The Purpose of the U.S. State Department

by Brett Baker

Mission Statement:

Create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community.

American diplomacy in the 21st century is based on fundamental beliefs: our freedom is best protected by ensuring that others are free; our prosperity depends on the prosperity of others; and out security relies on a global effort to secure the rights of all. The history of the American people is the chronicle of our efforts to live up to our ideals. In this moment in history, we recognize that the United States has an immense responsibility to use its power constructively to advance security, democracy, and prosperity around the globe. We will pursue these interests and remain faithful to our beliefs.

According to the U.S. State Department, for the fiscal years 2004-2009, the United States mission is to create security, democracy and prosperity throughout the world not only for U.S. citizens, but the people of the world as a whole. While I find this statement to be extremely generous and altruistic, I can’t help but wonder why the U.S. State Departments mission statement is a contradiction rather than an axiom. The premise is fraught with controversy which necessitates discussion.  Typically, actions speak louder than words; I shall endeavor to discuss both the actions and the words of the U.S. State Department.
I suggest we take a look at this mission statement which was taken directly from the U.S. Department of State website and fully examine its meaning. Let’s start with the statement: the creation of a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community. While I would agree the United States has acted in an honorable fashion in the past, such as, the sacrifices made by the American people to end Hitler’s reign of terror. This effort, of course, was not just an American effort; it was an effort by many people of many nations who worked together for a common and righteous goal. I believe the end result was in fact, a more secure, just, and prosperous world. But let’s fast forward to the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century and examine our actions.
      
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