LEAP has had many opportunities to travel across the United States, but we have never been able to travel outside of the nation. Instead, the LEAP Ambassadors compromised by taking a Houston road trip to the Asia Society of Texas where the LEAPsters would receive the opportunity of gaining world knowledge from none other than the former US Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, Ambassador Khalilzad.
The Asia Society of Houston hosted the former Ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq Tuesday evening to discuss American Foreign Policy in the region. Ambassador Khalilzad was the Ambassador to Iraq (2005-2007) and the Ambassador to Afghanistan (2003-2005) along with being U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2007-2009).
During the war times in the Middle East, Ambassador Khalilzad is able to bring a unique perspective on how we can eventually end Americas longest war. Ambassador Khalilzad made it a point to express the power the United States has had and what he as ambassador has done to ensure a stronger Middle East.
Ambassador Khalilzad opened up the conversation by discussing the war in Afghanistan; explaining that the United States has a moral duty to try to find an end to the war. “We need to find a way to end this war, but leave it to the people of Afghanistan to decide what to do”. Khalilzad explained to the audience that the United States has built up the military of Afghanistan and they should handle their own affairs, but we need to keep some military there, in order to keep the government from faltering.
While he explained that Afghanistan was a major issue the U.S. is handling, Iraq is also a major player in the Middle East, with their recent military success against the terrorist state, ISIS, we need to find a way to incorporate their strength in establishing a more stable region. The Iraqi Government “while it may not be the strongest, can be our greatest ally” and “we need to be able to trust our partners to take care and help our nation when needed”.
The LEAP Ambassadors got a first-class foreign policy lecture from a Global Diplomat and learned many new details into a very complicated history. The LEAP Ambassadors would like to thank Paul Pass for this incredible opportunity to learn more about the geopolitical situation in the Middle East and look forward to many more events at the World Affairs Council and the Asia Society of Houston.