Secretary Clinton's interview with David Gregory of NBC's Meet the Press appeared on May 2, 2010. Secretary Clinton spoke about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, working with the private sector, and the empowerment of women.
Regarding the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Secretary said, "[T]he President has ordered the departments that deal with this -- Homeland Security, Interior, Environmental Protection, Defense -- to all immediately not only do everything possible to mitigate the effects of this spill, but to try to come up with recommendations going forward. The first order of business, however, is to try to get this spill under control, which has been, as you know, very difficult, and to prevent further damage to the coastline along Louisiana to the fishing waters, to the wildlife.
"I think it does raise questions which the President has said have to be answered. He put forth a very comprehensive approach that included the potential of drilling off of our own shore. That is a national security concern because we have to do better to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. But it has to be done safely. It can't be done at the risk of having to spend billions of dollars cleaning up these spills."
In response to an inquiry about reconciliation with the Taliban, the Secretary said, "I think that we have to sort of sort out what we mean by that. We talk about reconciliation and reintegration. They may sound the same, but they're somewhat different concepts. Reintegration refers to the foot soldiers on the field who are coming in increasing numbers and saying, look, we're fighting because we get paid, we're fighting because we were volunteered to fight because the Taliban came to our village and intimidated our elders. So there seems to be an ongoing movement of people sort of out of the battlefield. And General McChrystal and his commanders on the ground are seeing that and kind of organizing and running that.
"The larger question about reconciliation -- I don't know any conflict in recent times that didn't have some political resolution associated with it. People either got tired of fighting and decided they would engage in a peace process; they were defeated enough so that they were willing to lay down their arms. What President Karzai is saying -- and we agree with this direction -- is that you've got to look to see who is reconcilable. Not everybody will be. We don't expect Mullah Omar to show up and say, oh yeah, I'm giving up on my association with al-Qaida, et cetera. But we do think that there are leaders within the Taliban -- in fact, there are some already -- who have come over to the other side.
"Now, if they do so, they have to renounce al-Qaida, they have to renounce violence, they have to give up their arms, and they have to be willing to abide by the Afghan constitution."
In response to Iranian President Ahmadinejad 's presence at the Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, the Secretary said, "I don't know what he's showing up for, because the purpose of the Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference is to reiterate the commitment of the international community to the three goals: disarmament, nonproliferation, the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. So the vast majority of countries are coming to see what progress we can make. And this is a very high priority for President Obama. It's why he pressed so hard for the START treaty, which he signed with President Medvedev in Prague. It's why we convened a Nuclear Security Summit to highlight the threat posed by nuclear terrorism. It's why we have begun to work out deals with India and others for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which countries are entitled to under the nonproliferation regime.
"If Iran is coming to say we're willing to abide by the Nonproliferation Treaty, that would be very welcome news. I have a feeling that's not what they're coming to do. I think they're coming to try to divert attention and confuse the issue. And there is no confusion. They have violated the terms of the NPT. They have been held under all kinds of restrictions and obligations that they have not complied with by the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, by the UN Security Council. So we're not going to permit Iran to try to change the story from their failure to comply and in any way upset the efforts we are in the midst of, which is to get the international community to adopt a strong Security Council resolution that further isolates them and imposes consequences for their behavior."
Regarding U.S. policy on Sudan, the Secretary said, "But here's what we're trying to do. When we came into office, Bashir threw out the groups, the nongovernmental organizations, who were providing most of the aid in the camps in Darfur, which could have been a disastrous humanitarian crisis. We were able to get a lot of the help back in and we're beginning to see some slight progress in Darfur. I don't want to overstate it because it is still a deplorable situation. But we are working to try to get the people back to their homes, out of the camps.
"At the same time, you had this election going on. It was, by any measure, a flawed election. There were many, many things wrong with it. But there hadn't been an election in many years, and so part of our goal was to try to empower opposition parties, empower people to go out and vote. Thousands and thousands did. The result, I think, was pretty much foreordained that Bashir would come out the winner, and that's unfortunate. We are turning all of our attention to trying to help the South and to mitigate against the attitudes of the North. I can't sit here and say that we are satisfied, because I'm certainly not satisfied with where we are and what we're doing, but it is an immensely complicated arena.
"Now, the United States could back off and say we won't deal with these people, we're not going to have anything to do with them, Bashir is a war criminal. I don't think that will improve the situation. So along with our partners -- the UK, Norway, neighboring countries -- we are trying to manage what is a very explosive problem."
Regarding her efforts working with the private sector and for the empowerment of women, Secretary Clinton said, "[D]iplomacy today is not just government-to-government. Part of what I had to do when I became Secretary of State was to rebuild America's image, standing, and leadership in the world. And certainly, President Obama is our greatest advocate at that. But you can't just do that by the government saying things or even by our President making incredibly important speeches. You have to begin to engage the people in other countries. And in order to do that effectively, I want more people-to-people contacts, I want more private sector partnerships with our public sector and with people around the world.
"Let me give two quick examples. You mentioned the Shanghai Expo. There'll probably be 70 million-plus people who go through that Expo. When I became Secretary of State, there was no money raised because we don't put public money into a project like that. So with the help of a lot of very dedicated corporate sponsors, we now will be a player in that Expo.
"Now, what does that mean? Well, when those 70 million Chinese -- mostly Chinese but people from elsewhere in the world go through, they're going to learn something about America. They're going to learn something about our values, about our products, about how we live. I think that helps to build the kind of understanding and connection that is at the root of good relations.
"And on women's issues, we just had a great announcement through the combined efforts of a number of corporate sponsors, foundations like the Rockefeller Foundation, we're going to be working to help empower women doing what they do best and to try to up their education levels, their health levels.
"Why does this matter? Because it's the United States doing it. And it's not just the United States Government. It's the people of the United States."
Read the Secretary's full interview here.