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John Kerry to NYU Abu Dhabi: We can’t address world problems by ‘going it alone’

Former Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday warned nations against “going it alone” in working to address global problems like climate change, income inequality and violence.

In a keynote address at New York University Abu Dhabi’s commencement ceremony, Kerry argued that the world has become too interconnected for governments to attempt to isolate themselves.

“We won’t win, any of us, ultimately, by retreating within our borders, by focusing on our own nations only, or by going it alone,” Kerry said.


Kerry, who served as secretary of State under former President Obama, has seen some of his most prominent accomplishments undone by the current administration.

Kerry helped broker the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal, both of which President Trump has pulled the U.S. out of. Trump reasoned that the deals did not serve American interests.

Though Kerry did not mention Trump by name, his speech focused on the political rhetoric being used in the U.S. and the pitfalls of isolationism.

Kerry said that U.S. politics has “become almost all accusatory and all bombastic,” and that some lawmakers struggle to reach consensus on complex issues because they “can’t even agree on what the facts are.”

He implored graduates on Sunday to “recognize the importance of truth” and to engage with the world.

“No matter how big or how many the challenges, I want you to leave here today confident about our ability to win that future,” Kerry said.

“Every single problem we face is created by human choices,” he said. “And to the best of my knowledge those problems can also be solved by human choices.”

Kerry’s remarks were shown via livestream on the university’s website.

Journalists were not allowed to film his address. The Associated Press reported that it was the school’s decision, which was made just before the event began.

Tags Donald Trump John Kerry
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