For decades there have been conversations, tough questions, “ah-ha” moments, deep insights and common sense shared in one-on-one exchanges with John Kerry and Chuck Hagel. In all those times interacting with them, watching them, analyzing them, not one umbrella has been spotted.
These men are not appeasers or pleasers. They are not those who seek peace in our time at any short-term bargain that carries a risk of long-term price. They are veterans of many wars – shooting wars, political wars and personal quests. They have a determination honed of years facing enemies, enigmas, egos and elation of small triumphs; at worst, they have touches of Don Quixote, believing that foreign policy can be bipartisan, smart, bold and moral.
The current din against both men — one now the newest secretary of States, one perhaps the next Secretary of Defense – is that they are against a robust U.S. role in the world, that they prefer talk and not just action. That they will take the United States aback from foreign entanglements and hope that engagement with others will solve the increasingly intractable problems of the world.
The cry today is a fear of “retrenchment” that would be sparked from two persons who have literary been in the modern day equivalent of trenches.
Just not the case. There may be disagreements in policy goals, but both Kerry and Hagel seek a goal that should be embraced by all: that America keeps its word, is wise and kind, strong when needed and also strong enough to admit it does not always have the best answer.
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