Nebraska Sen. Hagel warns U.S. must be cautious regarding possible use of military force against Iraq

Author: Shannon Chapla

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “America should always speak softly, but carry a big stick.” U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) repeated the 26th president’s words Friday (Jan. 24) in a lecture titled “U.S. Foreign Policy: Meeting the Challenges of Change” in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library of the University of Notre Dame.p. A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Hagel said that his opinions on Iraq differ from those of the president and Republican Party leaders, who have indicated they are willing to take military action without the full support of the United Nations.p. “At this precarious juncture in American history, America needs more humility than hubris in the applications of American military power and the recognition that our interests are best served through alliances and consensus,” Hagel told an audience of 300. “That is why the president’s approach to disarmament in Iraq, through the United Nations, represents the most responsible and effective means to end the threat from Saddam Hussein. Multilateralism, in support of American interests and objectives, remains a source of strength in our foreign policy and the best means of expanding American influence in the world.”p. Hagel warned against the United States turning away from its allies in favor of a “go-it-alone course,” but also said war may be necessary.p. “America must not fear making difficult decisions, including the decision for war, if that is what is required,” Hagel said. “But we must be wiser and more cautious in our use of our awesome military power than ever before. America must play for the long term. Our policies, words and deeds must set the tone for the next generation, not just seek results for today.”p. Re-elected to his second term, Hagel is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran and former deputy administrator of Veterans Affairs. He is a leading voice on U.S. foreign policy, gaining experience in global affairs by serving as deputy director and chief operating officer of the World USO, where he received the Secretary of Defense’s Medal for Outstanding Civic Achievement and the first ever World USO Leadership Award. Hagel serves on five Senate committees: Foreign Relations; Banking; Housing and Urban Affairs; Energy and Natural Resources; Budget; and Aging. Prior to his election to the Senate, he was president of a privately owned investment banking firm and co-founder of a publicly traded corporation.p. The lecture was sponsored by the First Year of Studies, the Department of History, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Department of Political Science.

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