Sunday, July 27, 2014

Not What You Think, But What They Want to Hear

Patrick Cockburn, who writes for London's Independent, is one of the best reporters on Middle Eastern affairs. His columns are available at The Unz Review, featuring perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream media. His latest details a secret report that is disturbing to the proposition--a key assumption of this blog--that you need to listen to what people say in order to know what they think: 

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Israeli spokesmen have their work cut out explaining how they have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, compared with just three civilians killed in Israel by Hamas rocket and mortar fire. But on television and radio and in newspapers, Israeli government spokesmen such as Mark Regev appear slicker and less aggressive than their predecessors, who were often visibly indifferent to how many Palestinians were killed.

There is a reason for this enhancement of the PR skills of Israeli spokesmen. Going by what they say, the playbook they are using is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe. Written by the expert Republican pollster and political strategist Dr Frank Luntz, the study was commissioned five years ago by a group called The Israel Project, with offices in the US and Israel, for use by those “who are on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel”.

Every one of the 112 pages in the booklet is marked “not for distribution or publication” and it is easy to see why. The Luntz report, officially entitled “The Israel project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary, was leaked almost immediately to  Newsweek Online, but its true importance has seldom been appreciated. It should be required reading for everybody, especially journalists, interested in any aspect of Israeli policy because of its “dos and don’ts” for Israeli spokesmen.

These are highly illuminating about the gap between what Israeli officials and politicians really believe, and what they say, the latter shaped in minute detail by polling to determine what Americans want to hear. Certainly, no journalist interviewing an Israeli spokesman should do so without reading this preview of many of the themes and phrases employed by Mr Regev and his colleagues.

The booklet is full of meaty advice about how they should shape their answers for different audiences. For example, the study says that “Americans agree that Israel ‘has a right to defensible borders’. But it does you no good to define exactly what those borders should be. Avoid talking about borders in terms of pre- or post-1967, because it only serves to remind Americans of Israel’s military history. Particularly on the left this does you harm. For instance, support for Israel’s right to defensible borders drops from a heady 89 per cent to under 60 per cent when you talk about it in terms of 1967.”

How about the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were expelled or fled in 1948 and in the following years, and who are not allowed to go back to their homes? Here Dr Luntz has subtle advice for spokesmen, saying that “the right of return is a tough issue for Israelis to communicate effectively because much of Israeli language sounds like the ‘separate but equal’ words of the 1950s segregationists and the 1980s advocates of Apartheid. The fact is, Americans don’t like, don’t believe and don’t accept the concept of ‘separate but equal’.”

So how should spokesmen deal with what the booklet admits is a tough question? They should call it a “demand”, on the grounds that Americans don’t like people who make demands. “Then say ‘Palestinians aren’t content with their own state. Now they’re demanding territory inside Israel’.” Other suggestions for an effective Israeli response include saying that the right of return might become part of a final settlement “at some point in the future”.

Dr Luntz notes that Americans as a whole are fearful of mass immigration into the US, so mention of “mass Palestinian immigration” into Israel will not go down well with them. If nothing else works, say that the return of Palestinians would “derail the effort to achieve peace”.

The Luntz report was written in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 and January 2009, when 1,387 Palestinians and nine Israelis were killed.

There is a whole chapter on “isolating Iran-backed Hamas as an obstacle to peace”. Unfortunately, come the current Operation Protective Edge, which began on 6 July, there was a problem for Israeli propagandists because Hamas had quarrelled with Iran over the war in Syria and had no contact with Tehran. Friendly relations have been resumed only in the past few days – thanks to the Israeli invasion.

Much of Dr Luntz’s advice is about the tone and presentation of the Israeli case. He says it is absolutely crucial to exude empathy for Palestinians: “Persuadables [sic] won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Show Empathy for BOTH sides!” This may explain why a number of Israeli spokesman are almost lachrymose about the plight of Palestinians being pounded by Israeli bombs and shells.

In a sentence in bold type, underlined and with capitalisation, Dr Luntz says that Israeli spokesmen or political leaders must never, ever justify “the deliberate slaughter of innocent women and children” and they must aggressively challenge those who accuse Israel of such a crime. Israeli spokesmen struggled to be true to this prescription when 16 Palestinians were killed in a UN shelter in Gaza last Thursday.

There is a list of words and phrases to be used and a list of those to be avoided. Schmaltz is at a premium: “The best way, the only way, to achieve lasting peace is to achieve mutual respect.” Above all, Israel’s desire for peace with the Palestinians should be emphasised at all times because this what Americans overwhelmingly want to happen. But any pressure on Israel to actually make peace can be reduced by saying “one step at a time, one day at a time”, which will be accepted as “a commonsense approach to the land-for-peace equation”.

Dr Luntz cites as an example of an “effective Israeli sound bite” one which reads: “I particularly want to reach out to Palestinian mothers who have lost their children. No parent should have to bury their child.”

The study admits that the Israeli government does not really want a two-state solution, but says this should be masked because 78 per cent of Americans do. Hopes for the economic betterment of Palestinians should be emphasised.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quoted with approval for saying that it is “time for someone to ask Hamas: what exactly are YOU doing to bring prosperity to your people”. The hypocrisy of this beggars belief: it is the seven-year-old Israeli economic siege that has reduced the Gaza to poverty and misery.

On every occasion, the presentation of events by Israeli spokesmen is geared to giving Americans and Europeans the impression that Israel wants peace with the Palestinians and is prepared to compromise to achieve this, when all the evidence is that it does not. Though it was not intended as such, few more revealing studies have been written about modern Israel in times of war and peace.

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Patrick Cockburn, "Israel-Gaza Conflict: Secret Report Helps Israelis to Hide Facts," Independent (Unz Review), July 27, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Abbas: We Will Never Forgive and Never Forget

The remarks of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, to an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, on July 22, 2014: 

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"From the first moment of this barbaric Israeli aggression against our people in Gaza, in Jerusalem, and in the West Bank, we have called loudly about the necessity of stopping this aggression; we have held extensive regional and international contacts to this end, and, in particular, we have asked Egyptian President Al-Sisi to act to stop the aggression in order to prevent the shedding of the blood of our people. [The president] complied, and he should be thanked for this, and Egypt presented an initiative that includes an immediate ceasefire and action to end the siege, open the crossings, and so on...
"We have appealed to Egypt and have held talks with the president and with the relevant Palestinian factions, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. After that, we appealed to Turkey and Qatar; we approached the leaderships in both countries, and we met there with [Hamas political bureau head] Khaled Mash'al in order to stop the Israeli aggression and to arrive at a ceasefire, and from there to act to end the siege, to open the crossings, and to stop the aggression in all its forms; we demanded that [Israel] respect the Gazans' fishing rights, that it abolish the so-called 'buffer zones,' that it free the prisoners from the Shalit deal that Israel has re-arrested, that it free the fourth phase of the long-term prisoners and Legislative Council members; that there be an immediate operation to bring humanitarian aid [into Gaza], and that there be an international conference for the [countries] that are donating to Gaza's rehabilitation.
"The time has come for everyone to raise their voices and tell the truth, clearly and powerfully, in the face of the Israeli killing and destruction machine. The oppressing occupation forces have crossed every line and [have broken] all the laws. They have deviated from all standards of human and international morality in their ferocity and barbarism.
"We know that we have no aircraft and artillery. But we have at our disposal something stronger than fire, iron, and arrogance – we have the power of truth and justice. We have the rights. Nothing will erase our historic rights that were established in mighty battles. We have our unity and our cohesion.
"Therefore, I call on everyone to help each other and to set aside the disputes at these fateful moments. [I call] on everyone to show national responsibility and to distance themselves from narrow sectarian party interests. We understand that the main goal of this Israeli aggression is to destroy our national cause and to thwart the reconciliation.
"We stress to our people that we adhere to national unity, to ending the schism, and to the national unity government. We will continue contacts and regional and international moves. We will not relinquish our responsibility. We will go anywhere in order to stop the aggression and the confiscation of our legitimate rights, and we will hunt down those who commit crimes against our people, no matter how long it takes. These crimes will not go unprosecuted and unpunished.
"I reiterate the need to disconnect the Palestinian problem from all the disagreements  – whatever they may be – and to stop the policy of the double standard, because a single drop of the blood of a Palestinian child is more precious to us than anything else in this world. I wish to address these statements to our people in general and to our beloved ones in the Gaza Strip in particular.
"Oh dear ones, persistent and patient, your pain is our pain and the pain of our people wherever they are. The suffering and affliction you are experiencing today deeply wound our heart, and every drop of blood and every martyr who falls pains us deep within our souls. Words cannot describe our emotions and what our heart feels for you. Your wound is our wound and is the great anger that is within us. We will never forgive and never forget. Our people will kneel only before Allah. No one in the world will live in safety and stability while the children of Gaza, Jerusalem, [and] the West Bank, and Palestinian children everywhere, do not live in safety and stability.
"Praise and eternal life to our brave martyrs. Victory, if Allah wills it, for truth, justice, and the will of our people, which has paid a very high price for its freedom and independence. The killing and destruction will not frighten us. We will rebuild what the aggression has destroyed and dress our wounds when we inevitably win and the banners of Jerusalem fly high over Al-Aqsa and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the capital of the independent state of Palestine, if Allah wills it."
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dermer: IDF Deserves Nobel Peace Prize

Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, spoke on July 21 at Christians United for Israel (CUFI). This transcript is from his Facebook page: 

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. . . As we meet here tonight in Washington, thousands of Israeli soldiers are fighting in Gaza and millions of Israelis are huddled in bomb shelters.

Twenty seven Israelis have lost their lives. Twenty five soldiers including two American citizens Max Steinberg and Sean Carmeli, have paid the ultimate price for the defense of Israel.

Israel’s army is defending our country against the firing of rockets at our cities and against terrorists tunneling under our borders to massacre and kidnap our civilians.

But what is at stake is not just a battle between Israel and Hamas.

It is a battle between a democratic society that seeks peace with all its neighbors and a terror organization whose charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and the genocide of the Jewish people.

-- Interruption

It is also a battle between a free society that allows freedom of speech, and one that doesn’t.

It is a battle between a compassionate country that’s dropping leaflets, making phone calls and sending text messages to save Palestinian civilians and a brutal terror organization that uses hospitals as military command centers, manufactures rockets next to Mosques and turns UN schools into weapons depots. 

Israel appreciates that most responsible leaders around the world have supported Israel’s right to defend itself – that list includes President Obama, President Hollande of France, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Cameron of Great Britain, Prime Minister Abbot of Australia, and Prime Minister Harper of Canada.

And we also appreciate that President Obama and the American Congress have helped Israel develop the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Iron Dome saves Israeli lives. Without Iron Dome, hundreds of rockets would be landing on our cities and killing our civilians.

But Iron Dome also saves Palestinian lives. Because if those missiles were landing in Israel, our government would have to respond with much greater force.

But ladies and gentlemen, Israel deserves more than the support of the international community.
Israel deserves the admiration of the international community.

Because no military in history has taken greater care than the IDF to protect innocents of the other side.

And this care is happening not when we are fighting a war by remote control thousands of miles away.

This is happening when ¾ of our country – the equivalent of over 200 million Americans - are huddled in bomb shelters.

Imagine what the United States would do if 2,000 rockets would be fired by a terror organization from contiguous territory, and 200 million Americans would have to rush to bomb shelters day after day?

Does anyone seriously believe that America would use less force?

Does anyone seriously believe that Britain would use less force if 40 million Brits were in bomb shelters every day?

Actually, in the case of Britain, we can do more than guess. We know how they responded.

The only other time in history when thousands of rockets were fired at a civilian population was during World War II. The Germans fired 4,000 rockets at Great Britain.

What was the British response? What was Churchill’s response? Dresden. Carpet bombing of German cities.

Now I’m the last person in the world who will criticize Churchill, who was perhaps the greatest leader of the 20th century.

That's right, Churchill deserves a round of applause.

I will not criticize the decisions he made to fight the Nazis and defend our common civilization.

But at the same time, I will not accept, and no one should accept, criticism of Israel for acting with restraint that has not been shown and would not be shown by any nation on earth.

I especially will not tolerate criticism of my country at a time when Israeli soldiers are dying so that innocent Palestinians can live.


There is a section for moral idiots at the back of the room

Israel did not have to send its soldiers into many of the places they are fighting today.

We could have given people time to evacuate these areas – which we did anyway - and then bombed from the air all the buildings that were being used by fighters to store and fire weapons.

But we didn’t. As we have done time after time, we are sending our soldiers into this hornet’s nest of Palestinian terror that is booby-trapped with mines and riddled with subterranean tunnels.

Some are shamelessly accusing Israel of genocide and would put us in the dock for war crimes.

But the truth is that the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize… a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.

One day, when the enemies of Israel are defeated and the cynics are silenced, people will look back and marvel at how the most threatened nation on earth never lost its nerve and always upheld its values.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Never forget the moral difference between Israel and Hamas.

Hamas deliberately targets the innocent. They want to kill as many of our civilians as possible. For them, the more civilians they kill, the greater the success.

Israel does not target the innocent. We want to harm as few civilians as possible. For us, the more civilians that are harmed, the greater the failure.

What makes Israel’s task so challenging is the unprecedented effort of Hamas to endanger their own civilians.

While the IDF is doing everything to get Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing everything to put Palestinian civilians into harm’s way – by ignoring IDF warnings to evacuate, by forcing Palestinians to serve as human shields, and by placing missile batteries next to playgrounds, hospitals and homes.

And you know why Hamas is doing this?

It’s not only because of the evil they represent – and it may not be politically correct, but they are evil. After all, an organization that is capable of producing scores of suicide bombers doesn’t care a whit about Palestinian civilians losing their lives.

But Hamas also uses its strategy of human shields because it works.


It works on people like that.

Because time after time, when Palestinian civilians die, when those heart-wrenching pictures of women and children appear on television – pictures that would move any decent human being – the blame is placed on Israel and the pressure is put on Israel.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The question is whether we can break this cycle.

Will the world stand up to the use of human shields?

Will the media continue to allow Hamas to manipulate it?

Will the UN and many so-called human rights organizations continue to say nothing and do nothing?

Edmund Burke once said that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people do nothing.

But when it comes to Hamas’s use of human shields, what the UN and many human rights organizations are doing is worse than being silent in the face of evil.

They attack the good. They attack Israel for its legitimate actions of self-defense. They file Goldstone reports accusing Israel of war crimes.

Now don't get me wrong. These organizations are not like Hamas. They do not intentionally harm Palestinian civilians.

But in convincing Hamas that its strategy of using human shields will be effective, they are unwittingly serving as their accomplices.

It’s time for the UN to find a moral compass.

It’s time for the world to find a moral backbone.

It's time to take a stand against the use of human shields.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have a common heritage. We face common enemies. We share a common future.

That future is under threat by radical Islamist movements that are sweeping through the Middle East.

The values of the Islamists can be seen every day in Gaza, in Syria, in Iraq, in Iran and elsewhere in the region.

Radical Shias are led by Iran and its foremost proxy Hezbollah. Radical Sunnis are led by the likes of ISIS, Al Qaeda and Hamas.

The radical Shias speak of the return of an imam from the 9th century. The radical Sunnis hope to restore a Caliphate from the 7th century.

If they met halfway, I suppose they’d end up in the 8th century – but wherever they ended up, rest assured, it would be a place where there are no rights for women, no tolerance for Jews or Christians, and where those suffering most under their repressive rule would be Muslims who did not share their twisted ideology.

Today, Christians are literally fleeing for their lives from Mosul, Iraq. Under the threat of extortion, conversion or death, 35,000 Christians have fled their homes, many to the safety of the Kurdish areas in Northern Iraq.

May God Bless those Kurds for their decency and humanity.

Maybe that Presbyterian group that recently decided to divest from Israel - the one place in the Middle East with a thriving Christian community - can summon the courage to fire off a press release showing some sympathy with their Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq, Syria, Libya or anywhere else in our region.

But don’t bet on it.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It may be many decades before the fires being stoked between Shia radicals and Sunni radicals burn out.

The most important thing for the world is to not be singed by the flames. That means preventing any of those radicals from developing weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons.

And it is the Shia radicals, led by Iran, that are closer to achieving that goal.

Hamas in Gaza is the little evil. The Ayatollah regime in Iran is the Great Evil. I don't mean to offend Hezbollah but they're just the medium size evil.

Iran’s regime executes hundreds of political prisoners. It stones women and hangs Christians.

It has helped the Syrian regime massacre nearly 200,000 people, and turned million more into refugees.

Iran is the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world, perpetrating terror attacks on five continents and 25 countries in the last four years alone.

And Iran continues its march to develop nuclear weapons.

Fortunately, a bad deal was not signed last week with Iran.

A bad deal is a deal that would leave Iran with its nuclear weapons capability essentially intact. That is a deal that would have been unacceptable to Israel.

We hope the international community will stand firm and not agree to a deal where Iran does not fully dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

Pressure can make that happen.

To those who don’t believe that, think about this. If I would have stood here a year ago and told you that virtually all the chemical weapons could be removed from Syria through a diplomatic process, you'd have laughed me off the stage.

But with the right mix of military and diplomatic pressures, that is exactly what happened. And President Obama deserves credit for that.

And with the right mix of military pressures, tough sanctions and clear eyed diplomacy, Iran can be forced to fully dismantle its nuclear weapons capability.

As always, Israel reserves the right to defend itself.

The Jewish people did not restore our sovereignty in the Land of Israel after 2,000 years – the land where our patriarchs prayed, our prophets preached and our kings ruled – we did not restore our sovereignty to let the lifeline of our people be severed by a radical Ayatollah regime in Iran.

Pastor Hagee - Israel lives. And Israel will continue to live, from generation to generation till the end of time.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the Book of Deuteronomy, the people of Israel were presented with a simple choice:

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life, so that you and your children may live.

The lines that are being drawn today in the world could not be clearer.

Good is fighting evil.

Those who sanctify life are fighting those who glorify death.

And just as the people of Israel are given a choice, all people have a choice.

Choose wisely. Choose good. Choose life. And in doing so, choose to secure our common future.

Thank you.

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Ambassador Ron Dermer, Facebook, July 21, 2014

Putin Responds

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks at a Security Council meeting in the Kremlin, July 22, 2014:

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Today we will consider the fundamental issues of maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country. We all understand how many political, ethnic, legal, social, economic and other aspects this topic encompasses.

Sovereignty and territorial integrity are fundamental values, as I have already said. We are referring to the maintenance of the independence and unity of our state, to the reliable protection of our territory, our constitutional system and to the timely neutralisation of internal and external threats, of which there are quite a few in the world today. I should make it clear from the start that, obviously, there is no direct military threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country. Primarily, the strategic balance of forces in the world guarantees this.

We, on our part, strictly comply with the norms of international law and with our commitments to our partners, and we expect other countries, unions of states and military-political alliances to do the same, while Russia is fortunately not a member of any alliance. This is also a guarantee of our sovereignty.

Any nation that is part of an alliance gives up part of its sovereignty. This does not always meet the national interests of a given country, but this is their sovereign decision. We expect our national legal interests to be respected, while any controversies that always exist, to be resolved only through diplomatic efforts, by means of negotiations. Nobody should interfere in our internal affairs.

However, ever more frequently today we hear of ultimatums and sanctions. The very notion of state sovereignty is being washed out. Undesirable regimes, countries that conduct an independent policy or that simply stand in the way of somebody’s interests get destabilised. Tools used for this purpose are the so-called colour revolutions, or, in simple terms – takeovers instigated and financed from the outside.

The focus is of course on internal problems. Any country always has plenty of problems, especially the more unstable states, or states with a complicated regime. Problems do exist, still it is not clear why they should be used to destabilise and break down a country – something we see rather frequently in various parts of the world.

Frequently the forces used here are radical, nationalist, often even neo-fascist, fundamental forces, as was the case, unfortunately, in many post-Soviet states, and as is the case with Ukraine now. What we see is practically the same thing.

People came to power through the use of armed force and by unconstitutional means. True, they held elections after the takeover, however, for some strange reason, power ended up again in the hands of those who either funded or carried out this takeover. Meanwhile, without any attempt at negotiations, they are trying to supress by force that part of the population that does not agree with such a turn of events.

At the same time, they present Russia with an ultimatum: either you let us destroy the part of the population that is ethnically, culturally and historically close to Russia, or we introduce sanctions against you. This is a strange logic, and absolutely unacceptable, of course.

As for the terrible tragedy that occurred in the sky above Donetsk – we would like once again to express our condolences to the families of the victims; it is a terrible tragedy. Russia will do everything within its power to ensure a proper comprehensive and transparent investigation. We are asked to influence the militia in the southeast. As I have said, we will do everything in our power, but this is absolutely insufficient.

Yesterday when the militia forces were handing over the so-called black boxes, the armed forces of Ukraine launched a tank attack at the city of Donetsk. The tanks battled through to the railway station and opened fire at it. International experts who came to investigate the disaster site could not stick their heads out.  It was clearly not the militia forces shooting at themselves.

We should finally call on the Kiev authorities to comply with elementary norms of human decency and introduce a cease-fire for at least some short period of time to make the investigation possible. We will of course do everything in our power to make sure the investigation is thorough.

This is exactly why Russia supported the [UN] Security Council Resolution proposed by Australia. We will continue working together with all our partners to ensure a complete and comprehensive investigation. However, if we get back to such scenarios in general, as I have said, they are absolutely unacceptable and counterproductive. They destabilize the existing world order.

Undoubtedly, such methods will not work with Russia. The recipes used regarding weaker states fraught with internal conflict will not work with us. Our people, the citizens of Russia will not let this happen and will never accept this.

However, attempts are clearly being made to destabilize the social and economic situation, to weaken Russia in one way or another or to strike at our weaker spots, and they will continue primarily to make us more agreeable in resolving international issues.

So-called international competition mechanisms are being used as well (this applies to both politics and the economy); for this purpose the special services’ capabilities are used, along with modern information and communication technologies and dependent, puppet non-governmental organizations – so-called soft force mechanisms. This, obviously, is how some countries understand democracy.

We have to give an adequate response to such challenges, and, most importantly, to continue working in a systematic way to resolve the issues that carry a potential risk for the unity of our country and our society.

In the past few years, we have strengthened our state and public institutions, the basics of Russian federalism, and we have made progress in regional development, in resolving economic and social tasks. Our law enforcement agencies and special services have become more efficient in combatting terrorism and extremism; we are forming a modern basis of our ethnic policy, adjusting approaches to education; we are constantly combatting corruption – all this guarantees our security and sovereignty.

At the same time, we should keep these issues in mind. If necessary, we have to quickly develop and implement additional measures. We need to have a long-term plan of action in these areas, strategic documents and resolutions.

In this regard, I would like to draw attention to several priority challenges.

The first is working consistently to strengthen interethnic harmony, ensure a competent migration policy, and react rigidly to inactions by officials and crimes that may be triggered by interethnic conflicts.

These are challenges for all levels of government, from the federal to the municipal. And, of course, it is extremely important for our civil society to take an active position and react to infringements on human rights and freedoms, helping to prevent radicalism and extremism.

We are particularly relying on civil society for effective help in improving the system of state governance with regard to ethnic policy and educating young people about the spirit of patriotism and responsibility for the fate of their Fatherland, which is particularly important. We discussed this in great detail recently at a meeting of the Council for Interethnic Relations.

By the way, I want to clearly state that - with the help of the civil society – we will never entertain the thought of improving our work in these areas solely by cracking down, so to speak. We will not do that under any circumstances; we will rely on civil society, first and foremost.

Our second important challenge is protecting constitutional order. Constitutional supremacy and economic and legal unity must be ensured throughout all of Russia.  Federal standards as defined by the Constitution are inviolable and nobody has the right to break the law and infringe on citizens’ rights.

It is important for all Russians, regardless of where they live, to have equal rights and equal opportunities. This is the foundation for a democratic system. We must rigorously observe these Constitutional principles, and to do this, we must build a clear system of state authority, striving to ensure that all its components function as a united whole, precisely and systemically; this should include increasing local authorities’ role as part of Russia’s overall government mechanism. And naturally, reinforcing the efficacy of the work of the judicial system, the prosecutors, and the regulatory and supervisory authorities should strengthen Russia’s statehood.

