Former ambassador advocates continued u.s. leadership role news electricity lessons 4th grade


His program “Middle East Meltdown: Causes and Consequences” – brought to the library by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, with financial support from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 764 – provided a case for continued U.S. involvement in what transpires around the globe, based on precedent.

As it pertains to the Middle East, President Woodrow Wilson appointed a commission following World War I “to go out to the region and actually ask people who lived there how they wanted to be governed,” Crocker said. The top answer was self-governance, followed by a second choice of support for a unitary mandate for the whole region, managed by the United States. And of course, neither of those two things happened.” About the speaker

Crocker has received honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Presidential Distinguished Service Award, State Department Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award, Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, State Department Distinguished Honor Award, Award for Valor, three Superior Honor Awards and the American Foreign Service Association’s Rivkin Award.

Instead, the United Kingdom and France followed a secret agreement they’d made in 1916 to partition the region into mutually agreed-upon spheres of influence, an extension of colonial policies of the time. The resulting map continues to be a source of strife.

“The architecture for a postwar world was largely developed by the United States. We didn’t just develop it. We led it,” Crocker explained, with the legacy of an upcoming “75-year anniversary of no major European land wars under American leadership.

“Did we always get it right all the time?” he continued. “Of course, we didn’t. But there was a consistency that transcended parties, where presidents, whether Republican or Democrat, looked at a world that benefited from raw U.S. leadership.”

“Without a lot of pronouncements or fanfare, President Obama saw a different world and a different role for the U.S. One of his mantras was, ‘We can’t do everything,’” Crocker said. “He kind of backed us out of places and issues, but our friends and adversaries out there in the world saw the difference.”

“President Trump and President Obama are not known for their unfettered affection for each other, but in this area, they’re pretty close,” Crocker asserted. “In terms of broad philosophy, I would suggest to you that these two presidents, the former one and the current one, kind of look at it the same way: Let the others pick up the burden. We’re done being responsible for everything.”

Six years later, American troops invaded Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the war there has persisted since. Its roots are with the Soviet-Afghan War of 1979-89, in which the United States provided support to those fighting its Cold War foe.

“We said in 1990, ‘Our work here is done.’ You could see that there was going to be a horrific civil war in Afghanistan, because the seven major Mujahideen groups that we had been training and financing and arming in Pakistan’s northwest frontier, the only thing that united them was a common enemy,” Crocker said. “Remove the common enemy, and it was going to be a hideous run for the roses, which is exactly what transpired.”

“Those people have not become softer, gentler or milder with the passage of time. They are totally committed, totally tough, totally dedicated to their cause, far more so than was the case after 9/11,” Crocker explained. “So to hand the country back to them would be inviting – let’s face it – another 9/11.”