For those in the DC area, I am hosting a brown bag lunch meeting on America’s Foreign Policy Challenges in the Middle East on Thursday, 24 August, at 12:15 p.m. with Ambassador James Dobbins who directs RAND Corporation’s International Security and Defense Policy Center. Dobbins previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Special Assistant to the President for the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council, Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans, and Ambassador to the European Community.
Daniel Levy, who is a new Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation and Director of a New America Foundation/Century Foundation Middle East Initiative and also the lead author of the Israeli draft of the Geneva Initiative as well as a former Senior Advisor to Israel’s Prime Minister, Justice Minister and Defense Minister, will serve as a discussant after Dobbins’ initial remarks.
I first met Dobbins at a very useful and thought-provoking forum on the future of NATO organized at the Aspen Institute Wye Conference Center by Simon Serfaty — who holds the CSIS Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy. The Bolton battle was raging at that time last year — and I was kicking the tires of many of those at the Serfaty forum on where they stood on Bolton.
I never put the question to Dobbins because I didn’t need to. His analysis of what was happening abroad and his strong critique of the administration’s strategy regarding Europe and the Middle East was all I needed to hear to know that whether he supported Bolton or not (which I doubted) his critique was one that wasn’t partisan. His commentary seared through thin political rationalizations of either the right or the left — and I think he was playing the role many of us should play which is that of the wise and informed foreign policy careerist who uses logic and realistic strategic thinking and vision to curb the (often reckless) enthusiasms of radicals and intellectual incompetents.
I was extremely impressed by Jim Dobbins — and TWN readers are welcome to join the meeting at the New America Foundation in Washington if you email me.
My invitation to Jim Dobbins was prompted by a terrific oped that he wrote on America’s Middle East quandary.
Dobbins’ International Herald Tribune oped on “Moral Clarity in the Middle East” is available here.
To read more reaction to Dobbins article, Stirling Newberry has more.
— Steve Clemons