Kerry: Diplomacy equals jobs
February 15th, 2013
06:52 PM ET

Kerry: Diplomacy equals jobs

By Jill Dougherty

John Kerry, the new secretary of state, jokingly calls himself a "recovering politician."

After 28 years in the Senate, he now finds himself "sort of walking a new line," as he says, not allowed to mix politics with international policy.

But Kerry does see a direct connection between what the State Department does abroad and its impact at home.

"This is not just about over there; this is about here," he told staff of the U.S. Agency for International Development on Friday.

"This is about how you build the societies that offer us the market opportunities so that we can have the trade and investment and the options of creating the jobs here at home and the goods that Americans can buy," he said.

Following a meeting with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton on Thursday, he touted the benefits of cooperation between the United States and Europe.

"We can create jobs. We will have greater market clout as a consequence of that," Kerry said.

At times, Kerry sounds more like a chief executive than a diplomat:

"What I want to do is work with you in the smartest way we can together to get the best return on this investment for the American taxpayer that we can get, the most accountable, the most transparent, the most efficient. "

Kerry aides tell CNN to look for a heavy focus on economic diplomacy, saying he looks to connect diplomacy with daily life and the American economy.

Aides say he "wants to talk to" people at home about their connection to his work.

This may come through, for instance, in a speech before he heads out on a foreign trip.

Kerry already is planning to deliver his first major speech on February 20 at the University of Virginia.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says it's the first in a series of domestic addresses in which he plans to discuss "how a relatively small investment in our foreign policy and diplomatic efforts results in a big return for America's economy and security."

The theme also aims to show how "American businesses and citizens have a stake in the ongoing debate about our nation's budget priorities," Nuland said.

Kerry's predecessor, Hillary Clinton, also made that link between America's diplomatic actions abroad and their effect on jobs at home.

But several studies have shown that many Americans feel the United States spends too much on foreign aid. Although it totals less than 1% of the federal budget, many think it's more like 25%.

This week Kerry said he used to joke that "a senator who stands up in today's world and tries to make the argument for foreign aid probably ought to have a mental evaluation."

"It's tough," he admits. "But I've got news for you: We're going to do it. We're going to continue to fight for this connection because it is such a paltry, tiny component of what we do overall, compared to the military budget, compared to all of our budget."

Kerry wants Americans to "connect the dots" between America's security and the State Department's efforts abroad and he points to Egypt and other countries in the Middle East, with huge numbers of young people and fragile economies.

"If we don't build health capacity or education capacity or governance capacity with those folks," he says, "then everybody here knows how ripe those people will be for someone to walk in with a religious extremist point of view and strap a suicide vest on them and send them out to do harm because they don't have anything better to offer to the world."

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Intellicig

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    February 23, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  2. davemi

    It sound like you are off your medication.

    February 17, 2013 at 1:13 am | Reply
  3. Phill

    PLEASE REMOVE CAPS LOCK. (It's just annoying and to the point of making people disregard everything you have to say out of hand.)

    February 17, 2013 at 1:04 am | Reply
  4. NAM VET

    KERRY DID NOT HAVE THE SMARTS TO TALK TO HIS ACCOUNTANT–THAT IS JUST THE WAY IT IS–NOW WE ARE STUCK WITH THIS IDIOT–AND HE IS OUT A HALF MILLION DOLLARS-GOOD JOB KERRY----

    February 16, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  5. NAM VET

    DID YOU NAME THE BOAT– HOW MANY PORTS OF CALL DID YOU MAKE? HOW MANY R AND R'S ON THE RIVER BOAT FOR PLEASURE WERE THERE. ----–

    February 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Reply
    • davemi

      Just plain die. Swift boating was the deliberate and malicious strategy of attacking a candidates strengths. Fortunately it didn't work in 2012.

      February 17, 2013 at 1:08 am | Reply
  6. amf140

    As a true politician – he is speaking out both sides of his mouth. Regardless of how you grade Ms Clinton's tenure as Sec of State, she did remain out of politics (probably the main reason Obama appointeed her). Kerry is a rigid Progressive that can't help himself – blustering is in his nature. Just solve the Mideast, North Korean, China and Africa problems and you will be a success. And and don't forget, no more Benghazi's. That's plenty to ask from the richest man in Congress. Oh, I guess that is only important when a Conservative is rich. Good luck John, we are all watching.

    February 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  7. empresstrudy

    This is truly retarded.

    February 16, 2013 at 9:28 am | Reply
  8. StanCalif

    Kerry is another career politician. I don't see him as a force in our foreign affaires. Hillary travelled all over the world, for what? Nothing meaningful accomplished. What does Kerry offer?

