Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today received the 2011 George C. Marshall Foundation Award.
“And I’m especially honored when I think of the prior recipients of this very distinguished award, including my colleague, Secretary Gates, whom I had the honor of introducing in the State Department in 2009. We’ve had a very special evening with so many good friends here, and Christiane, thank you for not only MCing but for the role that you’ve played in bringing so much of the world into America’s homes over the last years.”-Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton thanked the former president of Chile who has inspired her by her friend’s own remarkable life story of resilience and strength. She also thanked her friend and predecessor, Madeleine Albright, who has been a colleague and advisor and counselor, and who just recently completed for NATO an incredible job of looking at NATO’s strategic positioning for the future.
“I have an extraordinary sense of the character and integrity, the commitment to service that led him to perform so admirably on behalf of our country during some of the most challenging times that we have ever faced. Leading our nation in war as a general, in peace as Secretary of State and later as Defense Secretary.”-Ms.Clinton
According to Ms. Clinton, she has seen a lot of people in public service over my time in Washington who would be well served. Ms. Clinton said George Marshall certainly spoke his mind in 1947, when he outlined the principles of what became known as the Marshall Plan. She added, he is certainly very well remembered for one of the great foreign policy achievements of the 20th century.
“Now many of us think of the Marshall Plan in concrete terms, literally. The allies won the war with guts and valor, and the Marshall Plan won the peace with bricks and mortar. But there was more to the plan than constructing buildings and bridges. Marshall knew the importance of economic growth to build stability, democracy, and security, not only in Europe but everywhere.”-Ms. Clinton
According to Ms. Clinton, George Marshall knew that the people of Europe needed economic opportunity to rebuild their livelihoods, recover their dignity, and reset their destiny. She stressed by spurring the market economy, rebuilding the agricultural base, modernizing industry, and training European business leaders, George Marshalls’ plan helped 17 nations including Germany and Italy take the lead in their own revitalization.
“Now the cost of the four-year plan was $13 billion, which translates into more than $120 billion today. I often think about whether we would today be able to summon that kind of vision of a future that would be in America’s interests but would require continuing sacrifice.”-Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton said the Marshall Plan wasn’t just important for the rebirth of Western Europe. It became a model for many nations in 1989, after the Berlin Wall came down. She explained further that by establishing enterprise funds to spur investment in Eastern and Central Europe, the U.S. government helped post-Soviet countries develop robust economies and new destinies.