Richard Armitage was the 13th United States Deputy Secretary of State, serving from 2001 to 2005. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and then after the fall of Saigon moved to Washington D.C. to work as a consultant for the United States Department of Defense, which sent him to Tehran and Bangkok.
Throughout the late 70s and early 80s, Armitage worked as an aide and foreign policy advisor to politicians including Senator Bob Dole and President-elect Ronald Reagan. When Reagan was elected, Armitage was appointed to the Department of Defense. In the 1990s, Armitage worked in the private sector before being confirmed as Deputy Secretary of State with the election of George W. Bush in 2001. He left the post in 2005.
Armitage was educated at the United States Naval Academy. He is an avid bodybuilder, and speaks many languages, including Vietnamese.
Question: How should America use its power?
Armitage: Well I’m on a . . . right now, a panel. I co-chair a panel with Dr. Joe Nye, a friend and colleague, on organizing something we call “smart power”. We all know what a “hard power” is. We’ve seen it in Afghanistan. We’ve seen it in Iraq. But we have a lot of soft powers – everything from the power of our ideas, to the power of our society, to the power that can be generated by our technology which can be used for the general public good. We are the richest nation in the world. We can use that money for the alleviation of infectious diseases, and suffering and things of that nature. So we have a lot. We have the _________ pulpit. When the United States speaks – still the only superpower – everyone has to listen. So the manner in which we speak is very important.