Governance – Commitments/”Informed Consent”
Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Press Availability
Antony J. Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State
Remarks to the Press
Washington, DC January 27, 2021
QUESTION: …You’ve talked a lot about restoring U.S. leadership in the world, but allies note that everything that you do could again be overturned in four years, and that this is a cycle that doesn’t instill confidence in the long term in the United States credibility. So how can any one administration, if it can be done, assure the world that the United States can be trusted to keep its commitments?
SECRETARY BLINKEN: So one of the things I’ve done over the last 24 hours is I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone already with our – some of our closest allies and partners in various parts of the world, and that’s continuing. And I can – what I’ve picked up from those conversations already is a very, very strong desire for the United States to be back in the room, back at the table, working with them on the many, many common challenges we face, and that was almost palpable in the conversations I’ve had to date. And I expect to hear more of that in the days ahead.
One of the things, though, to your point, is that when it comes to virtually everything we’re doing – and the President has said this many times – when it comes to foreign policy, it is hard to have a sustainable foreign policy absent the informed consent of the American people. And that informed consent, I think, comes in a couple of ways. One is in a sense it comes from you, because many Americans are reading about, hearing about, listening to what we’re doing thanks to you. And that’s vitally important to make sure that they are fully informed and thinking about and ultimately providing their consent to what we’re doing.
But the place that, in our system, that informed consent is vitally important is with Congress. The members of Congress are the representatives of the American people. They provide advice and consent to our policies. And I think one of the things you’re going to see from our administration is working as closely as we possibly can with Congress on these issues from the takeoff, not just on the landing. Because ultimately, for these policies to be sustainable, we, I think, need to try to work them as much as we can up front, not at the back end.
There are going to be disagreements. There are going to be places where we’re just in a different place. But I think we stand a better chance in producing the kind of policies that will stand the test of time if we’re working closely up front with Congress. And we’ll see where we get, but I’m determined that we do that.