“Thank you for an excuse to visit this Library for the very first time,” said General David Petraeus, a retired four-star Army General, and one of the most consequential and effective military leaders of our generation.

Speaking in a packed East Room at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum on November 28, the General offered his thoughts on President Donald Trump’s foreign policies, the North Korea nuclear issue, US-China relations, continuing troubles in the Middle East, President Nixon’s strategic vision, and leadership.

Commenting on whether the United States should continue to lead the world’s rules-based international order, General Petraeus said that doing so is “something that I am firmly committed to and think we should strongly do, and it’s something that the man around whom this Library is built was absolutely committed to, and did so much to help forge and then to help evolve, particularly with, of course, as it’s termed here – ‘the week that changed the world’ with his opening to China… The One China policy still is the policy of the United States, and it began as the brainchild of an individual – only he could have gone to China.”

“Someone told me one time, ‘Don’t tell me how high the guy jumped; tell me how high he jumped back after getting knocked down,’ and that’s what this Library, I think, above all says… It’s really how you respond to adversity that counts… This is a truly extraordinary national treasure.”

General Petraeus graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the United States Army for 37 years.

His four-star assignments included serving as Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq from 2007 to 2008 (during which he oversaw all coalition forces in Iraq), the 10th Commander, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) from 2008 to 2010, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) from 2010 to 2011.

He was appointed by President Barack Obama as Director of the CIA in 2011, and served until 2012.

He is now the Judge Widney Professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

The November 28 dinner was a partnership between the Richard Nixon Foundation and the World Affairs Council of Orange County. Dinner co-chairs were Nixon Foundation President William H. Baribault and World Affairs Council Chairman Judge James P. Gray (Ret.), while vice chairs were Ambassador and Mrs. George L. Argyros and the Mark Chapin Johnson Foundation. The dinner was attended by nearly 400 guests, in the Library’s magnificent White House East Room.