April 2016 – WASHINGTON – Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has called for a “new world order” and urged nations in the region to work together closely, as the world faces its most challenging security threats. Hagel, who served as the 24th Secretary of Defense from 2013 to 2015, said in a lecture in Abu Dhabi that the region is confronted with rising challenges. “We are so consumed with the immediacy of the threat,” he pointed out. The lecture was attended by Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, UAE’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs; Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations; senior government officials and members of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy.
Hagel, who was the only Vietnam veteran and the first enlisted combat veteran to serve as Secretary of Defense, said: “There are no parts of the world that does not affect other parts of the world.” The sudden unleashing of terrorism requires a shifting world order, and for nations to adapt to new security methods. “The 9/11 attacks significantly changed our ways of thinking,” he added. The former co-chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and member of the Secretary of Defense’s Policy Board stressed that since the 9/11 attacks, which opened-up doors leading to the invasion of Iraq and consequently causing immense destabilization in the region, has given a rise to global threats. “If you don’t pay attention to the big threats, they won’t get better, they will only get worse, and that’s what leadership is about. “This region has suffered and continues to suffer. No other time in history has this region suffered more than today.”
Misconceptions of Islam
However, as the region faces obstacles to overcome violence and terrorist threats, it also faces obstacles to defend itself from misconceptions of Islam. “U.S. should take some of the responsibilities of the misconceptions of Islam,” added Hagel. He noted that in order to strengthen power against such security threats, a nation’s economy is its backbone. “A nation’s security depends completely on the strength of its own economy. Countries that lack a stable economy often face chaos, disorders and revolution.” Hagel gave the example of the UAE’s wise leadership and its forward thinking strategies as a stable “future-thinking economy,” and as an example of a nation’s vision that is helping its people.
Modern times call for modern measures and a heavy reliance on technology, he said. However, the rise of technology itself is immensely aiding terrorist organizations, targeting the young, the broken and the oblivious. He also urged global leaders to learn and understand the consequences of wars, including World War 1 and 2. Hagel believes that the strengthening of relationships, alliances, global trade, culture and education is critical to developing a binding security for a new world order. –Khaleej Times
Iraq war a mistake, Saddam was no threat to US: Hagel
Former U.S. Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel has said that the 2003 Iraq invasion was a mistake. Hagel pointed out that Saddam Hussein, who was executed in 2006, was initially no great threat to the US. After a lecture in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Hagel was responding to a question posed by Khaleej Times about the possible US interests that led to the 2003 war. “I have said publicly many times since the invasion on Iraq that I thought it was a mistake, because we did not need to do it,” he said.
Hagel noted that Saddam already had no control over 30 per cent of northern Iraq – Kurdistan – as well as the south. Moreover, the UN also had control on the oil and its distribution. “It’s amazing to me that the media and others just completely eliminate what was going on in the 10 years prior to 2003, when Saddam Hussein was essentially paralyzed. He (Saddam) was no threat to the US – going back where you (KT) quoted my ‘interests’ and where a nation responds to its own interests.” Hagel noted that the “mistake” opened a can of worms for Iraq and the region, as a number of nations including Syria and Libya faced destabilization due to sectarian violence, civil wars, falling of economies and an expansion of terrorist organizations.
“I believe that (war on Iraq) set an emotion and a lot of the dynamics that we’ve seen play out now in the Middle East.” Hagel highlighted that forcing a democracy on a country can often lead to disastrous outcomes. “I don’t blame the US invasion alone for that, there were seeding cultural dimensions and historic dimensions in the region, which were there long before we invaded Iraq. But to essentially destroy and decimate institutions of Iraq, the Ba’ath Party and the military, and to believe that we were somehow going to impose our institutions, the U.S. institutions and build a US modern democracy in Iraq – was completely false.”
The 2003 invasion, he noted, “totally disregarded the history and the culture of the country. Iraqi people will come to this (democracy) on their own, in their own way, in their own time. We can promote human rights and democratic values and principles, but we can’t force it,” he said. –Khaleej Times