Madam Secretary

Hillary’s electrifying EMILY’s List speech

Hillary’s electrifying EMILY’s List speech

I saw Hillary Clinton give a triumphant, electrifying speech yesterday to the crowd at the EMILY’s List luncheon — as Rebecca Traister reported for Salon. But what was more notable from a foreign policy perspective was her continuing focus on the nexus between women’s rights and national security.

At that long-ago conference in Beijing on women’s rights, Hillary Clinton told the crowd (and the world) that women’s rights are human rights. But in a post-9/11 world, human rights is the old foreign policy paradigm, and national security is a new one. Hillary’s EMILY’s list speech — while it was something of a retread of her remarks on international women’s issues from her prepared testimony and of her answer to Barbara Boxer’s questions on women’s issues — nonetheless made it clear that she (and the Obama administration) have no intention of backing down from their contention that international women’s rights have a connection to national security. 

She started off the portion of her remarks on international women’s rights on a somber note. 

For me, those 18 million cracks are very person. But as I look at women about the world, that glass ceiling is poverty that limits their dreams; hunger that eats at their stomachs; diseases that shorten their lives; and repression that limits their futures.

Pretty powerful stuff.

As we renew America’s leadership around the world, we must also renew America’s leadership in helping women and girls around the world.

She reiterated the point that societies that limit the opportunities for women and girls ignore half their populations at their own — and our — peril, limiting a country’s economic opportunities and growth potential. And Clinton remains committed to using her position to expand opportunities for the women of the world, and the power of the United State government to help end the abuse of women and children. It seems like as good a way as any to do something actually moral with our power, and to convince at least half of the population of a given country that maybe America isn’t so bad. It’s certainly bound to work better than Bush’s Muslim-free Muslim outreach program.

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