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Hillary Clinton talks to UofL audience about challenge of nuclear threat

by UofL Today last modified Apr 09, 2010 06:36 PM

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Prague, Czech Republic, with President Barack Obama for the signing of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the United States and Russia.

Hillary Clinton talks to UofL audience about challenge of nuclear threat

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Mitch McConnell talk to McConnell Scholars.

Today, she was at the University of Louisville as a guest of the McConnell Center and talked about the threat of nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Joining her on the platform were UofL President James Ramsey, University Provost Shirley Willihnganz and Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky’s longest serving U.S. senator.

“I’m glad to be back in Kentucky,” Clinton said to the audience referring to her campaign stops in the state in 2008. “I have many, many wonderful memories and am pleased to be back here with you.

“I’m out of politics now,” she said. “That’s what I tell people now when I’m asked my opinion about anything but foreign policy. I’m excited to be part of this administration at this point in history.”

Clinton’s talk was titled “No Greater Danger: Protecting our Nation and Allies from Nuclear Terrorism and Nuclear Proliferation.” That issue, she said, is a challenge that is bigger than one administration or one party.

Despite its enormity and importance, most people’s eyes tend to glaze over when government officials talk about the various arms control treaties known primarily by acronyms, Clinton said. Many people think the threat of nuclear arms ended with the Cold War because the constant fear of nuclear annihilation at the hands of the Soviet Union no longer exists.

But that isn’t true.

“The nature of the threat has changed,” she said. “Today’s threats are nuclear proliferation, including the programs in North Korea and Iran, and nuclear terrorism.”

Much of the secretary’s address centered on the Obama administration’s efforts to address the challenge by working with global leaders in upcoming conferences and summits; START; and its newly released Nuclear Posture Review.

Strategies in the latter, she said, include support of a basic framework of global nonprofileration; securing vulnerable nuclear material; and having a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

“The strategies are not new,” she said. “They are not controversial. Leaders in both parties have been pursuing these for years.

“Protecting the United States of America from nuclear attack is an issue that should be important for every single American. …advancing these efforts is critical for 21st century national security. … I am convinced we can deliver a safer world to next generation.”

Clinton is the sixth secretary of state to speak at UofL as a guest of the McConnell Center since it opened in 1991.

Video of the talk will be posted on the McConnell Center website.

A transcript of the talk is to be posted at the State Department website.

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