tv Secretary Tillerson Says Our Values Should Guide U.S. Foreign Policy CSPAN May 5, 2017 7:19pm-8:01pm EDT
be meeting with the russian foreign minister at an upcoming meeting in alaska the speech came amid reports that he was looking to cut about 2300 employees from the state department workforce about 9% of its total. this is 40 minutes. [applause] can you all hear me in the back? [laughter] my wife said if you tied my hands to my side i would be a complete mute. i'm not good at podiums. i thought today we would just
have a chat, so i've been here about three months now working alongside one another so i thought it would be worthwhile just to share my perspectives with you on where i think we are and some things that are coming. but before i do that i would be remiss if i did not think everyone's expecting to healthy starting with the acting deputy who has just been stellar. [applause] i also want to acknowledge a large number of people, assistant secretary director and a member of chief emissions around as well. your willingness to step up and not just take that role but to
fulfilfulfill the responsibilito lead the organization through some pretty challenging first 90 days. it's not like we haven't had some things to work on, so i want to express my appreciation to all of you for helping my team as we came on board. i have been really gratified at the work that everyone has undertaken in that regard. so, i thought we would talk about a couple things. i want to share my perspective as to how this administration's policy of america first fit into the foreign policy and foreign affairs, so i want to touch on that and then take a quick walk around the world. most of you have some familiarity of what is going on around the world, but i thought i would hit each one quickly to share my perspective on kind of where i feel we are and we haven't had time yet to devote the attention we would like and i don't want to to be in any way
considered that we don' but we k they are important. it's kind of what's the hottest fire we have to deal with so i want to talk about that and then spend some time at the end talking about where we are going in the future of the department, and as you know we just kicked off this listening exercise. let's talk first about my view of how to translate america first into the foreign policy. i think that the approach is this america first for national security and economic prosperity. that doesn't mean that it comes at the expense of others. our partnerships and alliances are critical to the success in both of those areas. but as we have progressed over the last 20 years, some of you can tie it back to the post-cold war era the world has changed into some of you can tie it back to the evolution of china since
the post-nixon era and the rise as an economic power in a growing military power that as we participate in those changes, we were promoting relations and economic activity and promoting trade with a lot of these emerging economies and we just kind of lost track on how we were doing and things kind of got out of balance. as you hear the president talk about what he speaks about is things have gotten out of balance and these are important relationships to us and import and alliances that we have to bring them back into balance so whether it is or asking members to meet their obligations even though they were notional obligations we understand and aspirational, we think it's important that they become concrete and if things have gotten a little out of bounds we
have to bring that back because it isn't serving the interest of the american people very well. so, it doesn't have to come at the expense of others, but it does have to come at an engagement of others. so as we are building our policies around the notion, tha, that is what we want to support. at the end it is strengthening our national security and promoting economic prosperity for the american people. and we do that again with a lot of partners. i think it's important to also remember guiding all of our foreign-policy actions and fundamental values, our values around freedom, human dignity and the way people are treated, those are our values. those are not our policies. they are our values and the reason that it's important to keep that understood is policies can change, they do change and should. they change to adapt.
they are constant throughout all of this so i think the challenge many of us have in carrying out the policy is how do we represent our values and in some circumstancecircumstances if yod the national security efforts on someone adopting the values we can't achieve the national security goals or interests. so if we conditioned heavily that others must adopt this value that we have come to on our own, it creates obstacles to advance the national security interest. it doesn't mean that we leave those values on the sidelines. it doesn't mean that we don't advocate for and aspire to freedom, human dignity, the treatment of people world over. we do and we will always have that on our shoulder everywhere we go.
but i think it is important to understand the difference between the policies and values. in some circumstances we should and do you conditioned policy py engagements on people adopting certain actions on how they treat people. we should demand that. but that doesn't mean that i tht is the case in every situation. so, we have to understand in each country of the world what our our national security interests, what are our economic prosperity interests and then as we can advocate the values we should. but the policies can do this and they never change. so i would ask you to the extent i think it is useful because i know this is probably for me one of the most difficult areas i thought about how differently the policy to advance
simultaneously as a challenge. we can't move that quickly or adapt as quickly. so it is how do we advance the national security interest on the values that are constant. so i give you that as kind of an overarching view of how i think about the president's approach of america first. we must secure the nation and protect the borders and ability to be the voice of the value now and we can only do that for economic prosperity so there is more projected with a strong ability to enforce a strong
military and those that have understood the value of speaking with a posture of strength, not a threatening posture of strength people know we can back it up. with that in mind, let me quickly give you my assessment of where i think we are in the early stages of policy. as all of you understand, when we came into the state department, the administration came in and was sworn in and confronted, the prior year administration was told this will be the greatest threat you will have to manage and he was right. it was right on the doorstep so it got immediate attention and it was the first policy area that we began to develop in terms of what is our overarching strategic approach and how do we
want to execute against that and evaluating that, what was important to us was first where are our allies and we see the situation as he. it was useful and helpful to have the chinese and the russians articulate that their policy is unchanged. of course we did our part many years ago so now we have a shared objective for the policy approaches and strategies.
