Clinton speaks at Stanford in wake of Brussels bombings

Former Secretary of State and presidential candidate speaks of strategy to defeat extremists

One day after the terrorist bombings in Brussels, Belgium, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton laid out her foreign policy strategy to defeat terrorist groups, which she said would rely on collaboration with allies worldwide.

Clinton made the hastily scheduled, 25-minute speech at Stanford University's Bechtel Conference Center on Wednesday morning, March 23, before more than 135 invited guests and members of the media. Former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who are fellows with the Stanford's Hoover Institution, sat in the front row.

Former Secretary of State Clinton gave nods to Shultz and Perry and did not mince words regarding the anti-Muslim statements of Republican presidential opponents Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

She outlined a strategy that would expand military, security and political alliances globally, reinforce the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), partner with technology businesses and nations to strengthen cybersecurity and intelligence operations, and define and invest in communities that are hotbeds of jihadis to counter their influence.

In somber, measured tones, Clinton described the global threat of the Islamic State, or ISIS, mentioning not only the widely publicized attacks in Paris, San Bernardino and Brussels, but also incidents in Istanbul, West Africa, Tunisia and Lebanon and on a Russian passenger jet.

"Walls will not protect us from this threat. We cannot contain ISIS. We must defeat ISIS. This will be one of the most important challenges facing the next president, who takes office on Jan. 20," she said. "Our new commander-in-chief will walk into the Oval Office and find a world of hard choices and complex problems.

"That president will sit down at the desk and start making decisions that will affect the lives and livelihoods of every American and people around the world. So the stakes could not be higher."

The country and world "face an adversary that is constantly adapting and operating across multiple theaters. So our response must be just as nimble and far reaching," she said.

"We need to rely on what actually works, not bluster that alienates our partners and doesn't make us any safer," Clinton added.

Clinton said she supports expanding the coalition and intensifying airstrikes to take out ISIS and extremist strongholds in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. should step up support for local Arab and Kurdish forces on the front and coalition efforts to protect civilians, she said. Clinton also said she supports diplomacy to end Syria's civil war and Iraq's sectarian violence.

There must be a worldwide effort to dismantle networks that supply money, arms, propaganda and fighters, which could mean going after "key enablers," including in Afghanistan and Libya, Clinton said.

Domestically, she would counter each step that could lead to an attack and work to disrupt plots using technology, she said.

Clinton appeared to take a harder line in terms of decoding encryption on mobile and other devices, despite security and civil liberties concerns. But she also said that any solution must involve a partnership between business and the government.

"Impenetrable encryption provides significant cybersecurity advantages but may also make it harder for law enforcement and counterterrorism professionals to investigate plots and prevent future attacks. ISIS knows this, too. At the same time, there are legitimate worries about privacy, network security and creating new vulnerabilities that bad actors, including terrorists, can exploit," she said.

"There may be no quick, magic fix. In the Apple case, the FBI may have found a work-around. But there will be future cases with different facts and different challenges. So the tech community and the government have to stop seeing each other as adversaries and start working together to protect our safety and our privacy."

She supports a national coalition on encryption, such as one that U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Mike McCaul are proposing, she said.

Clinton gave kudos to the work of her predecessors, Shultz, who served under President Ronald Reagan, and Perry, who served under President Bill Clinton. Of Shultz, she said that he knew the importance of building alliances. She lauded Perry for his expansion of NATO, which she called "one of the best investments America has ever made."

"Turning our back on our alliances, turning our alliances into a protection racket, would reverse decades of American bipartisan leadership and send a dangerous signal to friend and foe alike," Clinton said. "(Vladimir) Putin already hopes to divide Europe. If Mr. Trump gets his way, it'll be like Christmas in the Kremlin. It will make America less safe and the world more dangerous. ... And as we saw when a terrorist cell in Hamburg carried out the 9/11 attacks, what happens in Europe has a way of making it to America."

Clinton said that if she becomes president, the U.S. will not condone torture by the U.S. anywhere in the world. And it would be a serious mistake to stumble into another costly ground war in the Middle East.

"If we've learned anything from Iraq and Afghanistan, it's that people and nations have to secure their own communities. We can, and I argue we must, support them, but we can't substitute for them. It would also be a serious mistake to begin carpet-bombing populated areas into oblivion. Proposing that doesn't make you sound tough; it makes you sound like you're in over your head. Slogans aren't strategy; loose cannons tend to misfire," she said, in another jab at Trump.

Clinton said she would accept refugees fleeing Syria. The U.S. should not abandon its values and humanitarian obligations, "but we also have to be smart and vigilant about how we process people into our country," she said.

"It would be doubly cruel if ISIS can not only force people out of their homes but also prevent them from ever finding new ones," she said.

Of both Cruz and Trump, Clinton said, "One thing we know that does not work is offensive, inflammatory rhetoric that demonizes all Muslims. There are millions of peace-loving Muslims living, working, raising families and paying taxes in this country. These Americans are a crucial line of defense against terrorism. They are the most likely to recognize the warning signs of radicalization before it's too late and the best position to block it."