    February 16, 2013 at 8:47 am | Reply
    • massoud

      Kerry is probably getting tired of being putdown by Theresa and wants some space , he will travel around the globe and accomplish nothing just like his predecessor Hilary Clinton

      February 17, 2013 at 1:23 am | Reply
  9. PHILLIP FULTON

    hummm.....presidential sounding........makes sense. Needs to stress to american about all american made = jobs!
    Thata's the cure all. Convincing americans to buy american made. If that would happen, we'd all have good jobs!

    February 16, 2013 at 7:17 am | Reply
  10. larry5

    I hope Kerry has time to look at how the Germans do things. When Mercedes sells a car or truck outside their own borders they don't pay any taxes on the sale. It helps to keep jobs at home. In America corporations get hit hard for making overseas sales and because of that many corporations take the hint and leave. Those taxes are a short term gain and a long term loss. America used to be strong because they designed and made stuff but not any more.

    February 16, 2013 at 6:14 am | Reply
    • NAM VET

      KERRY DID NOT HAVE THE SAVY TO PARK HIS BOAT TO EVADE PAYING HIS TAXES. HAD HE HAD ANY BUSINESS
      SMARTS HE COULD HAVE HAD IT IN PORT AT BREMEN AND FLOWN BACK AND FORTH TO BE A SAILOR AND SAVED
      ABOUT 400K.-LOTS OF SMARTS LACKING IN THIS DUDES WORLD OF BUSINESS.–JUST SAYING----WE NEED
      FOLKS WITH COMMON SENSE IN MOST OF OUR GOVERNMENT-FAT CHANCE IN THAT HAPPENING--–

      February 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Reply
      • davemi

        It sound like you have a PTSD and a big mouth and a big ego,

        February 17, 2013 at 1:12 am |
  11. Peter Q Wolfe

    I really like the Secretary of State as Mr Kerry for the reason of economic development abroad and domestic. Who could disagree with this premise?

    February 16, 2013 at 5:21 am | Reply
    • NAM VET

      KERRY HAS NO CLUE AS TO HOW TO VIEW OR COMPREHEND A P&L. NOW ALL OF SUDDEN HE THINKS HIMSELF
      A BUSINESS MAN----–JOHN KERRY DID BEST WHEN HE WROTE HIS OWN COMMANDATIONS FOR MEDALS OF
      VALOR---ITS ALL IN HIS RECORD---KERRY IS A FRAUD NOW AS HE WAS WHEN HE PUT TIME IN THE NAVY
      YOU CAN NEVER ESCAPE WHAT YOU DID JOHN-–YOUR COUNTRYMEN HAVE BEEN WATCHING ALL THESE YEARS
      AND NOW YOU REALLY HAVE TO DO A JOB THAT YOU ARE TOTALLY WAY OF OF YOUR LEAGUE. GOD HELP US
      ALL AND OUR COUNTRY ONCE AGAIN,

      February 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  12. helenecha

    Not only does Kerry sound more like a chief executive than a diplomat, but also he sounds he is doing the job in the smartest way, as his mind is usually full of the words which will encourage unenlightened people and comfort enlightened people. It's so great, right?

    February 15, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Reply
    • NAM VET

      NO–N0--NO AND NO--–KERRY HAS ALWAYBEEN A WANNA BE AND WOULD SINK A BATTLE SHIP TO GAIN
      WANNA BE BS--–WHEN I CAME BACK FROM NAM IN"67" I WATCHED HIM ON TV DRESSED IN A RAGGED HALF
      UNIFORM, NEEDED A HAIR CUT AND LIKE NO OTHER VETERAN WOULD THINK OF DEGRADING THE UNIFORM HE
      ONCE SERVED IN. HE DISGRACED ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN THAT SERVED WITH HONOR THE COUNTRY THAT
      WE ALL LOVE AND SERVE.NOW AS ALWAYS HE DISGRACES THIS COUNTRY–GREAT CHOICE OB-RIGHT ON
      COURSE WITH YOUR AGENDA OF PUTTING OUR COUNTRY IN THE CRAPPER.

      February 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  13. RetNavy2001

    For once Obama made a good choice, Kerry is the right man for this job, his connections throughout the world and his business sense makes him the perfect rep for this country

    February 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Reply
    • NAM VET

      KERRY HAS NEVER HAD ANY BUSINESS EXPERIENCE--UNLESS YOU MEAN HE THAT HE WAS SUPPY OFFICER AS
      WELL AS BOAT CAPT, HE WOULD HAVE ORDERED FOOD ETC FOR YOU FOLKS ON THE BOAT TO CONSUME------THAT IS NOT QUITE THE SAME AS BUSINESS EXPERIENCE. IF YOU REFER TO HIS WIFES HOLDINGS,HE WAS NEVER ALOWED TO MESS WITH STUFF THAT WOULD INTERFEAR WITH THEIR BUSINESS--HOW DO I KNOW THAT--IT IS JUST A BASIC PRINCIPLE WITH CORPORATE ETHICS.

      February 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • NAM VET

      DID YOU SERVE WITH KERY ON DOS BOAT?

      February 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Reply

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