Harris tells Coast Guard cadets they must defend rule of law in ‘unsettled’ world

Vice President Kamala Harris lifts the school scepter at the conclusion of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's 141st Commencement Exercises
Stephen Dunn/Associated Press
Vice President Kamala Harris lifts the school scepter at the conclusion of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s 141st Commencement Exercises

Vice President Harris on Wednesday told the cadets of the Coast Guard Academy’s 2022 class that they are graduating into an “unsettled” world and would play a critical role advancing American interests and upholding the rule of law.  

“President Joe Biden and I, we view our cadets as our eyes and ears and hands and hearts, wherever you serve,” Harris said in the keynote commencement address at the academy in New London, Conn.  

“You are doing the critical work — you will be doing the critical work to protect our country, to advance our interests, and to shape the trajectory of world affairs,” she said.  

Harris spoke about Russia’s war in Ukraine, saying it is testing the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and described other efforts to “undermine the rules-based order.” 

“The world you graduate into is unsettled. It is a world where long-established principles now rest on shaky ground. Where the rule of law in places is strained. Where rules and norms are under question,” the vice president said. 

She described the cadets as key players in helping uphold the rule of law abroad. 

“We must remember — upholding a system of laws, institutions and common understandings, this is how we ensure the safety and security and prosperity of the United States, and this is how we preserve stability in the world,” Harris told the graduating class.  

“Cadets, this is where you come in. In addition to the work you will do at home, you will serve a vital role in advancing our nation’s interests abroad.”   

Harris said the cadets represent “the very best of America” and expressed gratitude for their service and the sacrifices of their families.  

“Remember how you feel right now — your excitement about this journey, your excitement about the world, about your service, about your future. Remember how you feel in this moment because that will help guide you in each of your assignments ahead,” the vice president said. 

“President Biden and I have great faith in your ability. We know you are ready, you are ready to serve, and your country is so proud of you,” she said, concluding her remarks. 

Harris spoke at the Coast Guard commencement for the first time on Wednesday, having addressed the graduates of the Naval Academy last year. President Biden is due to speak at the Naval Academy commencement in Annapolis, Md., later this month.  

Tags Coast Guard Joe Biden Kamala Harris

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