Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who served under President George H.W. Bush, addressed the University of Virginia's International Relations Organization Wednesday night, focusing on how he expects foreign affairs to impact the upcoming presidential election.
According to IRO President Arjun Sharath, Eagleburger was able to weave his practical experience in the field of foreign affairs into his presentation, focusing on foreign affairs' effect on the upcoming election.
Eagleburger "has a vast store of experience and knowledge," Sharath said. "Most speakers don't have such a firsthand perspective with foreign affairs."
During his presentation, the former secretary of state quickly honed in on the importance of the upcoming presidential election, offering his insights and predictions about what will transpire in November and thereafter.
Evaluating the presidential nominees, he contended that the election of a Democrat in November would move the timetable in Iraq up substantially. Eagleburger, a supporter of John McCain, argued against candidates sponsoring a quick pullout from Iraq, saying, "it's hard to achieve stability when you're packing up and moving out."
Eagleburger added that as unpleasant as the war in Iraq may be, he believes the United States cannot and should not pull out, as the troop surge is working to some degree.
"We should be very careful if we pull out," he said. "The consequences are going to be horrendous."
University Democrats President Sarah Buckley told The Cavalier Daily she believes Eagleburger is "neglecting the effect [of the Iraq war] on American families and American lives."
Buckley added that alternate options to achieving stability and success in Iraq other than military actions still exist.
For Eagleburger, that success will be achieved when the United States is able to drive out terrorists living and working in Iraq, but he emphasized there is still much to be done.
Though he said he initially supported the war, he noted that the United States has made some "terrible mistakes" and that the country is a long way from solutions.
"If nothing else had happened after the fall of Saddam, we might still be viewed as liberators," Eagleburger said. "We won the war, but lost the peace and are now paying the price for that."
Eagleburger said the "threatening state of the economy" will also play a major role in the upcoming elections, noting that energy conservation will grab the nation's focus, underscored by the high price of oil.
Buckley maintained that energy independence and conservation are of more importance to the Democratic Party than to the GOP, but both she and Eagleburger highlighted it as an important issue.
"A serious internal issue facing the United States is in energy and its costs," Eagleburger said, maintaining that economic and international policy will be greatly affected by issues pertaining to oil and its alternative sources. Eagleburger noted that he believes ethanol is not a good alternative, as it will likely cost more in the long run.
Eagleburger ended his speech with an appeal to college students, calling them to take action and become involved in current events.
"If I were a little younger, I would have to do something," he said.
According to Sharath, the event, which was open to the public, had a record turnout for the organization. Sharath added that about half of those in attendance were not IRO members.
"The room was overflowing. ... I'm definitely happy to see that kind of enthusiasm in the student body," Sharath said.
© 2008 Cavalier Daily via U-WIRE