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Sec Kerry highlights US leadership in speech at Indiana University

john kerry

On Thursday, October 15, Secretary Kerry traveled to Indiana University where he delivered a speech on U.S. foreign policy priorities, highlighting the efforts of American leadership in working with multilateral partners to bring about significant outcomes.

“Some suggest that the world is increasingly chaotic and even falling into disorder. Well, I disagree,” said Secretary Kerry. “Despite the many challenges that we face, as I travel the world and as I talk to foreign ministers, prime ministers, presidents, people all across this planet, I don’t sense an unraveling of the global fabric; I see a world that in critical areas is actually increasingly coming together.”  

To underscore this message, Secretary Kerry highlighted four areas where multilateral engagement has produced groundwork for long-term solutions that will strengthen the U.S. and it’s international partners on issues related to trade, climate change and security. 

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

“Let me be clear: The TPP is not your parents’ or your grandparents’ trade agreement.  This is something new. Consider that every participant in the TPP has to comply with core environmental and labor standards. Every member has to refrain from using underage workers and unsafe workplaces. Every one has to ensure that state-owned companies compete fairly with those that are privately owned. Every one has to fight trade-related bribery and corruption. Every one has to respect intellectual property.  And every one has to keep the promises that they make, because those promises are clearly enforceable within this agreement. 

“… What is more, the TPP matters for reasons far beyond trade. The Asia Pacific includes three of the globe’s four most populous countries and its three largest economies. Going forward, that region is going to have a huge say in shaping international rules of the road on the internet, financial regulation, maritime security, the environment – many other areas of direct concern to the United States of America, to each and every one of you.

“And remember that in our era economic and security issues overlap, as I mentioned.  You can’t lead one and lag on the other. By voting for this trade agreement, Congress can reinforce the message that the United States is and will remain a leading force for prosperity and security throughout the Asia Pacific. And that will be welcome news for our allies and friends; a huge boost for stability in a region; an important step, vital to our own well being; and really good news for companies and workers here in America’s Midwest.”

Climate Change

“… More people are realizing that over-dependence on carbon-based fuels is a loser environmentally and economically. Sure, there are still those who claim you can’t afford to transform our energy mix, but the reality is we can’t afford not to. 

“We are on the cusp of whole new industries, whole new applications in wind and solar, energy-efficient vehicles, conservation, bio-fuels. Scientific cooperation and technology-sharing agreements in those fields have become a major part of our diplomacy. It’s even a big issue in the Middle East, where countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are – Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who built their countries on oil, are making major investments in a regional assets other than petroleum. It’s called sunshine. So let’s be clear: Curbing climate change is not only an environmental imperative; it is a chance to tap wellsprings of innovation that will enable us go green and put something green in our wallets at the same time. To do good and to do well at the same time is not a bad political equation.”

The Iran Deal

“Iran has every reason to live up to its obligations – just as it has, by the way, throughout the negotiating process, because we actually struck an interim agreement to begin with that tested their bona fides and required them to roll back their program, and they’ve already done that over a two-year period. So make no mistake – the most fundamental provisions of this agreement, including the IAEA inspections and protocols, have no expiration date whatsoever. They are forever.  That means that Iran will be prevented and prohibited from pursuing a nuclear weapon forever. 

“This agreement came together as a result of tough diplomacy that extended over two presidencies, and we began with sanctions but sanctions were a means, not an end. Only by direct negotiations with support from a broad array of partners – including Russia and China, by the way – were we able to convince Iran’s top officials to accept the severe limits on their nuclear program. And we are moving now to the implementation stage, and it is essential that we will maintain our vigilance, our unity of approach, and our common purpose. Now, the Middle East remains a deeply troubled place, but every problem in the region would be made much worse if countries were to move towards nuclear weapons. The Iran agreement is the best way to ensure that this possibility is foreclosed now and for all time. And every nation in the region – including our key allies – is safer because of this agreement.”

Counter-terrorism Coalition 

“… The United States has, under President Obama’s leadership, taken the lead in building more than a 65-member coalition to take on ISIL. And we are working every multilateral fora to engage states, civic organizations, NGOs, faith-based groups, in the fight against violent extremism. As I speak, not a single country sponsors or endorses the kind of vicious and indiscriminate violence perpetrated by such groups as Daesh/ISIL in the Middle East, or al-Shabaab in East Africa, or Boko Haram in West Africa. And the reason is that opposition to international terrorists and repugnance at their actions has become a powerful unifying force. And that is as it should be, because these terrorists are so depraved they give new meaning to the word ‘evil.’ Their crimes go way beyond theft and destruction. They are smuggling and extorters. They destroy ancient cultural treasures. They attack schools, and by the way, by attacking those ancient treasures, attack all of history and all of culture and all of our values. They butcher teachers.  They kill people because of who they are, what they believe. A Jordanian pilot burned alive, beheading innocent journalists, abducting boys to turn them into killers, literally auctioning off terrified girls in modern-day slave markets complete with notarized sales contracts, and using the term ‘marriage’ to describe what is actually systematic rape – and rape used not just as an instrument of war, but as a way of life.

“The 65-member U.S.-led global coalition to counter Daesh has only been in place for a year. People forget that. Fourteen months ago, it didn’t even exist.  But we’ve already accomplished a lot.  Together with our local partners, the coalition and the United States have launched thousands of airstrikes, forced Daesh to change how it conducts military operations, forced them underground, impeded its command and control, rescued a religious minority on Sinjar Mountain, driven the terrorists from the critical border town of Kobani, liberated the city of Tikrit where we saw 100,000 Sunni be able to return to their home in Tikrit which was occupied by ISIL previously. We’ve protected Baghdad, secured the Turkish-Syrian border east of the Euphrates River, and we’re working on the west. And the coalition continues to strike Daesh targets in both Iraq and Syria, degrading its leadership and putting it under more pressure than ever before.”

*Secretary Kerry’s remarks with former Senator Dick Lugar and former U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton at a luncheon hosted by Indiana University.

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