October 20, 2014 22:48 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

  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo gestures to the crowd during a street parade following his inauguration in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibraham)

    Audio Hope, Expectation for New Indonesian Leader

    Joko Widodo is a former businessman and governor of Jakarta. He has no ties to the political establishment. There are huge expectations for the new president in the world’s third-largest democracy. More

  • Bishops attend the beatification ceremony of Pope Paul VI, and a mass for the closing of of a two-week synod on family issues, celebrated by Pope Francis, in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican,  Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.

    Audio Catholic Bishops Reject Plan to 'Welcome' Gays

    Conservatives had criticized an early document from the two-week-long meeting of bishops in Rome. That document sought to limit criticism of people who have same-sex relationships. The final document approved by the bishops disappoints liberals but pleases conservatives. | As It Is More

  • A man works on a cassava farm in Nigeria.

    Audio Climate Change Could Destroy Farms in Africa

    About 70 percent of those who live in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa are small-scale farmers. They produce about 80 percent of the food needed to feed the people of Africa. And they need a lot of help dealing with the effects of climate change. | As It Is More

  • Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, left, walks with former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Oct. 20, 2014.

    Audio Indonesians Welcome New President

    Also, Turkey and US help Kurdish forces fight Islamic State, and finally some good news on the fight against Ebola. | In the News More

  • African Cheetahs

    Audio Is the Cheetah Fast Enough to Survive?

    In 1900, about 100,000 cheetahs lived in the world. Today there are only 10,000 of the animals. It appears that the cheetah is vulnerable to attacks by other animals because of its physiology. More

Featured Stories

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    More and more children are diagnosed with ADHD, a condition that makes it hard to focus. | HEALTH REPORT More

  • Millions of years of history, which can be found on the ocean floor, are collected and analyzed at the Core Repository in New York.

    Video Scientists Create New Maps of Ocean Floor

    Until recently, scientists had mapped only about 20 percent of the sea floor. But our knowledge of the deep seas is changing because of information from satellites. Scientists have produced a new map that provides a detailed picture of the oceans. More

  • General George McClellan created a strong Union force, but he worried he did not have enough men to defeat the Confederacy.

    Audio McClellan Approaches Richmond ... And Waits

    The North and South clashed in a series of battles called the Seven Days Campaign. The struggle saved the Confederacy but came at a terrible price. But victory came at a terrible price. Twenty thousand Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded. More

  • Solar Storm

    Audio How to Weather a Solar Storm

    The sun’s energy creates light and heat. It also produces charged electrical particles and magnetic fields. The sun can keep the earth nice and warm and helps our crops to grow. But a sudden burst of that solar energy can cause a power outage. More

  • Video Sting, War, Lou Reed for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame officials nominated Green Day, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, The Marvelettes, N.W.A., Nine Inch Nails, The Spinners and The Smiths. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs