Gates and Clinton Talk Shop

November 10, 2010 By Madeleine Pryor

Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates did their first interview abroad together last night on Nightline, discussing their individual roles, working together around the world, and  whether or not Clinton may be in the running for Gates’ job next year.  Both deflected the last point, with Gates saying one of Clinton’s “great strengths” was being a “spokesperson for the United States around the world.”  They talked at length about their close working relationship, which demonstrates the importance and interconnectedness of all three pillars of American foreign policy—diplomacy, development, and defense.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

All hail Hamre? (Thomas Ricks – Foreign Policy)

I hear, second hand from the White House, that former deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre is the leading candidate to succeed Gates as secretary of defense next summer. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever heard talk about the politics of defense spending, so he may be just what President Barack Obama wants to trim defense spending. If Hamre blows up on the launching pad, former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig is also under consideration.

Smart Power

Encouraging Leaders to Do the Right Thing (Nicholas van Praag – Huffington Post)

There is a panoply of international sanctions to punish leaders who abuse human rights, undermine constitutionality or indulge in corruption. Some are regional, others global. Some are formal, others informal. Whatever their provenance or legal standing, the stick remains the instrument of choice. Mechanisms to recognize or reward good leadership are few and far between. Yet leaders are human and, unless they are beyond redemption, they are more likely to respond to recognition and rewards than sanctions and reprimands.The Nobel Peace Prize and the Ibrahim Prize are both strong incentives and could be emulated to acknowledge the contribution of leaders who consistently do well. Why not find ways, for example, to reward ministers who make a lasting impact on corruption or top brass in the military who reform the security sector peacefully?

Politics/Foreign Policy

The Future of Latin America: Opportunities and Challenges for U.S. Policy in the Hemisphere (Sen. Chris Dodd – Huffington Post)

I’ve been a Senator for a long time–but I’ve been passionate about Latin America for an even longer time. In 1966, I arrived in the rural village of Moncion in the Dominican Republic as a volunteer for the Peace Corps. Today, nearly half a century later, I’m the chairman of the Senate subcommittee responsible for Latin American policy. In between, I’ve had the privilege to take part in the implementation of the Guatemala City accord, lead the US-Mexico Senate Interparliamentary Group, and work to bring Latin American issues to the forefront of our foreign policy agenda. And, in that time, Latin America has undergone remarkable change–much of it positive. In a part of the world long defined by violent political instability and crushing poverty, we are seeing the development of a new middle class, the consolidation of democracy, the propagation of effective fiscal and social policies, and the rise of new global powers.

GOP Ready To Raise Stakes On Foreign Policy (Alan Greenblat – NPR)

Republicans recognize that President Obama will continue to play the leading role when it comes to setting the nation’s course on foreign policy. Nonetheless, emboldened by gains in the Nov. 2 elections, the GOP is prepared to challenge the administration on a broad range of security issues. Congressional Republicans are skeptical about Obama’s diplomatic efforts with Iran, Russia and the Israelis and Palestinians. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida — the first Cuban-American elected to Congress and the presumptive next chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — is expected to put the brakes on any attempts to ease travel and trade restrictions with Cuba. And GOP members of Congress, by and large, remain committed to a strong military effort in Afghanistan and oppose what they regard as Obama administration efforts to establish a date for U.S. troops to end their mission there.

An End to Human Trafficking (Hillary Rodham Clinton – U.S. Department of State)

Elementary students across America are taught that slavery ended in the 19th Century. But, sadly, nearly 150 years later, the fight to end this global scourge is far from over. Today it takes a different form and we call it by a different name — “human trafficking” — but it is still an affront to basic human dignity in the United States and around the world. The estimates vary widely, but it is likely that somewhere between 12 million and 27 million human beings are suffering in bondage around the world. Men, women and children are trapped in prostitution or labor in fields and factories under brutal bosses who threaten them with violence or jail if they try to escape. Earlier this year, six ”recruiters” were indicted in Hawaii in the largest human trafficking case ever charged in U.S. history. They coerced 400 Thai workers into farm labor by confiscating their passports and threatening to have them deported.

Containment-Lite (Thomas Friedman – New York Times)

Don’t believe everything you read in the paper. Take this headline that appeared a couple weeks ago, when I was in New Delhi, in The Hindustan Times: “U.S. Not Seeking to Contain China: Clinton.” It was referring to a statement made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while on a swing through Asia. No, Washington is not trying to contain China the way we once did the Soviet Union, but President Obama didn’t just spend three days in India to improve his yoga. His visit was intended to let China know that America knows that India knows that Beijing’s recent “aggressiveness,” as one Indian minister put it to me, has China’s neighbors a bit on edge. None of China’s neighbors dare mention the C-word — containment — in public. Indeed, none of them want to go there at all or intend to promote such a policy. But there’s a new whiff of anxiety in the Asian air.