Chuck Hagel

20061213_USGLC_162b-webA former two-term Republican Senator from Nebraska and decorated Vietnam War veteran, Chuck Hagel has been a strong supporter of the International Affairs Budget throughout his career in public service. As a member of the USGLC’s Advisory Council and Chairman of the Atlantic Council, Hagel has spoken out in favor of the importance of development and diplomacy, noting that, “Engagement is not appeasement. Diplomacy is not appeasement. Great nations engage. Powerful nations must be the adults in world affairs. Anything less will result in disastrous, useless, preventable global conflict.”1

As a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Ranking Member on the International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs, and International Environmental Protection Subcommittee, Hagel consistently embraced the purpose of foreign assistance to protect American national security interests, arguing that, “Investments in our international affairs programs bolster our national security by allowing us to work with foreign partners to track down terrorists and weapons, to improve the political and economic lives of others, and to help stabilize fragile states.”2 In addition, Hagel lent his name to letters sent to the president urging full funding for the International Affairs Budget. In a 2008 letter to President George W. Bush, Senator Hagel co-led one such letter, arguing that, In addition, he supported the Biden-Lugar amendment in 2008 that restored $4.1 billion to the International Affairs Budget, to match the president’s budget request. Hagel was also a proponent of the creation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation in 2003 and co-sponsored the bill in 2008 that would reauthorize the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Hagel has spoken at USGLC events on the importance of U.S. global engagement and USGLC honored him, along with then-Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), at its 2006 Tribute Dinner. In 2008 at an Impact ’08 event in Ohio, Senator Hagel implored the next president to understand the reality of global challenges facing the United States, particularly the importance of American global leadership. Hagel stated that, “The reality is these challenges that face America today face the world, whether it’s extremism, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, environment, energy, these are global problems. The world does not know who we are. In order for us to lead, we’re going to have to forge some consensus of common interest.”3

Following his retirement from the Senate, Senator Hagel has continued to advocate in favor of the International Affairs Budget, penning an op-ed in the Washington Post in 2009 about the importance of global engagement. Hagel wrote, “Our greatest threats today come from the regions left behind after World War II. Addressing these threats will require a foreign policy underpinned by engagement — in other words, active diplomacy but not appeasement. We need a clearly defined strategy that accounts for the interconnectedness and the shared interests of all nations.”

Hagel has been on the short lists for a number of key Obama Administration positions, dating back to the choice of vice president and Defense Secretary in 2008. He is very close with Vice President Joe Biden through their days working together on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Known for his independent streak, Hagel himself considered running for president and was also discussed as a possible running mate for George W. Bush in 2000. He also teaches at Georgetown University in the Walsh School of Foreign Service as a Distinguished Professor. In addition, Hagel is Co-Chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and a member of the Secretary of Defense’s Policy Board.

Did you know…

Senator Hagel was a business owner before serving in the Senate and in 2001 he received the Horatio Alger Award, which recognizes self-made business leaders who have overcome adversity.

Hagel on Smart Power

“First of all we shouldn’t come at it with the thought, understanding or framework of it as aid. It’s an investment. It’s a very clear investment in the interests of this country.”4

“We’re the most generous country in the history of man, by any measure. But there’s something more to it than that. It is an investment in stability and security.”5

“Our greatest threats today come from the regions left behind after World War II. Addressing these threats will require a foreign policy underpinned by engagement — in other words, active diplomacy but not appeasement. We need a clearly defined strategy that accounts for the interconnectedness and the shared interests of all nations.”6

“The reality is these challenges that face America today face the world, whether it’s extremism, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, environment, energy, these are global problems. The world does not know who we are. In order for us to lead, we’re going to have to forge some consensus of common interest.”7

“Investments in our international affairs programs bolster our national security by allowing us to work with foreign partners to track down terrorists and weapons, to improve the political and economic lives of others, and to help stabilize fragile states.”8

“The impoverished regions of the world are the most unstable, volatile, and dangerous areas representing the greatest threats to America and the world. Extremism and terrorism breed in these locations. Therefore, we must pay attention to them. President Bush deserves credit for his initiatives to create the Millennium Chal¬lenge Account promoting sustainable, long-term economic growth and good governance in the world’s poorest countries.”9

“Engagement is not appeasement. Diplomacy is not appeasement. Great nations engage. Powerful nations must be the adults in world affairs. Anything less will result in disastrous, useless, preventable global conflict.”10

  1. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/events/2008/6/26%20hagel/0626_hagel_speech.pdf
  2. http://www.usglc.org/USGLCdocs/FY09_150_House_Senate_sign_on_letters.pdf
  3. http://www.usglc.org/2008/06/23/impact-%E2%80%9908-in-ohio-launches-with-discussion-of-global-challenges-facing-us/
  4. http://blip.tv/cusge/the-global-wire-senator-chuck-hagel-interview-933825
  5. http://blip.tv/cusge/the-global-wire-senator-chuck-hagel-interview-933825
  6. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/02/AR2009090202856.html
  7. http://www.usglc.org/2008/06/23/impact-%E2%80%9908-in-ohio-launches-with-discussion-of-global-challenges-facing-us/
  8. http://www.usglc.org/USGLCdocs/FY09_150_House_Senate_sign_on_letters.pdf
  9. http://www.mcc.gov/documents/press/factsheet-071508-whatpeoplearesaying.pdf
  10. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/events/2008/6/26%20hagel/0626_hagel_speech.pdf

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