You Could Have Lunch with Steve Clemons, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Nicholas Burns, John Nagl And More!

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Washington is all about networking. Attach yourself to someone famous and well-connected, book their flights, get them coffee, take the blame for their mistakes, write for their blog, etc. – and in exchange they introduce you to their friends, sign letters of recommendation that you write for yourself, and do you a favor or two.
Perhaps nothing proves the power of those favors more than Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, an impressive non-profit of nearly 5,000 members in four cities that organizes networking events, public service programs, and policy forums all for the purpose of “fostering the next generation of foreign policy leadership.”
Seriously, YPFP has become THE group for young foreign policy professionals in Washington. YPFP’s best, brightest, and most attractive men and women will be on display at YPFP’s “Affairs of State” 2nd Annual Date Auction and Concert this Friday, June 26 at 9 pm at the City Tavern Club.
Check out below the impressive list of foreign policy luminaries who have offered to participate in YPFP’s silent auction. You can submit your bid to have lunch with any of these people by filling out this form.
Ambassador Paul Bremer, former U.S. Presidential Envoy and Administrator in Iraq
The Honorable Harold Brown, 14th Secretary of Defense
The Honorable Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor
Elizabeth Bumiller, National Affairs Correspondent for the New York Times
The Honorable R. Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Steve Clemons, Publisher, The Washington Note, and director of the American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
Steve Coll, President and CEO of New America Foundation, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and writer
The Honorable Paula Dobriansky, Former Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State, and Former Special Envoy to Northern Ireland
The Honorable Lee Hamilton, President, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and former Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission
Jennifer Hillman, Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and former Commissioner on the U.S. International Trade Commission
The Honorable Carla A. Hills, former U.S. Trade Representative, and Chairman and CEO of Hills & Co.
The Honorable John Hamre, President, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense
Lieutenant General Patrick M. Hughes, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Vice President of Intelligence & Counterterrorism, L-3 Communications Corporation
The Honorable Mary Beth Long, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
Dr. John Nagl, President, The Center for a New American Security
Richard Perle, former Chairman of the U.S. Defense Policy Board
The Honorable Thomas R. Pickering, former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs
Dr. Paul Pillar, former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia
John Prendergast, co-founder of The Enough Project
Tom Ricks, contributing editor of Foreign Policy Magazine & bestselling author of Fiasco
Dr. Stephen Walt, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government
Senator John Warner, retired Senator from Virginia, and former Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
General Anthony C. Zinni, former Commander in Chief of U.S. CENTCOM, former Presidential Envoy, and Chairman and Acting President & CEO of BAE Systems
If you have any questions, please contact date.auction@ypfp.org
— Ben Katcher

Comments

33 comments on “You Could Have Lunch with Steve Clemons, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Nicholas Burns, John Nagl And More!

  1. Paul Norheim says:

    …: thanks for the book suggestion!
    I`m not sure if this will pass the Captcha demon, but let`s try – honoring the countless homeless and lonely
    souls in Wahsington DC:
    Diogenes once masturbated in the Agora. When rebuked for doing so, he replied, “If only it was as easy to
    soothe my hunger by rubbing my belly.”

    Reply

  2. ... says:

    here’s a few more that might fit with this thread.
    “the luxurious have made frugality an affliction.”
    ‘in the rich man’s house there is no place to spit buy in his face.’
    ‘after a visit to the baths, where do you go to have a wash?’

    Reply

  3. ... says:

    paul.. nice!
    if you like these quotes, see if you can pick up the book “herakleitos and diogenes’ translated from the greek by guy davenport…. i have had this book for a very long time and always enjoyed peering into it from time to time… you probably would too! published in the 70’s by grey fox press bolinas california..

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    Speaking of Diogenes, dogs and the Washington elite:
    Once Diogenes met Alexander the Great. While Diogenes was
    relaxing in the sunlight one morning, Alexander, thrilled to meet
    the famous philosopher, asked if there was any favour he might
    do for him.
    Diogenes replied, “Yes: Stand out of my sunlight.”

