Senator Tim Kaine, thank youvery, very much foryour generous words of introduction. Tim, as hementioned,has only been on the Foreign RelationsCommittee, I guess now for a total of afew weeks,but I can, based on his testimony a moment ago,positively commendhim on his voting record. (Laughter and applause.) He’s really – he’sfoundhimself new job security too, because here in Virginia you have a single-termgovernor forfour years, so he has traded one single four-year term for asix-year term with potentialextension. (Laughter.) So given the fact that Itraded the several extensions for a four-yearterm and then I’m finished, maybehe knows something and I ought to be listening to him. (Laughter.) I could learna thing or two from him.
We didn’t overlap for long, but Iwant to tell everybody here that we know each other prettywell from service asa Lieutenant Governor and when he was Governor of the state. I wasLieutenantGovernor of my state, so we have that in common before being senators.
I’ll tell you a quick story. AndI don’t know what you do in Virginia as Lieutenant Governor,but inMassachusetts, once upon a time Calvin Coolidge was Lieutenant Governor. And hewas ata dinner party, and his dinner partner turned to him and said, “What doyou do?” And he said, “Well, I’m Calvin Coolidge. I’m Lieutenant Governor ofMassachusetts.” And she said, “Oh wow,that must be really interesting. Tell meall about the job.” And he said, “I just did.” (Laughter.)So I trust, becausethey embraced you and me, we made something more out of it.
But I have huge admiration forthe path that Tim Kaine has followed. I know his sense ofwhat America means tothe world was forged in the early days that Congressman Hurt referredto abouthis missionary work, the Catholic missionary working in Honduras, just helpingotherpeople to live healthier lives. And I know, because two weeks after theelection, Tim called meand he asked if he could serve on the Foreign RelationsCommittee. Well, in the Senate, I will tellyou, you don’t always get thosecalls. People who step forward and volunteer in that way on acommittee thatdoesn’t have the opportunity to bring bacon back home and perhaps deliver itaseasy a reelection. So I know that in Tim Kaine, Virginia has a senator who’sgoing to make hismark on that committee, and he’s going to make the mark foryour commonwealth and ourcountry, and we’re grateful for your service, Tim.Thank you very, very much. (Applause.)
I also am particularly gratefulfor Congressman Robert Hurt being here today. I have leftpartisan politics andit’s wonderful for me to be able to welcome people in the complete spiritofnonpartisanship, not just bipartisan, but nonpartisanship. And I’m particularlygrateful to himfor his service in the state legislature, in both houses, nowin the House, and I’m confidentfrom the words you expressed and theconversation we had, you’re going to make yourcontribution too. And I thankyou for your presence here today. (Applause.)
President Sullivan, thank you somuch for welcoming me here to this historic, remarkablecampus. I just feastedon the view as I walked across the lawn with President Sullivan, and Ihave tosay you all are very lucky to go to school here. (Laughter.) It is an honor tojoin youhere on Grounds – (laughter and applause) – this very, very beautifulmonument to thepotential of the human mind. And I have to tell you, to standhere beneath the gaze of thesages of Athens, those thinkers who gave us theidea of democracy, which we obviously stillcontinue to perfect, not only inour own nation but around the world, we are grateful for that.
I will tell you also, I was herea long time ago as an undergraduate. I played lacrosse downon that field overthere against you guys, and my first act of diplomacy is literally to forgetwhowon. I have no idea. I don’t know. (Laughter.)
I want to thank the folks inuniform. I want to thank the ROTC and all those of you whohave served and willcontinue to serve in some way for our nation. There is no greaterdeclarationof citizenship than that, and I happen to believe the word “citizen” is one ofthe mostimportant in the American lexicon.
Some might ask why I’m standinghere at the University of Virginia, why am I starting here?A Secretary ofState making his first speech in the United States? You might ask, “Doesn’tdiplomacy happen over there, overseas, far beyond the boundaries of ourownbackyards?”
So why is it that I am at thefoot of the Blue Ridge instead of on the shores of the BlackSea? Why am I inOld Cabell Hall and not Kabul, Afghanistan? (Laughter.)
The reason is very simple. I camehere purposefully to underscore that in today’s globalworld, there is nolonger anything foreign about foreign policy. More than ever before,thedecisions that we make from the safety of our shores don’t just ripple outward;they alsocreate a current right here in America. How we conduct our foreignpolicy matters more thanever before to our everyday lives, to theopportunities of all those students I met standingoutside, whatever year theyare here, thinking about the future. It’s important not just in termsof thethreats that we face, but the products that we buy, the goods that we sell, andtheopportunity that we provide for economic growth and vitality. It’s not justabout whether we’llbe compelled to send our troops to another battle, butwhether we’ll be able to send ourgraduates into a thriving workforce. That’swhy I’m here today.
