AF Academy Assembly Concludes with Truman Lecture by Hoover Institution Member> United States Air Force Academy> News Display

US AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colorado – The senior Air Force Academy officer said conversations that some deem controversial in some circles will not be ignored in the school’s academic setting and called for respectful and open dialogue on October 14.

“We don’t shy away from difficult topics and that makes me proud,” said Lt. Gen. Richard Clark during the presentation of the Harry S. Truman Lecture at the Academy Assembly, an annual forum hosted by the school’s political science department that evening. . “Our nation is grappling with serious and burning issues and civil discourse is incredibly important to our democracy.”

Keynote speaker at the conference, Larry Diamond, didn’t mince his words either, saying that an established global trend toward autocracy poses a threat to the United States and other liberal democracies.

The principal researcher at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California focused on the global decline in freedom and the deterioration of the rule of law; the increase in polarization fomented by social media; an authoritarian resurgence; and bad actors around the world are using disinformation to strengthen their own power.

Further aggravating geopolitical stress, the Chinese are capitalizing on long-term investments to increase their far-reaching military levels.

“The rise of authoritarianism in China is an existential threat,” Diamond said.

“Democracy is being ravaged,” he said, also telling the cadets that “egalitarianism and fairness” have been replaced by a “mafia mentality” in many countries, and that United States must set a better example of democratic values ​​if it is to retain its seat as a world leader.

Diamond, also a professor of political science and sociology at Stanford, directs the Hoover Institution’s programs on the global net power of China and Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific region. He said the United States was “once again in an existential struggle for tyranny against freedom”.

“It’s really serious,” he said. “If we are wrong, it is devastation.”

Diamond said he appreciates the grassroots movements formed over the past four years that have sparked discussions about gender, racial equality and respectful speech. He praised the cadets for promoting respect, tolerance and inclusion, which in turn, he said, promotes democracy.

“One of the things that gives me hope is you,” he said.

Diamond is also the founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy and is a senior consultant to the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy.

Since 1959, the assembly has given prominent academics, business leaders, government officials, members of non-governmental organizations, cadets and guest students the opportunity to speak and host round tables. The Truman Lecture Series exposes cadets to serving and retired senior officers, as well as distinguished national and international figures, who offer their perspectives on U.S. national security and defense policy.

“Our mission is to educate, train and inspire men and women to become officers of character,” said Clark. “We are building an Air Force and a Space Force strengthened and strengthened through inclusion and diversity of thought. We cannot do this without exposing our cadets to a multitude of diverse perspectives. At the Air Force Academy, we teach cadets how to think, not what to think.


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