Yesterday, the New America Foundation hosted and I chaired a meeting with Washington Post Diplomatic Correspondent Glenn Kessler on his new book, The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and Creation of the Bush Legacy. One of the questions asked about the state of Rice’s efforts in “transformational diplomacy.”
Frankly, the first time I heard that term — I was astonished and figured that the Bush administration might be doing a somersault and was going to embrace the work and efforts of George Soros. Soros is the world’s most accomplished purveyor of transformational diplomacy. He and his Open Society Institute under the direction of Aryeh Neier have done more to cultivate civil society and the norms of self-determination, justice, and personal liberty inside previous and current totalitarian regimes than any amalgamation of governments — and certainly far more than this administration.
I was wrong though — Soros did not represent the kind of transformational diplomacy the Bush administration wanted to embrace. They still seem taken with regime change by external shock, Chalabi-style.
This is a long preamble to an announcement by New York University that George Soros and New York Times columnist Frank Rich will together deliver the 2007 Daniel Patick Moynihan Lecture on November 5th at NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House.
Frank Rich is not only mesmerizing, he’s one of the few writers left in serious journalism who is willing to challenge power and try to hold it accountable — rather than allowing power and privilege to seduce and corrupt him.
I can’t wait to hear what both of them have to say about the former Ambassador to India and formidable Senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
One of Moynihan’s senior Senate staffers once told me when I was working in the Senate that Moynihan woke up each morning and after rubbing his eyes began to grin and chuckle about ways in which he might be able “to make sure Bill Clinton had a bad day.” I had the opportunity to confirm this directly with Moynihan in a personal conversation Michael Lind and I had with him when Moynihan was giving the annual Lionel Trilling Lecture at Columbia University. Moynihan loved his policy work, loved gaming others, loved thinking — particularly about how to engineer real justice, and loved poking Bill Clinton.
I don’t know if I will be able to make it to this lecture or not, but I think that one can’t really go wrong spending an evening with George Soros and Frank Rich.
Just don’t ask Soros about the shape of the American economy. His answer will depress you.
— Steve Clemons