New American Strategies for Security and Peace

Senator Chuck Hagel

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MS: For the last two days, well, yesterday and today, we have discussed and considered strategies for the security of our nation, strategies that have failed, strategies that are failing, strategies that we believe need to be pursued and adopted, and for the peaceful existence of our families and families in nations around the world.

Several themes have emerged from those discussions. Last night Zbig Brzezinski, in his wonderful address, pointed out that one thing that’s going to be needed for successful security strategies is a bipartisan effort at developing foreign policy. Now there are those who say that bipartisanship is always the cry of the minority party, Senator.

But then Congressman Leach today endorsed it again, so that’s probably not so. And Senator Joe Biden also spoke of a kind of call for Democrats to cooperate with like minded Republicans and others to find solid strategies for national and homeland security.

Senator Hillary Clinton this morning, among many themes, echoed that same thing, bipartisanship. I might say of Senator Hagel that both your colleagues from the Senate, and I don’t know if this is good or bad, spoke admiringly of you, both Senator Biden and Senator Clinton.

If we are to have that kind of bipartisanship or if we are to be successful in approaching strategies, that means we have to listen to each other. That means we need to talk to each other honestly, openly, in tones that are courteous, truthfully. And by truthfully I also include with accuracy.

Throughout his professional career, Chuck Hagel has acted and spoken honestly, openly and with great courage. During Vietnam he served side by side with his brother in the Army’s Ninth Infantry Division as squad leaders on the ground there. And for his time there where he gave of his blood, he was decorated highly and with two separate purple hearts.

He returned to this nation, to the United States, where he pursued a career in business which was interrupted by the conclusion of the Carter administration when President Reagan appointed him as Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration.

By the end of the Reagan administration it had become the Department of Veterans Affairs and the second largest in the government. Senator Hagel, had he been around then, would have been Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. But we know him most for one of the most courageous act of anyone’s life.

That he’d offer himself to the voters for further public service. He now is in his second term as a member of the United States Senate. Senator Hagel is a member on the Committee on Foreign Relations where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy.

He is a member of the Senate Banking Committee where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Trade and Policy. And he is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. And he is also the Co-Chair of The Congressional Executive Committee on China.

Senator Hagel has had, as the hallmark of his career, a willingness in those Biblical terms, to speak truth to power. Of course, now Senator Hagel, by his chairmanship of those subcommittees, is power. Just last week he attached successfully an amendment to the Appropriations Bill for Treasury and Transportation to make it easier to do business with Cuba.

And he observed that it is not in the interests of the United States to be isolated from the people of Cuba. I’d say it’s the consensus of this forum, Senator, and apparently yours as well, that it is not in the interest of the United States for us to be isolated from any part of the world.

Certainly not from our allies. Let me say that in that respect you will find no criticism here in this forum, Senator, of those men and women who serve today in uniform around the world. Indeed, had you had a chance to hear the last panel, you would realize it is quite the opposite.

There is here pride in their professionalism. We take comfort from the fact that they are there to defend the interests of the United States and her values. There is sympathy for their families. But there is, nonetheless, the concern that we remember that an armed force is not a foreign policy.

It is rather an implementer of one of the options of a strategically sound, well thought out foreign policy, which includes an awareness of the importance of our allies and our alliances. We’re pleased to hear you speak about alliances today. Senator Hagel, we applaud your service.

We admire your dedication, your leadership and we await your words. Colleagues, citizens, ladies and gentlemen, the senior Senator from Nebraska. [CLAPPING]


MS: Togo, thank you very much. I am grateful for your generous introduction, welcome. We are all very pleased that you have found gainful employment and real work once again.

And you look very prosperous. You’re swimming. He is a champion swimmer, as you may know, among other things. I’ve always emulated many dynamics of Togo’s life, but swimming is one. He wears the sleek goggles and you always know a serious swimmer from the goggles they wear.

I could go on about other important features about Togo, his intellect, leadership. But he’s been a friend over the years and the job he did at the VA, Army and other posts he’s had have helped this country immensely because they have left a foundation for others to build on.

