Speeches & Lectures

Remarks by Vice Chairman John Lovewell at IWP Commencement 2016

IWP Vice Chairman John Lovewell delivered the following remarks after being awareded a Doctorate of Laws Honoris Causa at The Institute of World Politics Commencement on May 21, 2016.

John Lovewell, Commencement 2016 444x718Chancellor Woolsey, Chairman Smith, President Lenczowski, Dean Owens, Professors, Members of the Class of 2016, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very honored by this degree.  And to think, I did not even have to write a dissertation or pass a final exam!

As a matter of fact, I have received quite an education during my 10 years as a Trustee.  It has been the most fascinating experience of my career.

One thing I have learned may surprise you. The Institute’s mission and comprehensive curriculum are completely unique among institutions of higher learning.  For this reason, I believe the success of the Institute of World Politics is absolutely vital to our nation at this moment in our history. 

Let me illustrate with a lesson from recent history.  There is a fascinating new book out this year about the Grand Strategy employed by the Reagan Administration to defeat the Soviet Union and end the Cold War.  In fact, that is the title:  The Grand Strategy that won the Cold War:  Architecture of Triumph. I commend it to you if you want a detailed, authoritative analysis of successful foreign policy strategy.   

The book is a series of essays by members of the Reagan White House, the insiders, who describe in detail the comprehensive, multi-faceted campaign which they helped create and execute. In less than 10 years, this campaign won the Cold War without firing a shot.  Three of the contributors to the book, Dr. Lenczowski and two of our adjunct professors, Norman Bailey and Douglas Streusand, served in the Reagan White House, and were among the architects of that campaign.   

Facing the challenge of the Soviet Union and communism, the Reagan administration rejected the long-standing policy of containment and attempts at détente that had dominated American foreign policy. Instead, the Reagan White House and National Security Council set out to defeat the adversary and end the threat.

The Reagan strategy was brilliant. The victory was achieved by a coordinated use of diplomacy, military build-up, economic power, intelligence and counter-intelligence, political influence, and especially psychological influence.  It was a well-conceived Grand Strategy which recognized the weaknesses of the Soviet empire and exploited them. 

Most importantly, the West engaged the Soviets in the battlefront where they were most vulnerable:  the war of ideas and the hearts and minds of men.  They weakened the Soviet Union militarily and economically, and discredited its leadership.  They inspired and supported resistance among the people, and won a war without expending blood and treasure.

Now none of this history is new to the Class of 2016.  They have studied the Cold War and the Grand Strategy which ended it.  The Class is also aware that our nation is facing a whole set of new threats.  They also know our country is suffering a crisis of leadership, and could benefit from the lessons of the Cold War triumph.  It is clear to me, and certainly to the Class of 2016, that we need Grand Strategy today; in fact, we need several Grand Strategies to deal with the multiple threats we face from new Russian aggression, from ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism, Middle East turmoil, North Korean belligerence, cyber-terrorism and cyber-theft, and Chinese expansionism.  This Class of 2016 knows that comprehensive Grand Strategy is essential if we are to reduce the growing potential for war, and preserve peace, freedom, and prosperity.

What you may find amazing is that none of the other major graduate schools in this field, other than the Institute of World Politics, is teaching Grand Strategy in any comprehensive way.  That is, the concept of coordinated use of all the instruments of Statecraft is not taught by our competitor institutions.  This is especially true of the “softer” arts of statecraft, such as public diplomacy, counter-intelligence, and psychological influence.  How can this be?  How can the schools of diplomacy and international relations educating our leaders fail to study the lessons of recent history, in order to develop realistic, comprehensive strategies to meet our current threats?  …in order to preserve our freedom, prosperity and peace?  …in order to increase our chances to avoid unnecessary wars?

There are a variety of reasons for this failure which we could discuss.  Political correctness, moral relativism, and a lack of familiarity with, and commitment to, the founding principles of America are among these.  Also, many harbor misconceptions of the nature of man and deny the existence of good and evil.  Or they hold unrealistic expectations for international institutions to preserve order and promote freedom.

Whatever the reasons, I can tell you with confidence that, with the study of Grand Strategy and the instruments of Statecraft, the Institute of World Politics offers far-and-away the most realistic, practical, and comprehensive graduate education for future national security and foreign policy leaders.  It is not a close call. 

The intellectual and philosophical foundation of the Institute is the “secret sauce” which distinguishes IWP from its competitors.    But in my opinion, the final ingredient, which elevates the Institute to be the finest school of national security and diplomacy in the world, is its faculty. 

Students at IWP are not taught by career political science professors or ivory tower academics, but by the finest scholar-practitioners in the world.  The IWP professors possess very unique and precious knowledge one cannot find elsewhere.  They are actually practicing, or have practiced, the arts of statecraft they teach.  As Lt. General Mike Flynn, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, once told me, he encourages Army fellows to consider studying at the Institute because of the intimate relationship students enjoy with our world-class professors.  Taken together, the 40 or so professors at the Institute of World Politics constitute a national treasure, in my opinion.

For me, all of this is compelling information. The Institute is attempting to preserve our country and its peace and freedom for our children.  IWP is educating informed, ethical statesmen, military leaders, intelligence officers, elected and appointed officials, and other leaders. We are addressing the crisis in our country’s leadership.  We are doing this better and more comprehensively than any institution in the country, in my opinion.  As a private citizen, I cannot imagine a higher leverage for my time, energy, and charitable investment.

I want to acknowledge and thank all of you here for your support of the Class of 2016, and to the Class, I wish you Godspeed and great success in your careers in defense of the Great Experiment that is the United States of America.