I’m back from an interesting and informative conference put on by the Center for American Progress and the Century Foundation.
I shared some reflections earlier and have a few more to throw out.
Senator Gordon Smith delivered a keynote this morning. I feel I should preface anything I write about Senator Smith by pointing out that he is the strongest voice in his party for a strong non-military international affairs budget, bar none. That’s a hugely important role.
Now, with that out of the way, Smith’s presentation was all over the map. For starters, he proposed that America is currently trusted, but not loved, and it is better to be trusted than loved. For evidence, Smith cited the lobbyists lining up outside his door who want military and economic assistance for other countries.
Somehow, that doesn’t make the case to me that America is trusted. In fact, I think Senator Smith would be hard pressed to find any piece of evidence that could convince me that America enjoys the world’s trust right now. Is he serious?
My other issue with Senator Smith: on one hand, he supports the administration’s preconditions for negotiating with Iran, and stipulates that they may never be met; on the other hand, he discusses the need to exhaust diplomatic efforts before the military option is considered.
Now, my organization and I don’t work directly on Iran, but the implication is obvious: diplomacy may be exhausted without even an attempt at direct talks. Helloooo?
Still looking for comments on how the Middle East might look today had strengthening the elected government of Lebanon been a top priority instead of, say, Iraq. Post away on the thread directly below.
— Scott Paul