"We are a country of reluctant warriors," a brash and well-brushed Chris Matthews told a standing-room-only crowd and a phalanx of TV cameras on April 6. Like the equally blunt Democratic Party stalwart James Carville and the always provocative Ted Turner '60 before him, Matthews was at Brown to deliver a John Hazen White Sr. Lecture. The host of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews declared to the Salomon Center crowd that the first phase of America's war on terror is "nearly complete." It is, he said, time for an exit strategy. "George Washington always had an exit strategy," he observed.
"What I fear is the neoconservatives," he said. "They want to fight the North Koreans again. Iran. Iraq. Syria. Libya." Before long, "they'll go after China."
After a pause he deadpanned,"Maybe they missed something in high school.
"The president has bought into this," Matthews continued, cranking up the wit. "I don't know why. Maybe it's a lack of book learning."
During a question-and-answer session after his talk, Matthews was serious again: "Washington and Jefferson warned about long-term entanglements. All you do is pick up [your allies'] enemies."