longer" to get her look together.

Secretary Clinton with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov


Turkey has been in NATO since 1952, is strategically very important, but following the G.W. Bush administration the Turkish people took a dim view of the U.S.  Hillary's first visit there as secretary of state was in March 2009.  She made it a point on that trip to take advantage of mass media.

Hillary Clinton’s Interviews in Turkey


On pages 234-235 she explains the term Islamist Party.  It is an important read.  She discusses [now outgoing] Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at length and states her concerns regarding his "Zero Problems with Neighbors" policy, which, on first take, can appear very positive.  Hillary cites the real and potential pitfalls of such a policy, especially when Iran is one of your neighbors. [Reports are that Erdogan will continue calling the shots, so it is unlikely that this policy will be abandoned.]

Ahmet Davutoglu came into the picture early as a close advisor to Erdogan but soon became the Turkish foreign minister with whom she collaborated over nearly her entire term.  (Ali Babacan was the foreign minister she encountered on her first trip there.)  Only three months after that trip, Davutoglu arrived at the State Department as foreign minister and a long working relationship commenced.

(As I returned to the first draft of this post to edit it, Davutoglu was named the new prime minister of Turkey.  Congratulations, Mr. Prime Minister and the best of luck to you in your new post!)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu shakes hands with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before taking part in meetings in Istanbul on June 7, 2012.  AFP PHOTO / POOL / Saul LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu shakes hands with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before taking part in meetings in Istanbul on June 7, 2012. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sh Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ahmet Davutoglu

 

Hillary Clinton’s Bilaterals Today

Concerns remain.  Dissent is not easily tolerated.  Religious freedom is an issue.  Hillary  hosted Patriarch Bartholomew at a dinner in his honor early in her tenure at State.

Hillary Hosts The Patriarch

He, in turn, received her at the Patriarchy in 2011.  She has known him for a long time and has enormous respect for his opinion.   There is a beautiful slideshow at the link below.  Hillary mentions seized church property that has not been returned.  The photos provide an idea of the nature of what the government is holding.

Hillary Clinton Visits the Patriarchy in Istanbul


In chapter 9, we saw Hillary negotiate the re-opening of the supply lines from Pakistan into Afghanistan.  She never makes a big deal of that, but it was a testament to her diplomatic skills.  Without those lines open, important supplies could not get to the troops,  and they were closed for many months.

Another of her major accomplishments was one which she was never intended to handle and which she describes blow-by-blow.   She had traveled to Zurich simply to witness the signing of the Turkey-Armenia Accord.  It was to be a quick stop on the way to London.  A formality.  At the last minute  Armenian Foreign Minister Nalbandian balked about a speech Davutoglu was planning to make.   Hillary took it upon herself to fetch him and, using two cell phones,  negotiate an agreement for the parties to go ahead with the signing.  She operated mostly  in her SUV.  It was a very dramatic day.  She saved it, and at the event stepped aside for her Swiss counterpart,  Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, who was the host, to orchestrate the formalities.  I remember her giving Micheline a little wink of encouragement.  In typical Hillary fashion, she did not care to boast or take credit for this.  She only cared that the work got done.

OK! Now it is a done deal! Hillary helped negotiate the agreement

Turkey-Armenia Accord Salvaged and Signed – Hillary Helps Make History!

Video: Signing of the Armenia Turkey Protocols

How Hillary Saved The Day



She departed for the trip to the Balkans that she speaks of on the day of her wedding anniversary 2010.

The Balkans: A Family Affair

There were several notable stops and events on this trip, but she refers specifically to this town hall.

Hillary Clinton’s Town Hall at National Theater Sarajevo


And then there was Kosovo where there was a huge reception in Pristina.  She stood beneath the enormous statue of Bill Clinton, and then discovered a store named for her (so Bill wouldn't be lonely).

Hillary in Clinton Country (Kosovo, That Is!)


No matter where she traveled as secretary of state, Hillary always made sure to hold a meet-and-greet at the embassy or consulate that had hosted her to thank them for all of the work they had done to make her visit go smoothly.  As it happened, her final stop as secretary of state was especially significant because it was at the Consulate General of Belfast.  Peace in Northern Ireland had been a high priority of the Clinton administration and hard work on both sides of the Atlantic and both sides of the Irish Sea had brought that troubled land closer to that goal than it ever had been before.

Video: Hillary Clinton with Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness

Hillary Clinton at The Ireland Funds Luncheon

Hillary Clinton with Staff and Families of Consulate General Belfast

Her remarks in the bilaterals at the link below contain references to the March 2009 attacks in Antrim and Armagh that she speaks about in this chapter.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Hillary Clinton’s Statement of Northern Ireland Decommissioning

She mentions, as well, her address to the Northern Ireland Assembly in October 2009.

