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Hillary Clinton has been US Secretary of State, she's been Senator of New York, she's been
First Lady and she's odds on favourite to be the next and first female President of
the United States of America.
Her new memoir Hard Choices gives us a tantalising insight into her four years as America's premier
diplomat but Guardian readers, viewers and contributors just wanted to know more.
So Secretary Clinton, thank you so much for answering some of our questions.
Thank you so much for having me Phoebe.
OK, first up is a question from comedian Sarah Silverman.
OK.
I heard that when Bill was President you... you guys went on a trip to your home town
and you stopped at a gas station and the gas station attendant was a guy that you once
dated and as you drove away Bill was like: "I wonder what your life would have been like
if you stayed with him," and you were like: "Oh, he'd be President." So tell me that's
a true story.
Ha ha ha ha....
Oh, I hate to disappoint Sarah, who's very funny, but it's not a true story.
Oh no!
But it's a great story and it's one that I've heard before in different settings, so I want
to urge all the viewers to use it because it actually applies in a lot of different
situations.
OK, well sorry Sarah, but she's got a second question for you.
What's your plan when you are President with this women's rights stuff? What men would
ever put up with making laws about what they can and can't do with their bodies?
OK, so just to explain to those of us who may not be following this issue as carefully,
last week the US Supreme Court ruled that some companies can use their religious beliefs
as an exemption from paying for contraception for their employees as is mandated under the
affordable healthcare act. This follows a raft of quite radical personhood Bills that
would seek to criminalise abortion and some forms of contraception. Now, Secretary Clinton,
you've been campaigning for women's rights for more than 20 years, what do you plan to
do about these threats, this roll back on the right of American women to choose?
Well, I think it's outrageous and the Supreme Court decision was so deeply disturbing because
it was the first time that any decision was made which said, basically, that an employer's
religious beliefs could affect the health care available to women who were in the employment
of that employer. Absolutely a terrible decision that has so many implications even beyond
the core issues of women's rights. So we're going to have to keep our fight up, which
is what we've had to do for so many years in the United States. I'm pro-Choice because
I think that's the best position. If someone chooses to have an abortion or chooses not
to have an abortion, that is such a highly personal decision that that woman should make
based on her own faith beliefs, her own personal situation, her own medical condition. The
fight is not over in the United States and we're going to have to keep standing up for
women's rights and particularly reproductive health rights.
Next we have a question from Conservative MP Rory Stewart.
In many areas of the world it seems the lack of a strong government and legal system is
creating areas where terrorists are thriving. We've struggled for more than a decade to
deal with that threat, do you have a new theory on how we can address that threat?
Well, first I want to thank Rory Stewart for his excellent works in both Afghanistan and
Iraq, a lot of people paid a great deal of attention to what he had to write. I think
he's hit on the most difficult issue we face because the United States, the UK, Europe,
other countries cannot impose democracy, we have certainly learnt that lesson. But where
we have to do a better job is conveying the values that should be the birth-right of every
human being. These are universal values of freedom and opportunity, of equality, and
democracy is the best way to deliver on those values. So we have to stand up for people
who are exercising their human rights. There are other ways of doing it besides military
action. Sometimes military action is necessary but not always. We could do more to help support
political parties that are truly democratic. We could do more to help support institutions
like labour unions and others that play key roles in democracies and we could do more
to get information into societies about how they can help organise themselves. So i think
we've learned a lot of hard lessons the last 10-12 years that we need to be applying, going
forward.
OK, but when you came to the State Department, you came committed to aggressively going after
al Qaeda, now, in Iraq we have ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot declaring a caliphate. Specifically
about Iraq, what would you do there?
Well, I think it's important to note that we did degrade al Qaeda, core al Qaeda, in
Afghanistan and Pakistan and I said from the very beginning that the philosophy, the ideology
underlying the Islamist extremism is one that was going to find fertile ground in other
places. So, in Iraq specifically, much of the problem is because the Sunni Iraqis have
made common cause with the extremists named ISIS because they were not included in the
government of Nouri al-Maliki in the way they should have been. Maliki really moved far
from what he had told us and others, including Iraqis, he would do as Prime Minister. And
he, in fact, purged the government, he purged the military forces, so a lot of the Sunnis
are saying: "Well, we're going to combine with ISIS to try to put pressure on Maliki
and then we'll take care of ISIS. The problem with that idea is that the last time they
tried to do that, the United States military helped them to do that because they didn't
have the resources to be able to take on al Qaeda in Iraq. We joined together, we got
rid of al Qaeda in Iraq. Now the government in Iraq and the military in Iraq needs to
integrate the Sunnis to take on this threat from ISIS.
And how would you help that? What would you do?
