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Defense Secretary Preaches to Choir

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Only America Can Save the World (for itself?)

By William Boardman --  Reader Supported News

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel by [algemeiner.com]


CHUCK HAGEL offers clues to America's contradictory policies

Global security begins in Washington, where the Secretary of Defense says that American isolationism is a bigger threat to the rest of the world than American hubris and that's why "we must remain the world's only global leader." If that sounds confused and contradictory, it's only because that's who we are as a government in the early 21st century. 

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke at length (35 minutes) about "America's long-term national security priorities" as the keynote speaker for the Global Security Forum 2013, an invitation-only event for past, current, and would-be government officials at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on November 5 in Washington.  Hagel was active with CSIS while he was out of government and describes CSIS as a contributor "to the shaping and the molding and the outcomes of our policies in the world."  In other words, CSIS is part of what is sometimes referred to as the Permanent Government and has been since its Cold War startup in 1962. 

"We try to manage the complexities of a volatile, dangerous, and rapidly changing world," Hagel said, reminding his imperial peers of what, presumably, they already well understood about the American role in the world. Maintaining American dominance is hard enough when other countries fail to heel, and only gets harder with domestic disagreement and disarray -- or as Hagel put it, "when geopolitical and political gridlock and budget uncertainty here at home continue to undermine the strategies necessary to protect America's interests and enhance its future." 

The keynote of the keynote speech: making the world safe for America 

With America's actual role in the world not up for discussion, deciphering the news in the secretary's speech called for the skills of a veteran Kremlinologist reading the tea leaves of the Soviet Union back in the day. Today's Pentagonologists have no easier a time, as the headline summaries of Hagel's speech included these sometimes conflicting interpretations: 

"   "Pentagon chief warns against over reliance on military power

[Reuters] 

" "Secretary Hagel blasts Congress for defense spending cuts"  

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[Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

"   "Hagel Warns Against Dangers of "Hubris' in Military Might

[U.S. News & world report]

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
 

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