What?? Michael Oren Going to Scowcroft Center


There are some exceptions, but one of the major failings of Washington’s think tank and policy communities is a general unwillingness to embrace the people and ideas that run counter to an institution’s own. They are contributing to the political and intellectual fragmentation dividing and paralyzing this town. Many years ago, I was critical of what was then called the Toyota Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies because the material and programs they generated so were obsequiously…

If John Bolton Reaches Out to You by Email, Beware



Much to my surprise a few days ago, I received an invitation from Ambassador John Bolton to hook up with him on LinkedIn. While I have expressed admiration for as well as concerns about the public service that Ambassador Bolton has done for the country, many of his colleagues and perhaps he don’t hold me in the highest regard for the role that The Washington Note played during his confirmation battle when he was nominated to serve as US Ambassador to the…

Rand Paul Boosts Foreign Policy Stock Big Time



Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) gave a provocative, smart foreign policy speech last night at the 20th Anniversary Dinner of the Center for the National Interest, previously known as the Nixon Center. I’ll offer highlights about the speech later, but I wanted to get the speech itself up now. In it, he identifies himself squarely as a realist in foreign policy, punches neoconservatives and isolationists, and embraces negotiations with America’s rivals and enemies — which puts him on the same page…

Anxieties on The Atlantic Front


My colleague and editor of The Atlantic magazine, Scott Stossel, has been fighting anxiety demons all of his life, and he shares the highs and lows, the funny spots and very dark places he has traveled on his journey to get his anxiety under control in a new book, My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind.  His book just debuted at No. 19 on Amazon’s best seller list. And for those you wanting a…

Senator Bob Menendez Becoming the Dem’s Jesse Helms


This morning, I joined Evan McMorris-Santoro, Krystal Ball, Ali Gharib and Steve Kornacki on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki to discuss Senate efforts to botch up President Obama’s & Secretary of State John Kerry’s important diplomacy with Iran.  This is not another crank at the sanctions wheel but potentially a pivotal moment in US diplomatic history and global affairs. With all due respect to many of the good things Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has done in the domestic policy arena, in foreign…

Discussing John Kerry’s Middle East Diplomacy



Thought I’d share this exchange I had yesterday afternoon with MSNBC anchor Ari Melber on Secretary of State John Kerry’s impressive diplomatic efforts between Israel and Palestine. We haven’t seen a Secretary of State put himself or herself on the line like this in a very long time. His efforts deserve attention, and skeptics should think twice before dismissing the potential outcome here. In my view, Kerry is finally doing something the Obama team should have done in January 2009…

Good Morning Washington, DC!


  Good Morning Washington, DC.  I know it’s a tough haul for other parts of the Northeast, but a lovely coating over the Capital. Took this pic on the way to the gym.  Michael Werz of the Center for American Progress was also there.  A witness.

Nothing Tastier than Donkey Meat?


As if a nasty Mexico bribery scandal was not enough, Wal-Mart is now embroiled in a fox meat food scandal in China.  Over the holidays, I watched Fantastic Mr. Fox, and now just can’t help but imagine Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke exclaiming, “Those feisty foxes!” According to a Chinese saying, “there’s nothing tastier than dragon meat in heaven and donkey meat on earth.”  But it has to be pure donkey meat, straight up. Messing with heaven on earth, Wal-Mart’s China operation has…

Happy New Year: Revving up TWN in 2014


2014 is upon us, and I’m using this semicolon between years to rev up The Washington Note again. As editor in chief of The Atlantic‘s events division as well as Washington Editor at Large of The Atlantic, I just have not had the time I had hoped to offer the regular commentary here I would have liked.  My longer thought pieces went to The Atlantic itself — but it’s clear to me that I have a lot to say about things that just don’t…