I’m here because our lives asAmericans are more intertwined than ever before with the livesof people inparts of the world that we may have never visited. In the global challengesofdiplomacy, development, economic security, environmental security, you willfeel our successor failure just as strongly as those people in those othercountries that you’ll never meet. For allthat we have gained in the 21stcentury, we have lost the luxury of just looking inward.Instead, we look outand we see a new field of competitors. I think it gives us much reason tohope.But it also gives us many more rivals determined to create jobs andopportunities fortheir own people, a voracious marketplace that sometimesforgets morality and values.
I know that some of you and manyacross the country wish that globalization would just goaway, or you wistfullyremember easier times. But, my friends, no politician, no matter howpowerful,can put this genie back in the bottle. So our challenge is to tame the worstimpulsesof globalization even as we harness its ability to spread informationand possibility, to offereven the most remote place on Earth the same choicesthat have made us strong and free.
So before I leave this weekend tolisten to our allies and partners next week throughoutEurope and the MiddleEast, and in the coming months across Asia, Africa, and the Americas, Iwantedto first talk with you about the challenge that we face here at home, becauseourengagement with the rest of the world begins by making some important choicestogether, andparticularly about our nation’s budget. Our sense of sharedresponsibility, that we care aboutsomething bigger than ourselves, isabsolutely central to the spirit of this school. It’s alsocentral to thespirit of our nation.
As you well know, and Dr.Sullivan reminded you a moment ago, our first Secretary of Statefounded thisgreat university. Students of his day, when he did, could basically only studylaw ormedicine or religion. That was about it. But Thomas Jefferson had avision, and he believed thatthe American people needed a public place to learna diversity of disciplines – studies of scienceand space, of flora, fauna, andphilosophy. He built this university in the image of what he called“theillimitable freedom of the human mind.”
Today, those of you who studyhere and who teach here, along with the taxpayers,contributors, and parentswho believe in your potential, you are all investing in Mr. Jefferson’svision.Now think for a moment about what that means. Why do you spend the many daysandthe borrowed dollars it takes to earn an education here, or anywhere? Whydid Jefferson wantthis institution to remain public and accessible, not justto Virginians but as a destinationfrom everywhere? I know that he wasn’t thinkingjust about your getting a degree and a job. Itwas about something more.Jefferson believed we couldn’t be a strong country without investingin thekind of education that empowers us to be good citizens. That’s why foundingthisuniversity is among the few accomplishments that Jefferson listed on hisepitaph that he wrotefor himself. To him, this place and its goal was a biggerpart of his legacy than serving asSecretary of State or even as President,neither of which made the cut.
Just as Jefferson understood thatwe need to invest in education in order to produce goodcitizens, I joinPresident Obama today in asserting with urgency that our citizenry deservesastrong foreign policy to protect our interests in the world. A wise investmentin foreign policycan yield for a nation the same return that education doesfor a student. And no investmentthat we make that is as small as thisinvestment puts forward such a sizeable benefit forourselves and for ourfellow citizens of the world. That’s why I wanted to have thisconversationwith you today, which I hope is a conversation that extends well beyondtheborders of Charlottesville, well beyond this university, to all Americans.
When I talk about a smallinvestment in foreign policy in the United States, I mean it. Not solong ago,someone polled the American people and asked, “How big is our internationalaffairsbudget?” Most pegged it at 25 percent of our national budget, and theythought it ought to bepared way back to ten percent of our national budget.Let me tell you, would that that weretrue. I’d take ten percent in aheartbeat, folks – (laughter) – because ten percent is exactly tentimesgreater than what we do invest in our efforts to protect America around theworld.
In fact, our whole foreign policybudget is just over one percent of our national budget.Think about it a littlebit. Over one percent, a little bit more, funds all of our civilian andforeignaffairs efforts – every embassy, every program that saves a child from dirtydrinkingwater, or from AIDS, or reaches out to build a village, and bringAmerica’s values, every person.We’re not talking about pennies on the dollar;we’re talking about one penny plus a bit, on asingle dollar.
So where you think this ideacomes from, that we spend 25 percent of our budget? Well, I’lltell you. It’spretty simple. As a recovering politician – (laughter) – I can tell you thatnothinggets a crowd clapping faster in a lot of places than saying, “I’m goingto Washington to getthem to stop spending all that money over there.” Andsometimes they get a lot more specific.