Well, we are helping. We, you know, President Obama has sent several hundred technical advisers
and surveillance experts, we're providing intelligence, we are working with the people
that we have worked with before to try to help them, frankly, organise better to be
able to take on this threat. But it is, at bottom, it is an Iraqi problem. They had a
very reasonable chance to build a unified Iraq, they wouldn't pass laws to give the
Kurds the autonomy they deserved and they wouldn't pass laws that would guarantee revenues
from oil and they made a lot of other decisions that were not in the best interests of a unified
Iraq. So yes, you have to work on the immediate threat and try to do everything we can to
stop that, but you also have to work on the political problems that are underlying the
extent of the threat.
And yet these are extremists who pose a threat to the rest of the world as well. I mean,
two years ago we discovered that the British government was offered a proposal to train
100,000 moderate Syrian rebels and the British government turned this down. This was very
similar to a plan that you proposed to President Obama, which was also turned down.
Right.
Were you aware of this proposal to the British government and was it a catastrophic mistake
and a missed opportunity not to go with it?
Well, I'm not aware of the specifics about any proposal to the British government but,
like our government I knew there was a debate because I was advocating for trying to vet
and train and arm Syrian moderates because, remember, this dispute with Assad rose out
of the very legitimate concerns that Syrians themselves had. Unfortunately, in the debate,
you couldn't say conclusively like: "If you do this, we'll get that result." But, I thought
it was a good bet. Now, what we see is our government and others beginning to train moderates
to try to stem the tide of the extremism, because it's not just ISIS, it's a whole range
of these al Qaeda wannabe offshoots that we have to worry about.
OK, great, thank you. We have our next question from Owen Jones, who is a Guardian columnist.
You're a loving parent. What would you say to the loving parents of up to 202 children
who have been killed by drones in Pakistan in a programme which you escalated as Secretary
of State?
Well, I would argue with the premise because clearly the efforts that were made by the
United States in cooperation with our allies in Afghanistan, and certainly the Afghan government,
to prevent the threat that was in Pakistan from crossing the border, killing Afghans,
killing Americans, Brits and others, was aimed at targets that had been identified and were
considered to be threats. The numbers about potential civilian casualties I take with
a somewhat big grain of salt because there have been other studies, which have proven
there not to have been the number of civilian casualties, but also in comparison to what,
you know, the Pakistani armed services was always saying: "Well, let us bomb these places."
That would have been far more devastating in terms of casualties. But, of course, anyone
who is an innocent bystander, especially a child, who's caught up in any operation against
terrorists, that is a cause of great concern and it's a cause of real disappointment and
regret on our part. But I would hasten to add that the Pakistanis themselves are the
primary victims of Islamist terrorism. More that 30,000 people, civilian and military
alike, have been blown up in markets and mosques and airports and so many other places. And
so, these extremist elements are a very real threat to the stability and lives of Pakistanis
and their government to people across the border in Afghanistan and, of course, to Americans
and others, who are trying to help end that kind of terrorism.
So, when you took the job of Secretary of State, despite some misgivings initially,
you thought that it was absolutely necessary to restore America's standing, it's reputation
in the world, which had been damaged under the Bush administration and yet, according
to Pew research figures, actually during your period, your tenure as Secretary of State,
some of the approval ratings in countries that were focuses of foreign policy, such
as: Pakistan, Egypt, China, even the UK, approval ratings for the US actually fell. How is it
that you can justify the argument that it's America that needs to go in and solve the
world's problems when, in fact, US exceptionalism gets so many people's backcs up.
Well, this is an inherent contradiction because, of course, when America acts in furtherance
of our values, our interests and our security, there's not going to be universal popularity
and when we don't act, that is not going to be universally popular. So it's a constant
balancing. What do we do? How far do we go? Now, clearly President Obama totally rejected
the Bush unilateralism: invading Iraq, imposing a different system on the Iraqis. In Afghanistan
there was universal support in our country for going after al Qaeda and the Taleban who
were taking care of them inside Afghanistan because of the attack on 9-11. So, it's not
a popularity contest but it is an effort to restore our leadership in a way that gets
problems solved and eventually is understood by people. So, in the countries that you mentioned,
our approval ratings in Pakistan have always been low, our approval ratings in Egypt have
always been low and part of that is a very active disinformation campaign. Like, if you
look at Pakistan, for example, the United States gives more humanitarian aid, development
assistance than every other country put together but there are very serious objections to American
involvement because we also work with India and we consider India a very strong partner
of ours. We also push the Pakistani government to go after al Qaeda. I said, famously: "Somebody
in this government knows where al Qaeda is!" And it turns out he was right there in a military
town in Pakistan. So, yeah, we, we stand up for our values but we also seek common ground
and it's going to be a constant balancing act and I think, certainly the Obama administration
has been much better received than the prior administration.
