Chuck Hagel

  • ‘We’re Not Going Back from a Low-Carbon Future’

    Former US officials criticize Trump’s decision to quit Paris climate deal

    While US President Donald J. Trump predicated his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord on the protection and restoration of US coal jobs, clean energy technology is not only the most effective, but an essential path toward improving the economy and fighting climate change, according to former US energy and environment officials.

    “We’re not going back from a low-carbon future,” Ernest Moniz, who served as US secretary of energy under former US President Barack Obama, said at the Atlantic Council’s Tipping Points conference on June 21-22, hosted by the Millennium Leadership Program. “The clean energy global economy is going to be a multi-trillion-dollar economy,” he added.

    “We have shown that you can have a clean and green environment, make environmental progress, and have our economy grow,” said Christine Todd Whitman, who served as Environmental Protection Agency administrator in the administration of former US President George W. Bush.

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  • A Tribute to Zbigniew Brzezinski

    albright circle                                    Madeleine Albright
    US Secretary of State (1997-2001)

    “His absence will be felt, and his presence sorely missed, but Zbig’s ideas and his worldview will continue to influence the foreign policy debate for many years to come. In today’s complicated world, we need leaders like Zbig who are both thinkers and doers, who understand history and the need for America’s active involvement in world affairs.”

    Jose-Manuel Barroso updatedGBE                                    Paula J. Dobriansky
    Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs (2001-2009)

    “Zbigniew Brzezinski had a deep, lasting and positive impact on a wide range of crucial US foreign policy matters, including our relations with China, the Middle East, and the future of Central Europe. His brilliant strategic vision and enormous contributions in managing international crises will long endure as prime examples of extraordinary US statecraft.  I feel privileged to have worked with him.” 

    Stuart-E.-Eizenstat                           Chuck Hagel
    US Secretary of Defense (2013-2015)

    “Zbig Brzezinski was one of those unique individuals who possessed both great strength and intellect as well compassion and decency. He’ll be missed by so many of us who relied on his wise counsel and friendship.”

    Anders-Aslund-GBE                                    Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.
    Chairman, Atlantic Council
    Governor of Utah (2005-2009)


    “Zbigniew Brzezinski embodied the quintessence of strategic leadership. His sharp wit and discerning intellect were matched by his unwavering optimism to secure a better future—a cause he dedicated his life and career to. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”


    Bajnai Gordon 2                                    Gen. James L. Jones, Jr. (ret.)
    Chairman, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council
    US National Security Advisor (2009-2010)

    “The nation has lost one of its most respected and listened to voices with the passing of Zbigniew. His contribution to the national security dialogue was critical to the culmination of the Cold War and to the freedom that Poland and other Eastern European countries enjoy today. His passion for democratic values and the freedom that comes with them will be long remembered by millions of people the world over.”


    Thomas-Barrett                                    Henry Kissinger
    US Secretary of State (1973-1977)

    “Zbig was a seminal and inspirational figure in American thought on international affairs.”


    Neil-R.-Brown                                    Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft (ret.)
    US National Security Advisor (1975-1977 and 1989-1993)

    “America—and the world we inspire—has lost a remarkable statesman. Zbig had clear, articulate views on the large issues that defined the Cold War era and the still-turbulent phase we entered after 9/11. When Zbig spoke, without notes but in his characteristic complete paragraphs—a skill I envied—people listened and learned. He was a voice of conscience on intractable issues such as Middle East peace. I cherished our debates and the many occasions where, perhaps to the disappointment of conference organizers, we shared similar views. America has lost a wise advocate of our values. I have also lost a good friend.”



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  • For the New Administration: The Atlantic Council Strategy Papers Series

    WASHINGTON, DC – The Atlantic Council Strategy Initiative within the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security launched in 2015 to provide a blueprint for the next administration as it confronts the myriad global challenges facing the world today. As the Trump administration takes shape in the coming days and weeks, the Atlantic Council has a collection of papers on a range of issues available both to prospective members of the Trump administration and the public from a bipartisan group of leading foreign policy thinkers. Featuring reports in issues including global finance, state building, US-Iran relations, energy security, and the National Security Council from prominent voices such as former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, Governor Jon. M. Huntsman, Jr., former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Ambassador James B. Cunningham, and Ellen Laipson, the Atlantic Council Strategy Papers offer concrete proposals for the next administration that emphasize proactive, effective, and efficient approaches to the national security challenges facing the United States and the world.

