Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified today before the Senate Appropriations Committee on State and Foreign Operations. The Secretary said:
"...First, this budget funds vital civilian missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, al-Qaida is under pressure as never before. Alongside our military offensive, we are engaged in a major civilian effort to help build up the governments, economies, and civil societies of those countries in order to undercut the insurgency. These two surges set the stage for a third, a diplomatic push in support of an Afghan process to split the Taliban from al-Qaida, bring the conflict to an end, and help stabilize the entire region. Our military commanders, as you just heard, including General Petraeus, are emphatic that they cannot succeed without a strong civilian partner. Retreating from our civilian surge in Afghanistan with our troops still in the field would be a grave mistake.
"Equally important is our assistance to Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation with strong ties and interests in Afghanistan. We are working to deepen our partnership and keep it focused on addressing Pakistan's political and economic challenges as well as our shared threats.
"And after so much sacrifice in Iraq, we have a chance to help the Iraqi people build a stable, democratic country in the heart of the Middle East. As troops come home, our civilians are taking the lead, helping Iraqis resolve conflicts peacefully, and training police.
"Shifting responsibilities from our soldiers to our civilians actually saves taxpayers a great deal of money. The military's total OCO request worldwide will drop by $45 billion from 2010, while our costs in State and USAID will increase by less than 4 billion. Every business owner I know would gladly invest 4 dollars to save 45.
"Second, even as our civilians help bring today's war to a close, we are working to prevent tomorrow's. This budget devotes over $4 billion to sustaining a strong U.S. presence in volatile places. In Yemen, it is helping to provide security, development, and humanitarian assistance to deny al-Qaida a safe haven. It focuses on those same goals in Somalia. It is helping Northern and Southern Sudanese chart a peaceful future, helping Haiti to rebuild, and it proposes a new Global Security Contingency Fund that would pool resources and expertise with the Defense Department to quickly respond to challenges as they emerge.
"This budget also strengthens our allies and partners. It trains Mexican police to take on violent cartels and secure our southern border. It provides nearly $3.1 billion for Israel and supports Jordan and the Palestinians. It does help Egypt and Tunisia build stable and credible democratic systems, and it supports security assistance to over 130 nations. As Senator Graham said, over the years we've seen great ties created because of that funding. We did help to train a generation of Egyptian officers who refused to fire on their own people.
"Third, we are making targeted investments in human security. We have focused on hunger, disease, climate change, and humanitarian emergencies, because they threaten not only the security of individuals but they are the seeds of future conflict.
"Our largest investment is in global health programs, including those launched by President George W. Bush. These programs stabilize entire societies that have been devastated by HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other illnesses. They save the lives of mothers and children, and halt the spread of deadly diseases.
"And yes, global food prices are approaching an all-time high. And three years ago, this led to protests and riots in dozens of countries. Food security is a cornerstone of global stability, and we, under our policy, are helping farmers grow more food, drive economic growth, and turn aid recipients into trading partners.
"And climate change threatens food security, human security, and national security, so our budget builds resilience against droughts, floods, and other weather disasters; promotes clean energy and preserves tropical forests.
"Fourth, we are committed to making our foreign policy a force for domestic economic renewal. We are working aggressively to promote sustained economic growth, level the playing field, and open markets to create jobs here at home. To give you just one example, our economic officers in Vietnam helped Boeing secure a $1.5 billion contract for eight 787 aircrafts to be assembled in North Charleston, South Carolina. And I personally lobbied for that, Senator.
"Fifth and finally, this budget funds the people and the platforms that make everything possible that I've described. It allows us to sustain diplomatic relations with 190 countries. It funds political officers defusing crises, development officers spreading opportunity, economic officers who wake up every day thinking about how to put Americans back to work."
You can read the Secretary's open remarks here.
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