The third key challenge is sustainable and balanced economic and social development. At the same time, it is fundamentally important to take into account territorial and regional factors. I mean that we must ensure priority development for strategically important regions, including in the Far East and other areas; we must simultaneously reduce drastic gaps between regions in terms of the economic situation and people’s living standards. All this needs to be taken into account when developing federal and sectorial programmes, improving inter-budgetary relations and building plans to develop infrastructure, selecting locations for new plants and creating modern jobs.

I also feel that we must think about additional steps to decrease the dependence of the national economy and financial system on negative external factors. I am not just referring to instability in global markets, but possible political risks as well.

Fourth, our Armed Forces remain the most important guarantor of our sovereignty and Russia’s territorial integrity. We will react appropriately and proportionately to the approach of NATO’s military infrastructure toward our borders, and we will not fail to notice the expansion of global missile defence systems and increases in the reserves of strategic non-nuclear precision weaponry.

We are often told that the ABM system is a defence system. But that’s not the case. This is an offensive system; it is part of the offensive defence system of the United States on the periphery. Regardless of what our foreign colleagues say, we can clearly see what is actually happening: groups of NATO troops are clearly being reinforced in Eastern European states, including in the Black and Baltic seas. And the scale and intensity of operational and combat training is growing. In this regard, it is imperative to implement all planned measures to strength our nation’s defence capacity fully and on schedule, including, of course, in Crimea and Sevastopol, where essentially we need to fully recreate the military infrastructure.

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Security Council meeting, President of Russia website, July 22, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

John McCain, War Skeptic

In an interview with The Daily Caller, John McCain gives some revisionist history on what he would have done had he been president after 2000:

Senator John McCain said Thursday that if he’d won the presidential election in 2000, the United States wouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq.

McCain, who voted for the invasion in 2003, explained during a CNN interview that “it’s obvious now, in retrospect, that Saddam Hussein–although he had used weapons of mass destruction–did not have the inventory that we seem to have evidence of. Which now looking back on it, with the benefit of hindsight, [the evidence] was very flimsy.”

He said that if he’d been president, he “would have challenged the evidence with greater scrutiny. I think that with my background with the military and knowledge of national security with these issues that I hope that I would have been able to see through the evidence that was presented at the time.”

When asked about American foreign policy during a 2000 GOP primary debate, McCain said ”I’d institute a policy that I call ‘rogue state rollback.’ I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically- elected governments. As long as Saddam Hussein is in power, I am convinced that he will pose a threat to our security.

* * *

The Daily Caller, July 18, 2014

Turks to Israelis: Stop the Gaza War

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government are extremely critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza. Here are snippets from news reports of the last few days with comments from Erdogan and his foreign minister. 

* * *

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his harsh criticism of Israel on Thursday, accusing the Jewish state of attempting a “systematic genocide” of Palestinians in Gaza.

“We have been witnessing this systematic genocide every Ramadan since 1948. The world remains silent because those who lost their lives are Palestinian,” Erdogan told a meeting of Islamic scholars in Istanbul to mark Ramadan, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Erdogan also said that the UN was not doing enough to help the Palestinians.

“Do you hear the voice of the United Nations? They are doing something only for a show. Is there executive action? No. Why was the United Nations established? For world peace. Does it make a contribution to world peace?” he said.

The Turkish prime minister then blamed Muslim countries for not doing enough to stop the bloodshed.

“When the West remains silent, the Islamic world watches too,” he said, adding that “Some Islamic countries are content with what is happening in Palestine today.” (Jerusalem Post, July 18, 2014)

* * *

“Israel is a country that threatens world peace. It has never favored peace,” [Erdogan] told reporters on Friday. “I do not envision any progress [in ties] with Israel as long as I am in charge,” he said, even though this might harm his reputation in the Western countries that are sympathetic to the Israeli position in the conflict.

“The Western reaction might be different. But I have never tried to look sympathetic to dominant powers, and I never will,” he said.

* * *

In his remarks at a meeting between Turkey and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in İstanbul on Friday, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu said there is a need for sustainable peace in the region and that Turkey is doing its utmost to ensure peace in the region and will continue to do so.

He said phone traffic between him and his counterparts continued all night after Israel launched its ground offensive on Thursday evening.

“First, this aggression [air strikes and ground offensive] should stop. No matter what their excuse, this is against the human conscience. We are determined to motivate the international community to take action,” he said, accusing Israel of being opportunistic. He also claimed that the Israeli ground offensive is partly an attempt to sabotage Palestinian efforts to form a unity government that brings together the rival Palestinian factions of Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Fatah.

“There is opportunism here. Palestinians [rival factions Hamas and Fatah] reached reconciliation between themselves, and Israel couldn't stand that. Now, it is trying to harm this togetherness. We advise Palestinians to stand by one another,” Davutoğlu said.

The foreign minister said Turkey also aims to ensure a permanent cease-fire and reiterated its commitment to support the Palestinians.

“Although everybody else keeps quiet, Turkey will never remain silent in the face of any injustice,” he said, adding, “We are going to voice our thoughts loudly.” (Today’s  Zaman, July 18, 2014)

 * * *

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked to Hitler on Tuesday, in remarks criticizing Israel’s actions against terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan gave a fiery anti-Israel speech in which he said Ankara will not normalize ties with Israel as long as Israel continues to “kill innocent children and continue its operations in Gaza.”

The Turkish prime minister referred to a female MK who said “all Palestinians are our enemies.

“This mentality is no different to that of Hitler,” the Istanbul-based daily Hurriyet reported Erdogan as saying.

“If these words were said by a Palestinian, the whole world would have denounced it,” he continued.

Erdogan’s supposed quote of Shaked referred to an article by now-deceased Makor Rishon editor Eli Elitzur from 2002, at the height of the second intifada, which the Bayit Yehudi MK posted on her Facebook wall on July 1.

“The Palestinian people declared war on us, and we must fight back. Not an operation, not low-intensity, not destroying terror infrastructure... This is a war between two nations. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started,” Elitzur wrote.

When asked to comment on Erdogan’s statement, Shaked’s spokeswoman Tal Benesh quipped that this is “the end to all-inclusive vacations,” referring to the resorts many Israelis visit in Turkey. (Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2014)

* * *

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

HRW: Unlawful Israeli Airstrikes

From a July 16 report by Human Rights Watch on Israeli military action in Gaza.

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Israeli air attacks in Gaza investigated by Human Rights Watch have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war. Israel should end unlawful attacks that do not target military objectives and may be intended as collective punishment or broadly to destroy civilian property. Deliberate or reckless attacks violating the laws of war are war crimes, Human Rights Watch said.

Israeli attacks in Gaza since July 7, 2014, which Israeli officials said delivered more than 500 tons of explosives in missiles, aerial bombs, and artillery fire, killed at least 178 people and wounded 1,361 as of July 14, including 635 women and children, according to the United Nations. Preliminary UN reports identified 138 people, about 77 percent of those killed, as civilians, including 36 children, and found that the attacks had destroyed 1,255 homes, displacing at least 7,500 people.

“Israel’s rhetoric is all about precision attacks but attacks with no military target and many civilian deaths can hardly be considered precise,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Recent documented cases in Gaza sadly fit Israel’s long record of unlawful airstrikes with high civilian casualties.”

Palestinian armed groups also should end indiscriminate rocket attacks launched toward Israeli population centers. Israeli media reported that Palestinian armed groups have launched 1,500 rockets at Israel, wounding five Israeli civilians and destroying property.

Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups conducted fewer attacks and rocket launches in May and early June. An Israeli airstrike killed an alleged member of an armed group and his son on a motorcycle in Gaza on June 11, sparking rocket launches by Palestinian armed groups, and leading to a massive escalation of Israeli attacks on July 7. Israel also blamed Hamas for the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers near a West Bank settlement on June 12 and launched a military operation in the West Bank on June 13, killing at least six Palestinians. Hamas had praised the kidnappings but denied responsibility.

