Daniel W. Drezner

Live-blogging Hillary Clinton [LIVE UPDATES]

Watch this space at 1 PM Eastern time today, as I’ll be liveblogging Hillary Clinton’s speech today to the Council on Foreign Relations.  3:00 PM:  State Department website back online — here’s a link to the text of the speech.    2:07 PM:  That’s a wrap, people — State Department website still down, OK speech.  ...

Watch this space at 1 PM Eastern time today, as I’ll be liveblogging Hillary Clinton’s speech today to the Council on Foreign Relations

3:00 PM:  State Department website back online — here’s a link to the text of the speech 

2:07 PM:  That’s a wrap, people — State Department website still down, OK speech.  I’ll leave the post-game analysis to the commenters. 

2:05 PM:  Haass closes by asking Clinton what her biggest surprise was in her first six months.  Pivots the question by pointing out the difficulties of getting people confirmed.  She ends graciously, faux acknowledging that now she realizes what a pain she must have been as a Senator when she queried Foggy Bottom. 

2:04 PM:  A Boeing guy asks what the State Department will be doing on export promotion and commercial diplomacy.  Clinton finesses the question by saying she takes the economic dimension of foreign policy seriously, arguing that economic components cannot be separated from foreign policy. 

2:00 PMBob Lieber asks a question (he thinks the previous queries have been creampuffs).  If other engagement efforts don’t work, can the U.S. live with a nuclear Iran?  Clinton’s response:  "I’m not going to negotiate with Iran sitting here."  Basically says that she’s not optimistic about direct negotiations with Iran, but argues that outsourcing U.S. diplomacy to the EU-3 really didn’t work either. 

1:55 PM:  Good question about the policy dividends received to date from NATO allies on re-engaging allies.  Clinton’s answer here was both candid and good — i.e., this is not going to be easy, fears and anxieties need to be assuaged, we’re hoping for more progress in the future.  Then she wandered into agricultural aid in Afganistan and I lost my focus there for a second. 

1:50 PM:  State Department website still down, by the way. 

1:49 PM:  Gets spoon-fed a question that allows her to elaborate on the new Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, patterned after the DoD’s Quadrennial Defense Review (more here from Spencer Ackerman). 

1:47 PM:  Point-blank question about whether George Mitchell allowed that the completion of in-construction housing settlements in the occupied territories would be permitted.  Clinton ducks the question faster than Peyton Manning facing the New York Giants pass rush. 

1:42 PM:  Question about India.  Responds by pointing out how strong the bilateral dialogue is, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Sounds a bit more skeptical about engaging India (or a bit less briefed, take your pick). 

1:41 PMGlenn Kessler’s take on the speech.  Intriguingly, there’s nothing about the speech on the front of the New York Times website. 

1:40 PM:  Question about Iran.  Acknowledges that a post-election regime "puts a different complexion" on the government.  Nothing new, however. 

1:35 PM:  First question is on Palestine and Syria, whether she sees progress.  Her words say "maybe", but her tone says no.  Haass asks a good follow-up question on Hamas’ role.  Clinton responds with boilerplate — no change in the U.S. position. 

1:34 PM:  OK, speech over — let’s get to the Q&A which is always more interesting)!

1:31 PM:  Fires a warning shot across Timothy Geithner’s bow by saying she wants to upgrade the State Deprtment’s role in foreign economic policy.  I don’t have a problem with that — so long as the State Department officials actually know what they’re talking about.  Also echoes SecDef Bob Gates’ numerous speeches on this topic. 

1:29 PM:  Ah, Clinton clears up the idea of leveraging traditional sources of U.S. power — she’s talking about exemplarism.  Abolishing torture, reducing nuclear weapons, getting serious on global warming, having the U.S. as a shining city on a hill, etc.  She throughs in narco-trafficking into this section, and I’m not entuirely sure how that fits. 

1:25 PM:  Hmm…. State Department’s website is now down.  Read into this what you will. 

1:24 PM:  On development, admits that the U.S. has given less as a percentage of GDP compared to other advanced industrialized states.  That sound you hear is the Center for Global Development jumping up for joy. 

1:21 PM:  The Iran section — Clinton "appalled" by Iranian government action, but thinks not dealing with the Islamic Republic doesn’t solve anything.  Acknowledges that the prospects of success have declined in recent weeks.  Still thinks its worth making the genuine offer for direct talks.  Recognizes Iran’s right to civilian nuclear power, conditional on complying with the IAEA, but not a right to the military use of nuclear power. 

1:13 PM:  Clinton lists her travel schedule for the rest of the year.  Not-so-subtle message:  "Hey, you people who think I’m doing nothing?  Piss off." 

1:11 PM:  Ah, here’s the meat of the speech:  the five pillars of Clinton’s "smart power" approach: 

  • Re-building alliancess and updating global governance structures;
  • Engaging adversaries;
  • The promotion of economic development as a "core pillar" of U.S. foreign policy;
  • Merging the military and civilian components of power;
  • Leveraging key sources of American power

That last one is a bit vague to me, so we’ll see how that develops. 

1:10 PM:  So far, with the emphasis newtworks of non-state actors, "partnerships with people," and the emphasis on burnishing global governance structures, I’m seeing Anne-Marie Slaughter’s fingerprints all over this sucker. 

1:08 PM:  Repeating a trope of President Obama’s, there are some passages here where Clinton talks about how old IR concepts are out of date.  Disdains 19th century great power concerts and 20th century balance of power coalitions.   Replacing a "multipolar" world with a "multi-partner" world.  Meh. 

1:05 PM:  Cute, flip remark comparing U.S. foreign policy under the Bush administration to her elbow — wounded, but getting better.   

1:04 PM:  An unsurprising laundry list of policy goals.  Free ponies are not discussed, which is too bad.   

1:03 PM:  According to Hillary, multi-tasking is a gender-laden term.  Who knew?  Well, besides women, of course. 

1:01 PM:  Talks about how President Obama has stressed "common interests, shared values, and mutual cooperation."  No mention of what happens when there’s, you know, a divergence of values. 

12:59 PM:  Clinton immediately pulls what I’ll call an Obama — observing that the very sources of American vulnerability (interdependence, openness, etc.) are also our sources of strength.  It’s a neat rhetorical trick. 

12:57 PM:  And we’re off — a few minutes early, no less! 

12:55 PM:  In an unconscious sign of how members of the foreign policy community prioritize things, I find it interesting that CFR president Richard Haass is moderating Clinton’s speech, whereas Rogert Altman was the moderator when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner came to speak

11:21 AM:  FP’s own Laura Rozen provides an excellent backgrounder to the speech itself. 

The speech matters for the future of U.S. foreign policy and Hillary Clinton’s role in it.  I had a conversation with a prominent foreign policy professional who characterized Hillary Clinton as the most "invisible" Secretary of State he’s seen to date.  I think this is partly due to her restricted travel during the elbow injury, partly due to her lack of confirmed subordinates, partly due to Barack Obama’s genuine interest in foreign affairs, and mostly due to her style. 

If memory serves, when Clinton was elected Senator of New York she put her nose to the grindstone and did nothing flashy for the first six months.  In the process, she won the respect of colleagues on both sides of the aisle.  I suspect something similar has been going on for most of this year. 

This speech is designed to be her coming-out party.  Her friends, staffers and hangers-on have been trying to build some buzz and raise some expectations.  We’ll see how this plays out — live!

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the author of Theories of International Politics and Zombies. His latest book is The Toddler in Chief. Twitter: @dandrezner

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