Foreign Policy for America Statement on President Biden’s Visit to the Department of State

February 4, 2021

Foreign Policy for America Statement on President Biden’s Visit to the Department of State

Washington, DC – Today President Biden emphasized a renewed U.S. commitment to diplomacy and global engagement during a visit to the State Department. By choosing State as the first agency he visited, President Biden and Vice President Harris made clear their intent to restore diplomacy to the center of American foreign policy.

President Biden reiterated that for America to re-establish its standing in the world, our diplomacy must be rooted in our highest values as a nation: “Defending freedom. Championing opportunity. Upholding universal rights. Respecting the rule of law. Treating every person with dignity.” Those values are a vital source of strength – ”America’s abiding advantage.”

The President also spoke of the enduring value of alliances for pursuing American interests across a broad range of issues including nuclear stability, cyber security, addressing the climate crisis, and promoting LGBTQ rights. President Biden recognizes that we must address these issues from a position of strength, which means renewing cooperation with our closest partners but also engaging in dialogue with our adversaries and competitors to advance the security of the American people.

The President highlighted also a recurring theme in his administration – foreign policy is domestic policy and domestic policy is foreign policy. U.S. foreign policy will be driven by the needs of the American people. By addressing our overlapping crises at home, we will restore our place as a global leader able to pursue our interests and shape international cooperation to address global challenges.

We commend the President’s announcement today to end U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen, to evaluate our military posture to ensure our military engagement is aligned with our foreign policy, and to restore the refugee assistance program by increasing the refugee cap to 125,000 in the administration’s first year. We also celebrate its diplomatic success this week: extending the New START treaty with Russia an additional five years.

We also commend the President and Vice President for the effort they made to thank the foreign service officers and other civil servants at the Department. While employees throughout the federal government were mistreated and undervalued throughout the Trump administration, nowhere was the lack of morale felt more acutely than the State Department. It has been a difficult period, and these extraordinary public servants have earned the recognition and gratitude they received today.

“I was inspired today to hear the President declare ‘Diplomacy is back,’” said Foreign Policy for America Executive Director Andrew Albertson. “After four long, exhausting years, to hear his steadfast commitment to leading with diplomacy was a breath of fresh air. Americans should feel reassured by today’s remarks. And I can only imagine how encouraging President Biden’s and Vice President Harris’ words were for the hardworking men and women of the State Department. Today they turned a page.”