Address of Secretary Clinton to Full Session of the Northern Ireland Assembly


The passages I bolded in the background briefing [in the link below] reflect,  I think,  what is so typical of the Hillary Clinton so many of us know and love,  the Hillary who works tirelessly in the background and declines credit for the good she does.   I am very certain that her intervention was integral in attaining this latest ascension up the tall ladder of unity in Northern Ireland.  But Hillary Clinton will always deflect the praise and aim the limelight on others with whom she has labored to reach an accord.  That is simply who she is and how she operates.  It is also very much a quality of character so many of us accept and admire about her.  I,  for one, am very mindful of the role she has long been playing in this peace process.   I know the devolution will succeed,  and there will be a final and lasting peace.  When it does, I and many, will forever remember the key role she played in the process, even as she disclaims it.

Secretary Clinton on Northern Ireland


This European chapter has been somewhat active re: updates prior to publication.  In the latest news, may this peacemaker rest in peace.

Former Ireland prime minister Reynolds dies aged 81


Statement by President Clinton on the Passing of Albert Reynolds

Statement August 21, 2014
I am saddened by the passing of former Prime Minister of Ireland Albert Reynolds, who worked hard and risked much as Taoiseach to advance the Northern Ireland peace process.  His leadership alongside British Prime Minister John Major was instrumental in laying the foundation for the Good Friday Agreement, and our world owes him a profound debt of gratitude.  I will always be grateful for his encouragement, advice, and support in the peace process.  I join with his wife, Kathleen, his children, his many friends, and the people of Ireland in mourning his loss.

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction



Thursday, August 21, 2014

From Hillary Clinton's Too Small to Fail: Starting School

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Family Routines Make Starting School Easier

Parents of young children know that life is anything but routine with their little ones around. Things can be even more chaotic when kindergarten, preschool or daycare is thrown in the mix—it can be tough to plan for school schedules while balancing family life.
Establishing routines with young children can feel like an uphill climb at first, but there are benefits that make it worthwhile. Routines are an important way to help children learn how to manage social situations and to establish good habits early on that will help them grow up healthy and ready to learn.
Researchers have found that family routines—establishing a regular bedtime, for example—are good for social-emotional health in young children. In fact, according to a study by the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, children who regularly sing, play, story-tell, and eat dinner with their families do better in school.
When children know what to expect on a daily basis, they are better able to handle stressful situations that come along later in life. In addition, establishing routines help children better manage simple tasks like brushing their teeth and eating breakfast, which will help them (and you!) when they begin school or daycare.
Families with young children can set up routines that encourage good habits by starting early. Snuggling on the couch and reading a book every night before bed will teach even a very young baby to look forward to going to sleep. Also, singing songs with toddlers while driving in the car or eating dinner together a few times a week will make the whole family feel more connected and maintain good health.

Resources for Sharing:

  • This article from ZERO TO THREE outlines how parents can use routine to guide positive behavior and set good habits.
  • Practical tips in this article from NAEYC about how parents can help their toddlers transition to kindergarten.
  • This article from Raising Children Network explains how family routines work—and how they can help young kids prepare for school.

Video

This news clip featuring Camille Maben of First 5 California offers five tips for parents on establishing routine at home! >>

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bill and Hillary Clinton on the Passing of Jim Jeffords

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Statement by President Clinton on the Death of Senator Jim Jeffords
Hillary and I are saddened by the passing of our friend Senator Jim Jeffords, who served the people of Vermont and the United States for more than 30 years.  Jim was one of our strongest advocates for better health and education, a cleaner environment, and increased opportunities for people with disabilities.  I will always be especially grateful for his support of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Brady Bill, and our 1993 health care reform effort.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many friends across the country.
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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective Part Three Chapter 9 Pakistan: National Honor

Hillary begins this chapter by recalling this historic moment in a room across from the Situation Room in the White House as Navy Seals stealthily entered that now famous compound in Abbottabad,  Pakistan.


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Seen below with then-Governor Pataki and New York City Mayor Guiliani on September 12, 2001,  she retraces the air route from D.C. to New York on the only plane in the air that day.

New York Governor George Pataki (L), New

Memories of shuttling back and forth between the two cities, requesting emergency funding, visiting a missing persons center, a family assistance center, and a hospital near her home where burn victims were being treated are revisited as well as her struggle in the Senate to secure health care funding for first responders.

