"The era of unilateralism is over," exclaimed Representative Bill Delahunt (D-MA) during the conference to launch the bi-partisan American Engagement Caucus at 10:00am on Thursday, January 21.
The conference was led by the caucus' founding members, Representative Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Representative Anh "Joseph" Cao (R-LA), and was complimented by speeches from former UN Ambassador and current President of the Connect US Fund Nancy Soderberg, InterAction's Lindsay Coats, and Representative Bill Delahunt. Representative Carnahan opened the conference by pointing out the challenges of living in a global society and stating that an isolated United States would leave the country desolated with military, economic, and humanitarian problems.
Carnahan reiterated the importance of understanding our global partners and enemies while working multilaterally for America's best interest. He made sure to explain that one of the objectives behind the engagement is to create a "smart power" strategy to encompass what Defense Secretary Robert Gates described as, ".military success is not sufficient to win: economic development, institution-building and the rule of law. . . along with security, are essential ingredients for success." Smart power as a blend of military strength and creative diplomacy can relieve our security issues as well as reinforce our international image. Subsequently, Representative Carnahan used a quote from President Truman to exemplify an overarching goal of the Caucus by stating,
"It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow's viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences."