Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, discussed what he viewed as ideal foreign policy with Temple Emanuel congregants in Great Neck on Friday night, cautioning against repeating the mistakes of the Bush administration.
Wilkerson also said that the United States, which billions of people believe is the greatest security threat according to polls, needs to make efforts to change its image as “the big bully of the world” to more closely align with its idea of being a strong protector of human rights.
To create a more ideal foreign policy, Wilkerson recommended embracing more humbleness and cooperation, using bodies like the United Nations and putting the most qualified people there in positions of authority.
“At the end of the day, you have to be able to say to yourself the same thing that I said when I came into this congregation: ‘I came to strengthen and will strengthen,'” Wilkerson said. “And you have to be able to say that to the majority of the world. That’s great power foreign policy.”
Among the topics Wilkerson touched on were planned negotiations with North Korea, the rise of China, the Syrian civil war, and an “unconstitutional war” in Yemen, as well as Russia’s attempts to project itself as a power.
Wilkerson, now a professor of government and public policy at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, was also an associate director for policy planning with the State Department and in the U.S. Army for 31 years.
All photos courtesy of Mallory Weber at Temple Emanuel.