A Cool Evening with Frank Rich and George Soros

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soros thinking.jpg
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

Comments

15 comments on “A Cool Evening with Frank Rich and George Soros

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I have not heard a peep from congress about all the censorship and smearing and assaults on academics and universities and free speech going on in this country by these Israeli thugs.”
    Well, you haven’t heard a word from Steve Clemons, Scott Paul, or any of these posturing fraud Presidential “candidates”, either.
    Kucinich has mentioned it, so have Gravel and Ron Paul.
    There, now you have the reason Scott Paul and Steve Clemons ignore those three candidates.

    Reply

  2. Carroll says:

    Posted by Carroll at October 5, 2007 01:46 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I have not heard a peep from congress about all the censorship and smearing and assaults on academics and universities and free speech going on in this country by these Israeli thugs.
    Congress is instead obsessed with fat,trash talking druggies like Rush and grassroots groups like Moveon.

    Reply

  3. Carroll says:

    Welcome the latest member of the anti-semite club.
    “Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu Banned from St Thomas as an Anti–Semite for Criticizing Israel”
    Tony Koran..
    “The utterly charming thing about the Zionist Thought Police is their apparent inability to restrain themselves, even from the very excesses that will prove to be their own undoing. Having asked sane and rational people to believe that Jimmy Carter is a Holocaust denier simply for pointing out the obvious about the apartheid regime Israel maintains in the occupied territories, the same crew now want us to believe that Archbishop Desmond Tutu is an anti-Semite. No jokes! That was the reason cited for Tutu being banned from speaking at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis. “We had heard some things he said that some people judged to be anti-Semitic and against Israeli policy,” explained university official Doug Hennes.
    http://articles.citypages.com/2007-10-03/news/banning-desmond-tutu/
    I wake up every morning, and after reviewing the news enter notes under my four diary columns of sick, sicker, sickest and sieg heil.

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  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yet we still haver those that decry us using Hitler as the yardstick with which we should nmeasure the depth of evil this Administration is capable of.
    The truth? Cheney, Bush, Gonzales, and Rumsfeld should HANG, swinging from a gallows visable to the entire world community. Only by indicting, prosecuting, and punishing these monsters can the United States ever regain the moral stature it once was able to lay claim to.

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  5. Carroll says:

    Jesus Christ!…The torture never stopped. This adm and the JD kept right on even after congress outlawed it.
    Bush could have and should have been impeached and all the freaks in this government charged with crimes….but yet the dem congress has refused to even consider it because they are more concerned with their own political interest.
    According to the latest polls 70 to 81% of this country is sick of this government and yet?..and yet?..and yet?…nothing changes.
    http://tinyurl.com/27hwdq
    The New York Times
    Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations
    SCOTT SHANE, DAVID JOHNSTON and JAMES RISEN
    Published: October 4, 2007
    This article is by Scott Shane, David Johnston and James Risen.
    WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 — When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.
    But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
    The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.
    Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.
    Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard.
    The classified opinions, never previously disclosed, are a hidden legacy of President Bush’s second term and Mr. Gonzales’s tenure at the Justice Department, where he moved quickly to align it with the White House after a 2004 rebellion by staff lawyers that had thrown policies on surveillance and detention into turmoil.
    Congress and the Supreme Court have intervened repeatedly in the last two years to impose limits on interrogations, and the administration has responded as a policy matter by dropping the most extreme techniques.
    But the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums, officials said. They show how the White House has succeeded in preserving the broadest possible legal latitude for harsh tactics.

    Reply

  6. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican at October 5, 2007 10:38 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well that is true.
    But beyond the fundamentalist insanity is our ruling group that is doing what they have always done…governing as if there is no tomorrow…legistating based on their upcoming campaign cycles….like teenagers who never balance their checkbooks and are all stuffed in a car on a drunken joyride.

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Maybe it will be a smoother landing than that…but I have absolutely no faith that anyone in this government has clue. They are on another planet, floating around in never,never land.”
    Once again Carroll, you are trying to discuss this sans the fundamentalist mindset. The majority of the rhetoric seems to be ommitting the primary motivation here, which is religious fanatacism. The Muslims and the Jews certainly do not have a monopoly on crazies. The deeper this country descends into ruin and chaos, the louder the fundamentalists can scream “See, we told you so! The bible IS God’s word!”
    Look back at Bush’s rhetoric early on, before the script writers reined in his ad libbing….
    -“I believe God wants me to be president.”
    – [I was] “chosen by the grace of God to lead at that moment.”
    -“God told me to strike at al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.”
    -“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.”

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  8. kotzabasis says:

    Frank Rich is definitely “mesmerising” as an art and theatre critic, but is hardly mesmerising in the affairs of politics and most of all in the AFFAIRS OF WAR. If he would ever read Clausewitz or Thucydides he would have an epileptic fit.

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  9. Scooter Liddy says:

    George Soros is a great man. That needs to be shouted from the rooftops of this land.

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  10. ScooterLiddy says:

    George Soros is a great man. That needs to be shouted from the rooftops of this land.

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    I am already depressed enough.
    I keep thinking about Russia after their meltdown.
    Breadlines,lawlessness, scavengers, international carpetbaggers, total chaos.
    I am seriously talking to my husband about if worse comes to worse, moving to our old family homestead ..it has farm land and grapevinyards so at least we could grow food and make wine and be out of the chaos. Or I guess we could all sew gold coins in our clothing and try to get a boat to Jamica.
    Maybe it will be a smoother landing than that…but I have absolutely no faith that anyone in this government has clue. They are on another planet, floating around in never,never land.

    Reply

  12. Frank C says:

    Steve, you swoon before beltway “legends” far too much. E.g. John McCain. And now, Moynihan. I wish I could ask Pat what weakening Bill Clinton would really accomplish for his party, or the good of the country. Or would he have preferred Bob Dole or GHWB?
    An intellectually overrated mediocrity – that’s Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

    Reply

  13. memekiller says:

    Safire is outside the tent when he pisses.

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  14. .... says:

    safire is a joke.

    Reply

  15. Memekiller says:

    Steve,
    You obviously didn’t read Rich last week. Or DailyHowler ever. And missed the Gore campaign.
    I would rather have Safire writing full time than Rich writing enough sane stuff to legitimize and mainstream the “Love Story” inanities that decide campaigns these days. Same with Dowd. Bring back Safire!
    I’m sick of this liberal open-mindedness that always has a spot open for people like Rich to stand inside the tent pissing in.

    Reply

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