POLITICS

Hillary Clinton: ‘President Obama and I’ restored America’s relationship with Europe

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Charlie Spiering

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a major foreign policy speech to the Brookings Institution yesterday, highlighting her record of diplomacy with Europe

“I must begin by being very frank,” Clinton said. “When President Obama and I came into office, this relationship was frayed.”

She added, “From day one, President Obama and I made clear that if we were going to make progress, we had to do the hard work of renewing and reinvigorating our partnerships around the world, and that began with Europe.”

Clinton praised America’s record of partnership with Europe rising to meet foreign policy challenges in Afghanistan, Libya, and Iran under her watch – even referring to the advances she had made since former President Bill Clinton’s administration.

“Think for a moment about the NATO action in Kosovo in the 1990s,” she said. “In that mission, the United States dropped nearly 90 percent of the precision guided munitions, compared to our allies’ 10 percent; in Libya, it was the other way around.”

Although Clinton insisted that she was “now out of politics,” she assured the audience that the debate in Washington over the budget would soon be concluded.

“For all the differences between our political parties here, we are united in our commitment to protect American leadership and bolster our national security,” she said.

Clinton signaled that Europe had its own economic challenges, and warned them against austerity measures that were affecting their economy.

“The Eurozone economy is slipping back into recession as austerity policies take effect,” she said. “France and Germany, which have largely weathered the economic storm so far, are also beginning to show some signs of slowdown.”

But Clinton praised Greece for making “tough trade-offs” and Ireland and Portugal for implementing “sweeping reforms.”

“Spain and Italy are also on the path to reform and eventual recovery.” she added.

The increasing outreach to Asia, Clinton explained, was not a sign that the United States was moving away from Europe.

“Let me be clear: Our pivot to Asia is not a pivot away from Europe,” she said. “On the contrary, we want Europe to engage more in Asia, along with us to see the region not only as a market, but as a focus of common strategic engagement.”

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