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: What does it mean to be an American?
Richard Armitage: It sounds kind of trite to say that to whom much has been given much is expected. But I happen to think that for the most part we’ve been blessed by our two great oceans, which has by and large kept us safe until 9/11. For the most part we haven’t had the great traumas that Europe and Asia have had in the last century with these tremendous wars. So I think we owe something to the world, not just to our country. I take very much to heart the words in … and English churchyard which suggests that we’re all part of humankind, and that any man’s death diminishes all of us. Because we are part of humankind; therefore we all ought to be a part of the positive side of humankind. And any man who is benefited benefits all of us.
Recorded on: 9/14/07