January 26, 2015 10:23 UTC

In the News

America’s New Secretary of State Talks Foreign Policy

John Kerry makes his first official speech as Secretary of State | IN THE NEWS

US Kerry
US Kerry
From VOA Learning English, this is IN THE NEWS in Special English.
Secretary of State John Kerry made it clear this week that American foreign policy decisions affect the lives of Americans. Mr. Kerry spoke during a visit to the University of Virginia. The school was established by the country’s first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson.    
 
The visit came at a time when Congress and President Obama are debating federal spending. Secretary Kerry used his speech to call attention to the importance of diplomacy. And he explained why the international affairs budget should not be cut.
 
Mr. Kerry said foreign policy matters do not just include threats to the United States. He said they include “the products Americans buy, the goods they sell, the jobs they create, and the opportunity we provide for economic growth and vitality.” 
 
“I'm here because our lives as Americans are more intertwined than ever before with the lives of people in parts of the world we've never visited.  In the global challenges of diplomacy, development, economic security, and environmental security, you will feel our success or failure just as strongly as those people in those other countries that you'll never meet.”
 
Secretary Kerry said one study found that most Americans thought the international affairs budget was 25 percent of the national budget. Many of those questioned wanted to reduce foreign affairs spending to 10 percent. He noted that such spending represents, in fact, just over 1 percent of the national budget.  
 
Mr. Kerry praised the State Department and USAID, the United States Agency for International Development. He said their good work is measured not only in the value of the dollar, but in American values. He noted that it is less costly to deploy diplomats today than troops tomorrow. 
 
Secretary Kerry said the State Department and USAID have provided assistance to democracy and human rights programs in several countries. 
 
Mr. Kerry will make his first foreign trip as Secretary of State beginning this Sunday. He plans to visit nine countries in Europe and the Middle East. 
 
He also spoke about globalization and the spread of information. The Arab Spring is a good example of how social media like Facebook and Twitter can influence foreign policies and even change governments.
 
The political unrest started over two years ago in Tunisia. This week, events made it clear that political reforms and change do not happen overnight. Tunisia’s Islamist supported prime minister resigned after failing to form a new government. Hamadi Jebali left office after saying his own Ennahada party had rejected his government plans. 
 
Mr. Jebali announced his desire to form a non-partisan government on February 6th. The announcement came just after opposition leader Chokri Belaid was shot and killed in the capital, Tunis. Large protests followed the shooting. Supporters accused the prime minister of being involved.

On Friday, Interior Minister Ali Larayedh was nominated as Mr. Ennadha’s choice for Prime Minister. He will have two weeks to form a government.
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Video Experts Decide Ethiopia Has Best Coffee

    What makes Ethiopian coffee the best? International coffee experts travel the world to find the best tasting cup of coffee, however they keep returning to Ethiopia. The country has an export revenue of more than $840 million a year from coffee to 120 countries. More

  • Thailand Fishing Industry

    Audio Labor Groups Criticize Abuses in Thai Fishing Industry

    Thailand is the third largest exporter of fish and fishery products in the world. Those exports are worth more than eight billion dollars. But the Thai fishing industry is under attack because of reports of labor rights abuses and human trafficking. The government is taking steps to stop the abuses. More

  • Audio Vietnamese Officials Worried about Political Blog

    The blog publishes documents and photographs, and has linked suspected corruption to cabinet members and their relatives; the blog has been visited almost 14 million times since it was launched a month ago. People’s Daily has suggested that the information is false. More

  • korea2

    Video S. Korean Businesses Want to Ease Trade Restriction with North

    Business leaders in South Korea are urging the government to ease trade restrictions with North Korea. They believe that expanding trade will help their businesses and contribute to long-term peace and security on the Korean peninsula. South Korea cut many economic ties with the North in 2010. More

  • Should Schools in US Recognize Muslim Holidays

    Video Should Schools in US Recognize Muslim Holidays?

    Some religious minorities in America are demanding that schools close on their religious holidays. They ask, if Christian and Jewish holy days are recognized, shouldn’t those of other faiths also be observed? The issue is being debated in Maryland, near Washington, DC. More

Featured Stories

  • Obama

    Audio Has Obama Set the Message for the 2016 Campaign?

    “I have no more campaigns to run … I know because I won both of them.” Mr. Obama cannot run for president again – U.S. presidents may serve only two terms. But some observers say his most recent State of the Union message on the middle class sounded like a campaign speech. More

  • American Sniper

    Video With Oscar Nomination, 'American Sniper' Stirs Debate

    The movie is based on a book by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. He is considered the deadliest marksman in the history of the United States military. The film explores how war can affect a soldier's mental and emotional health and stirs a debate on social media over its message. More

  • Designers work at computer stations at TechShop in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California, April 24, 2014

    Video TechShop Puts High-Tech Dreams Within Reach

    Members of TechShop use high-tech equipment to develop and produce ideas they have for inventions. Members are able to use costly machines including 3D modeling tools and laser cutters. Membership costs for TechShop start at just over $100 per month. | Science in the News More

  • .

    Video Rare, Important Art Is Now Only a Click Away

    The public has never seen the majority of works in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museums of Asian Art. Now they can be downloaded from the Internet -- in many cases for free. The Freer and Sackler Galleries worked for over 15 years to make digital copies of more than 40,000 objects. More

  • Video Light Pollution. How Much Light is Too Much?

    Light pollution can affect our ability to see the night stars. It can also hurt our health and the planet. But light is needed to make our cities safe. How can we find a balance? In cities, artificial light comes from street lamps, buildings, signs and cars and blocks out stars in the sky. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs