Hillary Clinton: Trump’s foreign policy would endanger America

Hillary Clinton: Trump’s foreign policy would endanger America


HILLARY CLINTON: Thank you, thank you so much.
Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you San Diego for that warm, warm welcome
and thanks to Ellen for those moving words, her introduction, and for reminding us it’s
not only our men and women in uniform that serve our country, it’s their families,
their spouses, their children, and we are grateful to each and every one of them. I
want to recognize and thank Congressman Scott Peters for being here, thank you very much.
[Applause] And all of the other electeds and service
members, active duty and retired National Guard and Reservists, veterans, military spouses,
family members, all who are with us today. On Monday, we observed Memorial Day – a
day that means a great deal to San Diego, home of so many active-duty and former military
and their families. We honor the sacrifice of those who died for our country in many
ways – by living our values, by making this a stronger and fairer nation, and by carrying
out a smart and principled foreign policy. That’s what I want to speak about today
– the challenges we face in protecting our country, and the choice at stake in this election.
It’s a choice between a fearful America that’s less secure and less engaged with
the world, and a strong, confident America that leads to keep our country safe and our
economy growing. [Applause]
As Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady, I had the honor of representing America abroad
and helping shape our foreign policy at home. As a candidate for President, there’s nothing
I take more seriously than our national security. I’ve offered clear strategies for how to
defeat ISIS, strengthen our alliances, and make sure Iran never gets a nuclear weapon.
And I’m going to keep America’s security at the heart of my campaign.
[Applause] Because as you know so well, Americans aren’t
just electing a President in November. We’re choosing our next commander-in-chief – the
person we count on to decide questions of war and peace, life and death.
And like many across our country and around the world, I believe the person the Republicans
have nominated for President cannot do the job.
[Applause] Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different
– they are dangerously incoherent. They’re not even really ideas – just a series of
bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies.
[Applause] He is not just unprepared – he is temperamentally
unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.
[Applause] This is not someone who should ever have the
nuclear codes – because it’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a
war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.
[Applause] We cannot put the security of our children
and grandchildren in Donald Trump’s hands. We cannot let him roll the dice with America.
This is a man who said that more countries should have nuclear weapons, including Saudi
Arabia. This is someone who has threatened to abandon
our allies in NATO – the countries that work with us to root out terrorists abroad
before they strike us at home. He believes we can treat the U.S. economy
like one of his casinos and default on our debts to the rest of the world, which would
cause an economic catastrophe far worse than anything we experienced in 2008.
[Applause] He has said that he would order our military
to carry out torture and the murder of civilians who are related to suspected terrorists – even
though those are war crimes. He says he doesn’t have to listen to our
generals or our admirals, our ambassadors and other high officials, because he has – quote
– “a very good brain.” [Laughter]
He also said, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.” You know what?
I don’t believe him. [Applause]
He says climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese, and he has the gall to say
that prisoners of war like John McCain aren’t heroes.
Exactly. He praises dictators like Vladimir Putin and
picks fights with our friends – including the British prime minister, the mayor of London,
the German chancellor, the president of Mexico and the Pope.
[Applause] He says he has foreign policy experience because
he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia. And to top it off, he believes America is
weak. An embarrassment. He called our military a disaster. He said we are – and I quote
– a “third-world country.” And he’s been saying things like that for decades.
Those are the words my friends of someone who doesn’t understand America or the world.
And they’re the words of someone who would lead us in the wrong direction. Because if
you really believe America is weak – with our military, our values, our capabilities
that no other country comes close to matching – then you don’t know America.
[Applause] And you certainly don’t deserve to lead
it. That’s why – even if I weren’t in this
race – I’d be doing everything I could to make sure Donald Trump never becomes President
– because I believe he will take our country down a truly dangerous path.
Unlike him, I have some experience with the tough calls and the hard work of statecraft.
I wrestled with the Chinese over a climate deal in Copenhagen, brokered a ceasefire between
Israel and Hamas, negotiated the reduction of nuclear weapons with Russia, twisted arms
to bring the world together in global sanctions against Iran, and stood up for the rights
of women, religious minorities and LGBT people around the world.
[Applause] And I have, I have sat in the Situation Room
and advised the President on some of the toughest choices he faced.
So I’m not new to this work. And I’m proud to run on my record, because I think the choice
before the American people in this election is clear.
I believe in strong alliances; clarity in dealing with our rivals; and a rock-solid
commitment to the values that have always made America great. And I believe with all
my heart that America is an exceptional country – that we’re still, in Lincoln’s words,
the last, best hope of earth. We are not a country that cowers behind walls. We lead
with purpose, and we prevail. And if America doesn’t lead, we leave a
vacuum – and that will either cause chaos, or other countries will rush in to fill the
void. Then they’ll be the ones making the decisions about your lives and jobs and safety
– and trust me, the choices they make will not be to our benefit.