Clinton was attending fundraising events in the Bay Area and attended one in Atherton later Wednesday. She made the additional stop at Stanford after learning of the Brussels attacks. Her staff approached Stanford about making the speech, said Chaney Kourouniotis, communications manager at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. She added that Stanford sees its role as a facilitator of discussion and ideas.

"We welcome a host of leaders to engage in this kind of dialogue. We are interested in welcoming other presidential candidates," Kourouniotis added.

The audience was composed of students, educators and friends of Clinton.

Stanford sophomore David Lim, a symbolic systems major, said he thinks Clinton "has the ability to be a great president." But he does have a few reservations about her. He has doubts about the strength of her cybersecurity positions and collaboration between the government and tech companies.

"I want it to translate to strong policy," he said.

On foreign policy, Clinton lived up to her reputation as a policy wonk, Lim said. But he was still a little uncomfortable with what he viewed as her "hawkishness."

Lim said that he will vote for Bernie Sanders during the June primary, but if, as he expects, Clinton clinches the nomination as the Democratic candidate, he will vote for her in November.

Many millennials find Sanders to be in line with their values and concerns, such as income and inequality, Lim added.

Ben Gardner-Gill, a freshman who is considering a political science or history major, said he will also vote for Sanders in the primary. Clinton has not taken a strong stance on political campaign reform in the way Sanders forthrightly has, he said.

"I do think she is not very concerned with campaign-finance reform and the influence of Wall Street on American politics," he said.

But if Clinton becomes the nominee, he will throw his full support behind her, even campaigning for her, he said.

"America needs strong, steady, intelligent leadership. Hillary will provide this country with good leadership for the next four to eight years," Gardner-Gill said.

• To watch the speech, click here.

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68 people like this
Posted by Bernie
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 23, 2016 at 10:03 pm

She was in town for a quick money grab and decided, opportunistically?, to make a speech on anti-terrorism. Way to kill two birds with one stone, and get some advantageous pr instead of just bee-lining into Atherton for the snatch and grab.

16 people like this
Posted by Go Girl!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2016 at 10:25 pm

Gotta admire Clinton's brass. House Republicans figured her as an easy mark, what with being female and all, but they have flatly lost every fight they ever picked with her. Republican frustration is palpable; snark is all they got left.

46 people like this
Posted by Feel The Bern
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2016 at 12:47 am

[Post removed.]

43 people like this
Posted by Physician
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2016 at 1:55 am

When Hillary visited Mayo Clinic when Bill was President and she was trying to enact universal health care, she had a conference for nurses only - NO physicians were invited. Much like her using an unprotected email server. Behind the scenes, keep physicians out and allow the lower salaried nurses to step into the role of physicians.

I will vote for ANYONE besides Hillary in this election. She is so untrustworthy, time and time again. [Portion removed.]

46 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 24, 2016 at 5:42 am

She could'nt save an Ambassy how the hell is she gonna stop terrrism. I guess we could just check her emails.

41 people like this
Posted by Madam_Malefactor
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2016 at 9:39 am

Listening to Hillary Clinton speak on counter terrorism is like interviewing the captain of the Titanic on seamanship.

She is much more qualified to educate us on the following:

1. email migration and deletion
2. caliphate building
3. giving political favors for charitable donations
4. enabling sexual predators
5. using stock futures to get almost mathematically impossible returns
6. getting her subordinates killed and then lying to their families and declaring "What difference does it make!"
7. abandoning long term allies while making deals with our enemies

Now that would be worth the $300K speakers fees!

9 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 24, 2016 at 9:58 am

Great speech by Hillz, she's a smart woman. We need a woman president anyway, its time!

Hillary/Bernie 2016! The ticket from heaven!

22 people like this
Posted by Maledicta
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2016 at 10:50 am

[Post removed.]

33 people like this
Posted by Madam_Malefactor
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 24, 2016 at 10:59 am

Madam_Malefactor is a registered user.


It would be great to have a female president. Just not one with a 35 year history of documented corruption.

If the FBI is right, we must indict!

30 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 24, 2016 at 11:02 am

This was a staged event. Encina l had about 100 plus and 20-30 reporters.
The invitations were sent discretely.
No one was allowed ear the of Encina hall.
Hurray for democracy openness and democratic values.
Very Stanford like 'cool operator'.

So much for the speaker who is a Stanford mom.

Christmas in Kremlin comment is ill advised. We need Russia Iran Israel amid the world to work together to eradicate evil. Can't do it alone without military.


32 people like this
Posted by isis
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 24, 2016 at 11:13 am

Clinton doesn't have a freakin clue of what to do about ISIS --and NEITHER does Obama-- his response-- let's go to a baseball game, go play golf, or turn the heater down-- that will show them. THEY ARE VERY DANGEROUS TO THIS WORLD-- not just the US, but to the ENTIRE WORLD. [Portion removed.]

1 person likes this
Posted by marie
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 24, 2016 at 11:58 am

The only woman president I would want is Diane Feinstein. She knows how to get things done.