Human Rights Watch investigated four Israeli strikes during the July military offensive in Gaza that resulted in civilian casualties and either did not attack a legitimate military target or attacked despite the likelihood of civilian casualties being disproportionate to the military gain. Such attacks committed deliberately or recklessly constitute war crimes under the laws of war applicable to all parties. In these cases, the Israeli military has presented no information to show that it was attacking lawful military objectives or acted to minimize civilian casualties.

Israel has wrongly claimed as a matter of policy that civilian members of Hamas or other political groups who do not have a military role are “terrorists” and therefore valid military targets, and has previously carried out hundreds of unlawful attacks on this basis. Israel has also targeted family homes of alleged members of armed groups without showing that the structure was being used for military purposes.

On July 11, an Israeli attack on the Fun Time Beach café near the city of Khan Yunis killed nine civilians, including two 15-year-old children, and wounded three, including a 13-year-old boy. An Israeli military spokesman said the attack was “targeting a terrorist” but presented no evidence that any of those at the café, who had gathered to watch a World Cup match, were participating in military operations, or that the killing of one alleged “terrorist” in a crowded café would justify the expected civilian casualties.

In another July 11 attack, an Israeli missile struck a vehicle in the Bureij refugee camp, killing the two municipal workers inside. The men were driving home in a marked municipal vehicle after clearing rubble from a road damaged in an airstrike. Their relatives said that neither man was affiliated with an armed group, and that the driver had followed the same daily routine in the same vehicle every day since July 7. The explosion blew the roof off the vehicle and partly disemboweled a 9-year-old girl and wounded her sister, 8, who were sitting in front of their home nearby. Human Rights Watch found no evidence of a military objective in the vehicle or in the area at the time.

An Israeli airstrike on July 10 on the family home of Mohammed al-Hajj, a tailor, in the densely crowded Khan Yunis refugee camp killed seven civilian family members, including two children, and wounded more than twenty civilians. An eighth fatality, al-Hajj’s 20-year-old son, was a low-ranking member of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, residents told Human Rights Watch. The Israeli military said the attack was being investigated. Even if the son was the intended target, the nature of the attack appears indiscriminate and would in any case be disproportionate.

“The presence of a single, low-level fighter would hardly justify the appalling obliteration of an entire family,” Whitson said. “Israel would never accept an argument that any Israeli home of an Israel Defense Force member would be a valid military target.”

A fourth Israeli airstrike, on July 9, killed Amal Abed Ghafour, who was 7-months pregnant, and her 1-year-old daughter, and wounded her husband and 3-year-old son. The family lived across the street from an apartment building that was struck with multiple missiles, according to witnesses. Residents of nearby homes said Israeli forces fired a small non-explosive “warning” missile at the apartment building minutes before the main missile strikes. However, the family did not know of the warning or have time to flee. Israeli officials have not said why they targeted the apartment building.

A brief initial statement on July 8 by the Israeli military spokesperson’s office asserted that military attacks had targeted “four homes of activists in the Hamas terror organization who are involved in terrorist activity and direct and carry out high-trajectory fire towards Israel,” without any further qualification. In subsequent statements, the military said that its policy is to attack homes used as “command and control” centers or “terrorist infrastructure” after warning residents to leave, but has provided no information to support these vague claims.

The Israeli rights group B’Tselem said on July 13 that the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson had changed the wording of statements concerning such attacks over the course of the current military offensive, but that in only one specific case did the military claim that weapons were hidden in a home it had attacked. An Israeli military official stated on July 12 that the military has targeted “more than 100 homes of commanders of different ranks” in Gaza, the Israeli news website Ynet reported.

Civilian structures such as residential homes become lawful targets only when they are being used for military purposes. While the laws of war encourage the use of effective advance warnings of attacks to minimize civilian casualties, providing warnings does not make an otherwise unlawful attack lawful.

For warnings to be effective, civilians need adequate time to leave and go to a place of safety before an attack. In several cases Human Rights Watch investigated, Israel gave warnings, but carried out the attack within five minutes or less. Given that Gaza has no bomb shelters, civilians realistically often have no place to flee.

Attacks targeting civilians or civilian property are unlawful, as are attacks that do not or cannot discriminate between civilians and combatants. Attacks intended to punish the family members of an enemy commander or fighter would also constitute unlawful collective punishment. Attacks causing the extensive destruction of property carried out unlawfully and wantonly are also prohibited.

“Warning families to flee might reduce civilian casualties but they don’t make illegal attacks any less illegal,” Whitson said. “The Israeli failure to demonstrate why attacks that are killing civilians are lawful raises serious questions as to whether these attacks are intended to target civilians or wantonly destroy civilian property.”

The United Nations Human Rights Council should hold a special session to address violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in the context of the conflict, Human Rights Watch said. The Council should mandate the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to form a fact-finding mission to impartially investigate, report promptly and publicly on violations by all sides, and issue recommendations to the parties and the UN.

The European Union and its member countries should support convening a special session and formation of a fact-finding mission. They should also work for a resolution that:
  • Stresses the conflicting parties’ obligations under international law to protect civilians;
  • Stresses the need for borders to be kept open for humanitarian and medical assistance to reach those in need and permit them to leave;
  • Condemns violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by all parties; and
  •  Stresses the need for accountability for grave violations.
Neither Israeli nor Palestinian authorities have ever taken serious action to investigate alleged war crimes by members of their forces in previous armed conflicts. Human Rights Watch has documented numerous serious violations of the laws of war by Israeli forces in the past decade, particularly indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

From 2005 to the end of 2012, Israeli military operations in Gaza resulted in the deaths of 1,474 civilians and the destruction of thousands of buildings. In the same period, Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza firedsome 8,734 rockets at Israeli population centers, killing 38 civilians, including 26 Israelis, 2 foreign nationals, and 10 Palestinians when rockets fell short of their intended targets.

The Palestine Liberation Organization should direct President Mahmoud Abbas to seek the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute serious international crimes committed by all parties on Palestinian territory.

Governments that are providing weapons to Israel, to Hamas, or to armed groups in the Gaza Strip should suspend transfers of any materiel that has been documented or credibly alleged to have been used in violation of international humanitarian law, as well as funding or support for such material, Human Rights Watch said. The US supplies Israel with rotary and fixed wing military aircraft, Hellfire missiles, and other munitions that have been used in illegal airstrikes in Gaza.

“The longstanding failure of either side to prosecute war crimes in Gaza means that the only meaningful option for justice and accountability is legal proceedings before the International Criminal Court,” Whitson said. “How many more civilians will die as a result of unlawful Israeli attacks before President Abbas submits Palestine to this court?” . . . 
* * *
Further details follow in the report. See Israel/Palestine: Unlawful Israeli Airstrikes Kill Civilians, Human Rights Watch, July 16, 2014

Russia to Ukraine: Irreversible Consequences

This statement, issued July 13 by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, does not leave the impression that the Russians intend to let go in eastern Ukraine. 

* * * 

On the morning of the 13 July the Ukrainian army shelled Donetsk, in the Rostov Region, using high-explosive shells. A Russian national died and two were seriously injured as a result of a missile hitting a residential house.

On the same day, an attorney for Ukrainian affairs in the Russian Federation was summoned to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where a decisive protest by Russia was expressed to him. The note, which was given to the diplomat, states that Russia considers this provocation to be another aggressive act by Ukraine against the sovereign territory of the Russian Federation and the nationals of the Russian Federation.

It was emphasised that this incident highlights that tensions in the area of the Russian-Ukrainian border have dangerously escalated and may have irreversible consequences, for which Ukraine will be held responsible.

Russia insists again that Ukraine immediately takes decisive measures to stop any provocations of this kind.

* * *

"Statement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the aggressive actions of Ukraine against the Russian Federation," July 13, 2014

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Clinton in 2009

In what was billed as her first major speech as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations on May 15, 2009.

* * *

. . .  Shortly before I started at the State Department a former Secretary of State called me with this advice -- don't try to do too much.  It seemed like a wise admonition, if only it were possible.  But the international agenda today is unforgiving -- two wars, conflicts in the Middle East, ongoing stress of violent extremism and nuclear proliferation, global recession, climate change, hunger and disease, and a widening gap between the rich and the poor.  All of these challenges affect America's security and prosperity, and they all threaten global stability and progress.  But they are not reason to despair about the future.