And that is the real and genuine result of public service. John, thank you to your organization inviting me. I am grateful for an opportunity to share some thoughts. I also appreciate that you have given me a little cover by inviting Jim Leach, a legitimate Republican.

Some of you may have noted, a couple of weeks ago I woke up one morning to a blaring front page story in, I think, Roll Call, which many of you read occasionally, and it was all about how I had crossed over and it was a matter of time before I would change parties because I was actually coming to speak to this organization.

And that dreaded John Podesta, that tricky, wily fellow that he is, had hoodwinked the flat-footed senator from Nebraska into speaking before your Communists. So I was astounded by all the attention, but I appreciate that attention. And that’s, I think, the way I responded.

I wasn’t where anyone was paying attention or really gave a damn what I said. So thank you. You’ve put me on the map really, John. A very distinguished friend, public servant, former Nebraskan, Ted Sorensen, is among us today. I know he has been introduced and you’ve all recognized him appropriately.

But when we talk of great public servants of our time and one who we are proud to call our own from Nebraska, Ted, good to see you. And I know you were just recently in Nebraska. [CLAPPING] And I understand you will move on to other things after I speak and you have had ample opportunity to listen to some of the best foreign policy minds today.

I am well aware of the speakers who have preceded me. And I, in fact, had some time with Joe Biden this morning. I listened. That’s a joke. Come on now. It’s bipartisan, you know. Joe Biden is one of my dearest friends in the United States Senate. And he was quite glowing in his praise for Dr. Brzezinski’s speech last night and his opportunity to speak last night as well.

In fact, Joe and I together have done an Aaron Brown piece on CNN the last night before he came to speak to you. But he was very complimentary of what you’re doing, and I share in that because I do not know of a higher priority for the future of this country and the world than to start framing up the housing for our future in very deliberate ways, and that is foreign policy.

And I wish to talk a little bit about that this morning. And, again, thank you, John, for giving me an opportunity to share some thoughts. And I have addressed a topic that I will present this morning and the words I will share with you this way -- defining a foreign policy for the 21st Century.

Almost one year from today Americans will go to the polls to vote for a President. Elections in America have the power to forge a national consensus on the issues which define our nation and determine our future. The presidential election of 2004 will be the first presidential election since September 11th, 2001, a day so transformational that we have yet to truly understand its significance and consequences.

The election of 2004 will be about far more than George W. Bush or his Democratic opponent. It should be an opportunity for the American people to move towards a consensus on America’s role in the world. This is central to America’s future. The coming election should provide a platform for a vigorous, national debate about the direction of American foreign policy.

America’s security and prosperity are directly connected to its foreign policy. Foreign policy is the framework, the structural housing for our future. It encompasses our security, economic trade and geo-political interests. Next year’s election could define the context of America’s international relationships and how this inter-connected world influences every aspect of our lives and future.

American’s responsibilities in the world and to future generations are as enormous as they are humbling. Ours is a time of dramatic and historic change. The byproducts of such change are uncertainty, complications, instability and danger. America will do more to define the direction of this change in world affairs than any one nation.

But it will require inspired leadership and insightful policy. The challenges and choices before us demand leadership that reaches into the future without stumbling over the present. American leadership should convey a quiet confidence and inner strength that will persuade and inspire our allies to work with us to help make a better world.

Today the Bush administration, congress and both the Democratic and Republic parties are also seeking a new coherent course for our country in world affairs. Divisions and debates are healthy. Intentions help grind down flabby arguments and positions. Much of this debate has to do with adjusting to a world change after the Cold War and September 11th.

This debate is much more important than academic jousting because it will have far-reaching consequences for America and the world. There are familiar disagreements over the utility of alliances in multi-lateral institutions, the uses of military force, our commitment to free trade, the role of foreign aid, and the priority of values in foreign policy.

These are natural responses and questions at a time of great global adjustment. Next year’s presidential election will do much to shape this dialogue and frame this debate. Leadership is about preparing a nation for the future. The burdens of leadership do not afford shortcuts or glib, easy answers.

America’s role in this new century will include both costs and benefits, risks and opportunities. Loyalty to a political party and president is noble, but public service reaches beyond that nobility. Elected officials owe their constituents knowledge of the issues, hard work and good judgment.

Republicans should not, in Tom Friedman’s recent words, be “applauding without thinking” in response to President Bush’s policies on Iraq. And Democrats must offer more than just opposition to the President’s foreign policy. David Brooks, writing in the New York Times earlier this month, identified three Democratic visions of the future of Iraq, and warned that the Democratic Party may be “teetering on the brink of full-bore liberal isolationism”.

A commitment to leadership and foreign policy that I’m talking about must cut across party loyalties. With the stakes so high we owe the American people a debate on foreign policy that educates, elevates and articulates a future worthy of America. My senior colleagues, Senators Dick Lugar and Joe Biden, Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are two senators who displayed this type of leadership and courage.

The terrorist attacks of September 11th were the forcing events that mark the new era in world affairs. President Bush guided American through the dark hours of 9/11 and into a new and undefined century. The world is being redefined. No President in our nation’s history has had to confront such a dramatic and unexpected set of challenges as President Bush did two years ago.

He deserves great credit for being a steady leader, rallying America and the world to a new sense of confidence as the world struggled to find its equilibrium. Sensing the realities and subtleties of historic change are not always sudden or obvious.

As former Secretary of State Dean Acheson recounted, “Only slowly did it dawn upon us that the whole world structure and order that we had inherited from the 19th century was gone, and that the struggle to replace it would be directed from two bitterly opposed and ideologically irreconcilable power centers”.

Staying a step ahead of the forces of change requires an ability to foresee and appreciate the consequences of our actions, the willingness to learn the hard lessons, both from history and from our own experiences, and a relentless persistence in the face of unrelenting difficulties.

Acheson got it right. America helped shape the direction of change after World War II through inspired leadership, strength, the judicious use of that strength, alliances and institutions, and a commitment to American values. And we helped make a better world.

Now it is our watch, our responsibility, and we, too, must get it right. The world we face today is of a different character than even a decade ago. In Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and parts of Asia many developing and fragile states are under enormous pressure from endemic poverty and disease, population increases, debt, corruption, civil unrest and regional conflicts.

The result is a climate of despair and potential breeding grounds for radical politics and extremism. Terrorism is not always a consequence of that despair, but terrorist prey on this hopelessness. The term “war on terrorism” is inadequate and incomplete for the complex challenges we face today.

These are not just military or law enforcement challenges we face; they are much more complicated. The connections between our trade, economic and energy policies cannot be disconnected from these new global threats. They must be synthesized into a new, strategic vision for American foreign policy that not only meets the challenges of our time but frames the completeness of long-term policies for strategic outcomes.

American foreign policy has always required a principled realism that is true to our values as it faced the world as it really is in all of its complexities. American foreign policy has also dared to project a vision of the world where all things were possible.

If we are to succeed, we must understand how the world sees us. This is a vital priority for a successful 21st Century foreign policy. We must also avoid the traps of both ideology and insularity, and know that there is little margin of error with the stakes so high in the world today.

Allow me to present five specific priorities for an American foreign policy and strategic world vision for this period in history. Alliances, military strategy and force structure, public diplomacy and outreach initiatives, energy security and trade and global economics.

First, America must redefine and strengthen its global alliances. Historically, periods of dramatic change have been associated with shifts in alliances. That is where we are today. But a redefinition of alliances does not mean that they are any less necessary.

In fact, alliances are more necessary today than every before. The great challenges facing America today (defeating terrorism, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, resolving regional conflicts such as in the Middle East, and fighting endemic poverty and disease) are not unique to America.