That is not an outcome we can live with. As I see it, there are some important things
our next President must do to secure American leadership and keep us safe and our economy
growing in the years ahead. These are all areas in which Donald Trump and I profoundly
disagree. And they are all critical to our future.
First, we need to be strong at home. That means investing in our infrastructure,
education and innovation – the fundamentals of a strong economy. We need to reduce income
inequality, because our country can’t lead effectively when so many are struggling to
provide the basics for their families. And we need to break down the barriers that hold
Americans back, including barriers of bigotry and discrimination.
[Applause] Compare that with what Trump wants to do.
His economic plans would add more than $30 trillion – that’s trillion with a “t”
– $30 trillion to our national debt over the next 20 years. He has no ideas on education.
No ideas on innovation. He has a lot of ideas about who to blame, but no clue about what
to do. None of what Donald Trump is offering will
make America stronger at home. And that would make us weaker in the world.
Second, we need to stick with our allies. America’s network of allies is part of what
makes us exceptional. And our allies deliver for us every day.
[Applause] Our armed forces fight terrorists together;
our diplomats work side by side. Allies provide staging areas for our military, so we can
respond quickly to events on the other side of the world. And they share intelligence
that helps us identify and defuse potential threats.
Take the threat posed by North Korea – perhaps the most repressive regime on the planet,
run by a sadistic dictator who wants to develop long-range missiles that could carry a nuclear
weapon to the United States. When I was Secretary of State, we worked closely
with our allies Japan and South Korea to respond to this threat, including by creating a missile
defense system that stands ready to shoot down a North Korean warhead, should its leaders
ever be reckless enough to launch one at us. The technology is ours. Key parts of it are
located on Japanese ships. All three countries contributed to it. And this month, all three
of our militaries will run a joint drill to test it.
That’s the power of allies. [Applause]
And it’s the legacy of American troops who fought and died to secure those bonds, because
they knew we were safer with friends and partners. Now Moscow and Beijing are deeply envious
of our alliances around the world, because they have nothing to match them. They’d
love for us to elect a President who would jeopardize that source of strength. If Donald
gets his way, they’ll be celebrating in the Kremlin. We cannot let that happen.
[Applause] That’s why it is no small thing when he
talks about leaving NATO, or says he’ll stay neutral on Israel’s security.
It’s no small thing when he calls Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. We’re
lucky to have two friendly neighbors on our land borders. Why would he want to make one
of them an enemy? [Applause]
And it’s no small thing when he suggests that America should withdraw our military
support for Japan, encourage them to get nuclear weapons, and said this about a war between
Japan and North Korea – and I quote – “If they do, they do. Good luck, enjoy yourself,
folks.” I wonder if he even realizes he’s talking
about nuclear war. Yes, our friends need to contribute their
fair share. I made that point long before Donald Trump came onto the scene – and a
number of them have increased their defense spending. The real debate here is whether
we keep these alliances strong or cut them off. What he says would weaken our country.
Third, we need to embrace all the tools of American power, especially diplomacy and development,
to be on the frontlines solving problems before they threaten us at home.
Diplomacy is often the only way to avoid a conflict that could end up exacting a much
greater cost. It takes patience, persistence and an eye on the long game – but it’s
worth it. Take the nuclear agreement with Iran. When
President Obama took office, Iran was racing toward a nuclear bomb. Some called for military
action. But that could have ignited a broader war that could have mired our troops in another
Middle Eastern conflict. President Obama chose a different path. And
I got to work leading the effort to impose crippling global sanctions. We brought Iran
to the table. We began talks. And eventually, we reached an agreement that should block
every path for Iran to get a nuclear weapon. Now we must enforce that deal vigorously.
And as I’ve said many times before, our approach must be “distrust and verify.”
The world must understand that the United States will act decisively if necessary, including
with military action, to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. In particular, Israel’s
security is non-negotiable. They’re our closest ally in the region, and we have a
moral obligation to defend them. [Applause]
But there is no question that the world and the United States, we are safer now than we
were before this agreement. And we accomplished it without firing a single shot, dropping
a single bomb or putting a single American soldier in harm’s way.
[Applause] Donald Trump says we shouldn’t have done
the deal. We should have walked away. But that would have meant no more global sanctions,
and Iran resuming their nuclear program and the world blaming us. So then what? War? Telling
the world, good luck, you deal with Iran? Of course Trump doesn’t have answers to
those questions. Donald Trump doesn’t know the first thing about Iran or its nuclear
program. Ask him. It’ll become very clear, very quickly.
There’s no risk of people losing their lives if you blow up a golf-course deal.
[Laughter] But it doesn’t work like that in world affairs.