Hillary Clinton: Aid sick 9/11 workers


The campaign to find bin Laden had been long and the special ops mission had been carried out without informing the government of Pakistan.  More than once Hillary had said during interviews and town halls in that country that she could not believe that someone in the government did not know where Al Qaeda was.  Informing the government might have tipped our hand and spoiled the mission.

Bin Laden Killed Near Islamabad: Hillary Clinton was right!

Speaking about Asif Ali Zardari, she refers to a photo he shows her of his late wife, Benazir Bhutto with her children, Hillary, and Chelsea. This is not the photo, but might have been taken at that same time.

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She spends pages reminiscing about Bhutto and what her loss meant to her family, her country, and the world.  She mentions that she and Chelsea loved Bhutto's style so much that they wore similar outfits to a dinner in their honor.

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Her first trip to Pakistan as secretary of state was just after her birthday in October 2009.  I was at a rally where Bill Clinton was speaking,  and I saw him tell Rep. Bill Pascrell something.  Pascrell whispered a question, and I could read Clinton's lips.  He said, "No.  She's safe."  I tried so hard to get near him as he worked the crowd after the rally, but failed.  I so wanted to ask what had happened.
By the next day we all knew that coinciding with her arrival there was a terrible market bombing in Peshawar.

Clinton Reassures Pakistan After Bombing

Folks here at this blog liked her relationship with Pakistan's foreign minister at the time.

Secretary Clinton Remarks With Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi


At a town hall in Lahore and in interviews with journalists she took hostile questions about the Kerry-Lugar aid bill. (Why did there have to be strings attached?  "You do not have to take any aid from us," she answers.)  There were complaints about the drone attacks and the collateral damage they caused.

Secretary Clinton’s Town Hall at Government College University Lahore

In media interviews the whereabouts of bin Laden came up along with her suspicions that someone in the government knew where he was.

Secretary Clinton: Interviews Galore!

In February of 2010, Leon Panetta invited her to CIA headquarters in Langley, VA.   She refers to the stars on the wall in the lobby of the building that represent those officers killed in the line of duty.  We saw that wall last season on Showtime's Homeland.

We saw an enactment,  in Kathryn Bigelow's film Zero Dark Thirty,  of the bombing she speaks of that, in December 2009,  killed seven CIA officers in Afghanistan.


The reason for Panetta's invitation was to ask for her cooperation in improving counterterrorism communications and clarifying our strategy to the Pakistanis.  After the barrage of complaints she faced in Pakistan, she was quick to agree.

The hunt for bin Laden began indeed to narrow to Pakistan, and, in March 2011,  Panetta  visited her at the State Department to tell her that they had a lead.    The operation to capture or kill bin Laden was dubbed "Neptune's Spear."  She walks us through the deliberations of the small, secret group that met regularly at the White House to plan the mission that was carried out the day following the Correspondents Dinner.  Hillary recounts the dramatic event in detail.

When the question of informing Pakistani officials in advance presented itself, some worried about Pakistan's national honor.  Hillary countered asking,  "What about our national honor?"  She remained consistently certain that elements within the government who knew where bin Laden was would inform him.

Of course the president addressed the nation that night.

Bin Laden Obama

The following day, Hillary also made a statement.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on the killing of Usama Bin Ladin

She was understandably not looking forward to speaking with the Pakistani officials, and her conversation with President Zardari was heartbreaking, but she remained firm and resolved explaining to him the need for cooperation.

NATO supply lines into Afghanistan were closed after friendly fire killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011.

Following an apologetic phone call from Hillary (at her suggestion to President Obama) to new Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, the supply lines were reopened and the bottle-neck was broken up.

Hillary Breaks Up Bottleneck – Supply Lines Reopen

Part of the communication strategy she put forth with Leon Panetta's CIA involved the establishment of a Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications.  The approval for that did not come until September 9, 2011.  She announced it that same day in New York City.

Hillary Clinton Explains a Smart Power Approach to Counterterrorism

Finally, she spoke at UNGA in Spetember 2011 on the inauguration of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.

Remarks on the Global Counterterrorism Forum



This is a painful chapter to read, and must have been even more painful for her to write.  Memories of 9/11, even now, remain raw, and, for Hillary, Benazir Bhutto was clearly a personal loss.  In her typically well-organized manner, she presents  the steps she suggested to combat terrorism, the initiatives she put into place, and the arguments she waged when faced with opposition.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tweets from Hillary Clinton: Happy Birthday To Bill!

We all join Hillary in wishing Bill Clinton a very Happy Birthday!


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With Congress in recess and President Clinton's birthday coming up on August 19, House of Cards’ Frank Underwood has found a new way to make mischief.
Watch as he tries to involve Secretary Clinton in his schemes and join them in wishing President Clinton a happy birthday.