|New American Strategies
for Security and Peace
Senator Chuck Hagel
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TOGO D. WEST, JR.
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
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
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
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
We admire your dedication, your leadership and we
await your words. Colleagues, citizens, ladies and gentlemen,
the senior Senator from Nebraska. [CLAPPING]
SENATOR CHUCK HAGEL
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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]
VARIOUS MALE AND FEMALE SPEAKERS
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
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: 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
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
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
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]
END OF TAPE