The same forces that compound our problems -- economic interdependence, open borders, and the speedy movement of information, capital goods, services and people, are also part of the solution.  And with more states facing common challenges, we have the chance and a profound responsibility to exercise American leadership to solve problems in concert with others.  That is the heart of America's commission in the world today.

Now some see the rise of other nations and our economic troubles here at home as signs that American power has waned.  Others simply don't trust us to lead.  They view America as an unaccountable power, too quick to impose its will at the expense of their interests and our principles.  But they are wrong.  The question is not whether our nation can or should lead, but how it will lead in the 21st century.

Rigid ideologies and old formulas don't apply.  We need a new mindset about how America will use its power to safeguard our nation, expand shared prosperity, and help more people in more places live up to their God-given potential.  President Obama has led us to think outside the usual boundaries.  He has launched a new era of engagement based on common interests, shared values, and mutual respect.  Going forward, capitalizing on America's unique strengths, we must advance those interests through partnership and promote universal values through the power of our example and the empowerment of people.

In this way we can forge the global consensus required to defeat the threats, manage the dangers, and seize the opportunities of the 21st century.  America will always be a world leader, as long as we remain true to our ideals and embrace strategies that match the times.  So we will exercise American leadership to build partnerships and solve problems that no nation can solve on its own, and we will pursue policies to mobilize more partners and deliver results.

First, though, let me say that while the ideas that shape our foreign policy are critically important, this for me is not simply an intellectual exercise.  For over 16 years I've had the chance, the privilege really, to represent our country overseas -- as first lady, as a senator, and now as Secretary of State.  I've seen the bellies of starving children.  Girls sold into human trafficking.  Men dying of treatable diseases.   Women denied the right to own property or vote.  And young people without schooling or jobs, gripped by a sense of futility about their future.

I've also seen how hope, hard work, and ingenuity can overcome the longest of odds.  For almost 36 years I have worked as an advocate for children, women, and families here at home.  I've traveled across our country listening to everyday concerns of our citizens.  I've met parents struggling to keep their jobs, pay their mortgages, cover their children's college tuition, and afford health care.  And all that I have done and seen has convinced me that our foreign policy must produce results for people.  The laid-off auto worker in Detroit whose future will depend on global economic recovery.  The farmer or small business owner in the developing world whose lack of opportunity can drive political instability and economic stagnation.  The families whose loved ones are risking their lives for our country in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.  Children in every land who deserve a brighter future.

These are the people, hundreds of millions of them here in America, and billions around the world, whose lives and experiences, hope and dreams must inform the decisions we take and the actions that follow.  These are the people who inspire me and my colleagues and the work that we try to do every day.

In approaching our foreign policy priorities, we have to deal with the urgent, the important, and the long-term all at once.  Even as we are forced to multitask -- a very gender-related term -- we must have priorities which President Obama has outlined in speeches from Prague to Cairo, from Moscow to Accra.  We want to reverse the threat of nuclear weapons, prevent their use, and build a world free of their threat.  We want to isolate and defeat terrorists and counter violent extremists while reaching out to Muslims around the world.

We want to encourage and facilitate the efforts of all parties to pursue and achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.  We want to seek global economic recovery and growth by strengthening our own economy, advancing a robust development agenda, expanding trade that is free and fair, and boosting investment that creates decent jobs.  We want to combat climate change, increase energy security and lay the foundation for a prosperous clean-energy future.  We want to support and encourage democratic governments that protect the rights and deliver results for their people.  And we intend to stand up for human rights everywhere.

Liberty, democracy, justice, and opportunity underlie our priorities.  Some accuse us of using these ideals to justify actions that contradict their very meaning.  Others say we are too often condescending and imperialistic, seeking only to expand our power at the expense of others.  And yes, these perceptions have fed anti-Americanism but they do not reflect who we are.  No doubt we lost some ground in recent years but the damage is temporary.  Kind of like my elbow -- it's getting better every day.  (Laughter.)

Whether in Latin America or Lebanon, Iran or Liberia, those who are inspired by democracy, who understand that democracy is about more than just elections, that it must also protect minority rights and press freedom, develop strong, competent, and independent judiciaries, legislatures, and executive agencies, and commit for democracy to deliver results -- these are the people who will find that Americans are their friends, not adversaries.

As President Obama made clear last week in Ghana, this administration will stand for accountable and transparent governance and support those who work to build democratic institutions wherever they live.  Our approach to foreign policy must reflect the world as it is, not as it used to be.  It does not make sense to adapt a 19th century concert of powers, or a 20th century balance of power strategy.  We cannot go back to Cold War containment, or to unilateralism.

Today we must acknowledge two inescapable facts that define our world.  First, no nation can meet the world's challenges alone.  The issues are too complex.  Too many players are competing for influence, from rising powers to corporations to criminal cartels, from NGOs to al Qaeda, from state-controlled media to individuals using Twitter.

Second, most nations worry about the same global threats -- from nonproliferation to fighting disease to counter-terrorism, but also face very real obstacles for reasons of history, geography, ideology, and inertia.  They face these obstacles and they stand in the way of turning commonality of interest into common action.

So these two facts demand a different global architecture, one in which states have clear incentives to cooperate and live up to their responsibilities, as well as strong disincentives to sit on the sidelines or sow discord and division.  So we will exercise American leadership to overcome what foreign policy experts at places like the Council call "collective action problems," and what I call obstacles to cooperation.  For just as no nation can meet these challenges alone, no challenge can be met without America.

Here's how we'll do it.  We'll work through existing institutions and reform them, but we'll go further.  We'll use our power to convene, our ability to connect countries around the world, and sound foreign policy strategies to create partnerships aimed at solving problems.  We'll go beyond states to create opportunities for non-state actors and individuals to contribute to solutions.  We believe this approach will advance our interests by uniting diverse partners around common concerns.

It will make it more difficult for others to abdicate their responsibilities or abuse their power, but will offer a place at the table to any nation, group or citizen willing to shoulder a fair share of the burden.

In short, we will lead by inducing greater cooperation among a greater number of actors and reducing competition, tilting the balance away from a multi-polar world and toward a multi-partner world.  Now we know this approach is not a panacea; we will remain clear-eyed about our purpose.  Not everybody in the world wishes us well or shares our values and interests, and some will actively seek to undermine our efforts.

In those cases, our partnerships came become power coalitions to constrain or deter those negative actions.  And to these foes and would-be foes let me say our focus in diplomacy and development is not an alternative to our national security arsenal.  Our willingness to talk is not a sign of weakness to be exploited.  We will not hesitate to defend our friends, our interests and above all our people, vigorously and when necessary with the world's strongest military.

This is not an option we seek nor is it a threat; it is a promise to all Americans.  Building the architecture of global cooperation requires us to devise the right policies and use the right tools.  I speak often of smart power because it is so central to our thinking and our decision-making.  It means the intelligent use of all means at our disposal, including our ability to convene and connect.  It means our economic and military strength, our capacity for entrepreneurship and innovation and the ability and credibility of our new president and his team.  It also means the application of old-fashioned common sense in policy-making.  It's a blend of principle and pragmatism.

Smart power translates into specific policy approaches in five areas:  First, we intend to update and create vehicles for cooperation with our partners; second, we will pursue principled engagement with those who disagree with us; third, we will elevate development as a core pillar of American power; fourth, we will integrate civilian and military action in conflict areas; and fifth, we will leverage key sources of American power, including our economic strength and the power of our example.

Our first approach is to build these stronger mechanisms of cooperation with our historic allies with emerging powers and with multilateral institutions and to pursue that cooperation in, as I said, in a pragmatic and principled way.  We don't see those as an opposition but as complementary.  We have started by re-invigorating our bedrock and alliances, which did fray in recent years.  In Europe that means improved bilateral relationships, a more productive partnership with the European Union and a revitalized NATO.

I believe NATO is the greatest alliance in history, but it was built for the Cold War.  The new NATO is a democratic community of nearly a billion people, stretching from the Baltics in the east to Alaska in the west.  We're working to update its strategic concepts so that it is as effective in this century as it was in the last.

At the same time, we are working with our key treaty allies, Japan and Korea, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines and other partners to strengthen our bilateral relationships as well as trans-Pacific institutions.  We are both a trans-Atlantic and a trans-Pacific nation.  We will also put special emphasis on encouraging major and emerging global powers: China, India, Russia and Brazil, as well as Turkey, Indonesia and South Africa to be full partners in tackling the global agenda.