OK, great, thank you. Next up there's a question from our editor, Alan Rusbridger.
The new head of the NSA has said that the sky didn't fall in as a result of the Snowden
allegations. Do you think, in the end, it was a healthy thing to have this discussion
and do you think that Edward Snowden ought to be able to return to the US with some kind
of public interest defence so that he can defend his actions but the administration
can take a view over his behaviour?
Well, I would say, first of all, that Edward Snowden broke our laws and that can not be
ignored or brushed aside. Secondly, I believe that if his primary concern was stirring a
debate in our country over the tension between privacy and security, there are other ways
of doing it, instead of stealing an enormous amount of information that had nothing to
do with the US or American citizens. I would say thirdly that there are many people in
our history who have raised serious questions about government behaviour. They've done it
either with or without whistleblower protection and they have stood and faced whatever the
reaction was to make their case in public. Mr Snowden took all this material, he fled
to Hong Kong, he spent time with the Russians in their consulate, then he went to Moscow
seeking the protection of Vladimir Putin, which is the height of ironies given the surveillance
state that Russia is. If he wishes to return home, knowing that he would be held accountable
but also be able to present a defence, that is his decision to make. But, I know that
our intelligence forces are doing what they can to understand exactly what was taken and
the debate about how to better balance security and liberty was already going on before he
fled. The President had already given a speech, members of the Senate were already talking
about it, so I don't give him credit for the debate. I think he may have raised the visibility
of the debate but the debate had already begun.
Sure, but if he does return to the United States. If he "mans up" as John Kerry has
asked him to do, he'll be charged under the Espionage Act and he doesn't have recourse
to a defence, let alone a public interest defence. How do you think his case should
be handled if he does come back? Do you think there should be an alteration to the Espionage
Act in order to give him this opportunity to give a defence?
Well, I don't know what he's been charged with, those were sealed indictments. I've
no idea what he's been charged with. I'm not sure he knows what he's been charged with.
But even, in any case that I'm aware of as a former lawyer, he has the right to mount
a defence and he certainly has the right to mount both a legal defence and a public defence,
which of course can affect the legal defence. Whether he returns or not is up to him. He
certainly can stay in Russia, apparently under Putin's protection, for the rest of his life
if that's what he chooses, but if he's serious about engaging in the debate then he could
take the opportunity to come back and have that debate. But that's his decision. I'm
not making a judgment one way or the other.
OK, but you mentioned that there would be other legal courses of action for him to take.
Now, in terms of the NSA, we are aware of at least a handful of other NSA analysts,
Bill Binney among them, who did try to take the legal courses for several years and expressed
their concerns about the extent of NSA surveillance. They ended up with their homes ransacked by
the FBI, charges of indictment against them and their careers were essentially left in
tatters. Can you understand then, with those precedents, why Snowden thought his only recourse
was to go to the media?
No, I really don't. I have to just tell you my opinion. I don't. I think there were certainly
members of the Senate that were already raising issues and we do have a history of people
going, not to the media, going to members of Congress, where in effect they are given
a certain protective shield because they are working with elected representatives of our
country. But the other issue, which has never been satisfactorily answered to me is, if
his main concern was what was happening inside the United States, then why did he take so
much about what was happening with Russia, with China, with Iran, with al Qaeda? That's
the part that most objective observers, who might very well say: "Well, he might very
have helped the debate on what our laws should be and how we should be thinking about this,
but then, what was he doing dwnloading all the rest of this stuff that could only help
Chinese surveillance, Russian surveillance, al Qaeda and their methods and communication.
That's never been answered and I don't know the answer to that.
I mean, but what it did reveal, was the huge extent of American surveillance globally.
I mean, you've described the US as leaders in internet freedom, you've criticised China
for attempting to hack into Google, even Russians as well, having to leave your mobile phone
on a plane because of their aggressive intelligence and yet, it's the US, more than anyone else
that's invested, what is it? $75 billion in the private companies that are helping the
NSA in this global spying network. I mean, why is it that it's one rule for America and
another for the rest of the world?
Well, as an American because I honestly believe that our acquisition of information saves
lives and protects not just the United States but our friends and our allies. Right now,
you know very well here in the UK, we have a serious, credible threat about terrorists
getting on airplanes, going to the United States, intending to blow them up. That didn't
happen by accident that this is a credible threat. I mean, I think it would be shocking
to most people if the United States stopped gathering information and we basically said:
"OK, everybody you're on your own, we can't tell our allies in Asia what's happening,
we can't share information with our allies in Europe, we're going to stop. Well, that's
just not the way the real world works and we do have to have more restraints and, as
I say, that debate is going on and I think we're making some good changes at home but
when it comes to the information competition that exists between the West and the rest,
I think it would be an abdication of responsibility not to be gathering information that we can
use to protect ourselves and, as I say, our friends and allies.
