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IWP President speaks at Clemson

Mon, Mar 27, 2006, 7:30pm - 9:00pm

IWP President John Lenczowski addressed students, faculty and business leaders at Clemson University on structural weaknesses in United States national security posture.


At the March 27 event, part of the Strom Thurmond Institute’s Calhoun Lecture Series, Dr. Lenczowski shared observations and experiences that evolved from his career in public service that included public diplomacy, intelligence, and strategic security policy.


“In the best of worlds, the posture of a government with regard to its economic and military power structure is ordered along the lines of patriotism, strong moral foundations, realism, and the ability to look at the world with strategic clarity and political and psychological strength,” Dr. Lenczowski said. 


“And we can’t expect to have this strength of conviction, that invisible element that ties intentions to outcomes, if we don’t understand and appreciate the country and the civilization we are protecting.”


He also pointed out that deficiencies in the US educational system whether consciously or not, have undermined this informed viewpoint through curricular neglect while attacking American tradition of patriotism drawn from a collective love of country or, as he reminds us, “of stouthearted and steadfast men.”


“In order to offset these trends,” he said, “we need to develop a courage of realism which understands and sees the world as it is.  We must disabuse ourselves of the idea that man is perfectible and intrinsically good and understand that any amount of social engineering cannot change this immutable reality.”


What is needed, Dr. Lenczowski argued, is the adoption of “moral strategic clarity” which “understands the extent and nature of our national interests and also that which threatens them; a lasting strength of patriotism that serves as a national immune system capable of analysis, discernment, and prescription.  Utopianism and relativism falsely blur the lines between the cancer and the cure: we cannot cure everybody, and can’t even tell who is in need of cure as long as our vision remains blurred.


Compounding these tendencies are the structural problems present in certain US government entities: one is a weakness in public diplomacy capabilities brought about over the last 15 years by the gradual disbursement of and only partial absorption of the US Infor