Who is America?
Dr. Dov S. Zakheim is a vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton where he is a leader in the firm’s global defense business, working with U.S. Combatant Commanders and allied and coalition ministries of defense worldwide.
Former United States government official Dov Zakheim was the Undersecretary of Defense and Comptroller from 2001-2004 in the George W. Bush administration, and was a foreign policy advisor to that administration during the 2000 election campaign. From 1985-1987, during the Regan administration, Zakheim was Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Planning and Resources. An Orthodox Jew, he helped to end the IAI Lavi Israeli fighter program. Previous to his work with the Bush administration, from 1987-2001, Zakheim served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and sat on a number of Defense Department panels, including the Task Force on Defense Reform, in 1997, and the Board of Visitors of Overseas Regional Centers, from 1998-2001. During those years he was also CEO of SPC International, a subsidiary of System Planning Corporation. Zakheim is on the editorial board of The National Interest Journal and has published a multitude of articles and monographs on defense issues. Zakheim earned his BA in government from Columbia University in 1970 and his PhD in economics and politics from St. Antony's College, Oxford University. He was an Adjunct Scholar at the Heritage Foundation, and an adjunct professor at the National War College, Yeshiva University, Columbia University and Trinity College, where he was also Presidential Scholar. He has been a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the United States Naval Institute. Zakheim has received many awards for government and community service, including the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, its highest civilian award.
Dov Zakheim: It’s optimistic, because as I said, this is the great . . . There are a couple of things. First, when you’re a part of the greatest experiment in nationhood, which I believe we are, then you gotta be optimistic. The other thing about the United States is we keep rebounding. You know, we rebounded after the Great Depression. We rebounded after Vietnam. I mean, we’ve rebound. Some people said that we were in the dumpster in the Carter years. Well we rebounded. The greatness of this country is that we rebound. And I think we rebound because fundamentally, people here are optimistic, are hard working, and do have these values. Now you know, are they shared in the way that everybody sees and thinks exactly the same way? Of course not! Three hundred million people. Do you expect them all to . . . I mean 10% of them probably still believe in flying saucers, or that Elvis is alive. Not everybody does, but the fact is that in this country, you can still start from ground zero and wind up whoever, which is why people keep wanting to come here. I mean ultimately, just look where people vote. And I don’t mean voting in a ballot box. I mean voting with their feet. During the Cold War, how many people voted to go to the Soviet Union? How many people tried to cross that Berlin Wall and come into West Germany? How many people try to get into the United States? It’s not just to make the extra buck. There’s something about this place, and that makes me optimistic.
Recorded on: 7/2/07
Zakheim talks about what it means to be American.
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