Sen. Russell Feingold Delivers Goldman Sachs Lecture
This fall, Senator Russell Feingold (D-Wisc) presented the annual Goldman Sachs Distinguished Lecture in Gaston Hall, entitled “Democracy Promotion, Development, and Diplomacy.” Sponsored by the Mortara Center for International Studies, this lecture is given every year in memory of Michael P. Mortara (F ’71), president and CEO of Goldman Sachs Ventures at the time of his death in November 2000. Mortara was a dedicated volunteer leader and a member of the SFS Board of Visitors, and his son, Matthew, is a member of the SFS class of 2009.
During his speech, Feingold underscored the importance of the rule of law, human dignity and economic opportunity to U.S. diplomatic and developmental efforts and emphasized that the United States must not attempt to impose its democratic system upon other nations without regard to their cultures and value systems. Feingold argued that the United States must instead focus its democracy promotion efforts on increasing support for those democratic values which are universal and relevant to societies across the globe. Furthermore, Feingold asserted that the U.S. must strongly resist the temptation to use military means to resolve international disputes. "Our armed forces cannot and should not be doing the work of our State Department," Feingold said. "We cannot be selective in the democratic principles we support, and we can no longer seek short term ...over long term security."
Senator Feingold also touched on the importance of promoting domestic programs and policies that are in line with fundamental American values and ideals. "We are no longer a young nation," Feingold proclaimed. "We are among the oldest ... of the practicing democratic nations. … I'm not saying that we have it all right, but how we act as Americans at home will define our strength abroad."
The Senator’s prepared remarks are available on his website at: http://feingold.senate.gov/~feingold/statements/08/09/20080915.htm.
Senator Feingold first ran for public office in 1982, defeating a popular incumbent to be elected to the Wisconsin State Senate. In 1992, after two terms serving at the State level, Feingold was elected to the U.S. Senate. He is perhaps best known for his co-sponsorship of the McCain-Feingold Act, a major piece of bipartisan campaign finance reform legislation, and for being the only US Senator to vote against the USA PATRIOT Act.