the difference i think in our approach is we are going to test this assumption and when folks came in to review this with me, chai and i had a limited influence on the regime. or they have a limited willingness to assert their influence. so i told the president we have to test that by leaning hard into them and this was a good place to start the engagement with china so that's what we have been doing is testing their willingness to use their engagement with the regime of north korea. all of it backed up by a strong resolve with acommitment to the security alliances on the peninsula and in the region.
i would say we are at about five or six right now with a strong call over the worl all over theo implement the security council resolutions regarding sanctions because no one has ever fully implemented those, so we are going to lean into people to implement them and then we told them we are watching what you're doing and when we see you are not implementing or we see individuals violating these on the context we will ask you to take care of it and if you can't, or you simply don't want to for your own reasons, we will sanction them through. we are being very open and transparent and asking our partners around the world to please take actions on your own. we are not trying to control them for you but we have an expectation so we are putting the pressure on and if it turns
out north korea's actions warrant additional sanctions, we are hopeful they will think about this and come to the conclusion that there is another way. we know it is the only way they can secure their future. we've made it clear to them this is not about regime change or collapse. it's not about an accelerated reunification of the peninsula. it's not about an excuse to come north of the 38th parallel. so we are trying to be very clear and resolute that your future security and economic prosperity may only be achieved.
we have a lot of work left to do to keep that pressure on so that is the folks in the eur euro ane mission helping us right now to continue this study resolute message to continue to talk out here about what the intentions are and what we want. we are ready to prepare to engage in talks but as you have heard me say we are not going to negotiate our way to the table. so that is north korea and then if i painted over it really took a directive at the foreign policy. you know, we really have to assess the situation as i said from this to what we find things
today. they achieved a lot in the middle class status. we still have a billion more. , china has its own challenges and we want to work with them and be mindful of what they are dealing with in the context of our relationship that has to be one of understanding that we have security interests throughout northeast asia and security interests throughout the pacific and we need to work with them on how those are addressed so that gets to the building of the south china sea and the military is facing data.
it's heavy on a broad range of issues. we want to take a look at where this relationship is going to be 50 years from now because we have an opportunity to define that. there's been a lot of dialogue areas underway the last several years with china. we have asked china to narrow and elevate to the decision-making level and we have asked them to bring people that report directly to the decision-maker so for the first time, so far it appears we will get people at the public bureau level to participate so that we can refrain in the deal with
some of the problems that have been sitting out there kind of stuck in natural for a while. so, it is a much narrower as we make progress those things will be sold in working groups where we can get after solving these things. so we will have a first meeting of the diplomatic security dialogue which is chaired by myself and the secretary with our counterparts here in washington and we have put about as kind of a top priority. the second one is economic trade which is chaired by the secretary and it is well underway as well so that is kind of the new approach we are taking is to elevate and what kind of revisit this relationship. i think it is a tremendous opportunity that we have to define that and there seems to be a great interest on the part of the chinese leadership to do that as well and they feel we
are at the plaintive inflection so that is china. throughout asia we have a lot of work to do to really solidify the relationship on a number of security issues in the south china sea and strengthen relations with australia, new zealand and important partners with a number of counterterrorism funds. so throughout the region those are underway and the president has committed to make the trip to vietnam and those meetings this fall and that's going to be important to prepare for all of that. as we walk around to the next around the campaign to defeat and the stability that has created, the issues in
afghanistan you can draw the circle south all the way. this is a counterterrorism effort is what it boils down to. so, how do we develop policies and bring reachable players together to address these threats of counterterrorism. we hosted what i thought was a successful coalition to the state department.
we need to get the message out to allow people to recruit. so, there is a big effort underway with players in the region most notably the king of saudi arabia and working with other partners to get inside of this conversation that's going on within the muslim community. around what this is doing and how it is understood by others around the world. it is an open conversation we are having on the part of leaders in the world that don't want to take this on so we will be leveraging on that as well. so, as you see this play out in the middle east, there is still a lot of hard work to get the coalition partners together around the cease-fire and the peace process. how do we advance to a legitimate peace process in what we arwhich we are pursuing in afghanistan and then keeping this terrorism network combined
as if once disparate there is a lot of work ahead of us and maybe you are directly engaged in it as well. the next area is the re- engagement with russia. obviously, they are part of the engagement. but we have other issues as you well know. as i know many of you heard from my trip to moscow characterized the relationship between the two nations was the lowest it has been since the cold war. he did not disagree. he nodded in agreement and i said it is spiraling down into getting even worse. my problem was we cannot have the greatest nuclear powers in the world for this kind of relationship. we have to change it.
