Sunday, February 11, 2007

Omaha World-Herald Hagel says U.S. will need moral purpose in a connected world

The following is an Omaha World-Herald article about Senator Hagel's speech at the Charter Day event at William and Mary College:

Published Sunday, February 11, 2007
Hagel says U.S. will need moral purpose in a connected world

WASHINGTON - Faced with complicated global challenges, America must earn the trust of the world's next generation - not by flexing military might but with moral purpose, Nebraska's Sen. Chuck Hagel said Saturday.

America's security challenges - including threats of terrorism, pandemic health dangers, budget deficits and the energy supply - requires it to build a new relationship with a new international generation, Hagel told an audience of more than 500 at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Va.

That generation is huge; 2.4 billion people alive today are younger than 20 years old.

Beyond numbers, the human condition always drives world events, Hagel said.

Half the world's population lives on less than $2 a day. About 1 billion lack potable drinking water, 2 billion lack proper sanitation and another 2 billion live without electricity, he said."

For America and the world to continue to improve the human condition, it will require the trust and confidence of the world's next generation. If we fail, our children and grandchildren will inherit a very dangerous world," Hagel said in his speech.

Hagel, a possible 2008 Republican presidential contender, told students, faculty and others that despite the obstacles, America faces "limitless opportunities" because many issues are interconnected globally.

Climate change, terrorism, pandemic health worries, poverty and the spread of radical fundamentalism cannot be solved without U.S. leadership working with allies for common solutions, he said."

The world knows America's power. No nation rivals us in terms of military and economic might," Hagel said."

But in the 21st century it will be the next global generation's trust in America's purpose, not their fear of our power or envy of our economy that will determine our future."

He told the students in his audience that they are part of that next generation, one that represents the greatest force for change in the world.

While much in modern society divides Americans into categories - Republican, Democrat, conservative, moderate, old, young or poor - Hagel said all share a belief in the creator, families, friends, community "and in something larger than our own individual self-interests."

America will meet its challenges because it always has, he said."

We must never forget that our greatest responsibility in life, in every way, in everything we do, is to help make a better world."

Hagel was the keynote speaker for the annual Charter Day event at William and Mary. The nation's second-oldest college, it was chartered 314 years ago. He was awarded an honorary doctorate.

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