November 3, 2016

Secretary of State John Kerry on What Makes America Exceptional

On October 26, US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the Council on Global Affairs about American leadership in an era of opportunity and risk. Hear his thoughts on what makes America exceptional, as well as what's at stake in the upcoming presidential election.


"Let us never forget that America is the exceptional nation that so many people in public life like to talk about. But we're not exceptional because we make speeches about being exceptional. And we're not exceptional when we shove our face in other people's faces and tell them how exceptional we are. We are exceptional when and because we do exceptional things. That's what makes America exceptional. And America can do more, even today, with greater impact. But we have to be willing to put resources on the table and empower people to live our vision, not view it with envy from the outside. I believe that we should look to the future with every ounce of optimism that has always inspired and energized our nation. But we should also acknowledge that we will not be able to chart a sure course for others unless we are at peace with ourselves. A great American from this state once warned in the words of the Scriptures, that, 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' Whatever happens in the next two weeks, our country is going to have to begin a process of healing, of reconnecting with one another, of listening, of forgiving, and remembering that every action we take is being carefully observed by our global allies and adversaries. And that what they see will have a direct impact on our future ability to be able to lead."


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion in blog posts are the sole responsibility of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council.