Our AFR theme, Foreign Policy for the American People, is drawn from Secretary Blinken’s March 3, 2021, policy priorities speech. This first “In Focus” item contains excerpts from the address and provides context for subsequent features, which highlight how the work of dedicated State professionals – past and present – serve the interests of their fellow citizens.
My fellow Americans, five weeks ago I was sworn in as your Secretary of State…When President Biden asked me to serve, he made sure that I understood that my job is to deliver for you – to make your lives more secure, create opportunity for you and your families, and tackle the global crises that are increasingly shaping your futures.
I take this responsibility very seriously. And an important part of the job is speaking to you about what we’re doing and why….in everything we do, we’ll look not only to make progress on short-term problems, but also to address their root causes and lay the groundwork for our long-term strength. As the President says, to not only build back, but build back better.
So here’s our plan.
First, we will stop COVID-19 and strengthen global health security. Second, we will turn around the economic crisis and build a more stable, inclusive global economy. Third, we will renew democracy. Fourth, we will work to create a humane and effective immigration system. Fifth, we will revitalize our ties with our allies and partners. Sixth, we will tackle the climate crisis and drive a green energy revolution. Seventh, we will secure our leadership in technology. And eighth, we will manage the biggest geopolitical test of the 21st Century: our relationship with China.
These priorities…are the most urgent, the ones on which we must make swift and sustained progress.
They’re also all simultaneously domestic and foreign issues. Our domestic renewal and our strength in the world are completely entwined. And how we work will reflect that reality…
The Biden administration’s foreign policy will reflect our values. We will stand firm behind our commitments to human rights, democracy, the rule of law…We will respect science and data, and we will fight misinformation and disinformation, because the truth is the cornerstone of our democracy…We’ll work with Congress whenever we can – on the take-off, not just the landing – because they represent the will of our people, and our foreign policy is stronger when the American people support it…We’ll build a national security workforce that reflects America in all its diversity, because we’re operating in a diverse world, and our diversity is a unique source of strength that few countries can match…We will bring nonpartisanship back to our foreign policy…
We will balance humility with confidence. I have always believed they should be the flip sides of America’s leadership coin. Humility because we aren’t perfect, we don’t have all the answers, and a lot of the world’s problems aren’t mainly about us, even as they affect us. But confidence because America at its best has a greater ability than any country on Earth to mobilize others for the common good and for the good of our people.
Above all, we’ll hold ourselves accountable to a single, overarching measure of success: Are we delivering results for you?
Are we making your lives more secure and creating opportunities for your families? Are we protecting the planet for your children and grandchildren? Are we honoring your values, and proving worthy of your trust?
It’s the honor of my life to serve as your Secretary of State. And I’m aware every day that we’re writing the next chapter of our history. It’s up to us whether the story of this time will be one of peace and prosperity, security, and equality; whether we will help more people in more places live in dignity and whether we will leave the United States stronger at home and in the world.
That’s our mission. That’s our opportunity. We will not squander it.