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Lieberman Advocates Responsible Foreign Policy

1:55 PM, Jun 21, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Senator Joe Lieberman spoke last night at a Hudson Institute event, where he urged both political parties not to “retreat from the world.”

“We do not live in a ‘post-American world,’” Senator Lieberman said. “We live in a world in which American leadership and American power are more important than ever. The American people intuitively understand that. The fact is we live in a world in which our own security, freedom, and prosperity at home are inseparable from the security, freedom, and prosperity of people in distant lands.”

Senator Lieberman warned fiscal hawks, too, that a policy of a limited American defense “must not and cannot balance our budget by retreating from the world.”

We will not grow our economy by embracing protectionism. We will not close the deficit by gutting the defense budget. The path to restoring fiscal responsibility and economic growth at home is not through strategic irresponsibility abroad. It is through disciplined and bipartisan leadership at home and abroad.

Here are the full remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Thank you so much, Ken, for those very generous words of introduction.  It is truly a pleasure to be with all of you this evening and an enormous honor to accept the James H. Doolittle Prize from the Hudson Institute.

Over past the half-century, Hudson has been an incubator for creative and unconventional ideas, embodying a quintessentially American combination of idealism and pragmatism.  You have helped us “to think about the unthinkable” while inspiring a sense of optimism and possibility about the future.

Beginning with Herman Kahn, the great futurist who breathed life into this extraordinary institute, Hudson has been strengthened and sustained by the leadership of Wally Stern, Herb London, and Allan Tessler, with whom I am proud to stand tonight, and by my good friend, Ken Weinstein, whose intellect and purpose have so enlivened and enriched the Hudson Institute as they, incidentally, have the Georgetown synagogue in Washington where we both regularly meet to pray and “kibitz.”  

It is a particular honor for me to be honored with Wally Stern tonight. Through his decades of leadership of the Hudson Institute, Wally has inspired in so many a commitment to civic life. In his brilliant way, Wally Stern remains a role model.  Thank you, Wally, for all that you have done and will do; I am truly honored to be honored with you this evening.

Seventy years ago this year, 1941, was the year Nazi Germany seized control of nearly all of mainland Europe; the year the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack that crippled our Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor; the year in which, as Winston Churchill put it, “the crisis” was “upon us.”

It was in this time of crisis that General James H. Doolittle led the raid on Tokyo in the wake of Pearl Harbor. General Doolittle’s daring feat offered hope when all seemed hopeless, and made clear to our allies and enemies alike that America was now in the fight, and would stay there until our Alliance prevailed.

Doolittle was a true American hero. Once called “the Leonardo da Vinci of flight,” he was a man of extraordinary talent and courage—a man who believed that no matter how difficult the odds or how great the sacrifice, a risk for the sake of his country was well worth taking.
The “Doolittle spirit” still endures today, in a new generation of American heroes – leaders like David Petraeus, the most distinguished general officer of his generation and one of the greatest wartime commanders in American history.

It is found in the band of brothers who carried out with extraordinary courage and capability the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The Doolittle spirit lives most broadly in our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who surged into Iraq in the dark days of 2007and who today are fighting to free Afghanistan from the medieval grip of the Taliban.

At this time when so many Americans have lost their characteristic hope and confidence, the current crop of Doolittle heroes reminds everyone that America is still capable of greatness. In the years ahead, we will need that greatness—and the confidence that comes with it—to meet the multiple challenges we face at home and around the world: from Somalia to the South China Sea; from the lawless borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the borderless land of cyberspace. We must confront these threats at the same time that we face unprecedented economic challenges here at home.  
At this time when we most need to be strong and steadfast, we increasingly hear voices of fear and insecurity who are calling for America to turn inward.

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