U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken made a plain-language, lucid pitch to the American people on March 3 that explained the Biden administration’s major goals and guiding principles in international affairs. The speech laid the groundwork for the release later in the day of a White House preliminary strategy paper on national security that delves deeply into the issues, challenges and new administration’s priorities.

At the heart of Blinken’s maiden policy speech was the promise that both the conduct and the outcomes of the administration’s foreign policy would serve the interests of the American people in direct and concrete ways.

This was clearly a speech aimed at the domestic audience and Blinken repeatedly made the case for why U.S. engagement, diplomacy and international leadership matter to the American people. This was no excursion into abstract principles of international relations theory. Nor was it a tour d’horizon of the complex international scene. He did not use soaring rhetoric or invoke grand strategic ambitions. Instead, the new secretary of state methodically laid out a concrete program of work and deliberately tied each element of his eight-point foreign policy plan to interests shared by average Americans.