Just like being interviewed on the same episode of “60 Minutes” as Putin was, is not the
same thing as actually dealing with Putin. So the stakes in global statecraft are infinitely
higher and more complex than in the world of luxury hotels. We all know the tools Donald
Trump brings to the table – bragging, mocking, composing nasty tweets – I’m willing to
bet he’s writing a few right now. [Applause]
But those tools won’t do the trick. Rather than solving global crises, he would create
new ones. He has no sense of what it takes to deal with
multiple countries with competing interests and reaching a solution that everyone can
get behind. In fact, he is downright contemptuous of that work. And that means he’s much more
likely to end up leading us into conflict. Fourth, we need to be firm but wise with our
rivals. Countries like Russia and China often work
against us. Beijing dumps cheap steel in our markets. That hurts American workers. Moscow
has taken aggressive military action in Ukraine, right on NATO’s doorstep. Now I’ve gone
toe-to-toe with Russia and China, and many other different leaders around the world.
So I know we have to be able to both stand our ground when we must, and find common ground
when we can. That’s how I could work with Russia to conclude
the New START treaty to reduce nuclear stockpiles, and with China to increase pressure on North
Korea. It’s how our diplomats negotiated the landmark agreement on climate change,
which Trump now wants to rip up. [Applause]
The key was never forgetting who we were dealing with – not friends or allies, but countries
that share some common interests with us amid many disagreements.
Donald doesn’t see the complexity. He wants to start a trade war with China. And I understand
a lot of Americans have concerns about our trade agreements – I do too. But a trade
war is something very different. We went down that road in the 1930s. It made the Great
Depression longer and more painful. Combine that with his comments about defaulting on
our debt, and it’s not hard to see how a Trump presidency could lead to a global economic
crisis. And I have to say, I don’t understand Donald’s
bizarre fascination with dictators and strongmen who have no love for America. He praised China
for the Tiananmen Square massacre; he said it showed strength. He said, “You’ve got
to give Kim Jong Un credit” for taking over North Korea – something he did by murdering
everyone he saw as a threat, including his own uncle, which Donald described gleefully,
like he was recapping an action movie. And he said if he were grading Vladimir Putin
as a leader, he’d give him an A. Now, I’ll leave it to the psychiatrists
to explain his affection for tyrants. [Applause]
I just wonder how anyone could be so wrong about who America’s real friends are. Because
it matters. If you don’t know exactly who you’re dealing with, men like Putin will
eat your lunch. Fifth, we need a real plan for confronting
terrorists. As we saw six months ago in San Bernardino,
the threat is real and urgent. Over the past year, I’ve laid out my plans for defeating
ISIS. We need to take out their strongholds in Iraq
and Syria by intensifying the air campaign and stepping up our support for Arab and Kurdish
forces on the ground. We need to keep pursuing diplomacy to end Syria’s civil war and close
Iraq’s sectarian divide, because those conflicts are keeping ISIS alive. We need to lash up
with our allies, and ensure our intelligence services are working hand-in-hand to dismantle
the global network that supplies money, arms, propaganda and fighters to the terrorists.
We need to win the battle in cyberspace. [Applause]
And of course we need to strengthen our defenses here at home.
That – in a nutshell – is my plan for defeating ISIS.
What’s Trump’s? Well he won’t say. He is literally keeping it a secret. The secret,
of course, is he has no idea what he’d do to stop ISIS.
Just look at the few things he’s actually said on the subject.
He’s actually said – and I quote – “maybe Syria should be a free zone for ISIS.” Oh,
okay – let a terrorist group have control of a major country in the Middle East.
Then he said we should send tens of thousands of American ground troops to the Middle East
to fight ISIS. He also refused to rule out using nuclear
weapons against ISIS, which would mean mass civilian casualties.
It’s clear he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. So we can’t be certain
which of these things he would do. But we can be certain that he’s capable of doing
any or all of them. Letting ISIS run wild. Launching a nuclear attack. Starting a ground
war. These are all distinct possibilities with Donald Trump in charge.
And through all his loose talk, there’s one constant theme: demonizing Muslims and
playing right into the hands of ISIS’. His proposal to ban 1.5 billion Muslims from even
coming to our country doesn’t just violate the religious freedom our country was founded
on. It’s also a huge propaganda victory for ISIS. And it alienates the very countries
we need to actually help us in this fight. A Trump Presidency would embolden ISIS. We
cannot take that risk. This isn’t reality television – this is
actual reality. [Applause]
And defeating global terrorist networks and protecting the homeland takes more than empty
talk and a handful of slogans. It takes a real plan, real experience and real leadership.
Donald Trump lacks all three. And one more thing. A President has a sacred
responsibility to send our troops into battle only if we absolutely must, and only with
a clear and well-thought-out strategy. Our troops give their all. They deserve a commander-in-chief
who knows that. I’ve worked side-by-side with admirals and
generals, and visited our troops in theaters of war. I’ve fought for better health care
for our National Guard, better services for our veterans, and more support for our Gold
Star families. We cannot put the lives of our young men and women in uniform in Donald
Trump’s hands. Sixth, we need to stay true to our values.
