Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Upcoming Travel: Europe and the Middle East and Meet with Libyan Rebels *updated*
Secretary Clinton’s Travel to Europe and the Middle East
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in Paris from March 14 – 15 to participate in the G8 meetings and meet with foreign government counterparts.
The Secretary also will visit Egypt and Tunisia from March 15 – 17. At each stop, she will consult with government officials and elements of civil society on recent events and the full range of regional and bilateral issues.
I just saw this on Politico:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to the Middle East next week to promote democracy and meet with Libyan rebels, she said Thursday, as she announced that the United States has suspended relations with with the Libyan embassy in Washington.
As tensions boil over in the region, Clinton will be the first cabinet-level member of the Obama administration to visit Egypt and Tunisia since popular protest toppled their longtime leaders.
“I intend to convey strong support of the Obama administration and the American people that we wish to be a partner in the important work that lies ahead as they embark on a transition to a genuine democracy,” she said in morning testimony before a House subcommittee.
Clinton also said that the United States is “suspending our relationship with the existing Libyan embassy” in Washington.
“We expect them to end operating as the embassy of Libya. While in Egypt and Tunisia — both of which border Libya — she plans to meet with Libyans who have organized against Col. Muammar Qadhafi’s regime. The State Department, she said, has been “reaching out to the opposition inside and outside of Libya.” “
“We are standing with the Libyan people as they brave bombs and bullets to demand that Qadhafi must go now,” Clinton said.
While House Republicans are not cutting Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security funding as they tackle federal debt, they didn’t make any special exceptions for the State Department. That leaves funding for civilian agents who support military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan on the chopping block. Clinton insists that those civilians are crucial to America’s success in the two wars, but faces skepticism from Republicans who question why the agency is asking for $11 billion more in 2012 than it spent in 2010.
“There have always been moments of temptation in our country to resist obligations beyond our borders,” she said. “But each time we have shrunk from global leadership, events summoned us back to reality.”
It is an absolute disgrace that the GOP wants to drastically cut State/USAID budgets while not cutting one dime from the massive defense/national security/intelligence infrastructure which is known to be a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy prone to fraud, abuse (hello, private contractors?) and duplication of effort. The contention that there is not one single area where the defense budget can be trimmed is just ludicrous and demonstrates how unwieldy, powerful and out of control the military-industrial-complex has become.
If you haven’t seen this PBS Frontline Documentary “Are We Safer” go watch it here. It talks about the expansion of the national security state after 9/11 and the economic and legal implications of so much secrecy, private contracting and an exponentially bloated bureaucracy. National security is big business. It’s almost like a secret government within a government with minimal to no oversight and apparently few, if any, budgetary constraints.