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I would like to first introduce members of my family who are here today. These are the most important people in my life, and I want to express my gratitude to them for all their love and support over the years. First, my wife of over thirty years, Renda, who has always kept the homefires burning during my many trips abroad. My sister Jo Lynn Peters, a lifelong high school educator in Texas and Alabama. My younger sister Dr. Rae Ann Hamilton, a family practice physician in Abilene, Texas, and my brother in law Judge Lee Hamilton, a State District Judge in Abilene, Texas. I am grateful and proud they are with me today.

I come before you at a pivotal time in both the history of our nation and our world.

Nearly everywhere we look, people and nations are deeply unsettled. Old ideas and international norms which were well-understood and governed behaviors in the past may no longer be effective in our time.

We face considerable threats in this evolving new environment. China has emerged as an economic power in global trade, and our interactions have been both friendly and adversarial. While Russia seeks respect and relevance on the global stage, its recent activities have disregarded American interests. Radical Islam is not a new ideology, but it is hateful, deadly, and an illegitimate expression of the Islamic faith. Adversaries like Iran and North Korea pose grave threats to the world because of their refusal to conform to international norms.

 

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