9 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 24, 2016 at 12:36 pm

"Much like her using an unprotected email server."

Why is that OK for Colin Powell and Condi Rice, but not Hillary Clinton? And what do you think you know about protected?

Go Girl! nailed it. This is not about objective malfeasance, it's about the instinctive misogyny of weak males.

31 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 24, 2016 at 12:44 pm

@Palo Altan....electing a woman president because "it's time,"is ludicrous. Hillary Clinton is the last person, male or female, that clear thinking people should want to be the next occupant of the White House. Her history is replete with lies, deceit and corruption. In fact, the two words most associated with her are liar and untrustworthy. And as far as her accomplishments, her own staff members can't name any when questioned by reporters (not Fox News, by the way). Her Stanford speech was so canned, boring and inept that I'm surprised people didn't get up and walk out, but then again they were a carefully selected bunch of worshipers.

22 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 24, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Please don't vote for anyone mainly or solely based on gender or cultural/ethnic heritage or because it's PC, or any form of social pressure!

Please vote for the person that actually cares about and is loyal to this country, for the person that has a non-narcissistic plan, someone with the commiittment as well as practical knowledge and experience to help reverse and repair what has been negatively affecting many of us in this country and elsewhere, and who will hopefully be able to follow through with campaign promises or at least some iof them for a change!

Please do your own homework versus accepting propaganda flying about like locusts. Please think for yourself when voting. The truth regarding the professional expertise and ethical backgrounds of each candidate is available if you read beyond the goobledygook out there on the media and with demonstration organizers etc.

Thank you.

33 people like this
Posted by Nayeli P.
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Nayeli P. is a registered user.

Hillary Clinton's qualifications:

1.) Controversial First Lady who blamed "vast right-wing conspiracy" and victims for her husband's sexual conquests.
2.) Mediocre senator.
3.) Worst Secretary of State in modern times.
4.) Corruption.
5.) Dishonesty.

I am a woman and I would LOVE to see a good woman become President of the United States. Hillary Clinton is not a good woman.

25 people like this
Posted by Nayeli P.
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Nayeli P. is a registered user.

"Why is that OK for Colin Powell and Condi Rice, but not Hillary Clinton? And what do you think you know about protected?"

The difference is that Colin Powell and Dr. Rice did not set up their own email server in their homes which they KNEW would be handling the bulk of their correspondence with potentially sensitive, classified or top secret information.

Whereas a couple of emails might have been inadvertently sent through the email with Powell or Dr. Rice, Hillary set up an unsecured private server in her house that would handle sensitive government correspondence.

I can't think of any reason why anyone would do this -- except in a case where they had a copy of every email for their own personal records after she left the State Department.

What Hillary did was unethical and, well, stupid.

19 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 24, 2016 at 1:26 pm

If anyone watches Madame Secretary on TV you can see that there is an office that the Secretary of State has near the White House If she is in the office every day while in the US then she knows what is classified and she is conducting business on a classified server. Since the Secretary is the Boss then she is suppose to be the "person in the know". However H is working from home. How much time does she spend in the office? Why is everyone else responsible for doing her job?
I always note in her speeches that she points out a personal failing that is attributed to her rivals - in her case being in "over her head".
She is getting direction from her personal team as to what to do - she does not think that up herself. She was in over her head and is now.
If we want a woman than we have a great group here in Silicon Valley that could do a better job.

29 people like this
Posted by Nauseous
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 24, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Nauseous is a registered user.

The time IS right for a woman president.

However, Hillary is not the right woman. She is dishonest, corrupt, an alleged criminal, conceited, arrogant, spoiled, self-centered and untrustworthy. Nor does she have leadership qualities.

Those are not the qualities a president should have--especially a woman president--because the first female president of the US will certainly ( though not rightfully) be held to a higher moral standard.

6 people like this
Posted by Richard Fikes
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 24, 2016 at 2:40 pm

Richard Fikes is a registered user.

All you Hillary bashers, take a deep breathe and look at where we are in the upcoming election. It is most surely going to be Hillary vs Trump. Do you really want to spend your time and energy bashing her when Trump is the alternative? Sober up.

12 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 24, 2016 at 3:26 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"Hillary Clinton's qualifications: ..."

Add one more: investigated and exonerated by House Republicans of numerous flimsy accusations. Clinton's been uniquely certified as the cleanest candidate by no less than the highest authority for Hillary bashers, the House Republicans. Has Cruz? No. Has Bush? No. Has Trump? No.

15 people like this
Posted by Grey Eyes
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 24, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Grey Eyes is a registered user.

It WON'T be Hillary vs Trump if Hillary is indicted.

Pray it isn't Trump, that he gets disqualified for one or more of the sleazy, immoral, illegal things he's done.

They're both dishonest, unethical, selfish flip-floppers.

Most elections are between two evils, pick the lesser one. But this election would be between the devil and the deep blue sea-- no life rafts!

Hopefully, neither of these self-righteous criminals are nominated!

11 people like this
Posted by Nayeli P.
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2016 at 3:53 pm

Nayeli P. is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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