"Perhaps the bird we should strive to be is neither hawk nor dove, but the American Eagle depicted on our great seal," said David Sacks during his address to Up From Chaos.
The following piece is the transcript of a keynote address entrepreneur and investor David Sacks gave at The American Conservative and American Moment’s “Up From Chaos” conference in Washington, D.C., on March 31, 2022. You can view his full speech on video here.
I want to thank the American Moment for the invitation to speak here today. As I appear before you, I’m reminded of the immortal words of Admiral James Stockdale: “Who am I? Why am I here?” As a tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I cannot claim to be one of those “experts” in foreign policy that we are constantly being told to listen to. However, my area of expertise does involve placing intelligent bets on future outcomes and identifying existential risks. And I’d trust in our expert class more if what I heard from them sounded anything like intelligent forecasting and risk assessment.
We face the most dangerous situation in American foreign policy since the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Russians have put their nuclear arsenal on high alert and warned us to stay out of their invasion of Ukraine. Our “experts” in government and the media feed us a stream of information oscillating between fear-mongering and hopeful arrogance: They tell us on the one hand that Russia’s territorial ambitions won’t stop at Ukraine and will eventually threaten all of Europe, but on the other hand that the Russian army is bogged down and on the brink of humiliating defeat. They tell us in one breath that we can safely escalate our involvement, but in their next panicked breath declare that Putin is a madman who is capable of anything. They reassure us that a “No Fly Zone” won’t precipitate World War III, while sometimes openly declaring that we’re already in World War III so let’s just get on with it already.