Page 61 - Foreign Service Journal - October, 2012b

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2012 Adair Lecture Features Ambassador Chas. Freeman
52nd AAFSW Art & BookFair
The 52nd annual Art & BookFair of the Associates
of the American Foreign Service Worldwide will take
place from Friday, Oct. 12, through Sunday, Oct. 21.
The event will be held in the Diplomatic Exhibit Hall
of the Harry S Truman building. The fair will feature
books, art, collectibles, stamps and coins from all
over the world. All proceeds beneft Foreign Service
families and the AAFSW Scholarship Fund. If you
would like to volunteer to help at the event, please
contact Judy Felt at (703) 370-1414.
On Aug. 29, AFSA’s sixth
annual Caroline and Ambas-
sador Charles Adair Memo-
rial Lecture kicked of the
fall semester at American
University’s School of Inter-
national Service. The lecture
series is generously endowed
by former AFSA President
Marshall Adair through a
perpetual gift to AFSA’s Fund
for American Diplomacy.
The program is an important
part of our national outreach
eforts to elevate the profle
of diplomacy and develop-
This year’s speaker,
Ambassador Chas. W.
Freeman Jr., served as U.S.
ambassador to Saudi Arabia
during Operations Desert
Shield and Desert Storm and
deputy chief of mission and
chargé d’afaires in Beijing,
among many other Foreign
Service assignments. He was
also the principal interpreter
during President Nixon’s
visit to China in 1972. Since
retiring from the Service, he
has advised or served on the
boards of many U.S. and for-
eign business development
associations and foreign
policy think-tanks.
Amb. Freeman told the
packed audience of students
and current and former
diplomats that while “the U.S.
in not in decline, it is certainly
in denial.” Shifting alliances,
difusion of wealth and power
and America’s growing use of
coercion as a diplomatic tool
have all reduced our ability
to shape trends and events
around the world.
Amb. Freeman then
declared that the “post-Cold
War era is long past. The
U.S. is now uncertain against
whom we should deploy our
incomparable military might
or to what international
purposes we should bend
ourselves. Call it what you
will, this is an era of enemy
deprivation syndrome.” This
syndrome has led Wash-
ington to conduct a foreign
policy “that drives diplo-
macy toward a futile efort
to persuade allies to join us
in building military rather
than civilian infrastructure
and engaging in a constantly
expanding list of wars of
During the remainder of
his remarks, the ambassador
assessed China and other
rising powers; our economic,
trade and investment poli-
cies; and the role of Western
values as a national interest.
He closed with a warning:
“America’s recent depar-
tures from the rule of law are
in many ways the greatest
menace our freedoms have
ever faced. Our country faces
no external existential threat
comparable to that of the
Cold War. Yet we are build-
ing a garrison state that is
eating away at our liberties
in the name of saving them.
Peace is the climate in which
freedoms grow.”
He ended his talk by
deploring “the futility of
imposing our freedoms on
others by force. Freedom
cannot be sustained if we
ourselves violate its prin-
ciples.” Thunderous applause
broke out as the audience
rose to its feet.
During the Q&A session,
a diplomat asked whether
the Foreign Service can make
a diference in improving
U.S. efectiveness. Freeman
responded by urging FS per-
sonnel and U.S. policymakers
to re-examine past mistakes
and design more efective
policies going forward. In
Freeman’s view, FSOs can
make a diference by employ-
ing the maxim, “Optimism is
Continued on page 62
Students from American University’s School of International Service join
Amb. Chas. Freeman after his speech on Aug. 29.