C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 030049
EO 12958 DECL: 3/24/2019
TAGS OVIP (CLINTON, HILLARY), PREL, AS, PK, AF, CH,
RS,JA, KS, ASEAN
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SUBJECT: (U) Secretary Clinton’s March 24, 2009
Conversation with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
1. Classified by Acting EAP A/S Alexander A. Arvizu. Reason: 1.4 (d)
2. (U) March 24; 1:00 p.m.; Washington, DC.
3. (U) Participants:
U.S. The Secretary Charge d’Affaires Dan Clune Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, S/P Glyn Davies, EAP PDAS Robert Wood, Acting Spokesman Joseph Macmanus, Executive Assistant to the Secretary Aleisha Woodward, EAP/ANP notetaker
AUSTRALIA Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Ambassador Dennis Richardson Duncan Lewis, National Security Advisor Alister Jordan, Chief of Staff Philip Green, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Andrew Charlton, Senior Economic Policy Advisor David Stuart, Deputy Chief of Mission Patrick Suckling, Assistant Secretary Mark Pierce, Political Minister Counsellor Scott Dewar, Senior Advisor
4. (C/Rel Aus) SUMMARY. In a 75-minute lunch following Rudd’s White House meeting, the Secretary and PM Rudd discussed Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Russia, and Rudd’s Asia Pacific community initiative. Rudd complimented the United States’ recent “creative play” on Iran. The Secretary noted the President’s video message and said inviting Iran to participate in the March 31 Hague Conference on Afghanistan had caused confusion in Tehran. END SUMMARY.
AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN
5. (C/Rel Aus) The Secretary and PM Rudd agreed on the importance of making progress in building up the Afghan National Army. Rudd confirmed FM Stephen Smith would represent Australia at the March 31 Hague Conference on Afghanistan, where the Secretary indicated the United States would lay out specific goals.
6. (C/Rel Aus) The Secretary and PM Rudd discussed the need to turn Pakistan away from its “obsessive focus” on India, towards the problems in the west of the country, noting even total success in Afghanistan would be unraveled if Pakistan were to fall apart. Rudd indicated Australia was willing and able to help, especially in special operations and counterinsurgency areas, as soon as Pakistan was willing to accept help, but argued the necessary economic development assistance and capacity-building in Pakistan’s security forces could only happen once the elites came to recognize the problem. The best way to cause such a realization would be to hold up a mirror showing what Pakistan would look like in five years if no action is taken. While China would undoubtedly be reluctant to do more, Rudd continued, a similar China-Pakistan mirror-holding exercise would be beneficial as well. The Secretary agreed China needed to be more engaged in Afghanistan and Pakistan, opining Chinese leaders were growing concerned that extremists’ success in Pakistan could be a harbinger of similar success in China’s west. She noted that Chinese FM Yang would attend the March 31 Hague Conference.
7. (C/Rel Aus) PM Rudd said Chinese Politburo member Li Changchun had indicated Chinese leaders viewed the Secretary’s recent visit to Beijing as a success and felt they could deal with the Obama Administration. The Secretary affirmed the U.S. desire for a successful China, with a rising standard of living and improving democracy at a pace Chinese leaders could tolerate, noting the impressive achievements in Chinese democracy at the village level. We wanted China to take more responsibility in the global economic sphere, create more of a social safety net for its people, and construct a better regulatory framework for the goods China manufactures. The Secretary also noted the challenges posed by China’s economic rise, asking, “How do you deal toughly with your banker?”
8. (C/Rel Aus) Calling himself “a brutal realist on China,” Rudd argued for “multilateral engagement with bilateral vigor” — integrating China effectively into the international community and allowing it to demonstrate greater responsibility, all while also preparing to deploy force if everything goes wrong. Rudd said the Australian intelligence community keeps a close watch on China’s military modernization, and indicated the forthcoming Australian Defence White Paper’s focus on naval capability is a response to China’s growing ability to project force. Rudd would send the Secretary a copy of his April 2008 speech at Peking University in which he had argued that China’s idea of a harmonious world, based on the philosophy of Kang Youwei, and the West’s concept of a responsible stakeholder were not incompatible.
9. (C/Rel Aus) Reviewing recent Chinese leaders, Rudd assessed that Hu Jintao “is no Jiang Zemin.” No one person dominated Chinese leadership currently, although Hu’s likely replacement, Xi Jinping, had family ties to the military and might be able to rise above his colleagues. Rudd explained that the Standing Committee of the Politburo was the real decision-making body, which then passed decisions for implementation by the State Council.
10. (C/Rel Aus) Rudd noted Chinese leaders were paranoid about both Taiwan and Tibet, but with subtle differences; leaders’ reactions on Taiwan were sub- rational and deeply emotional, whereas hard-line policies on Tibet were crafted to send clear messages to other ethnic minorities. Rudd indicated that he had suggested to Chinese leaders that they consider a “small ‘a’ autonomy deal with the Dalai Lama.” While giving little prospect of success, Rudd contended the best chance would be if someone of the Secretary’s stature had “a quiet conversation” with the Politburo Standing Committee member responsible for Tibet sometime after the furor over the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s exile subsides, and suggested a “third track discussion” of the long-term modalities for how such an autonomy deal could work.
11. (C/Rel Aus) In light of his upcoming meeting with Russian President Medvedev, Rudd asked for insights into Russian political dynamics. The Secretary said Medvedev was looking for legitimacy and positioning vis–vis PM Putin even as Putin was dissatisfied with the role he has carved out for himself – behind the scenes puppeteer and lead on energy policy – but somewhat bound through 2012 since he had ceded other issues to Medvedev. Asked whether the United States viewed Medvedev as more liberal than Putin, the Secretary indicated Medvedev’s desire for status and respect could cause him to be. Rudd agreed, opining Russians’awareness of how their leaders were viewed internationally could help improve Medvedev’s domestic standing. The Secretary also explained U.S. efforts to reset the layered and complex relationship and briefly outlined a list of issues we wanted to work together on, including counterterrorism, arms reduction, Afghanistan, and human rights.
Asia Pacific Community
12. (C/Rel Aus) Noting Russia’s interest in being included in Asian regional architecture, Rudd explained the thinking behind his Asia Pacific community (APC) initiative mostly as an effort to ensure Chinese dominance of the East Asia Summit (EAS) did not result in a “Chinese Monroe Doctrine” and an Asia without the United States. Expressing appreciation for U.S. reengagement in the region, Rudd said China could succeed only if the United States ceded the field. He recognized the lack of appetite for a new organization and said the APC could be created by expanding APEC’s mandate or the EAS’ membership. Rudd emphasized the long-term horizon of his initiative (his vision is for an APC established by 2020) and hoped his APC could fulfill a role similar to the Helsinki Commission in Europe, focusing at least initially on low-level common security policy and coordination, perhaps starting with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Rudd promised to send a draft-stage journal article outlining his APC initiative in more detail.