OK, thank you for that. we have one question from Arianna Huffington, who's the editor-in-chief
of the Huffington Post.
I know Arianna.
After you left the Obama administration, you told the New York Times that your first order
of business was to get "untired". Did you get "untired"? And if so, how did you do it?
And one follow up: what lessons have you learnt about over-work and burnout over the years
that could help other women?
Well, I appreciate Arianna's question because, you know, she's just written a really good
book called Thrive, in which she recounts her experience and others because, you know,
we all live these 24/7 lives, we're working so hard. It's an intense, stressful environment
that we put ourselves in, nobody says you must go and operate at this high level but
we choose to do so. I knew that I had to get off the airplane as Secretary of State. That
I had been truly on the highwire of politics and diplomacy for more than 20 years and it
was time to just let down and that's exaclty what I've done. I've had the most enjoyable
and restful time. By my standards, I wouldn't recommend it for otehrs but, just by mine.
We live in a little renovated farmhouse, north of New York City. We have three dogs. We go
for long walks. In the summertime we have a fabulous garden and it's just been wonderful
being able to breathe deeply, take yoga, learn to breathe better and all that. So, I thought
Arianna's admonition really that other women, in particular, because that's who her book
is aimed at, need to just find more time to let down, to relax, to take time for yourself
and I fully endorse that.
OK, now, obviously you're not going to tell us whether you're going to run for President
or not but you've admitted that it's going to be a 24/7, absolutely energy draining exercise
if you do. Can you tell us at least, what do Bill and Chelsea say about the idea of
that? You're about to be a grandmother, what do they say about it?
You know, Phoebe, they both say the same thing, that it's really such a personal decision
- and they know better than most how personal it is because you have to reach deep down
inside to decide whether or not you want to do it and are ready to suit up and do it again.
So, they've said: "Whatever you decide!" They will support it and part of why I haven't
made up my mind is because I want to really feel my way toward the decision. This is not
an intelliectual decision. I mean, I know what I believe about what we need to do about
the economy to help Americans get back on their feet, what we need to do to fix our
political system... I understand what I think has to be done but it's not just having a
vision of where you would go, but can you lead us there? What is required? And I just
have to feel my way to that and, as you said, I'm going to be a grandmother. I want to be
fully focused on that experience because, first time grandmother, I'm really looking
forward to it. So, I'm not in any hurry. You know, that's one of teh problems with American
politics. It goes on forever and here we are talking about something two and a half years
away. We actually have an election in November, which I want people to pay attention to, so
I'm just going to bide my time.
OK. OK, well listen, we've had so many questions that we wanted to ask you and we've run out
of time. So, I was wondering if we could just finish with a really quick, quickfire round.
Sure.
So, we're just looking for one sentence answers, maximum.
OK, I'll try.
You ready?
Yes.
OK, great. Filmmaker Richard Curtis wants to know what you think is the best American
comedy of all time?
Oh my God! Oh! Oh! My brain! I'm freezing up. There's so many that I've laughed at for
so long.
The one you saw most recently, what was your favourite recent comedy?
My favourite recent comedy? Well, you know, I keep thinking. I keep going back to Mel
Brooks, who I watch anything with Mel Brooks so you know, Carl Reiner. Let me just say
that Brooks and Reiner have made me laugh for many years.
Great, OK. What's the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Ugh, let me see. Probably... I have a long list, let me check through it. Probably my
lack of willpower about getting in shape. I mean I've got great willpower about everything
else and I know I need to do more cardio and all the rest of that, so that's probably what
I deplore the most.
OK, great. Who is your hero?
Nelson Mandela.
Who would play you in a film of your life?
Huh! Well, if Ihad a choice it would be Meryll Streep, of course!
If you do become President will you shut Guantanamo?
Yes, I wanted to shut it as Secretary of State.
Great, what's the last thing you cooked?
Scrambled eggs.
Great. Final one: tell us a joke.
Oh my God! Well... (laughs) The joke that Sarah told I would repeat. I'm not a very
good joke teller. I love jokes and I laugh a lot at jokes but I always mess them up so
I will try to preserve my reputation as being, you know, somewhat humourless and jokeless
by not trying to tell one.
(Laughter)
Secretary Clinton it's been so fantastic to talk to you. Thank you so much for your time
and best of luck with whatever it is the choice that you make.
Thank you, these are hard choices we're talking about! Thank you Phoebe.
Thank you very much.
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Hillary Clinton interview 2014: Edward Snowden, ISIS, drone strikes & women's rights

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Anne Sheu 2014 年 9 月 18 日 に公開
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