Thank you very much, Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Graham and members of the committee; it is good to be back here in the Senate again, and I greatly appreciate the excellent working relationship that we have had over the last three-plus years. I wish also to register my concern and my best wishes for Senator Kirk. Of course, I wrote him as soon as I heard about his health challenges, and we all wish him a speedy return.
I also greatly appreciate the travel that both of you have just described having taken. I think it’s absolutely essential to see what is going on in the world with your own eyes and to hear from leaders and citizens with your own ears. So let me express to you and to all members our appreciation.
We know how quickly the world is transforming, from Arab revolutions to the rise of new economic powers, to a more dispersed but still dangerous al-Qaida terrorist threat. In this time, only the United States of America has the reach, resources, and relationships to anchor a more peaceful and prosperous world. The State Department and USAID budget we discuss today is a proven investment in our national and economic security, but it’s also something more. It is a down payment on continuing American leadership.