Chuck Hagel Says America Must Not ‘Dictate’ To World

Chuck Hagel stated Wednesday that America must not “dictate” to the world.

Hagel, who was sworn in as the US Secretary of Defense on Wednesday, promised to renew old alliances and form new ones without dictating to the world.

The decorated Vietnam veteran spoke to Pentagon employees shortly before his closed-door swearing in, reports The Chicago Tribune. Hagel explained:

“We can’t dictate to the world. But we must engage the world. We must lead with our allies. No nation, as great as America is, can do any of this alone.”

The newly-confirmed defense secretary also spoke about the upcoming $56 billion in budget cuts to the Pentagon. The cuts will take place on Friday, unless the president and Congress can come to an agreement.

Hagel stated of the cuts that, “We need to deal with this reality” that the cuts will happen. Yahoo! News notes that Hagel is a former Republican senator from Nebraska. He broke from his party and heavily criticized the Iraq war — a fact that caused much contention during his confirmation hearings.

Chuck Hagel didn’t reveal any concerns about working with Congress or acknowledge any Republican criticisms during his speech on Wednesday. Instead, he articulated his beliefs on the need to exercise caution when working with countries abroad. Hagel explained:

“We have great power and how we apply our power is particularly important. That engagement in the world should be done wisely. And the resources that we employ on behalf of our country and our allies should always be applied wisely.”

One of Hagel’s first tasks as defense secretary will be to weigh in on crucial decisions regarding the Afghan War, including the size of the force that will be left at the end of 2014.

Chuck Hagel is the first Vietnam veteran to lead the Pentagon. He still carries shrapnel from one of his injuries. When introducing him to the Pentagon auditorium, an Army infantryman who spent two tours in Afghanistan stated that Hagel “knows the very real cost of war.”

Do you agree with Chuck Hagel that America must not “dictate” to the world?

[Image by Leon E. Panetta (130131-D-BW835-530Uploaded by January) [CC-BY-2.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]