    Reply

  5. Paul Norheim says:

    As those who are fond of dogs know – or should know –
    “cynicism” is often associated with dogs: the ancient Greek
    words “kuōn”, “kun”- ‘dog’ – became a nickname for a Cynic.
    In the Oakley and Annie thread, … quoted Diogenes, the
    greatest Cynic of them all.
    The subject is perhaps even more relevant in a thread about the
    Washington elite than in the Oakley and Annie thread. Here is
    what Wikipedia says about the relation between Cynicism as a
    (anti-)philosophical (anti-)school, and dogs:
    “Many anecdotes of Diogenes refer to his dog-like behavior, and
    his praise of a dog’s virtues. Diogenes believed human beings
    live artificially and hypocritically and would do well to study the
    dog. (…) Dogs are thought to know instinctively who is friend
    and who is foe. Unlike human beings who either dupe others or
    are duped, dogs will give an honest bark at the truth.”
    (BTW; If you wonder who truly represent this anti-philosophy,
    this dog-loving, cynical mentality today, you don`t need to look
    further than to a fellow commenter here: POA.)
    I don`t envy the lives of those famous, hard working, and/or
    networking men and women with much power. Power corrupts,
    and fame today is not, like many young people seem to believe,
    a human right, but a curse. (Michael Jackson`s life is as good an
    example as any.)
    I find this quote by Diogenes – also quoted by … in the dog-
    thread – highly appropriate:
    “When Plato said that if I’d gone to the Sicilian court as I was
    invited, I wouldn’t have to wash lettuce for a living, I replied that
    if he washed lettuce for a living he wouldn’t have had to go to
    the Sicilian court.”
    I don`t envy those who work in the Sicilian court. I don`t even
    envy Steve. I actually prefer to wash lettuce – although I really
    enjoy once in a while having an interesting chat with someone
    working in the court.
    But I respect Steve as a political animal. And I am sure he
    would have hated to wash lettuce for a living!
    There is no doubt in my mind that Annie & Oakley is his
    antidote to Washington.

    Reply

  6. Dan Kervick says:

    Respectfully, I suggest that people critical of this fundraiser remember that it’s for a good cause.
    WigWag, isn’t the cause just to raise money for the organization that is sponsoring this event, so they can sponsor similar career advancement and networking events in the future? There is nothing really wrong with that. But it’s not as though it’s some kind of charitable organization.
    Personally, I have not been vitriolic. When I first saw this post, I thought it was a piece of satire. I had to read all the way through and follow the link to the form to see that it was the real deal. I’m just bemused at this glimpse into the lives of people whose form of existence that is about 180 degrees opposite of mine. Washington is like an alien planet to me.
    I agree these folks on the list and the young people who want to be like them probably work very hard. I couldn’t do what they do. I don’t have their kind of energy and zeal, and I would find their scene too unpleasant to keep me going.
    Personally, I have never paid anyone to have lunch or dinner with me. Maybe I should try it. I might have more friends. I suppose I should also be glad Steve lets people type words here for free.

    Reply

  7. Don Bacon says:

    We have a difference of opinion here.
    TWN:
    (A)”Attach yourself to someone famous and well-connected, book their flights, get them coffee, take the blame for their mistakes, write for their blog, etc. – and in exchange they introduce you to their friends, sign letters of recommendation that you write for yourself, and do you a favor or two.”
    vs.
    WigWag
    (B)”That type of success is usually achieved only with intelligence and hard work and there are rarely any short-cuts.”
    Ah, I’ll go with TWN. Ben knows.

