As a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, consultant, writer and anti-war activist, Stan Goff knows a little something about U.S. Foreign Policy.

In his lecture Thursday night dubbed “Finance, Food, and Force in U.S. Foreign Policy,” a casually-dressed Goff spoke to an audience of about 30 students, veterans and ROTC members about the genealogy, evolution and consequences of U.S. Foreign Policy.

The event, sponsored by the Penn State School of International Affairs, Center for Global Studies and the Strategic and Global Security Program, featured a reception, lecture, and question-and-answer session.

Goff said he wanted to show how foreign policy has grown and changed over the years.

“I’m technically the same person with the same name as I was decades ago, but I’m a lot different now,” Goff said. “It’s the same idea with U.S. Foreign Policy, it has evolved throughout the years.”

SIA Student Government Association Vice President Jan Burnett, who helped organize the event, said he was turned onto some military literature a few years ago and that is when he found out about Goff. So when he was asked to bring someone in for a lecture, Burnett said he thought of Goff.

“Professors can teach as much as they want about these topics,” Burnett (graduate-international affairs) said. “But to get the point of view of a Special Forces veteran offers a poignant and unique perspective on the topic since he’s lived it.”

Goff said he wanted to make it clear that he is not formally trained as an U.S. Foreign Policy official and that he does not have any hidden agendas.

“I’m not a liberal or a conservative, and I dislike the term progressive,” Goff said. “I’m sure that I have many agendas but I hope by the end of my lecture that you realize that I have no hidden agendas.”

In his lecture, Goff discussed his experience as a soldier and some of the history of U.S. Foreign Policy like abandoning the gold standard, agricultural industrialization, the energy crisis and becoming a debtor to several other countries like China.

“If you owe the bank $1,000, you have a problem, but if you owe the bank $1,000,000, then the bank has a problem,” he said. “China owns over a trillion dollars in U.S. bonds. If China were to try to collect that money, they would lose half a trillion dollars in doing so. The U.S. has been playing a game of chicken that the U.S. has won every single time.”

Goff explained that the U.S. and other countries depend on one another, but that partnership is not synonymous with equal power. He then compared this situation to a stereotypical husband and wife scenario.

“The wife takes care of the household and children while the husband provides economic security,” he said. “But when they separate, the women usually is worse off.”

Veterans for Peace members Peter Shaw and Steve Sinsley said they knew Goff beforehand and though they didn’t hear anything they didn’t already know from the lecture, they thought it was great to hear it spoken to an audience.

Shaw and Sinsley both said they thought the event should have been publicized more so more people could have heard what Goff had to say.

Burnett said a video of the lecture will be up on the SIA website in the coming weeks and may eventually be up on YouTube.

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