I want to underscore the importance of this task and my personal commitment to it.  These states are vital to achieving solutions to the shared problems and advancing our priorities, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, economic growth, climate change among others.  With these states we will stand firm on our principles even as we seek common ground.  This week I will travel to India where external affairs minister Krishna Nai (ph) will lay out a broad-based agenda that calls for a whole of government approach to our bilateral relationship.

Later this month, Secretary Geithner and I will jointly lead our new strategic and economic dialogue with China.  It will cover not just economic issues but the range of strategic challenges we face together.  In the fall I will travel to Russia to advance the bi-national presidential commission that foreign minister Lobroff (ph) and I will co-chair.  The fact of these and other meetings does not guarantee results but they set in motion processes and relationships that will widen our avenues of cooperation and narrow the areas of disagreement without allusion.  We know that progress will not likely come quickly or without bumps in the road, but we are determined to begin and stay on this path.

Now our global and regional institutions were built for a world that has been transformed so they too must be transformed and reformed.  As the president said following the recent G-8 meeting in Italy, "We are seeking institutions that combine the efficiency and capacity for action with inclusiveness from the U.N. to the World Bank, from the IMF to the G-8 and the G-20, from the AOS and the Summit of the Americas to ASIAN (ph) and APEC, all of these and other institutions have a role to play.  But their continued vitality and relevance depend on their legitimacy and representativeness and the ability of their members to act swiftly and responsibly when problems arise."

We also will reach out beyond government because we believe partnerships with people play a critical role in our 21st century state craft.  President Obama's Cairo speech is a powerful example of communicating directly with people from the bottom up, and we are following up with a comprehensive agenda of educational exchanges, outreach and entrepreneurial ventures.  In every country I visit I look for opportunities to bolster civil society and engage with citizens, whether at a town hall in Baghdad, a first in that country, or appearing on local popular television shows that reach a wide and young audience or meeting with democracy activists, war widows or students.

I have appointed special envoys to focus on a number of specific challenges, including the first ambassador for global women's issues and an ambassador to build new public/private partnerships and to engage Diaspora communities in the United States to increase opportunities in their native lands.  And we are working at the state department to ensure that our government is using the most innovative technologies, not only to speak and listen across borders, not only to keep technologies up and going, but to widen opportunities, especially for those who are too-often left on the margins.

We're taking these steps because reaching out directly to people will encourage them to embrace cooperation with us, making our partnerships with their governments and with them stronger and more durable.  We've also begun to adopt a more flexible and pragmatic posture with our partners.  We won't agree on every issue.  Standing firm on our principles shouldn't prevent us from working together whether we can, so we will not tell our partners to take it or leave it, nor will we insist that they're either with us or against us.

In today's world that's global malpractice.  Our diplomacy regarding North Korea is a case in point.  We have invested a significant amount of diplomatic resources to achieve Security Council consensus in response to North Korea's provocative actions.  I spoke numerous times to my counterparts in Japan, South Korea, Russia and China, drawing out their concerns, making our principles and red-lines clear and seeking a path forward.

The short-term results were two unanimous Security Council resolutions with real teeth and consequences for North Korea and then the follow-on active involvement of China, Russia and India with us in persuading others to comply with the resolutions.  The long-term result, we believe, will be a tougher joint effort toward the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  Cultivating these partnerships and their full range takes time and patience; it also takes persistence.

That doesn't mean procrastinating on urgent issues, nor is it a justification for delaying efforts that may take years to bear fruit.  In one of my favorite observations, Max Vabor said, "Politics is the long and slow boring of hard boards.  It takes both passion and perspective.  Perspective dictates passion and patience."  And of course passion keeps us from not finding excuses to do nothing.  Now I'm well aware that time alone does not heal all wounds.  Consider the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  That's why we wasted no time in starting an intensive effort on day one to realize the rights of Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace and security in two states, which is in America's interests and the world's.

We've been working with the Israelis to deal with the issue of settlements, to ease the living conditions of Palestinians and create circumstances that can lead to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.  For the last few decades American administrations have held consistent positions on the settlement issue, and while we expect action from Israel, we recognize that these decisions are politically challenging and we know that progress toward peace cannot be the responsibility of the United States or Israel alone.  Ending the conflict requires action on all sides.

The Palestinians have the responsibility to improve and extend the positive actions already taken on security, to act forcefully against incitement and to refrain from any action that would make meaningful negotiations less likely.  And Arab states have a responsibility to support the Palestinian authority with words and deeds, to take steps to improve relations with Israel and to prepare their publics to embrace peace and accept Israel's place in the region.

The Saudi peace proposal supported by more than 20 nations was a positive step, but we believe that more is needed.  So we are asking those who embrace the proposal to take meaningful steps now.

Anwar Sadat and King Hussein crossed important thresholds, and their boldness and vision mobilized peace constituencies in Israel and paved the way for lasting agreements.  By providing support to the Palestinians and offering an opening, however modest, to the Israelis, the Arab states could have the same impact.

So I say to all sides, sending messages of peace is not enough.  You must also act against the cultures of hate, intolerance and disrespect that perpetuate conflict.

Our second policy approach is to lead with diplomacy even in the cases of adversaries or nations with whom we disagree.  We believe that doing so advances our interests and puts us in a better position to lead with our other partners.  We cannot be afraid or unwilling to engage, yet some suggest that this is a sign of naivete or acquiescence to these country's repression of their own people.  I believe that is wrong.

As long as engagement might advance our interests and our values, it is unwise to take it off the table.  Negotiations can provide insight into regime's calculations and the possibility, even if it seems remote, that a regime will eventually alter its behavior in exchange for the benefits of acceptance into the international community.  Libya is one such example.

Exhausting the option for dialogue is also more likely to make our partners more willing to exert pressure should persuasion fail.  With this in mind, I want to say a few words about Iran.

We watched the energy of Iran's election with great admiration only to be appalled by the manner in which the government used violence to quell the voices of the Iranian people and then tried to hide its actions by arresting foreign journalists and nationals and expelling them and cutting off access to technology.

As we and our G-8 partners have made clear, these actions are deplorable and unacceptable.  We know very well what we inherited with Iran because we deal with that inheritance every day.  We know that refusing to deal with the Islamic Republic has not succeeded in altering the Iranian march toward a nuclear weapon, reducing Iranian support for terror, or improving Iran's treatment of its own citizens.

Neither the president nor I have any illusions that dialogue with the Islamic Republic will guarantee success of any kind.  And the prospects have certainly shifted in the weeks following the election.  But we also understand the importance of offering to engage Iran and giving its leaders a clear choice whether to join the international community as a responsible member or to continue down a path to further isolation.

Direct talks provide the best vehicle for presenting and explaining that choice.  That is why we offered Iran's leaders an unmistakable opportunity.  Iran does not have a right to nuclear, military capacity, and we're determined to prevent that.  But it does have a right to civil nuclear power if it reestablishes the confidence of the international community that it will use its programs exclusively for peaceful purposes.

Iran become a constructive actor in the region if it stops threatening its neighbors and supporting terrorism.  It can assume a responsible position in the international community if it fulfills its obligations on human rights.

The choice is clear.  We remain ready to engage with Iran, but the time for action is now.  The opportunity will not remain open indefinitely. 

Our third policy approach and a personal priority for me as secretary is to elevate and integrate development as a core pillar of American power.  We advance our security, our prosperity, and our values by improving the material conditions of people's lives around the world.  These efforts also lay the groundwork for greater global cooperation by building the capacity of new partners and tackling shared problems from the ground up.

A central purpose of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review that I announced last week is to explore how to effectively design, fund, and implement development and foreign assistance as parts of a broader foreign policy.  Let's face it.  We have devoted a smaller percentage of our government budget to development than almost any other advanced country, and too little of what we have spent has contributed to genuine and lasting progress.  Too much of the money has never reached its intended target but stayed here in America to pay salaries or fund overhead in contracts.

I am committed to more partnerships are NGOs, but I want more of our tax dollars tomorrow used effectively and to deliver tangible results.  As we seek more agile, effective, and creative partnerships for development, we will focus on country-driven solutions such as those we are launching with Haiti on recovery and sustainable development and with African states on global hunger.