Our allies throughout the world share these same challenges and will be just as affected by the outcomes. They will be either our common successors or our common failures. America cannot be successful with any of these challenges, including Iraq and Afghanistan, without sustained partnerships and deep cooperation in the diplomatic, economic, intelligence, humanitarian and law enforcement fields.

We simply cannot go it alone. The centrality of alliances in multi-lateral institutions to a successful foreign policy is fundamental. Alliance in multi-lateral institutions must be understood as expansions of our influence, not as constraints on our power.

Alliances must be built on solid foundations, solid foundations to handle both the routine and the urgent challenges of our times. Crisis-driven coalitions of the willing by themselves are not the building blocks for a stable world. We need to think more broadly, more strategically.

As Joseph Nye, Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, put it in a recent issue of foreign affairs, and I quote, “The problem for U.S. power in the 21st Century is that more and more continues to fall outside the control of even the most powerful state.”

And Nye adds, “The paradox of American power is that world politics is changing in a way that makes it impossible for the strongest world power since Rome to achieve some of its most crucial international goals alone”. He is correct. Developing effective and sustainable alliances and partnerships requires give and take.

While Iraq may be the most important challenge we face today, Iraq alone cannot define our relationships, especially in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Other countries have their own interests, and those interests need to be acknowledged and heard. Too often American insensitivity toward other nations’ interests is perceived as American arrogance.

President Fox of Mexico, an important ally for this country, needs help regarding immigration policy. America’s immigration reforms have been frozen since September 11th, 2001 creating problems both for Fox and for us. His interests are not all about Iraq. And with regard to Mexico, neither are ours.

Tensions with Mexico contributed to our inability to win Mexican support for a second U.N. resolution before the Iraq war. Other nations’ interests do affect America’s interests. They connect and affect our security and our priorities around the world. America must redefine its relationships with Russia and China.

This task, this challenge may be our most important challenge of the 21st Century, and we must get it right. This challenge cannot be overstated or over-valued. America’s long-term relationships with these two countries will affect our future in the course of world events.

These countries must be partners, not rivals, in helping promote global stability. China has been helpful in dealing with North Korea. Russia has been helpful in dealing with Iran. Russia, China and America share common interests (economic growth, trade, stability, defeating terrorism and preventing the spread of endemic diseases such as AIDS and SARS).

This is having a punishing effect on families and businesses at home, and will have a devastating impact on the recruitment and retention of Reserves and National Guard, as well as active duty members. We run the risk of destroying the best military force structure in history.

This force structure—this force structure took junior Vietnam veteran officers named Powell, Schwarzkopf (ph.), Zinni (ph.), Horra (ph.) and many others 25 years to build. That is why Senator Jack Reed and I introduced an amendment to the $87 billion Iraqi supplemental appropriations bill that called for increase in our active duty Army personnel by 10,000.

Something that Secretary West knows an awful lot about. A memo written by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and leaked to USA Today last week gets to some of these points. Secretary Rumsfeld observed that (quote from the memo), “DOD has been organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, navies and air forces”.

“It is not possible to change DOD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror.” In the same memo Rumsfeld later asks, “Does the U.S. need to fashion a broad, integrative plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The U.S. is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan”.

“But we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost/benefit ratio is against us. Our cost is billions against the terrorist costs of millions.”

The Secretary’s memo reflects an unease with a purely military approach to the war on terrorism and a wary recognition that America needs a comprehensive long-term strategy that relies on more than just military power.

Third, the American image in the world is in need of immediate and long-term repair. The coin of the realm for American leadership has been, and will continue to be, trust and confidence in our intentions. Without it we cannot succeed. Today that confidence and trust is failing.

On the one level it does not make sense since most people around the world want more freedoms and economic opportunities. The recently released report of the Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Moslem World, “Changing Minds, Winning Peace”, noted, and I quote, “Our adversaries’ success in the struggle of ideas is all the more stunning because American values are so widely shared.”

The report of the Advisory Group, commissioned by the House Appropriations Committee and chaired by former Ambassador Ed Dijarrian (ph.), brings to light one of the most important challenges we face today, not only in Arab and Muslim countries but throughout the world.

The answer does not lie in a Madison Avenue style spin campaign or blaming an uncooperative media. We need to get back to some basics. The perception of American power around the world must not rest solely on our military orientation or image. It has always been quite confidence and inner strength, not just great displays of military power, that have persuaded others to join our cause.

Demetrie (ph.) Siams (ph.), President of the Nixon Center, got it right in the November/December issue of foreign affairs when he wrote, “From the Roman Empire to the British Empire, civilization brought on the tips of swords or bayonets, has never inspired lasting gratitude.”

Unfortunately, U.S. public diplomacy and outreach initiatives at present are underfunded and lacking in strategic direction. Educational and professional exchange programs that in the past have allowed foreign students and professionals to study in the United States have been affected by demands of our homeland security and paralyzed visa policy since 9/11.

This is very dangerous. This is dangerous because those who have studied in the United States almost always, as you know, become friends, supporters and advocates of the United States. Without a dramatic fix and adjustment we could lose a large portion of the world’s next generation to a strident anti-Americanism.

America’s security and vitality is affected by visa and exchange policies that are based upon strength, not fear. As Secretary of State Powell said last year, “We cannot, we will not let the need to fight this war make us a different society. We will not put our tall fences up, sprinkle broken glass on the tops, put a guard at the gate and seal ourselves off from the rest of the world”.

“We will not become gated America.” American leadership cannot rest solely on the perception of our great power. Leadership requires a deeper, sustained and more complicated engagement with the world. Our priorities in higher education must reinforce America’s commitment to world leadership.

Here, too, we have much work to do. Semester abroad programs and foreign language study, for example, are critical for our future. More American students need to study abroad and study foreign languages, and the trend is in the opposite direction. The ability to cultivate and sustain relationships between peoples and governments will determine America’s future successes in the world.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in his book “Leadership” put it well. “Much of your ability to get people to do what they have to do is going to depend on what they perceive when they look at you and listen to you. They need to see someone who is stronger than they are, but also human”.

Yes, strength is part of leadership. But it is more than strength. There must be an underlying commitment to reaching out to others. Fourth, America’s economic and energy security must be incorporated into our foreign policy priorities. They are connected in ways that are often misunderstood or underestimated.

Growth and stability in both America and the world depend greatly upon energy security. I’ve chaired three hearings this year in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on this issue. There is no such thing as energy independence, a term often used, but it represents a fundamental misrepresentation of our energy security challenges.

The reality is energy interdependence. And it cannot be disconnected from our foreign policy. It is part of our foreign policy. Energy security and energy interdependence are connected parts of a broad and deep foreign policy paradigm that frames the complexity of the challenges that face America in this new century.

Energy security is defined as access to energy. Crude oil and natural gas at reasonable prices. Many energy suppliers are countries or regions that are hampered by civil unrest, corruption, under-development and regional conflict. We must pay attention and understand the interconnects of energy, interdependence and our interests, not just economic interests around the world.

And fifth, American foreign policy must reflect the realities and demands of the global economy. The global economy is a fact of life and cannot be shut out of foreign policy strategies and actions. Trade is a major catalyst for economic growth at home and abroad.

American must remain the global champion of free, fair and open trade. We cannot allow the current round of world trade organization talks to break down over agriculture subsidies as they did at Cancun. As the world’s strongest, largest and most dynamic economy, America must continue to lead world trade as we have the last 58 years.

Trade must be as high a priority as any other foreign policy priority. There are winners and losers in trade, and politicians are often called on to protect—to protect certain industries from the affects of world trade. We must also deal with the reality of other countries not always playing by the rules.

But protection of non-competitive domestic industries or unilateral sanctions and trade barriers will not strengthen our competitiveness in the global economy. It will only weaken our competitive position and our economy. Deferring difficult decisions on trade will result in disastrous consequences for America’s future.

In summary, the risks that the world faces today are great, but so are the opportunities. America must not fear change. America must shape change and lead with our world partners to a higher ground of peace and prosperity as we always have. Ours is a dynamic nation.

We are a dynamic people. Challenge and response are sources of strength, not weakness, for America. America will be the indispensable leader during this historic period of world transition if, if it wise enough to work with and through our friends and our allies that have contributed to our vital interests since World War II.

The courage and sacrifices of our armed forces in removing brutal regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq are testimony to both our strength and our values. Our economy remains strong and our message of freedom and democracy has universal appeal. America’s strength also comes from a power that is not so easily quantified, a deep faith in spirituality that animates our nation.

This orientation is absent in many countries and societies. The American character is much defined by how we believe in each other. An American foreign policy for the 21st Century will be worthy of America if it is wise enough to accept that we enhance our standing in the world not just through our power but through our purpose.

Understand that great power has its limits and that we must share the heavy responsibility of world leadership with our allies. Appreciate that together we can shape the interconnected realities of the world that we live in today into a workable and positive policy that benefits all peoples.

Listen to our friends and understand their interests, and balance our policies and actions with both a present and future perspective. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. [CLAPPING]


MS: The Senator has graciously agreed to take one or two questions and I just want to thank him for really a brilliant, strategic speech.

MS: Thanks. I think I speak for all of us, a great speech. I have sort of a somewhat specific question. You talked about our values and the like. One of the issues, and obviously it’s come up over and over in these discussions, is dealing with the so-called Muslim world.

And one of the questions there is the relationship between religion and the state and how that fits with our own western conception. It’s different in different parts of the Muslim world, but I wonder if you have any thoughts on how we deal with that, including in our public diplomacy.

MS: Well, that is one of the realities and complexities that we deal with in all of our relationships. I think we must always be very careful that we reserve the final decisions and rights of peoples of other nations to determine the answer to that question.

We are going through that now in Iraq. As you know, as we move toward a constitutional process, writing a constitution, and the question that comes up, and you may well be referring to this in your question, should Islam be part of the new Iraqi constitution. Should there be a secular constitution?

But this also gets into part of the area of what I was referring to when I mentioned our own limits of power. We cannot impose a constitution on any nation. We cannot impose what another nation decides for themselves on that issue and many others. That’s the decision for the Iraqi people.

And I think, again, we must, as I said in my speech, you all know this, weigh these. There’s balance here, and there’s give and take. But every foreign policy and every foreign policy action that American has ever taken that has disregarded that has ended in disaster for this country.

MS: Senator.

MS: Yes, sir. I can hear you.

MS: Senator Rockefeller, in discussing the investigation ongoing about intelligence has said he might try to force a vote if the Committee doesn’t go along with a broader investigation than just the intelligence community itself, but also looking at how the intelligence was used and the policymakers and the civilians and the Pentagon and so forth.

And I’m wondering whether you’d support him on that or whether you’re gonna go with the senator from Kansas on sort of limiting the investigation to just the intelligence community.

MS: Well, I don’t think that’s the choice right now. I appreciate you framing it up that way, but I don’t think that’s the actual choice. We were in an intelligence meeting this morning and I, in fact, just spoke to both Senators Rockefeller and Roberts before I came over here.

They are working together on this trying to accommodate each other’s interests and needs. And I think we will be able to find that common ground that we need to. The Intelligence Committee has always been a non-partisan ground. It needs to remain that way.

That institution must be protected from partisan loyalties in politics. I know Rockefeller and Roberts are doing everything they can to keep that trust and protect that tradition. It’s critical for our future that that tradition be kept and the integrity of that committee stay intact.

I would say, though, as a mere mortal member with no power on that Committee, that I think we also must be very careful as to where we drift on oversight responsibilities of committees. I’m not sure that’s an appropriate use of oversight priorities or an appropriate oversight responsibilities to get into policy once it leaves the hands of the intelligence analysts.

Not that we shouldn’t have oversight. We should. But there may well be other committees in the Congress that have more legitimate oversight responsibilities on policy, like another committee I serve on, Foreign Relations, like Armed Services.

So it is a delicate balance, but I don’t think we’re at exactly the time, the moment, the place that you suggested we might be at. A typical Senatorial answer. Didn’t give you one, actually, I suppose, but part of my contract as a Senator, I’m not supposed to give real good answers. Yes.

FS: Thank you for your speech. It was very profound and I commend you for that. But I want to go to Tip O’Neal’s statement on that “All politics is local”. To what degree does the American public and the American electorate correspond with or accept your vision for U.S. foreign policy in the 21st Century, and have you perceived a change? Has something changed between now and before?

MS: I think a more academic question would be whether my colleagues or my party would accept or perceive what I have to say as legitimate. But I’ll stick with your question and I’ll answer it this way. I am more than occasionally asked, what’s a weak-minded, mediocre senator from Nebraska doing poaching around in this Kissinger-esque business of foreign policy?

How can your constituents be well served by you spending so much time in these areas? And I answer by saying, and I would answer your question to some extent this way, the good people in Nebraska, in the midwest, Dick Lugar’s Indiana, Jim Leach’s Iowa, across the midwest, figured out foreign policy a long time ago.

They understood that stability and security in the world directly affected their future. If by no other measure, if you have an unstable world and you don’t have markets for your corn and your beef and your other products, then that’s going to affect your economy. That’s going to affect the future of your children.

So this was never a theoretical exercise for the people in the midwest. This isn’t my vision. This is something that I’ve kind of quilted together from many people that I’ve quoted and many others, like Dick Lugar, who’s been at this for a long time had been thinking this way and is far more articulate than I am about it.

Joe Biden has been thinking this way. But that’s the way you answer a question like that because the America people understand intuitively their interests. Now they may not frame it the same way I frame it, or they may not say it the same way I say it, but they understand it.

They understand their future is very much connected to the world, to how stable the world is or unstable the world is, and resources going out of this country for our military and all of the other dynamics that are part of budget processes. But coming back down to the common denominators of Tip O’Neal’s point, “All politics is local”, sure they get this. They get it.

And I don’t have a doubt in my mind that the good, common sense of the American public, it’s almost always invariably ahead of elected leadership. And I don’t say that in a gratuitous way. It’s just a fact. And our role is to not just, as elected officials, not only represent that but try to shape that in some way and stay ahead of it and, as I said in my speech, prepare, prepare America for what’s coming, the good and the bad.

Prepare any nation. I mean, that is the one most indispensable charge a leader has is to prepare. It’s the one indispensable charge that a parent has or a teacher has or what you all do. Yes, sir.

MS: What about responsibility to take into account the interests of many other nations and the interests of future generations? You called for comprehensive approaches to problem solving and the recognition of the increasing connection among the range of issues.

One of the top interests of many other countries, and I think of future generations, has to do with the issue of global warming. I’m wondering to what extent you consider that to be an important part of America’s foreign policy and perhaps might consider it to be part of an appropriate redefinition of energy security in the 21st Century?

MS: Well it was a very short resolution and it said essentially that this was a resolution. Obviously, vote the way you want. But it was a 95 to 0 resolution saying that the United States would not ratify any treaty on climate change that, number one, did not include all nations of the world in some way.

Not the same standards, not the same dimensions or percentages. But all nations had to be part of this in some way for all the reasons I think you understand. The two largest emitters of greenhouse gases one of these days very shortly will be China and India.

And Kyoto, for example, they’re not held to anything. And two, we would not ratify a treaty that did economic harm to this country. Now there are variations of that. What’s your standard, Senator Hagel, for economic harm versus somebody else’s? Those are debatable points.

But your overall question is part of the overall responsibility. Sure, you can’t just disconnect environmental concerns and responsibilities from anything else, but there are legitimate differences in policies that need to be, and should be, addressed. My guys say I have to go vote. Is that right?

The questions are getting tougher so I have to go. So thank you all very much. [CLAPPING]



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