What is your counsel?
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 should we be doing?
Armitage: In my view we ought to be investing and reinvesting in education, and particularly in technical education. We ought to find the wherewithal to be able to come up with a health scheme that can be quite robust and satisfy the needs of the great majority of our population. But we spend our time, as I suggested earlier, arguing things very often which are not very important and leave these big, tough issues unfunded and understated. I was thinking on the way down here today, Dwight David Eisenhower is the one who is responsible for our great infrastructure – this great network of highways. A big idea. Lyndon Johnson had this great society. Richard Nixon put a man on the moon. I mean huge ideas. We seem to be bereft of those ideas. So I think we need to get a little more comity in our political discourse. We need to focus on education in a very serious way. And as I say, get a handle on immigration. And if we do that, I think we’ll have a pretty bright future.
Richard Armitage urges society to invest in education.
Sharon Salzberg, world-renowned mindfulness leader, teaches meditation at Big Think Edge.
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