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  • Chuck Hagel to Next US President: Talk to Putin

    Former Defense Secretary warns against ‘Cold War buildup’ as NATO deploys in Europe’s eastern flank

    As it ramps up its troop presence in Europe’s eastern flank, NATO must be careful not to get embroiled in a “Cold War buildup” with Russia, and the next US president must make it a priority to engage directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chuck Hagel, a former US defense secretary who currently serves as a distinguished statesman at the Atlantic Council, said in Washington on May 10.

    NATO is planning to deploy four combat battalions—two American, one German, and one British—of roughly 1,000 troops each in Poland and the three Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; preparing to conduct major military exercises that will include a significant number of US troops in Poland this spring; and on May 11, US military officials will inaugurate a ground-based missile interceptor site in Romania that will be part of a larger missile defense shield. All of this has provoked a sharp response from Russia, which has said it will add three divisions of roughly 10,000 troops each to its western and southern flanks by the end of the year.

    Warning that “we can find ourselves very quickly in another Cold War buildup,” Hagel said he was “not sure there is real strategic thinking here. It is a tactical ricocheting from crisis to crisis.”

    “Initially, the four battalions…is OK, but I would be very careful with this,” he said. “The centrifugal force of this is so subtle, it takes you right down into the middle of a situation that you didn’t want to get into…Don’t ever think that when you commit military that is all it is going to be. There is always going to be an increase.”

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  • Former Defense Secretary Gates to America: ‘Reject Isolationism’

    Gates, Votel, Kravis, and Grigòlo receive Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Leadership Awards

    American leaders must “reject isolationism” and Europe must “get its internal security house in order,” former US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said at the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Leadership Awards gala in Washington on May 3.

    Gates, who has served in Republican as well as Democratic administrations, was presented the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished International Leadership Award. Other awardees were Gen. Joseph L. Votel, Commander US Central Command (CENTCOM), who received the Distinguished Military Leadership Award; Henry Kravis, Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., who received the Distinguished Business Leadership Award; and Vittorio Grigòlo, a renowned Italian tenor, who received the Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award. This was the twentieth anniversary of the awards dinner.

    In his acceptance speech, Gates took a thinly veiled swipe at Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s embrace of an “America first” policy. “Above all, Americans and America’s leaders must reject isolationism, whether prompted by the need to address domestic needs or the belief that some of our allies are taking advantage of us. Their inaction must not become an excuse for our own,” Gates said.

    “Contrary to the views of some politicians, continuing American global leadership is in our own economic, political, and security interest, not simply and only an altruistic act. America turning inward not only will make the world more dangerous for others, but also for us,” he added. Gates’ remarks came on a night when Trump, a New York real estate billionaire, virtually guaranteed himself the Republican Party nomination by winning the primary contest in Indiana. His main rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, dropped out of the race.

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  • A US Strategy for Sustainable Energy Security

    On Friday, March 4, 2016 from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. the Strategy Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security released its second Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, “A US Strategy for Sustainable Energy Security.”

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  • Chuck Hagel on President Barack Obama’s Syria Strategy

    The Guardian features an Atlantic Council event with Atlantic Council Distinguished Statesman and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, quoting him on President Barack Obama’s Syria strategy:

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  • Chuck Hagel on Handling of National Security Issues

    Politico features the Atlantic Council event “Reflections of a Former Secretary of Defense,” quoting Atlantic Council Distinguished Statesman and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on President Barack Obama’s handling of national security issues: 

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  • US' Syria Policy 'Paralyzed' by Rhetoric that Assad Must Go, Says Hagel

    Former Defense Secretary also has advice for presidential candidates: don’t divide America

    Former Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, thinks that the Obama administration has become “paralyzed” by its rhetoric that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down, said budget cuts have pushed the United States “perilously close” to being unable to maintain its military dominance, equated the Republican presidential campaigns to an amateur talent contest, and had some advice for Donald Trump: “focus on uniting this country, not dividing it.”

    “We have allowed ourselves to get caught and paralyzed on our Syrian policy by the statement that ‘Assad must go,’” Hagel said at the Atlantic Council on January 13. “Assad was never our enemy. A brutal dictator? Yes.”

    But, he added, important lessons should have been learned from the ouster of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. Following Hussein’s execution in December of 2006, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s divisive policies deepened the sectarian divide in the country and contributed to the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). In Libya, the toppling of Gadhafi by rebels aided by a Western military campaign in 2011 plunged the country into a downward spiral of chaos from which it has yet to recover.

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  • Reflections of a Former Secretary of Defense

    Please join the Atlantic Council for a special event, “Reflections of a Former Secretary of Defense,” a conversation with the 24th secretary of defense and former US Senator from Nebraska, Chuck Hagel.


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