'America First Is Not America Alone'

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses reporters at the Department Press Briefing, at the U.S. Department of State.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses reporters at the Department Press Briefing, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on August 1, 2017.

'America First Is Not America Alone'

Today U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson addressed the press during the Department Press Briefing at the U.S. Department of State. As Spokesperson Heather Nauert noted during her introduction of the Secretary, Secretary Tillerson has been in the middle of the U.S foreign policy response to many international current events, working with the President and other Cabinet officials to address these challenges.

After being in office for six months, Secretary Tillerson took the opportunity to discuss where things stand in terms of global affairs and the United States "America First" foreign policy. Secretary Tillerson stated, "I think the President has been clear though that when we say America first it doesn’t mean America alone, and we do value our friends and allies; we value our partners. And we recognize and acknowledge our adversaries and our enemies, and we tend to think about our relationships in those types of terms.  But as we have said, America first is not America alone."

The Secretary continued, "As we came into office, we walked into a number of situations of conflict and threats around the world, and our assessment of the situation required us to make some pretty significant pivots in a different direction than our predecessors were taking.  And we think these pivots are necessary to achieve security for the American people, create the conditions for prosperity for the American people.  And in doing so, we create better conditions for security and prosperity the world over, and that serves everyone’s interest well." Secretary Tillerson outlined how the State Department has worked to address ongoing challenges with Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK also known as North Korea), and ISIS as well as addressing the importance of our bilateral relationships with nations like Russia and China.

Finally, Secretary Tillerson addressed the current redesign underway at the U.S. Department of State. The Secretary highlighted the important role State employees are playing in the effort and thanked them for their continued service and ability to adapt to the needs of current operating environment.

Secretary Tillerson said, "The redesign of the State Department is an employee-led effort.  Unlike some of the other departments in response to the EO, I have elected not to impose a top-down answer on the organization.  I’m using approaches that I have used in my past that have been successful.  And we are creating an employee-led effort to redesign the State Department.... 

And I know that these people in this department are dedicated like no other Americans to their mission.  This is the most patriotic group of people I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  I’m proud of every one of them, and I look forward to helping them put in place the organization that’s going to serve their needs." 

Visit www.state.gov to read the full transcript of Secretary Tillerson's remarks.

Editor's Note: This blog is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.