October 13, 2015 07:11 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.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Audio Will Cricket Score Points with Americans?

    Former cricket umpire Dickie Bird rings the bell at Lord's cricket ground in London in May 2015. But do Americans know him or other famous cricketers? Two teams are coming to three US cities in November. They will be led by well-known players Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne. | As It Is More

  • Video Cambodian Farmers Plant Less Rice, More Organic Vegetables

    Experts are urging Cambodian farmers to diversify their crops. Most farmers in Cambodia grow rice. Many also may grow cassava and maize. But very few farmers in the country grow other vegetables. And more Cambodians are demanding organic produce. More

  • Britain's Prince Andrew, second left, holds a solar lamp as students and teachers look on during his visit to H.R. College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, India (file photo – 09 Mar. 2010)

    Audio India to Promote Use of Solar Energy

    Hundreds of villages in rural areas of India use clean energy now, instead of pollution-producing kerosene-powered lamps. But will a rise in energy produced from coal increase greenhouse gases? | As It Is More

  • Audio Air Accidents More Likely in Africa

    Africa has just 5 percent of global air traffic but 20 percent of accidents and deaths. Power losses, animals on runways are some of the problems air-safety experts hope to solve. | As It Is More

  • Audio Are Glass Skywalks in China Safe?

    In central China, people fled from a glass skywalk after parts of the structure broke up. People are sharing images of the cracks on the Internet. While no one was injured, this incident has people asking – is such a walkway safe? More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Bernie Sanders: Giving Hillary Clinton a Run for her Money

    Who is the man disrupting the “coronation” of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party nominee for president? Who is Bernie Sanders? He is a self-described “democratic socialist,” who is filling large halls and stadiums with people who are drawn to his message. More

  • Audio Weasel, Duck, Dog: Animals That Are Also Verbs

    Enough horsing around! We finally stop floundering and deliver this week's program, even though it means scapegoating one of our own. Don't be cowed by the topic: these words are fun and will not outfox you. More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: When Nouns Act Like Adjectives

    English speakers usually modify a noun with an adjective. Today the Everyday Grammar team looks at the times English speakers modify a noun with another noun. Learn how to say and write them correctly in this episode. More

  • Video A Taste of Japan at the ‘Grand Sake Tasting’

    Jasmine Taylor pours sake at the Grand Sake Tasting in Washington, D.C. Japanese music played while people drank rice wine and ate traditional food. This celebration raised money for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. More

  • Video Who Goes to a Rock Concert With Their Mother? Millennials!

    When musicians over the age of 50 are the star performers, you expect to see many Baby Boomers cheering them on. Aging rock music stars usually have Baby Boomer fans. Younger rock stars are more likely to appeal to Millennials. But at the Lockn' Music festival, two generations came together. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs