Hagel: Pointing in Leadership's General Directionby Ryan Anderson
It made me sick to see Sen. Chuck Hagel glad-handing Kofi Annan at the Truman Library. I'm sure President Truman was rolling over in his grave after Annan's remarks about America. Sen. Hagel should have turned his back on Annan for what he said.
I believe that Chuck Hagel has turned his back on President Bush and on Nebraskans in hopes for a shot at the president's job. We all should be ashamed of Sen. Hagel. If Americans don't start standing up for America someday, there won't be an America and we won't be free.
This letter last week joined a growing cacophony of Nebraskan voices disgusted with Senator Chuck Hagel's introduction of Kofi Annan at the Secretary General's controversial farewell address. The ensuing ruckus forced Hagel to issue a response in the form of an intriguing guest editorial published in last Sunday's edition of the Omaha World Herald:
Global challenges like the environment, pandemic health issues and energy also will factor into a new 21st-century policy paradigm. The more defined threats like proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and religious extremism will not be successfully met only through the use of America's unequaled military power. It also will require enhanced and strengthened multilateral relationships and institutions, closer intelligence-sharing with allies, expanded trade and effective exchange and education programs.
All of the great challenges of the 21st century will require U.S. leadership that is trusted and respected, not feared, throughout the world. Inspirational leadership, moral authority and confidence in America's noble purpose, not imposed power, will be essential if the world is to live together peacefully with hope for all of mankind.
An expansion of American influence must include a strengthening of the world's multilateral organizations like the United Nations.
Hagel wisely argues for a shift not only in foreign policy tactics, but also in our larger strategic goals. For forty years in the latter part of the 20th century, the broad framework crafted by a small group of statesmen and intellectuals in the Truman administration largely determined the course of the Cold War. This world order collapsed along with the Berlin Wall and in its place we have… nothing.
Our national debate can no longer afford to focus solely on the strategic shortcomings of this administration or our response to whatever immediate threats dominate the morning's headlines. The long-term interests of our nation and our world require that we start thinking twenty or thirty years ahead, and doing so will require not only an informed and engaged public but also significant political courage on the part of our national leaders.
These are questions we can’t really answer as long as our military (and our treasury) remains caught in sectarian crossfire, but a successful exit from Iraq will almost certainly require opening up a dialogue with Iran and Syria, an unpleasant option to many.
Considering how sour the public’s perception of the Iraq War has become, this just might be the easy part. Eventually, our global crisis will demand that we confront issues we’ve become rather found of ducking: Sudan and Somalia, the National Missile Defense Shield, restructuring the military, reforming agricultural subsidies...
But Hagel isn't calling for any of these first steps. He's not even coming close. Hagel argues only for diplomacy most basic. If such a call is considered controversial in this state, we Nebraskans have a long and rocky road ahead.