Remarks With Former Senator Dick Lugar and Former U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton at a Luncheon Program

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana
October 15, 2015

SENATOR LUGAR: It’s my privilege to initiate by giving a toast to a very, very dear friend. I have been deeply moved today by the comments that he made but impressed by, once again, the comprehensive nature of his leadership in the foreign policy of our country. This is a man who volunteered for military service, who obtained, or sadly, suffered through three Purple Heart situations in the course of that service. He is a person of courage as he came back from that military service and then talked to the nation, as well as to the Congress, as a young person.

For 28 years, we had an opportunity to serve together on the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate, the last four years under his chairmanship, with the New START Treaty – the last significant arms control treaty our country has been able to fashion at a time in which, through his leadership and my assistance, we were able to have a bipartisan group that got 71 votes – a very significant factor, really, in our foreign policy.

I am so grateful, as all of you are, that he has brought to Hoosierdom today, to Bloomington, and to this very significant building a great deal of attention well deserved for American foreign policy, but likewise, for all of you who have made possible this magnificent structure, supported the great faculty that is a part of it, the thousands of students who are now involved and the thousands who will come because of the attraction of today and all that will follow.

With all of this in mind, I raise my glass to the Secretary of State, John Kerry, with hopes and prayers that he will continue to have strength and good health and wisdom and continue to bring achievement for our country. To the Secretary.

AUDIENCE: Hear, hear.

SENATOR LUGAR: And I now wish to ask my colleague, Lee Hamilton, to come forward.

MR HAMILTON: Welcome, good afternoon to all of you. My guess is that you will remember this day for many, many years to come. It’s a memorable day for Indiana University, and Secretary Kerry, that was one heck of a speech you gave. (Applause.)

Secretary Kerry is willing to go anywhere, anytime, and meet with anyone in pursuit of a more peaceful world. He deals with a world that is a tangled mess. Crises cascade and converge upon us in nearly every part of the globe. Instability and threats to our security and interests abound. The number of highly complex foreign policy challenges, which he set out for so magnificently and eloquently just a few minutes ago, is simply staggering. In response to these challenges, Secretary Kerry brings his formidable advocacy skills, as you saw, and negotiation skills that are deep and have a profound understanding of America’s role in the world and the role of American diplomacy in pursuing our national interests.

He understands that we live in a tough and violent world with people and groups who want to do us harm; that not every challenge can be solved, some must be managed; that the search for alternative views and better ideas must never stop; that aggressive diplomacy is desirable but no panacea; that diplomacy, done at the right time with the right people in the proper environment, can establish openings for major global progress and can save lives; that talking to our friends and allies is always necessary, and not talking to our adversaries allows problems to fester and opportunities pass; that the time for talking with adversaries is not always now, there are legitimate questions of timing; that diplomacy must be supported with the other tools of American power, including sanctions, military force, and perhaps most importantly, our example in the world; that diplomacy should be given a chance because even if it fails, it is a prerequisite to gaining the support of others and the effective use of force.

Secretary Kerry, because of his extraordinary political and public background, also understands that policymakers must pay attention to the views of the American public – a public that is today wary of military intervention, reluctant to fully embrace a world leadership role but not ready to abandon it, that favors neither isolationism nor policing the world. Through it all, he continues to engage and try his level best to solve and manage America’s challenge.

And for that effort, join me in a toast as we owe him a profound debt of gratitude and our very best wishes for good health and Godspeed.

AUDIENCE: Hear, hear.

SECRETARY KERRY: Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to keep you from eating just for a couple seconds longer, but I’m about spoke-out. (Laughter.) But I do want to – I want to do a couple things. First of all, I want to embarrass the heck out of Marie Harf, who works for me. She does a spectacular job. She was with us throughout the Iran negotiations. She managed all of the Iran public messaging and did a superb job and was a huge part of the team on an every-single-day basis. So you have much to be proud of in your great graduate of 2003, Marie Harf. (Applause.)

Now, I, as you may have discerned, am something of a Winston Churchill fan. And he was once upon a time invited to the United States, believe it or not, to receive an award for temperance. Now, if you know anything about Winston Churchill, you know, well, that’s kind of improbable. But he was toasted and the MC stood up and said, “You know, Sir Winston, we’ve actually done a little bit of research and we’ve discovered to our amazement that you actually have a little wine with lunch and then you have a sort of afternoon constitutional and then around dinnertime there’s a lot more wine that flows, and then your bath with your whiskey and into the night. We’ve calculated that if we took all the alcohol that you’ve actually imbibed in a lifetime, it would go to a line right here,” and he pointed about to where the bottom of the platform is up there. And Sir Winston theatrically and abruptly pushed back his chair and he looked purposefully at the line, then he looked at the ceiling, he looked at the line, he looked at the ceiling and he said, “So far to go, so little time.” (Laughter.)

So I – that’s kind of how I actually feel: so far to go, so little time. We have these huge challenges. But you all are already invested, you’re already part of this team because you helped to build this extraordinary edifice. This school is really beautiful, and I just learned about 268 offices for all of the faculty and so forth. I mean, it’s really quite a remarkable place. Here in the heartland, and as we know well in Massachusetts, the home of John Adams – John Quincy Adams – he famously, and I totally paraphrase, taught us how we have to study war so that we – children could study politics, so that his children, sort of grandchildren, their children could study philosophy and art and so forth, and that’s about how it is still. We’re still studying too much war, and we need to do a little less politics and get a little more philosophy and values and focus into our public life.

This school is going to help do that, and I just want to raise a glass to a couple of folks here in Lee and Dick, who’ve really paved the way and set an example. But having a school in the heartland of America focused on global and international studies of this caliber is essential for our country. And I want to drink, if you will join me, in toasting the day after the dedication and the future of this school and its ability to produce the future secretaries of state, presidents, members of the cabinet and Congress who will lead us forward and help us to fulfill the mission of helping the world to know America and helping America to understand the world. So to the global – the school for global studies – global and international studies, to the future, and to the future leadership that will come out of here, thank you. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Hear, hear.

MR MCROBBIE: Ladies and gentlemen, just very briefly, I think everybody will agree that was a truly extraordinary and unforgettable address by Secretary Kerry, one that will stay with everybody here for the rest of their lives and I think will hugely increase recruiting for the State Department from Indiana University, maybe to the tune of every single one of the majors in the school.

I want to again thank Senator Kerry for that extraordinary address, for coming to Indiana University for this event to celebrate the opening of the School of Global and International Studies and this magnificent new building that houses it. We’re very grateful, particularly bearing in mind he has to leave for Europe early tomorrow morning. And on behalf of the university, I want to present him with the key to both the School of Global and International Studies and to this magnificent building that houses it in thanks for his superb address. (Applause.)

SECRETARY KERRY: I just asked him if it really opens the door. The President gave me a key to the cabinet room for my birthday and it actually opens the door to the cabinet room. (Laughter and applause.)