On November 8, 2007, then Senator Chuck Hagel spoke to the Center for Strategic and International studies Commission on Smart Power. The topic was about U.S.-Iran relations.
“None of us in public office today, the Administration, Congress or Presidential candidates, are fulfilling the requirements of leadership at a crossroads time in history, nor are we absorbing the enormity of the time of which we are living. Neither Republican or Democratic Presidential candidates are speaking to the great challenges of our time, in particular, Iran, with depth, strategic thinking, and wise words. We are captive to the lowest common denominator — who can talk the toughest, who’s the meanest cowboy on the block? That kind of rhetoric, political as it may be, will only drive the world further away from American and deep in a world crisis that we may not be able to recover from. At times the debate is astoundingly uninformed. Before it is over, the American people will be subjected to nearly two years of a media circus surrounding our Presidential election where the candidates are reduced to a verbal ping pong volley on the great issues of the day.
“Rather than acting like a nation riddled with the insecurities of a school yard bully, we ought to carry ourselves with the confidence that should come from the dignity of our heritage, from the experience of our history and from the strength of our humanity — not from the power of our military.”