This week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took some time to give his department employees at Foggy Bottom a 39-minute pep talk.
The speech offered perhaps the most clear-eyed vision of the Trump administration's foreign policy you'll ever hear. He touched on "America First," China, the Middle East, Russia, Africa and the Western Hemisphere—and in the process, he destroyed the liberal notion that the administration doesn't know what it's doing or where it's going.
The Department of State is going to take the brunt of non-domestic spending cuts in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposed by President Donald Trump. Tillerson's speech served as fair warning that he supports the president's proposals, and he intends to craft a department that will meet those challenges head-on.
"I know change like this is really stressful for a lot of people," he said. "There's nothing easy about it, and I don't want to diminish in any way the challenges I know this presents for individuals, it presents to families, it presents to organizations. I'm 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 on mission, and I can almost promise you—because I have never been through one of these exercises where it wasn't true—that I can promise you that when this is all done, you're going to have a much more satisfying, fulfilling career, because you're going to feel better about what you're doing because of the impact of what you are doing. You will know exactly how what you do every day contributes to our delivery on mission, and that is when I find people are most satisfied with their professional careers. And you're going to have clear line of sight about what do you want for yourself in the future.
"So this is a—it's a big undertaking. This is a big department, between this and USAID, and we are including all of our missions, all of our embassies, all of our consular offices, because we all are part of how we deliver on mission. So we want to look at it in its entirety as to how we do that. So I appreciate your participating openly in this listening exercise, but importantly, I want to condition you to be ready to participate in the next phase, because that's when it'll become more challenging.
"But we're all on this boat, on this voyage—I'm not going to call it a cruise; it's not—may not be that much fun. But we're on all this ship, on this voyage together. And so we're going to get on the ship and we're going to take this voyage, and when we get there, we're all going to get off the ship at wherever we arrive. But we're all going to get on and we're going to get off together. We don't intend to leave anybody out."
You can watch Tillerson's entire speech in the video clip above.
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