Secretary of State Clinton: “We are at a ripe moment of opportunity”

At the USGLC (United States Global Leadership Coalition) Washington Conference on "Smart Power at Work", Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, USAID administrator Rajiv Shah and Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO Daniel Yohannes assembled on Tuesday to discuss the content and implications of the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) announced by President Obama on 22 September.

Explaining that “development is an integral part of America’s national security policy” and “part of an integrated approach that includes development, diplomacy, and defense,” Clinton remarked that “it’s very difficult to do diplomacy and development without adequate security”. Gates, too, stressed that “development and security are inextricably linked” and “that development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers.”

Clinton further stressed the importance of shared accountability and a commitment to development by those countries receiving help from the U.S.: “There’s got to be some reciprocity”, she said, suggesting that countries supported by the U.S. should be held accountable for their policies, citing imposing taxes on their elites as an example. Responding to this, Geithner remarked that

“I have never heard a discussion like this where you have a Secretary of State saying what Secretary Clinton just said, which is recognizing that unless we are tougher on how we provide assistance, unless we look at those basic simple things, like they are running their country in a way that gives us confidence that our resources will be used well, we should not be financing them at this level. This is an enormously consequential thing.”

Clinton and Gates highlighted the strong cooperation between the Department of State and the Department of Defense, and Gates pointed to the opportunity of funding “partnership capacity-building”, noting that “the money is in [the DoD] budget, but it’s basically dual-key”, meaning that both the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State have to approve such projects.

The full transcript and video recording of the roundtable discussion are available here.