'Blood and treasure’: US defense chief pushes global military engagement
Facing a trillion dollars in cuts over the next decade and a declining appetite for engagement abroad, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel attempted to rally the faithful as the US struggles to maintain its massive worldwide military presence.
With around 47 percent of Americans saying the United States should take a less active role in global conflicts, Hagel, speaking to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Tuesday, sought to assure the public that America’s massive military stamp was first and foremost done for their benefit following more than a decade of war and inevitable defense cuts.
“It only forces us to be more engaged later — at a higher cost in blood and treasure, and often on the terms of others,” he said. Hagel said staying engaged with the world was not an act of “charity” but a matter of practical national interests.
“Although Americans today are increasingly skeptical of foreign engagement and global responsibilities, it is a mistake to view these responsibilities as a burden or as charity,” Hagel told the audience. “Let us remember that the biggest beneficiaries of American leadership and engagement in the world are the American people.”
Hagel said investment for America’s global military presence, which includes 400,000 troops in 100 countries, is necessary to help build a peaceful, free, and stable world. He further warned of the perils of isolationism, which would inevitably come back to haunt the US.
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