The Foreign Service Journal, May 2021

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2021 11 TALKING POINTS Foreign Policy for the American People I n his first major foreign policy speech, Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought to connect American foreign pol- icy to the everyday needs of Americans. “More than at any other time in my career—maybe in my lifetime—distinc- tions between domestic and foreign policy have simply fallen away,” Secretary Blinken said in the March 4 speech at the State Department. “Our domestic renewal and our strength in the world are completely entwined. And how we work will reflect that reality.” Secretary Blinken said the Biden administration is setting foreign policy priorities by asking three questions: “What will our foreign policy mean for American workers and their families? What do we need to do around the world to make us stronger here at home? And what do we need to do at home to make us stronger in the world?” In his speech, Blinken outlined eight priorities: • Stopping COVID-19 and strength- ening global health security. • Turning around the economic crisis and building “a more stable, inclusive global economy.” • Renewing democracy, which is under threat. • Creating a “humane and effective immigration system.” • Revitalizing ties with U.S. allies and partners. • Tackling climate change. • Securing a U.S. position of leader- ship in technology. • Managing the U.S.-China relation- ship. Blinken said turning around COVID-19 is the top priority, because no one “will be safe until the majority of the world is immune.” He said the United States would work with partners “to keep the global vaccination effort moving forward.” He emphasized the importance of improving the economy, noting that the pandemic has “laid bare inequalities” in America. “So we’ve got a double challenge: to protect Americans from a lengthy downturn, and to make sure the global economy delivers security and opportu- nity for as many Americans as possible in the long term,” he said. Blinken stressed the importance of developing a “just plain decent solution” to immigration problems. The United States must adhere to its core principles in the immigration discussion, he said, adding that “cruelty, especially to chil- dren, is unacceptable.” View the speech at speech. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks on March 4 at the State Department. STATEDEPARTMENT Truman Center Offers Midlevel Perspectives on Reform T he United States has a “once-in-a- generation opportunity to remake the State Department” by making it more inclusive and innovative, says a new report from the Truman Center for National Policy. “Transforming State: Pathways to a More Just, Equitable, and Innovative Institution” is the latest of many reports recommending reforms for State. It is different, however, in that it was authored by dozens of midlevel current and former State Depart- ment officials. The report recom- mends strengthening equity and transpar- ency in promotions and assignments at State by ensuring gender parity and racial equity in promotion panels; pilot- ing blind review in employee evaluation reports; and conducting a data-driven analysis on barriers to promotion. It calls for empowering the State Department’s new chief diversity officer to dismantle barriers to recruitment and retention of employees from under- represented groups, and strengthen and enforce accountability for super- visors who are the subject of harass- ment investigations. The report’s authors also advo- cate creation of an entry program for midcareer Foreign Service specialists focusing on new areas such as global health, technology, data literacy and climate change. Noting that knowledge of diplomacy and global affairs outside foreign policy circles is sorely lacking, the report recom- mends establishing an “Office of State and