The Atlantic Council is an organization whose energy and impact have largely followed the trajectory of the transatlantic relationship. For many years, when that relationship was driven by the clarity and purpose of the Cold War, the Atlantic Council was strong, active, and had significant impact. When the transatlantic relationship seemed loss, somewhat purposeless, and defined by little more than inertia, the organization floundered.
But both with the relatively new leadership there under former Wall Street Journal Europe chief Frederick Kempe and because transatlantic relations are humming again as Europe and the US struggle through a great array of challenges, the organization is hitting its stride and doing great things.
And punctuating its revival is the news today in a scoop by Politico‘s Mike Allen that former Senator Chuck Hagel will replace General Jim Jones, who is now Obama’s National Security Adviser, as Chairman of the Atlantic Council.
Hagel is the perfect choice, and the Atlantic Council will give Hagel the right platform to continue to nudge and critique the nation’s foreign policy course.
From my perspective, Hagel should have been Secretary of State. There are other jobs he would fill out well in the administration as well — but State was what I think he would have been best at. And depending on how things go these next couple of years, Hagel is in an ideal spot to bide his time and be actively engaged in the civil society side of policy debate.
— Steve Clemons