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State Dept. Spokesman: 'Isolationist' Campaign Rhetoric Worries Foreign Leaders

Image: State Dept. Spokesman: 'Isolationist' Campaign Rhetoric Worries Foreign Leaders
State Department Spokesman John Kirby (Photo credit Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 22 Apr 2016 09:37 AM

Foreign leaders have been voicing their concerns about the "isolationist sentiments" and the "almost xenophobic ideas" being expressed during the American election cycle, State Department Spokesman John Kirby said Friday.

"This notion that our leadership is neither present nor appreciated around the world is simply false," Kirby told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "People want U.S. leadership. Other leaders want to see us engaged. And the idea that we would somehow step back from that engagement really worries them."

Kirby said the State Department has emphasized that it has no control over the election or who the next president will be, but that it can control what the nation is doing on the ground and around the world.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama on Thursday wrapped up his trip to Saudi Arabia, and Kirby said the president came away feeling like the meeting went well with the
Gulf Cooperation Council countries, even with the U.S.-Saudi tensions that have been growing in recent weeks.

"Saudi Arabia is a great partner and ally and friend in the region," said Kirby. "They're a leader in the region. They've been significant in terms of our efforts to get the political process going in Syria. And look, we're not always going to agree. That's what friends do. When you have a disagreement, you're able to work it out."

Kirby also discussed current issues concerning Russia, including news that the country's military fleets are growing, including with nuclear submarines.

"It's been no surprise or no secret to anybody that President [Vladimir] Putin has been trying to bolster and improve his military capabilities and their expeditionary capabilities, their ability to operate around the world, said Kirby. But still, "freedom of the seas" means that Russia, like the U.S. can have a strong Navy, but "it's what you do with it and how provocative you act with it."

But still, he said, Russia co-chairs, with the United States, a task force on the cessation of hostilities in Syria, and remains a key part of security the situation in that country, "and they can do more, and we have talked to them about doing more."

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Foreign leaders have been voicing their concerns about the "isolationist sentiments" and the "almost xenophobic ideas" being expressed during the American election cycle, State Department Spokesman John Kirby said Friday.
john kirby, candidates, campaign, isolatonist, xenophobic
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Friday, 22 Apr 2016 09:37 AM
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