    Reply

  8. WigWag says:

    “…we are going to obsolete people such as those who are listed here, most of whom have never done an honest day’s work in their lives…”
    That’s ridiculous. I bet almost all of the people on the list work far harder than the average TWN reader.
    Whether they’re journalists, think-tankers, diplomats, military or intelligence officials or politicians, it’s a prestigious list of people at the top of their fields. That type of success is usually achieved only with intelligence and hard work and there are rarely any short-cuts.
    It’s a group of people with diverse political views so, of course, no one is going to agree with the politics of everyone on the list. But sometimes politely engaging with people you disagree with is more interesting and personally valuable than interfacing with people who you do agree with.
    I disagree with Steve Walt on almost everything; I disagree with Richard Pearle on almost everything too. I would go so far as to say I find many of their views repugnant. But that doesn’t mean I find them personally repugnant and it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be fun to chat with them over lunch.
    Respectfully, I suggest that people critical of this fundraiser remember that it’s for a good cause. It provides scholarships and other valuable programs for young people interested in a career in international relations.
    Give the kids a break and lighten up.

    Reply

  9. Don Bacon says:

    Dan, it’s your lucky day — I’m vegetarian. Like mooses.

    Reply

  10. Don Bacon says:

    Why all the vitriol? Because that’s who we are, the loyal opposition to the ‘business as usual’ establishment paradigm. We are the people who are the government, and with the internet revolution we are going to obsolete people such as those who are listed here, most of whom have never done an honest day’s work in their lives, I betcha. Why should they, when they have the opportunity to learn how to lead the USA further down the road to foreign policy perdition?
    Plus I learned a little crankiness from Steve, so yeah, I network too.

    Reply

  11. WigWag says:

    It is for a worthwhile cause, Dan. And as far as I can tell none of the participants are currently in government. It seems pretty innocent to me.
    Can we at least agree that of all those mentioned, Steve Clemons tops the list as a worthwhile dinner companion?

    Reply

  12. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, I understand that aggressive networking of this kind has always been a part of Washington, and is probably essential to the way business is done there. But was it always this crass and blatant? Selling contact time to the highest bidder? I was under the impression that there was traditionally some tact, decorum and and discretion involved in the process.
    Maybe I have too fastidious a sense of personal dignity, but I have a hard time with the concept of paying money to have lunch with anyone … not unless there is a happy ending involved.

    Reply

  13. Dan Kervick says:

    Damn it, sorry Don. I owe you Mooseburger.

    Reply

  14. WigWag says:

    Why all the vitriol? I would be happy to have lunch with anyone on the list, even the people I disagree with. I don’t agree with Steve Walt about anything and I have serious reservations about things he writes, but it would be a thrill to have lunch with him. The same is true for Zbig Brzezinksi and Richard Pearle.
    There’s no question that Steve Clemons is the most interesting person on the list. Charming, eloquent and smart; what else could you ask for in a luncheon companion? If I could only afford it I’d gladly pay $25 thousand to dine with him and I’d double it if he agreed to have his brilliant friend Will Bower join us. If he brought Nick Schmidle with him, I’d double it again.
    In terms of who is most worth breaking bread with on this list, I’d rank them like this:
    1)Steve Clemons
    2)Thomas Pickering
    3)Nicholas Burns
    4)Tom Ricks
    5)Elizabeth Bumiller
    6)Steve Coll
    7)Steve Walt
    8)Anthony Zinni
    9)Paul Pillar
    10)Harold Brown
    11)Carla Hill
    12)Congressman Lee Hamilton
    13)Senator John Warner
    14)Zbig Brzezinski
    15)Paul Bremer
    There are some names left off the list who I think might fetch a good sum for this worthy charity. Given all the attention paid to him recently Chas Freeman might be in demand. Given the implications of Iran’s nuclear programs and the importance of proliferation issues, who wouldn’t want to chat with Joe Cirincione? Anyone interested in the inside scope couldn’t ask for a better person to visit with than Laura Rozen.
    And then there’s Flynt Leverett; why isn’t he on the list? Could it be that’s he’s unavailable because the New America Foundation has sent him to a re-education camp in a gulag somewhere?

    Reply

  15. Don Bacon says:

    Confusing me with POA will not get you a free lunch, Danno.

    Reply

  16. Dan Kervick says:

    “How about “The Honorable Oakely and Annie”?”
    Well, POA, Steve is a serious player. So if he wanted to charge a fair sum for the privilege of walking Annie and Oakley, I daresay some young professional would take him up on it.

