Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visits campus, seeks to use technology to address global challenges in U.S. conditions

October 17, 2022

At Stanford University on Monday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken outlined a U.S. national security strategy to contain Russia, outsmart China and leverage the power of technology for diplomacy.

In an extensive conversation with former Secretary of State and Hoover Institution Director Condoleezza Rice, Blinken emphasized the importance of science and technology in the government’s drive to modernize the military and protect human rights online.

“We’re in a moment of intense competition, and that’s determining what happens next,” Blinken said. “Technology, innovation, entrepreneurship — they are at the heart of it. That’s how we’re going to restructure the economy for the future, that’s how we’re going to modernize the military.”

The talk was part of the minister’s visit to the California Technology Center, including a morning stop at Stanford University’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. There, he was joined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Anna Essou, who represents Stanford University. During the talk, he said the visit reminded him of “the most active role of the United States in the world” as an innovation hub.

[STANFORD, CA] — October 17, 2022: U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA12) and Congresswoman Anna Escher (D-CA18) visit Stanford University’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory . (Photo: Nikolas Liepins/Stanford Daily)

Blinken then gave a public presentation with Rice at the Hoover Institution’s Hauke ​​Auditorium, which was attended by a Ukrainian business delegation and startup founders, along with students and community members. Soon after, Blinken attended the State Department’s campus recruiting event, where he urged Stanford students to bring their ideas and technical expertise to the department.

The secretary of state previously visited Stanford in October 2021, when he attended Rice’s reception and a memorial service for former Secretary of State George Schultz.

Blinken told the Daily Mail that he had made it a priority to work with universities and to use “the technology itself to address some of the adverse effects of misinformation and disinformation from technology misuse”.

“We’re working on these partnerships [with universities] To make sure we’re looking at every place that actually develops the answer, including Stanford, and integrating it into our work,” Blinken said in an interview.

Blinken cited his recent visit to Purdue University as an example of his campaign to promote collaboration. There, he toured the University’s microelectronics training facility at the Berk Nanotechnology Center and delivered a news notice to the campus community on “Building a Semiconductor Ecosystem to Restore Domestic Manufacturing and Foreign Competitiveness.”

“This is critical work and a work in progress, but we are very grateful for the fact that [that] What is being considered is that we can actually take full advantage when dealing with this,” he added.

[SUNNYVALE, CA] — October 17, 2022: U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visits Applied Materials’ Maydan Technology Center. (Photo: Nikolas Liepins/Stanford Daily)

Modernizing diplomacy in the digital age is also a priority for the State Department, Blinken said. Blinken recently created the Cyberspace and Digital Policy Bureau to help the sector organize and track talent and provide leadership on issues such as climate change, health, energy and digital policy.

“Our livelihoods remain a matter of war and peace, preventing conflict from creating and helping to end it where we can, and ensuring the security of the American people through diplomacy, but each of these issues is directly related to that,” Blinken said. ” .

When Rice asked about some of the most pressing international issues, such as protests in Iran and Russia’s war in Ukraine, Blinken said he supported the resilience of the democratic movement.

He praised the grassroots nature of the movement in Iran, where protests against government violence against women have drawn international attention. “It’s about the Iranian people, it’s about their country, it’s about their future,” he said. “They will make decisions, but we are showing our solidarity in practical and rhetorical ways.”

[STANFORD, CA] — October 17, 2022: U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy Nathaniel Fick speak with students in Encina Hall at Stanford University. (Photo: Nikolas Liepins/Stanford Daily)

On the issue of Russian aggression, Blinken said that if the United States fails to resist the authoritarian destruction of the rules-based international order, it risks opening a “Pandora’s box.” If the Russian dictator’s actions in Ukraine go unpunished, it will only encourage more dictators to try the same attacks globally, he said.

“This will spark conflict in many parts of the world,” Blinken said. “One thing we know from history is, inevitably, in one way or another, that pulls us in. Instead of having to respond, we can do what we can to prevent it and make sure that when we try to Some of these rules are maintained while modernizing them.”

International attendees at the event said they found the conversation helpful in understanding U.S. national security strategy.


The Stanford Daily is an independent student-run newspaper at Stanford University. Read more of their stories at StanfordDaily.com.

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