Washington: US can`t dictate the world, but engage the international community in a wisely manner, new US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday, adding the country not only needs to renew its old alliances but also build new ones.
"I`ve always believed that America`s role in the world is one that -- and we`ve had variations of this throughout history -- has been one that should engage the world. We can`t dictate to the world, but we must engage in the world. We must lead with our allies," Hagel, told the Pentagon employees soon after being sworn in as the 24th Defence Secretary of the US.
Hagel replaces Leon Panetta as the Secretary of Defence.
He was sworn in by the Department of Defence Director of Administration and Management Michael Rhodes in a private ceremony attended by family members and immediate office staff.
Hagel, 66, arrived early in the morning at the Pentagon, though his arrival was delayed by about half an hour because of the heavy peak hour`s traffic in Washington DC.
In his first public address as the Secretary of Defence, Hagel said allies of the United States are important for the country.
"No nation -- as great as America is -- can do any of this alone. And we need to continue to build on the strong relationships that we have built. I think what my friends and my predecessors, Bob Gates, Leon Panetta, have done, build on that foundation, not just within our institutions here about teamwork, which I have noted, but teamwork with allies," he said.
"We renew old alliances. We reach out and find new alliances based on the common interests of people. There will be differences. And we have great power, and how we apply our power is particularly important. That engagement in the world should be done wisely. And the resources that we employ on behalf of our country and our allies should always be applied wisely," Hagel said, adding the world looks to America for leadership.
In his speech, he acknowledged the challenges being faced by the Department of Defence in the age of significant budgetary cuts and sequestration - automatic budgetary cuts beginning March 1 -- looming large.
The US, he said, is now facing different kind of threats.
"The world is such -- at such an uncertain time. Our budget problems here, meaning -- if nothing else, what we`re dealing with, what you`re dealing with, what we`re all dealing with is, yes, dollars coming down, but it`s the uncertainty of the planning, it`s the uncertainty of the commitments, the uncertainty of what`s ahead," Hagel said.