    Reply

  17. Don Bacon says:

    And let’s not forget that interview with The Honorable Zbigniew Brzezinski in Paris, January 1998 (excerpt):
    Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
    B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
    At least they don’t call Richard Perle “The Honorable,” which title is still better than “His Excellency” or “His Lordship” but not much.
    How about “The Honorable Oakely and Annie”? I’d trust a dog before I’d trust some of these clowns, and I certainly don’t want to have lunch with them, thank you very much Ben.

    Reply

  18. Dan Kervick says:

    “Washington is all about networking. Attach yourself to someone famous and well-connected, book their flights, get them coffee, take the blame for their mistakes, write for their blog, etc.”
    This reminds me of those parasitical species of small fish, like the cleaner wrasse, that attach themselves to sharks and other large predators, and support their own lives derivatively from the beast’s carnage. People like Perle glide through the foreign affairs oceans, eating Iraqis and Palestinians in large helpings, and then the perky little Washington networking fish take their nutrition from Perle’s skin.
    Predators also have parasitic worms in their guts that absorb the toxins that would otherwise kill the predators.

    Reply

  19. Cato the Censor says:

    “Washington is all about networking. Attach yourself to someone famous and well-connected, book their flights, get them coffee, take the blame for their mistakes, write for their blog, etc. – and in exchange they introduce you to their friends, sign letters of recommendation that you write for yourself, and do you a favor or two.”
    In other words, be a shameless, bootlicking sycophant to get ahead. Thanks so much for reminding me of just one of the reasons why DC is such a vile place.
    Your list of participants includes at least two war criminals: Perle and Bremer. Would you go to a cocktail party with Himmler or Goebbels? I’m sure they could have provided you with some fascinating policy insights as well. The fact that people in this town are more than willing to consort with the unspeakable plainly indicates more than any words could say why the worst war criminals in America’s history will get off scot free. You’re all lying together in the same bed so cozy and warm together that you don’t even notice the purulent carcass of moral rot right next to you.
    Have fun at your stinking, decadent cocktail party!

    Reply

  20. Don Bacon says:

    Lieutenant General Patrick M. Hughes, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Vice President of Intelligence & Counterterrorism, L-3 Communications Corporation
    Presumably Hughes is a RETIRED lieutenant general, we probably haven’t reached the point yet where actively serving generals work for torture firms.
    news reports about L-3 Communications:
    June 30 2008
    The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Burke O’Neil LLC, of Philadelphia and Akeel & Valentine, PLC, of Troy, Michigan filed a series of lawsuits in federal district courts in Maryland, Ohio, Michigan and Washington state against über-contractors CACI International, Inc., CACI Premier Technology and L-3 Services Inc., a division of L-3 Communications Corporation.
    Monday’s announcement by CCR follow close on the heels of a similar suit filed in May in federal district court in Los Angeles by Iraqi torture victim Emad al-Janabi, also against CACI International, Inc. and L-3 Communications.
    Sep 26, 2008
    A civil lawsuit pending in federal court in Greenbelt, Md., against New York-based L-3 Communications Corp., formerly Titan Corp., allege the contractors conspired with others to torture Abu Ghraib detainees in 2003 and 2004. Titan Corp. successfully used an immunity defense in winning dismissal last year of similar allegations its translators faced in a federal civil case in the District of Columbia; the plaintiffs are appealing.

    Reply

  21. Bart says:

    So funny that Steve thought he could hide Richard Perle by making the list alphabetical!

    Reply

  22. Don Bacon says:

    “The Honorable” R. Nicholas Burns, a former US “diplomat”
    Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, said the administration is seeking to counter Iranian provocations across the region as part of a broader strategy. “Iran needs to learn to respect us,” he said. “And Iran certainly needs to respect American power in the Middle East.”
    The United States has “irrefutable” evidence that Iran is transferring weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan, with the knowledge of the Iranian government, and NATO has intercepted some of the shipments, a senior U.S. diplomat said Wednesday.
    “There’s irrefutable evidence the Iranians are now doing this,” said Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns on CNN. “It’s certainly coming from the government of Iran. It’s coming from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard corps command, which is a basic unit of the Iranian government.”