so, we have a number of efforts underway to first stabilize the relationship. and the acting deputy secretary is leading the effort to see if we can address some of the things that are just irritating the relationship to make it hard for us to talk to one another. so, we are working hard on that while the foreign minister and i coming out of the cold yesterday we both continue to see if we can work together on the first big area of cooperation which will be a cease-fire to get a peace process under way. i don't want to say that we are all off to a great start on this because it is an early stage and i don't know where it will go. so i have a bilateral next week
on the council. both of the presidents have charged us to take this further to see where we can go with it. so obviously, close coordination and the department of defense, and importantly our allies in the region if we want them to always know what we are doing because we will need their support as well. so, a lot of work ahead of us. can we work one big thing together if we can find space for some maybe we can begin to build some level of trust because today there is almost no level of trust. we have a long list of things to work on from the arms agreement to obviously getting to ukraine and crania and other places where russia isn't being particularly helpful today so that is what we are hoping is if we can build a way to work with
one another. i don't know whether we can or not, but we are going to find out. so, quickly to other parts, they are important as well. africa is important from the standpoint we cannot let africa become the next breeding ground for the reemergence on the caliphate for isis and we also cannot allow the ticker-based networks to move their way through africa to continue unabated. you can connect the dots between the countries throughout the central part of africa and northern part of africa where the networks are connected we have to get into the middle of that and disrupt that to save those countries. but it's also a country of enormous opportunity. and it needs and will continue to receive attention to support stabilizing government as they are merging and continue to develop their own institutional
capacities but also, looking at africa for potential economic trading opportunities. that is a huge i think the potential sitting out there waiting for us to capture and then obviously a big focus on the health initiative because africa still struggles with huge health challenges and those are important for us and we will continue to get our attention. so, today we have some things we are working on relative to the middle east challenges and we've got to step back and take a more comprehensive approach and that is out in front of us as well. and last i want to go to the western hemisphere. obviously the neighbors are important to us. canada, mexico. it's not as rocky as it looks sometimes and i think in fact that relationships are quite
good. particularly on the areas of trade, both countries are ready to engage in a good-faith effort and in particular, we are investing a lot of effort into mexico because of the transmigration issues and organized crime so we have an initiative underway where senior members of the mexican government will be coming up on may 18 to participate in the interagency process without to see if we can get a transnational organized crime to break these organized crime units up. not only are they a threat to us and to mexico's stability, and discourage the drugs flow into this country but they are also a part of the integrated terrorist network as well so this is vital to us for a number of reasons and we look forward to making progress.
so out in mexico, we have some initiatives to work under way with the countries that are where a lot of the people are trying to leave to come to the u.s. to continue economic development, security investments in latin america and working with the department of homeland security. we are hosting a and events in miami to bring the leaders have ttotalk to them about how we can better organize to address these issues and bring more private capital into investment opportunities. we have a lot of opportunities and challenges. what we want to do is step back and develop strategies to think about south america in its entirety. therthere are terrorist financig issues and networks that are beginning to emerge in parts of south america that has our
attention. there are governance issues in certain countries, certainly all of you are following the situation in venezuela over the tragedy that we are hopeful that working with others including interventions by others that we may be able to gain some traction in venezuela, so we have a number of things in front of us yet to develop clear policies on how we want to go forward. everything is interconnected. we can take a country and to develop something but if we do not have the perspective we will probably not be as effective, so we are trying to start out here and then we will bring it down to the country by country level so that we can execute so that is just to give you a little perspective on how we are approaching the thing we try to get a big picture view and then we bring back euro and and help
us start developing. so for those of you that have participated in these efforts, thank you. i feel quite good about the pieces that have been completed, i can tell you the white house feels good about it, the national security council really values the work that we provide in the interagency process. i hear that from them all the time the stuff that comes over from the state department we done our homework. it's a complete piece of work and it's useful and we could use it but that is not always the case from all of the other agencies, so thank you for the effort you are putting into that in that regard. let me turn now quickly to the last thing i want to talk about which is the future and where we are going. i eluded to this when i was commenting about the post-cold war era. during the cold war, and i have
had this conversation with some of you in this room before in our interactions in many respects, the cold war was a lot easier. things were pretty clear. there were a lot of things contained and i had a conversation with the secretary general who described it as as g the cold war we froze history. history just stopped in its tracks because so many of the dynamics that existed for centuries were contained with heavy authoritarianism. when the cold war ended and the soviet union broke up, we took all of that and history maintained its march into the world a whole lot more complicated. and i think that is what we see. it has become much more complicated in terms of old conflicts that have renewed themselves because they are not contained now. so, that is the word old as it
is and that is the world that we have to engage with. so, i am saying this as a preface as we did after thinking about how we should deliver the mission is to be thinking about how the way that we have been delivering is in many ways shaped as a residual of the cold war era and in many respects we haven't yet transitioned ourselves to this new reality and i don't just say that about the state department i say that about institutions globally. i had the same conversation about the united nations that there are many institutions you can see when we have our conversations with others that there are many institutions around the world that were created during a different era and the process in organizations were set up and we have not fully adapted to those.
