The Daily Demarche
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Powell says "goodbye."
History will ultimately judge Colin Powell in his role as the Secretary of State. Colin Powell, the leader of the Department of State, however, has already been judged by the men and women around the world who have worked under him for the last four years. He brought a new doctrine of leadership to the role and single-handedly resurrected a Department devastated by President Clinton's stinginess when it came to the budget, and restored the sense of pride in an organization that had withered under Madeleine Albright. Last week he delivered his farewell message to the staff at Foggy Bottom. It is reproduced here for all to read. Come what may in foreign affairs for the next four years, Dr. Rice will have a very large pair of shoes to fill when it comes to the hearts and minds of her employees.

Four years ago, you greeted me with great warmth and enthusiasm for the work that we would do together. Today, I bid you farewell with great affection and pride in what we have accomplished as an extended State Department family. I am deeply grateful to President Bush for having given me the privilege of serving as America's 65th Secretary of State, and I consider myself especially blessed to have served alongside all of you.

Every day for the past four years, I have seen you do the hard work of freedom, here in Washington and out on freedom's frontlines across the globe. The lists of honored dead on the memorial plaques in the State Department lobby have grown longer on my watch. Like my predecessors before me, I have had the sad duty of comforting the loved ones of fallen colleagues. I will never truly be able to convey to each of you just how honored I feel to have served as your Secretary.

When we came into office, Rich Armitage and I knew that we were inheriting an impressive and dedicated group of professionals. Over the past four years we have made it our priority to equip the State Department for the demanding decades ahead, and to ensure that all of you -- the men and women of the Foreign and Civil Services and our Foreign Service Nationals -- have the tools and the training you need to perform your vital mission. It gives Rich and me great satisfaction to be able to pass on a much strengthened State Department, the U.S. Senate willing, to my distinguished colleague and dear friend, Condi Rice. She will be terrific. We and our fellow Americans can all be proud when she represents us as our 66th Secretary of State.

Four years ago, I said that together we were going to show a vision to the world of the value system of America, and that is exactly what we have done. As you have served and sacrificed in the performance of your duties, you also have carried with you out into the world our nation's core values of courage and compassion, of democracy and decency.

The vicious terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 only made our efforts to build a better world all the more urgent and essential. For a world of freedom, prosperity and peace is a world of hope where terrorists and tyrants cannot thrive.

American diplomacy has been instrumental in forging the global coalition against terrorism. American diplomacy has been crucial to helping the 50 million liberated people of Afghanistan and Iraq take their first, bold steps toward democratic self-government. With our hemispheric partners, we have worked to deepen and defend democracy and promote growth, development and free trade throughout the Americas.

NATO has embraced new members, with more to come. We have collaborated closely with an expanding European Union. We have revitalized our alliances with our most important partners in Asia: Japan, The Republic of Korea and Australia. We have enhanced our relationships with friends throughout the region. And we have worked to strengthen regional institutions in Asia and ensure that they remain open and inclusive.

We have a strong partnership with Russia that enables us to expand cooperation on critical matters of counter-terrorism, nonproliferation and other global concerns even as we discuss our differences candidly.

We have moved with China toward a more constructive, action-oriented relationship, in which our differences do not prevent us from cooperating to build a more stable world and promote global growth.

We have transformed and broadened our relationship with India and simultaneously we have forged a long-term partnership with Pakistan, a close ally in the global war on terror. We helped to defuse near-war between them, and we have encouraged their efforts to improve relations with one another.

Libya has denuclearized. The parties in Sudan have signed a comprehensive peace accord after more than two decades of war. Now the National Unity Government must build on the momentum of the peace accord to bring stability to the entire country and work together immediately to end the violence and atrocities in Darfur.

We have built mutually productive partnerships with the countries of Africa that share our commitment to freedom: free peoples and free markets. We have doubled the amount of foreign assistance that USAID provides and in addition, we have been instrumental in getting President Bush's innovative Millennium Challenge Corporation initiative up and running - a program that is nothing shy of a revolution in our thinking about international development.

We have done more for the fight against HIV/AIDS than any other country. Time and again, we have shown the world the caring face of America, most recently in our swift and generous response to the earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Yes, there are still challenges and crises with which our country must deal. But this is a hopeful time for the world. The men and women of the State Department have done a great deal to generate this hope. And in the years ahead, you will be key to ensuring that our country is
able to seize more opportunities to create fresh hope across the globe.

After four years serving with all of you, witnessing your passion, dedication and skill, I have the greatest confidence that the work of freedom that is American diplomacy is in the best of hands.

One final thought: From the very beginning, I have spoken about taking the principles of leadership to heart and putting them into practice every single day. As you continue on with your careers, remember to take care of your people. That is the most important thing you can do to ensure the future success of American diplomacy.

Just as I will always think of myself as a soldier, I will always think of myself as a member of the State Department family. Alma joins me in thanking each and every one of you and your families for the warmth you have extended to us these past four years and for your service to our country.

May God bless you and your families and may God bless America.

I salute you.


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dé·marche 1) A course of action; a maneuver. 2) A diplomatic representation or protest 3) A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.

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