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Colin Powell: 3 November 2009 - University of Delaware

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Friday, Nov 6, 2009
Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware
Colin Powell: 3 November 2009 - University of Delaware

Colin Powell may have graduated from the City College of New York with a 2.0 GPA in 1958 and he may not be savvy with computers, especially Facebook or Twitter.  But he worked his way up to four-star general, head of the NSA, Chairman on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State under George W. Bush.  And he likes hot dogs.


In his speech at the University of Delaware on November 3rd (Election Day), Former Secretary of State Colin Powell came to address “Diplomacy: Persuasion, Trust and Values” as the second guest in the prestigious UD Speaks series (2008’s guest was CNN news anchor, Anderson Cooper.)  While his speech was candid, humorous, and patriotic, it did not carry any substantive weight and deliberately avoided many major criticisms.


Entertaining and engaging the audience from in front of the podium, Gen. Powell never directly addressed any major topics from the previous administration, only making light of some of the policies put in place.  A couple of days after his entitled use of the company 757 passed on to Condoleezza Rice, Powell hurriedly entered Reagan National Airport, paid cash for a plane ticket before checking into his flight without any luggage.  You might guess where this is going: he was justly subjected to a very thorough TSA security screening.  After the screener acknowledged the General, he replied “If you know I’m Colin Powell, why aren’t you over there looking for Osama?”


Though he touched on other light topics including his grandson setting up a Facebook page for him, Powell gave a few words of wisdom to President Obama to “not be pushed by the left” and “don’t not decide” because of the right about increasing troop presence in Afghanistan.  Discouraged by the sight of 6 million children without health care, he also urged reform for universal health care to all Americans.


Gen. Powell’s advice came in the form of “4 E’s.”  Economics and its creation of wealth is the first most powerful political force he said. The second most important, energy combined with economics, generates emissions and leads to the third E, environment.  He urged people to confront global warming while reprimanding skeptics.  The final E, education, demonstrated his desire to educate children.


He also corroborated his faith in America’s positive image, sharing two stories.  The first was of a Japanese billionaire who picked New York City as his favorite city in the world in an interview.  When asked why, the billionaire replied, it was “the only city in the world where people came up to him and asked him directions.”  In the second story, a NYC hot dog vendor on Park Ave did not let Gen. Powell pay for a hot dog and instead thanked him because “America has already paid me.”


And its not just the hot dog vendor who knows that America is still the “land of hope” and opportunity, Powell noted.  There are lines at American embassies around the world were people say “I want to go to America.”


Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware


Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware


Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware


Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware


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