it's not how we developed on a mission to one of the things that get into this opportunity to look at how we get our work done is to think about the world as it is today. we've been giving it this way the last 30, 40 or 50 years because it was created in a different environment. so, i guess what i am inviting all of you to do is to approach this effort that we are going to undertake with no constraints. one of the great honors for me serving in this department the department of state first cabinet is chartered under the constitution. the secretary of state first cabinet position we are going to
get to carve out our little piece of it in that clock of time. how do we adapt to that i want to ask you to be e. of your thinking through the process of going forward as you know we just kicked off this listening exercise and encourage you to please go online and participate in the survey online. i think we have about 300 individuals we have selected to sit down to do some interviews so we have an understanding. we want to collect all of this
input and your thoughts and ideas. that is going to guide how we approach the work process design and how we deliver on the mission. that is the real key. i understand how to deliver on the mission first and how about work process works but now i will put the boxes around it. most people like to start with the boxes and then design it. how do we get the work done and then put the infrastructure in place to support that. so, we needed a lot of creative thinking and we needed to hear from you this is going to inform how this turns out and i wanted to emphasize the have no preconceived notions on the outcome.
i came up with a commitment to see if we could improve it and i know a change like this is really stressful for a lot of people. i don't want to diminish in any way the challenges that this presents for individuals. it presents to the families and organizations. i am very well aware of all of that. all i can offer you on the other side of that equation is an opportunity to shape the future way in which we will deliver the mission. and i can almost promise you because i have never been through one of these exercises where it was not true i could promise you that when this is all done, you will have a much more satisfying and fulfilling career because you will feel better about what you are doing because the impact of what you are doing and you will know
exactly how what you do every day contributes to our political mission and that's when i find people are the most satisfied with their professional career. and you will have a sideline about what you want for your future so this is a big undertaking. it is a big department and between this and that usaid we are including all of the missions and offices. we are all part of how we deliver on the mission if we want to look at it in its entirety as to how we do that. i appreciate that participating openly in this listening exercise, but importantly, i want to condition you to be ready to participate in the next phase because that is when it will become more challenging. but we are all on this voyage and i'm not going to call it a
cruise because it may not be that much fun. [laughter] but we are all on this ship together so we are going to get on the ship and take this voyage and when we get there we are all going to get off the ship at wherever we arrived and we are all going to get on together. we don't intend to leave anybody out. so, i appreciate your participation. i hope that you will approach this with a level of excitement as to what it may hold for the state department first and then for you as an individual and what it means for you. so we are asking all of you to do that. let me lastly say i do appreciate all of the work that you do. believe it or not i do read all of these memos. i am not a fast reader but they
are extraordinarily helpful to me. so, keep sending me the insight to what you're doin you are doin particular how we got to where we are is very valuable to me. >> i have an opportunity to address a group of young people about 700 middle school and high school people that were here participating at the un conference we were hosting at the state department. there's a few funny things you get to do in this job, so i had to vacuum and a time and a young lady i think she was in middle school asks a question she said what inspires you as the secretary of state when you come to work every day. i told her it is quite easy. i said to the men and women, the state department. my colleagues, their professionalism, the commitment, the patriotism. and i said our partners in
[applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> next, from the republican national lawyers association conference, deputy assistant to president, sebastian gorka talks about the fight against isis. then a discussion on president trump's executive order on religious liberty for individuals and groups. and later, veterans affairs secretary david shulkin testifies as a house oversight hearing. >> now, deputy assistant to the president, sebastian gorka, speaks on the effort to combat isis. spoke the republican national lawyers association conference. this is 45 minutes. >> come on up. [applause]