Trump says over and over again, “The world is laughing at us.” He’s been saying this
for decades, he didn’t just start this year. He bought full-page ads in newspapers across
the country back in 1987, when Ronald Reagan was President, saying that America lacked
a backbone and the world was – you guessed it – laughing at us. He was wrong then,
and he’s wrong now – and you’ve got to wonder why somebody who fundamentally has
so little confidence in America, and has felt that way for at least 30 years, wants to be
our President. The truth is, there’s not a country in the
world that can rival us. It’s not just that we have the greatest military, or that our
economy is larger, more durable, more entrepreneurial than any in the world. It’s also that Americans
work harder, dream bigger – and we never, ever stop trying to make our country and world
a better place. [Applause]
So it really matters that Donald Trump says things that go against our deepest-held values.
It matters when he says he’ll order our military to murder the families of suspected
terrorists. During the raid to kill bin Laden, when every second counted, our SEALs took
the time to move the women and children in the compound to safety. Donald Trump may not
get it, but that’s what honor looks like. [Applause]
And it also matters when he makes fun of disabled people, calls women pigs, proposes banning
an entire religion from our country, or plays coy with white supremacists. America stands
up to countries that treat women like animals, or people of different races, religions or
ethnicities as less human. [Applause]
What happens to the moral example we set – for the world and for our own children – if
our President engages in bigotry? And by the way, Mr. Trump – every time you
insult American Muslims or Mexican immigrants, remember that plenty of Muslims and immigrants
serve and fight in our armed forces. [Applause]
Donald Trump, Donald Trump could learn something from them.
That brings me to the final point I want to make today – the temperament it takes to
be Commander-in-Chief. Every President faces hard choices every day,
with imperfect information and conflicting imperatives. That’s the job.
A revolution threatens to topple a government in a key region, an adversary reaches out
for the first time in years – what do you do?
Making the right call takes a cool head and respect for the facts. It takes a willingness
to listen to other people’s points of view with a truly open mind. It also takes humility
– knowing you don’t know everything – because if you’re convinced you’re always right,
you’ll never ask yourself the hard questions. I remember being in the Situation Room with
President Obama, debating the potential Bin Laden operation. The President’s advisors
were divided. The intelligence was compelling but far from definitive. The risks of failure
were daunting. The stakes were significant for our battle against al Qaeda and our relationship
with Pakistan. Most of all, the lives of those brave SEALs and helicopter pilots hung in
the balance. It was a decision only the President could
make. And when he did, it was as crisp and courageous a display of leadership as I’ve
ever seen. Now imagine Donald Trump sitting in the Situation
Room, making life-or-death decisions on behalf of the United States. Imagine him deciding
whether to send your spouses or children into battle. Imagine if he had not just his Twitter
account at his disposal when he’s angry, but America’s entire arsenal.
Do we want him making those calls – someone thin-skinned and quick to anger, who lashes
out at the smallest criticism? Do we want his finger anywhere near the button?
I have a lot of faith that the American people will make the right decision. This is a country
with a deep reservoir of common sense and national pride. We’re all counting on that.
[Applause] Because making Donald Trump our commander-in-chief
would be a historic mistake. It would undo so much of the work that Republicans and Democrats
alike have done over many decades to make America stronger and more secure. It would
set back our standing in the world more than anything in recent memory. And it would fuel
an ugly narrative about who we are – that we’re fearful, not confident; that we want
to let others determine our future for us, instead of shaping our own destiny.
That’s not the America I know and love. So yes, we have a lot of work to do to keep
our country secure. And we need to do better by American families and American workers
– and we will. But don’t let anyone tell you that America isn’t great. Donald Trump’s
got America all wrong. We are a big-hearted, fair-minded country.
[Applause] There is no challenge we can’t meet, no
goal we can’t achieve when we each do our part and come together as one nation.
Every lesson from our history teaches us that we are stronger together. We remember that
every Memorial Day. This election is a choice between two very
different visions of America. One that’s angry, afraid, and based on the
idea that America is fundamentally weak and in decline.
The other is hopeful, generous, and confident in the knowledge that America is great – just
like we always have been. [Applause]
Let’s resolve that we can be greater still. That is what I believe in my heart.
I went to 112 countries as your Secretary of State. And I never lost my sense of pride
at seeing our blue-and-white plane lit up on some far-off runway, with “The United
States of America” emblazoned on the side. That plane – those words – our country
represents something special, not just to us, to the world. It represents freedom and
hope and opportunity. I love this country and I know you do too.
It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve America and I’m going to do everything I
can to protect our nation, and make sure we don’t lose sight of how strong we really
are. Thank you all very much.

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