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    For this affair?
    MY Mata Hari poison-dispensing ring.

    Reply

  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “What is “cocktail attire,” exactly?”
    Well, when I was an accomplished sot, “cocktail attire” was an unzipped fly on my jeans, mismatched socks, and an uneavenly buttoned flannel workshirt over an inside-out T. But to dine with this crew, I think I’d probably opt for a gas mask, leather chaps, a flak jacket, and a full face motorcycle helmet.

    Reply

  25. Paul Norheim says:

    Let`s assume that I successfully climbed the Washington networking ladder and one day stumbled upon, say
    Paul Bremer. Ok, so I serve him coffee, take the blame for his mistakes… and in exchange he introduces me to
    the Prince of Darkness.
    Fine, the Prince of Darkness gets his coffee, I take the blame for his…well…mistakes… and then – what?
    Who on earth would he introduce me to?

    Reply

  26. Zathras says:

    What is “cocktail attire,” exactly? Is that like business casual? Formal wear? Semi-formal (I don’t even know what that might mean — tails and bow tie with Bermuda shorts, maybe)? Business suits and power red ties fashionable during the Reagan administration?
    I’m not trying (hard) to be funny. The phrase is simply unfamiliar to me. Is it one of the things young foreign policy professionals are supposed to know now?

    Reply

  27. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Unbelievable.
    Whatta cast.
    Steve better take a coupla food samplers with him. Theres quite a few in that list capable of spitting deadly venom into the pate’.
    May I suggest a coupla Palestinian kids? They seem to be expendable these days, and nobody will make a big deal out of it if the guests eat them for dinner.

    Reply

  28. TonyForesta says:

    As much as I relish the idea of thipping that procine fascist Pearl in the nose, and slapping him so hard the entire restraurant is aghast, count me in with Dan Kervick’s evening instead, it will be much more fun.

    Reply

  29. ... says:

    i’ll take dan kervicks offer and go with the lower priced option, although i’ve never been to argentina, lol…

    Reply

  30. Carroll says:

    Posted by TonyForesta, Jun 24 2009, 1:42PM – Link
    Can you hook me up with a sitdown with Richard Pearle Steve, – I want to slap him silly.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    After you get though slapping him can I have him for some waterboarding?
    You wanna know what’s wrong with the best and brightest foreign policy clique”..they are like a group of frat boys who refuse to expell one of their members who happens to be a rapist.
    I doubt any of the luminaries would sit down with a pedophile to give him a opportunity to explain why pedophilia is sometimes necessary or desirable conduct.
    But such is the ethics and morality free, “everything is just a difference of opinion” zone of Orwellington, DC..

    Reply

  31. Dan Kervick says:

    For a very small fee, I would be delighted to have lunch with any young professionals eager to bask in my wisdom over a plate of road kill and antler blanquette at the Chez Moose bistro up here in New Hampshire. It’s all part of my new entrepreneurial concept called “networking down”, a service that promises to place the client on a fast-track slippery slope to ignominy, anonymity and Z-list irrelevance. For a slightly higher fee, I will book them on a one-way flight to Argentina.

    Reply

  32. TonyForesta says:

    Can you hook me up with a sitdown with Richard Pearle Steve, – I want to slap him silly.

    Reply

  33. Don Bacon says:

    from the poster:
    “Power is the ULTIMATE APHRODISIAC”–Henry Kissinger
    I say that love is (it works for me) but then I haven’t been responsible for all the deaths that Henry Kissinger has, including 600,000 Cambodians killed in his secret bombing of that country.
    Regarding the list of luminaries, with few exceptions I see little hope for the influence of the power of love over the power of killing in future US foreign policy. Can’t they risk at least one anti-establishment person, particularly at a time when the people in charge have screwed things up so badly? But no threats to their power are permitted.

    Reply

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