Crowe calls for further U.S. support abroad

Ending a two-year appointment as the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs, Adm. William J. Crowe drew on his experiences and his extensive naval career at a lecture Wednesday.


Crowe is a former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. He spoke about “Unilateralism and Multilateralism in U.S. Foreign Policy” in the Stuart Hall talk.

His speech focused on the need for increased multilateralism in U.S. foreign policy. Crowe most recently chaired the Accountability Review Board, the panel formed to investigate last summer’s deadly bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

“Given his enormous combination of credentials . it is not surprising that after the dreadful embassy bombings, we as a nation turned to Bill Crowe,” said Elliott School Dean Harry Harding.

Weaving a thread of trepidation through his comments on U.S. foreign policy, Crowe stressed the gravity with which the United States must decide “how we conduct and shape our affairs overseas.”

“Today, our influence goes to every corner of the globe. The way we manage our foreign affairs affects the entire world,” he said. “When America sneezes, the whole world gets a cold.”

Crowe underscored his idea of minimizing unilateralism by pointing to examples such as the U.S. failure to pay UN dues, the U.S. history of dictating to its NATO allies and generally ignoring what Crowe describes as “a need for international support.”

“We still need allies in today’s international society. The U.S. cannot single-handedly ensure economic peace and prosperity,” he said.

Citing the Arab-Israeli peace process, the Mexican Financial Rescue policy, the U.S.-Korean Nuclear Agreement and the recent history of Bosnia, Crowe emphasized a need for further American support abroad to members of the faculty, undergraduate and graduate communities.

“We are the world’s indispensable nation,” Crowe said. “We must work for and sustain better relationships in the field of international affairs.”

Following his comments, Crowe addressed audience questions about his experiences and opinions on U.S. policy toward the Anglo-Irish conflict, congressional security appropriations and multilateralism versus unilateralism.

At a reception following the event, Harding stressed the impact of the Shapiro professors, past and present.

“All of the Shapiro professors have made an enormous contribution to the Elliott School community,” he said. “In particular, Adm. Crowe has brought an incredibly diverse background to GW, and I can’t stress enough the profound effects of having him as a Shapiro professor.”

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