Democracies across the world, including US and India, are at crossroads and there is a need to stand up against the chaos to protect democracy, said Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State of the United States at the concluding session of the India Today Conclave 2018. “Never before we needed your (India’s) energy like now. There is a need to speak against sexism, racism and stand up at this crossroad moment. Don’t give way to anger, resentment and disappointment. Stay engaged, speak out,” Clinton said in her keynote address, titled ‘The Great Churn: What Happens Now’.Clinton said both US and India are facing serious undercurrents that are threatening to strike at the roots of democracy. “He (US President Donald Trump) will damage it. However, it will be reparable,” she added.Talking at length about the situation in the US post the 2016 US Presidential elections which she lost to realty tycoon turned politician Trump, Clinton said that she did not have a problem with a power difference in her country but was worried about fewer debates on pertinent issues, that will take it towards one-party dominance. “That is the situation in Washington at present,” she said.
While analysing her defeat, Clinton said that it was “the first ever reality TV election” in the history of the US – ‘reality TV’ because a person who is the most outrageous and prone to say incorrect things gets away with it, drawing big rankings. Many people were, unfortunately, attracted to such diatribes. “Voters have to be trained,” she said. TV debates are entertaining, but they do not give more information to voters. “I should have given them more entertainment,” she said in a sarcastic remark directed at Trump.When Aroon Purie, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of India Today Group asked Clinton whether US deserved a president like Trump, she was quick to say “No.” She also said that Trump could not understand why a country that has nuclear weapons did not use them.Clinton counted reaction against the immigrants as one of the reasons behind Trump’s win. She said US has immigrants from Latin America, India and China. They are hard working and law abiding, but there was a campaign against the immigrants. Trump’s campaign of ‘Make America Great Again’ was backward. “I won from the places which has 2/3rd share in the gross domestic product.” She also admitted that a smearing campaign was on, saying she was going to jail. “That stopped my momentum and decreased my votes,” she said. Clinton suggested that Russia President Vladimir Putin influenced the elections in the US because he had personal issues against her. “He is not the best of feminists I have met,” she said. She claimed that Putin was against her because he suspected she fanned a protest against him in the 2011 Russia election. “I was also outspoken on the Russian invasion on Syria. We had professional relationship. We had conversations but he wanted to restore greatness of Russia.” Russia was trying to divide Americans and put them against each other.
Expressing concerns on changes in the US foreign policy post 2016, Clinton said the new administration is in hurry to dispose of the earlier relations the US had painstakingly stitched with other countries. “It is a shame that US is the only country that is not part of the Paris climate change accord. He (Trump) is undoing and rejecting everything done before. He takes ideas from the right wing media.”Talking about stability within India’s neighbours, she pointed that Afghanistan is an ongoing disappointment. She also hit at Pakistan for offering shelter to terrorists. “We tried different things, but when you have safe haven and not consistent support to weed out terrorists, it is difficult to find a solution.” She also revealed that she had recommended President Barack Obama to conduct a raid on Osama Bin Laden who was hiding in Abbottabad, Pakistan.To a question whether she would run again for President, Clinton said she had no plans to do so. “I won’t run again. I will be delighted if 2020 we are back on right track. I want to work for people’s betterment.”In his introduction of Clinton, Purie said that “There are all kinds of titles. There is the President of the United States; before that it is President-Elect or President designate; Presidential candidate, Presidential nominee and so on. May I take the liberty of giving you a title: Should-Be-President. Had Clinton become President, the US and the world would have been a better place.The hard fought election of 2016 is now well and truly behind her, but as the daily headlines about Russian interference show, Hillary Clinton was right all along, said Purie. “Even as she kept the focus on the big issues of inequalities of income, inadequacies of healthcare and complex foreign affairs, her opponents harped on her emails. But as another strong woman Michelle Obama said, when they go low, you go high,” she added.
There's so much going on around the world, and India has to be at the centre of that conversation: Hillary Clinton
I think it's fair to say that India has a special place in our (the Clinton family) hearts: Hillary Clinton
There was a very strong Indian-American contingent on my presidential campaign: Hillary Clinton
The world is at a crossroads, and particularly democracies: Hillary Clinton
In the US, a third of new start-ups are led by Indian-Americans: Hillary Clinton
Former Presidents are worried with the direction Trump is taking America: Hillary Clinton
Bill Clinton both as a former President really concerned, and as someone who really believes in American democracy, he is distressed: Hillary Clinton
Bill sees a lot of resurgent racism, Islamophobia, Xenophobia and it bothers him greatly: Hillary Clinton
We know there are forces within Pakistan whose main focus is India: Hillary Clinton
Trump leaving a big void in the world, America receding, retreating from its responsibilities: Hillary Clinton
Trump does have quite an affinity for dictators, a pre-existing attitude of favourability towards them: Hillary Clinton
Vladimir Putin is not the most feminist of leaders that I've ever met: Hillary Clinton
Anti-immigrant feeling became virulent because of Trump's rhetoric: Hillary Clinton
Trump ran a "reality TV" campaign, says Hillary Clinton.
What I worry about is that we are not having debates, we are moving towards a one party system: Hillary Clinton
It is shameful that the US is the only country in the world that is not in the Paris Agreement: Hillary Clinton
Women have every right to pursue their dreams...nothing should stand in their way, including sexual harassment: Hillary Clinton
As China rewrites the rules...standing with India takes on a new sense of urgency: Hillary Clinton
There are warning signs that Mexico's election may be next on the list: Hillary Clinton
What we've learned about Russian interference....presents a clear and present danger to democracy everywhere: Hillary Clinton
I'm working hard to elect more Democrats and have more representation of Democrats. That will help us get some balance: Hillary Clinton
If you're interested in American politics, stay tuned, it's going to be interesting next few years: Hillary Clinton
I'll be delighted if in 2020, we can all take a deep breath and say we are back on the right track: Hillary Clinton
India Today Conclave
Started as part of India Today’s 25th anniversary, INDIA TODAY CONCLAVE was designed as a meeting point for the best minds from India and around the world to map the geopolitical and economic future of the country. In its inaugural year the theme was India Tomorrow 2002: Opportunities and Threats with Vice President of the USA Al Gore as the chief Guest. In its second year the theme was India Tomorrow 2003: Global Giant or Pygmy? The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of the United States presided as the keynote speaker. The past 14 conclaves have been widely acclaimed and popular for the quality of speakers and discussion. The speakers who have been part of this conference each year are current and former heads of state, Nobel Laureates, spiritual leaders, industry captains, social workers, economists, authors, academics, scientist, strategists, activists, cine directors, actors and sportspersons. The past conferences can be accessed at www.indiatodayconclave.com