Tony Blinken, Diplomacy – The First Response

Published on11 SEP 2017

From the nuclear crisis in North Korea to the ongoing civil war in Syria and its impact on the expanding global refugee crisis, diplomacy remains an essential tool in addressing today’s most pressing geopolitical issues, according to former US Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken. In this discussion, Blinken also underscores the "extraordinary, unique, welcoming role" that the United States has long played to people fleeing war, persecution or disaster around the world, sharing the stories of one-time refugees in his own family.

On diplomacy as a critical tool in foreign policy: “Diplomacy has to be the first response – not the sole response and not the only thing that we have – but if we can’t figure out up front how to talk about problems and see if we can work our way through them, we’re going to be left again and again with last resorts.”

On finding an effective balance between diplomacy and military force: “It’s the push and pull between diplomacy and deploying military muscle that is a hard balance to get right. A lot of time [while I was in office] was spent looking at what might be the unintended consequences of intervention or engagement.”

On the United States’ history of welcoming refugees: “That is the country that I grew up in…[The stories of my grandparents are the stories] that I see as being in jeopardy today. That to me is who we are. And if we can hold onto that I think we will do just fine.”


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