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Clinton: Women should have larger role in national security

Hillary Clinton called for women to have a larger role in national security issues in a speech at Georgetown University on Wednesday, saying women are “agents of peace and agents of change.”

{mosads}While Clinton was not giving a speech especially themed on U.S. politics, her expected presidential campaign means politics are never far away. Even as she spoke, Republicans pointed to the empty seats in the hall as evidence of a lack of enthusiasm for Clinton. 

“Women are not victims of conflict,” Clinton said. “They are agents of peace and agents of change.”

Clinton made women’s rights on the domestic front a centerpiece of her midterm campaigning for Democrats, touting issues like equal pay and paid leave. As first lady in 1995, she famously said in Beijing that “women’s rights are human rights.”

She touted women defense ministers on Wednesday, saying they prove that they can they can “defend their countries as well as any man.” 

Asked about Ukraine, in a session after the speech, Clinton called on the Ukrainian military to “make it at least possible for women to be in positions of military and civilian authority in defending their country.”

As Ukraine deals with a conflict with separatists in the east and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Clinton called for the United States to support Ukraine’s military building back up. 

“I hope other European countries, the United States will be there as they undertake this defense buildup,” she said. 

Some Republicans have called on the U.S. to provide arms to the Ukrainian military, but Clinton did not weigh in on this debate. 

On Syria, an issue where Clinton sparked controversy in August by referring to President Obama’s “failure” to arm the rebels, Clinton steered clear of larger U.S. policy and said the situation was dire enough that as far as women and security, a “protective, humanitairan approach” is what is needed.

She said “we should do what we can” to support Kurdish women who are fighting ISIS militants. 

While Clinton was speaking, another issue was generating buzz: the empty seats in front of her. 

The balcony and some of the seats lower down were empty in Georgetown’s Gaston Hall, which the University says is an “over 700-seat hall.”

America Rising, a conservative PAC, linked to photos of the empty seats with the title “Guess who’s #ReadyforHillary! Empty chairs!!!”

A lack of enthusiasm for Clinton among students would speak to fears that some Democrats are not excited about a Clinton candidacy. 

Avery Jaffe, who works for Ready for Hillary, the pro-Clinton group, posted on Twitter, “In fairness to Georgetown students, it is finals prep week.”

Tags Hillary Clinton

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