Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks on border crisis, war in Ukraine, and A.I. at UT Austin

Secretary of State Antony Blinken took part in a discussion with former U.S. Senator and NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison at the University of Texas Wednesday.

"I did have one extremely important statement to make before I get into the conversation. Hook em horns," said Secretary Blinken.

That light opening moment from Secretary of State Antony Blinken was followed by a serious discussion with Hutchison on global politics. Blinken said this moment in time, according to President Biden, is an inflection point.

"And if you think about it, what that is, is something that comes around not every couple of years, not even every decade, but maybe every five or six or seven generations where the changes are so profound and also so complex that, at that moment, the decisions that you make then are going to have repercussions, not just for the next few years, but likely for the next decades," said Blinken.

The war in Ukraine and U.S. involvement was the first hot topic. The humanitarian tragedy, Blinken said, is the first reason to help. The other is to send a strong message, because inaction invites aggression.

"It's opening a Pandora's box of conflict. And in that kind of world, a world of conflict, a world of aggression, that's not going to be good for anyone," said Blinken.


Hutchinson believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will not stop with Ukraine.  

"If they go into a NATO country, then we are in a war, So. I think we have to be forward leaning. I think we have to have the deterrence that we are showing and never stopping with this support of Ukraine," said Hutchison. 

The immigration and border crisis was also discussed. 

Blinken promoted the administration's plan to expand refugee programs and amnesty opportunities for undocumented immigrants. While that's been rejected, and despite the recent republican meltdown in Congress, the Secretary of State believes reform can happen. But, he admits the ultimate solution to the immigration crisis involves helping other countries improve economic opportunities inside their own borders.

"If we can't do that, the problem is not going to be solved," said Blinken.

The two also spoke about what they called the new frontier, new technology like artificial intelligence. Addressing the potential misuse, according to Blinken, is being discussed with other global leaders and industry innovators.

"My job now at the State Department is to take those commitments, to take those understandings reached between the White House and these foundational companies and internationalize them, socialize them around the world, get other countries to sign on and to sign up so that we create a foundation of understanding about how I can be used and how it shouldn't be used," said Blinken.

The one topic that wasn't directly discussed was China. The Secretary of State did say American leadership is needed on the world stage, and without our input someone else will step in, or a dangerous vacuum will happen.