Reportedly, Hillary will meet with President Obama prior to this forum and will make a brief statement about the situation in Syria prior to the event.
Monday evening, all three Clintons will host a Clinton Foundation fundraiser at their D.C. home and at the Italian Embassy across the street.
Some may think, given the grave mood in the capital, with Congress deliberating the president's request for approval of military action in Syria during the week of national remembrance of the September 11 attacks, that a wildlife trafficking event at the White House might better have been scheduled at some other time. That line of thinking could not be more incorrect.
Hillary Clinton, the unrivaled master of connecting dots and weaving seemingly disparate issues into a cloth, clarified the relevance of this issue to national and international security last November when, at a State Department event. she joined the battle against wildlife trafficking and poaching. Here are some of her remarks on the subject.
Now, some of you might be wondering why a Secretary of State is keynoting an event about wildlife trafficking and conservation, or why we are hosting this event at the State Department in the first place. Well, I think it’s because, as Bob Hormats has just pointed out, and as the public service announcements reinforce, over the past few years wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more widespread, and more dangerous than ever before.
As the middle class grows, which we all welcome and support, in many nations items like ivory or rhinoceros horn become symbols of wealth and social status. And so the demand for these goods rises. By some estimates, the black market in wildlife is rivaled in size only by trade in illegal arms and drugs. Today, ivory sells for nearly $1,000 per pound. Rhino horns are literally worth their weight in gold, $30,000 per pound.
What’s more, we are increasingly seeing wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world. Local populations that depend on wildlife, either for tourism or sustenance, are finding it harder and harder to maintain their livelihoods. Diseases are spreading to new corners of the globe through wildlife that is not properly inspected at border crossings. Park rangers are being killed. And we have good reason to believe that rebel militias are players in a worldwide ivory market worth millions and millions of dollars a year.
So yes, I think many of us are here because protecting wildlife is a matter of protecting our planet’s natural beauty. We see it’s a stewardship responsibility for us and this generation and future generations to come. But it is also a national security issue, a public health issue, and an economic security issue that is critical to each and every country represented here.
On Tuesday, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, she will receive the 2013 Liberty Medal for her lifelong public service career as secretary of state, presidential candidate, senator, and first lady. Jeb Bush will make the presentation. Hillary was expected to deliver the second of the policy speeches she announced upon receipt of the American Bar Association Medal last month addressing transparency and national security.
According to late-breaking news from Politico, however, plans for her Philadelphia remarks have been altered due to events of the past two weeks.
Hillary Clinton to speak on Syria
Hillary Clinton will make her first public remarks about Syria on Monday when she makes a visit to the White House for an unrelated event, a Clinton aide told POLITICO.
The comments, the first since an unidentified aide said last week that the former secretary of state supports President Barack Obama in going before Congress to get support for a limited strike against Syria, will come after she meets privately with Obama at the White House, the aide said.
But they also come as part of a revamped effort to approach a pre-planned policy speech scheduled for Tuesday, which has been overtaken by events in Syria and efforts by the White House to secure support in Congress. Obama himself is planning to address the nation on Tuesday evening, an hour after Clinton speaks in Pennsylvania, to sell his case for a military strike in Syria.
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Congratulations, Mme. Secretary! We hope you had a restful vacation, are delighted to have you back, and are joyful at the recognition you are receiving.
N.B. This post has been revised from an earlier version that stated that the Tuesday evening speech would be the planned major policy event.