Lieberman: Activism Abroad


Senator Joesph Lieberman

Lieberman:applauds new foreign policy. Les Todd.

U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut and last year's unsuccessful candidate for vice president, drew a crowd of about 1,000--which flowed from the Fuqua School's Geneen Auditorium into five adjacent classrooms equipped with TV monitors--in a late-October talk at Duke. Lieberman focused his remarks on foreign policy and the war on terrorism. He came to Duke as the Terry Sanford Distinguished Lecturer.

Before the terrorist attacks on September 11, he said, the Bush foreign policy was "disengaged" rather than "value-based and engaged." He applauded the administration's shift to more multilateral thinking, and said American foreign policy should embrace national values as an aspect of national interests. One of the challenges in the wake of the September events is to sustain a coalition that won't "compromise our values or diminish our purpose," he added.

Another challenge, in his view, is to replace Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, "a time bomb ticking against us." Lieberman said of Hussein, "This is the enemy at our door, and if we don't act to protect ourselves, he may bring more death and destruction to our door." But in the question-and-answer session, he was challenged by James B. Duke Professor of Political Science Robert Keohane, who pointed out the logistical problems in attacking Iraq--and the likely harsh responses to such an attack from China, Russia, and other nations in the fragile anti-terrorism coalition.

Lieberman called for the United States to create a new version of the Marshall Plan to promote democracy and nourish free-market economies in the impoverished, oppressed parts of the Muslim and Arab worlds. He also said the outburst of patriotism should be channeled into a new program of national service for teenagers, college students, and mid-career professionals.

In his opening remarks, Lieberman recalled his Senate service with Sanford--a former North Carolina governor and longtime Duke president--from 1986 to 1993. "The Talmud says that when you move to a new community, you should find someone to be your tutor and mentor," he said. "I was happy to find Terry Sanford as mine."

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