These initiatives must not be designed to help country scrape by.  They are a tool to help countries stand on their own.  Our development agenda will also focus on women as drivers of economic growth and social stability.  Women have long comprised the majority of the world's unhealthy, unschooled, and underfed.  They are also the bulk of the world's poor.

The global recession has had a disproportionate effect on women and girls which, in turn, has repercussions for families, communities, and even regions.  Until women around the world are accorded their rights and afforded the opportunities of education, health care, and gainful employment, global progress and prosperity will have its own glass ceiling.

Our further approach is to ensure that our civilian and military efforts operate in a coordinated and complimentary fashion where we are engaged in conflict.  This is the core of our strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq where we are integrating our efforts with international partners.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, our goal is to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately defeat Al Qaeda and its extremist allies and to prevent their return to either country.  Yet Americans often ask why do we ask our young men and women to risk their lives in Afghanistan when Al Qaeda's leadership is in neighboring Pakistan?

That question deserves a good answer.  We and our allies fight in Afghanistan because the Taliban protects Al Qaeda and depends on it for support, sometimes, coordinating activities.  In other words, to eliminate Al Qaeda, we must also fight the Taliban.  Now, we understand that not all those who fight with the Taliban support Al Qaeda or believe in the extremist policies the Taliban pursued when in power.

And, today, we and our Afghan allies stand ready to welcome anyone supporting the Taliban who renounces Al Qaeda, lays down their arms, and is willing to participate in the free and open society that is enshrined in the Afghan constitution.  To achieve our goals, President Obama is sending an additional 17,000 troops and 4,000 military trainers to Afghanistan.

Equally important, we are sending hundreds of direct-hire American civilians to lead a new efforts to strengthen the Afghan government, help rebuild the once-vibrant agriculture sector, create jobs, encourage the rule of law, expand opportunities for women, and train the Afghan police.

No one should doubt our commitment to Afghanistan and its people, but it is the Afghan people themselves who will determine their own future.  As we proceed, we must not forget that success in Afghanistan also requires close cooperation from neighboring Pakistan which I will visit this fall.

Pakistan is itself under intense pressure from extremist groups.  Trilateral cooperation among Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States has built confidence and yielded progress on a number of policy fronts.  Our national security as well as the future of Afghanistan depends on a stable, democratic, and economically viable Pakistan.  And we applaud the new Pakistani determination to deal with the militants to threaten their democracy and our shared security. 

In Iraq, we are bolstering our diplomacy and development programs while we implement a responsible withdrawal of our troops.  Last month, our combat troops successfully redeployed from towns and cities.  Our principle focus is now shifting from security issues to civilian efforts that promote Iraqi capacity, supporting the work of Iraqi ministries and aiding in their efforts to achieve national unity.

And we are developing a long-term economic and political relationship with Iraq as outlined by the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement.  This agreement forms the basis of our future cooperation with Iraq and the Iraqi people.  And I look forward to discussing it and its implementation with Prime Minister Malaki when he comes to Washington next week.

Our fifth approach is to shore up traditional sources of our influence including economic strength and the power of our example.  We renewed our own values by prohibiting torture and beginning to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.  And we have been straightforward about our own measure of responsibility for problems like drug trafficking in Mexico and global climate change.

When I acknowledged the obvious about our role in Mexico's current conflict with narco-traffickers, some were critical, but they're missing the point.  Our capacity to take responsibility and our willingness to change to do the right thing are themselves hallmarks of our greatness as a nation and strategic assets that can help us forge coalitions in the service of our interests.

That is certainly true when it comes to key priorities like nonproliferation and climate change.  President Obama is committed to the vision of a world without nuclear weapons, and a series of concrete steps to reduce the threat and spread of these weapons including working with the Senate to ratify the follow-on START agreement and the comprehensive test ban treaty, taking on greater responsibility within the nonproliferation treaty framework, and convening the world's leaders here in Washington next year for a nuclear summit.
Now we must urge others to take practical steps to advance our shared nonproliferation agenda.  Our administration is also committed to deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, with a plan that will dramatically change the way we produce, consume and conserve energy, and in the process, spark an explosion of new investment and millions of jobs.  Now we must urge every other nation to meet its obligations and seize the opportunities of a clean energy future.

We are restoring our economy at home to enhance our strength and capacity abroad, especially at this time of economic turmoil.  Now, this is not a traditional priority for a secretary of State, but I vigorously support American recovery and growth as a pillar of our global leadership.  And I am committed to restoring a significant role for the State Department within a whole-of-government approach to international economic policymaking.

We will work to ensure that our economic statecraft -- trade and investment, debt forgiveness, loan guarantees, technical assistance, decent work practices -- support our foreign policy objectives.  When coupled with a sound development effort, our economic outreach can give us a better form of globalization, reducing the bitter opposition of recent years, and lifting millions more out of poverty.

And finally, I am determined to ensure that the men and women of our Foreign and Civil Service have the resources they need to implement our priorities effectively and safely.  That's why I appointed, for the first time, a deputy secretary for management and resources.  It's why we worked so hard to secure additional funding for State and USAID.  It's why we have put ourselves on a path to double foreign assistance over the next few years.  And it's why we are implementing a plan to dramatically increase the number of diplomats and development experts.

Just as we would never deny ammunition to American troops headed into battle, we cannot send our civilian personnel into the field under-equipped.  If we don't invest in diplomacy and development, we will end up paying a lot more for conflicts and their consequences.  As Secretary Gates has said, diplomacy is an indispensable instrument of national security, as it has been since Franklin, Jefferson and Adams won foreign support for Washington's army.

Now, all of this adds up to a very ambitious agenda, but the world does not afford us the luxury of choosing or waiting.  I said at the outset we must tackle the urgent, the important and the long term all at once.  We are both witness to and makers of significant change.  We cannot and should not be passive observers.

We are determined to channel the currents of change toward a world free of violent extremism, nuclear weapons, global warming, poverty, and abuses of human rights, and above all, a world in which more people in more places can live up to their God-given potential.

The architecture of cooperation we seek to build will advance all these goals, using our power not to dominate or divide but to solve problems.  It is the architecture of progress for America and all nations.

More than 230 years ago, Thomas Paine said, "We have it within our power to start the world over again."  Today, in a new and very different era, we are called upon to use that power.  I believe we have the right strategy, the right priorities, the right policies.  We have the right president and we have the American people -- diverse, committed and open to the future.  Now all we have to do is deliver. . . .

QUESTIONER:  Madame Secretary, in 1999 I saw you in Gaza with President Clinton altering the PLO Charter.  There was a great deal of hope.  Do you think, by 2010, by the end of 2010, we will have a peace agreement with Israel?  And can you say something about Syria?

CLINTON:  I well remember that occasion in Gaza and the hope that was generated.  And I still carry that hope very much with me, both personally and on behalf of the position I now hold.  And it's one of the reasons why I urged the president to appoint a skilled negotiator as a special envoy, and George Mitchell gratefully accepted.  And we have been working literally non-stop to set up the conditions for such negotiations.

But as I said in my speech, we don't think it is just the responsibility of the Israelis, nor even just of the Palestinians.  We expect the entire region, particularly the Arab states, to assist us by stepping up and making clear that they are truly going to support the two-state solution.

We intend to pursue our efforts as vigorously as we possibly can.  I'm not going to make any predictions, but I can only tell you that our commitment is deep and durable, and I don't get easily discouraged.  And I don't want anybody else to, because this is a very difficult undertaking, especially because of the 10 years between where we were in Gaza in '99 and where we are today in 2009.  But I have actually been heartened by what I've seen in the last six months.

With respect to Syria, we have made it very clear to the Syrians, including with the offer to return an ambassador, that we do want an engagement.  But we expect it to be reciprocal.  And there are certain actions that we would like to see the Syrians take as we begin to explore this with them.

I think Syria is a critical player in whatever we do in the Middle East.  I'm hoping that the Syrian calculation of where they should be positionally with respect to their relationship with Iran and their support for extremists and terrorist activities will be changing so that we can pursue a two-way engagement that will benefit both us and the larger region. . . .
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