March/April 2008

Hillary Clinton Discusses Foreign Policy at GW

Wave of Political Activity on Campus Also Features Clinton Rally, Ralph Nader Address, Congressional Debates, and Cohen-Nunn Dialogue

By Julia Parmley

GW’s reputation as America’s most politically active campus has been reinforced by a wave of activity in recent weeks, including three events involving Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), an address by Ralph Nader, a congressional debate (see page 8), and the first Cohen-Nunn dialogue on America’s role in the world (see page 5).

Clinton outlined her plans for a new U.S. foreign policy in front of a capacity crowd at GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium on Feb. 25. Clinton was introduced by GW Provost and Vice President for Health Affairs John F. Williams and greeted by Diane Robinson Knapp. The candidate was then joined on stage by several senior retired military and defense officials who have endorsed her candidacy, including retired Gen. Wesley Clark and former Secretary of the Army Togo West. Clinton also held a fundraiser at Lisner Auditorium later in the evening of Feb. 25. Both events were sponsored by Hillary Clinton for President.

In her foreign policy address, Clinton noted that threats such as global warming, health pandemics, poverty, and genocide in Darfur are all issues transforming the world into a place “with enormous risks and possibilities that we must meet with confidence, optimism, resolution, and success.

“While these stark realities carry dangers, they also bring unprecedented opportunities if we act wisely, if we have the right kind of leadership,” said Clinton. “There isn’t any doubt in my mind that we will not only navigate through these uncharted difficult waters but emerge stronger than ever.”

On March 17, Clinton returned to GW to deliver a policy address on the war in Iraq in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom. After introductions from GW President Steven Knapp and Togo West, Clinton described her withdrawal plan from Iraq, including the removal of private military contractors, ending no-bid contracts, and establishing an “intensive diplomatic initiative” in the region to ensure stability.

Clinton said she would also create a special council to investigate why only 7 percent of Iraq’s oil revenues is being used to fund reconstruction efforts, and wants the United Nations to strengthen its role promoting political reconciliation and aiding the millions of refugees displaced by the war. “The U.N., which has already provided valuable technical assistance in Iraq, is far more likely to be viewed as a neutral, honest broker than the United States,” said Clinton. She also stressed the need for a more comprehensive benefits plan for every service member.

“These will be critical first steps toward establishing a new American approach in the world, one that draws on the strength of our alliances and the power of our diplomacy, and uses the greatest military force on earth as a last, not a first, resort,” Clinton stressed. “Achieving all of this will not be easy. But we don’t have any choice.”

On Feb. 28, independent candidate for president Ralph Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzales delivered their first foreign policy address of the campaign at GW’s Harry Harding Auditorium. GW’s Program Board supported the event and offered free tickets to GW students. In his speech, Nader sharply criticized the current income tax system and proposed an oil tax instead. The speech was followed by a book signing.

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