Caspar Weinberger, former secretary of defense, spoke last week on "The World and Mr. Clinton." His remarks were sponsored by the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. From Weinberger's address:
On Foreign Policy Issues "What worries me, I think, most of all now is that we do not seem to have a clearly defined foreign policy and yet we are putting American forces into positions of great danger without clearly defined missions. And without the equipment or the capabilities or the instructions necessary to carry out whatever mission might be assigned to them in these very grave periods of danger. We have a lot of talk now about intervention and when we should intervene. . . . "(One) conviction that I carried with me into the (Defense) Department was the conviction arising from the Vietnam War that one of the worst things that we can possibly do was to enter a conflict and ask American men and women in the military to commit and risk their lives to a cause that we don't consider important enough to win. And that we don't intend to win. And that happened in the Vietnam War, it's one of the things that pulled apart the whole social fabric of the country in a way that lasted well into the end of the '70s and into the '80s. . . .
"Well, I think we have to look at what's happening in Somalia now, against the background of some of the interventions that were not so successful. . . . This is about as confused and muddled an execution of foreign policy as you can imagine.
"Bosnia is very much the same kind of thing. . . . I don't think it's a very good position for us to be in. . . . I think it's particularly bad because it tells the world that aggression can succeed."
On Domestic Aspects of Foreign Policy "These are things that, because of the global nature of our economy, literally mean that things that happen almost anywhere in the world affect us at home, just as things we do affect countries abroad. This is an interlocked global economy. When things are happening that demonstrate that the United States either lacks the capability or the will or the resolution to fulfill its responsibilities as the world's only superpower, then it is a source of considerable worry because it's an encouragement to future aggression.
". . . In the end, however, I am optimistic. We are a very strong country. We have enormous resources that nature has blessed us with. We are able to do pretty much what we want to as a nation. We had, and I hope we'll continue to have, a military that is basically the envy of the world. . . . We can do it; we've done it in the past. And there's nothing that indicates to me that Americans have changed in any way, either in their productive capability, their inventive genius or their resolution to secure and keep freedom for ourselves, and peace and freedom for ourselves in our lives."
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