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Monday, September 28, 2009

Top NATO guy gets Lincoln

During this past weekend, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, current Secretary General of NATO, former Prime Minister of Denmark, was in Springfield, Illinois. He then went to Washington, D.C., for a speech and question and answer session with the Atlantic Council and some press about the NATO mission and Afghanistan.

In discussing his reasons for giving up his job as Prime Minister of Denmark, which he held for eight years, to become Secretary General and take on the very difficult situation in Afghanistan, he said:

However, there is what I would call a more overall reason. And that became even more clear to me during the past weekend. I visited Springfield, Illinois, as you all know, the hometown of Abraham Lincoln with the impressive Lincoln Library and Museum and the Old State Capitol where Lincoln served as state legislator before his presidency. In 1858 Lincoln gave a speech in which he praises the desire for liberty as the strongest defense against despotism. I quote, "our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own door." Of all dates, Abraham Lincoln gave this speech on 9/11 1858. I'm reminded of the timeless truth and significance of these words. And I consider it a duty to work for the accomplishment of these values and principles in the world of today and tomorrow. Therefore, I was pleased to take on responsibilities as leader of the world's strongest military alliance - an alliance that is not just military, but built on shared political values.

C-SPAN recorded the event. Via @kmrasmussen (Springfieldian, Executive Director of the Illinois Policy Institute, and his daughter-in-law).

Posted by Marie at September 28, 2009 11:16 PM


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