Today, Deputy U.S. Secretary of State William J. Burns retires after one of the most distinguished tenures as a career foreign service officer in memory. Only the second career diplomat in history to ascend to the No. 2 job at the State Department, he served during over three decades as undersecretary of state for political affairs, ambassador to Russia, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, and ambassador to Jordan. He has also worked as a senior director on the National Security Council staff, as executive secretary to Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, and has won an array of departmental awards in recognition of his service.

Foreign Policy's David Rothkopf sat down with him for an exit interview on the current state of the world, U.S. leadership in a time of crisis, and what may be just around the bend.

This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.