Slog through the interminable platitudes of her prepared remarks or WaPo’s joyless running account of the Q&A and you’ll see that this really was the most interesting thing said all day. Somehow the closing of Guantanamo and what it would mean for repatriating freed detainees — 61 of whom have rejoined the jihad at last count — didn’t figure into her opening statement. But this did:
Many significant problems we face challenge not just the United States, but all nations and peoples. You, Mr. Chairman, were among the first, in a growing chorus from both parties, to recognize that climate change is an unambiguous security threat. At the extreme it threatens our very existence, but well before that point, it could very well incite new wars of an old kind—over basic resources like food, water, and arable land. The world is in need of an urgent, coordinated response to climate change and, as President-Elect Obama has said, America must be a leader in developing and implementing it. We can lead abroad through participation in international efforts like the upcoming UN Copenhagen Climate Conference and a Global Energy Forum. We can lead at home by pursuing an energy policy that reduces our carbon emissions while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and gas—which will benefit the fight against climate change and enhance our economy and security.
The key soundbite was her endorsement of “smart power,” which is Obamaspeak for soft power. (“With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy.”) She has Gates’s and Mullen’s full support on that, first and foremost because it’ll ease some pressure on the already overburdened military. Iranians got into the new spirit of things this morning by torching photos of The One, at around the same time Biden was being lectured by Iraq’s Sunni VP about not being a Zionist stooge. Exit question: Can you feel the Change?