Sometimes in Washington after years of networking and bridge-building, doors are opened to some extraordinary meetings where elite political players and policy makers really do discuss how to govern the world while sipping wine.
I really can’t discuss the participants or venue of a dinner I attended last night but suffice it to say that some of America’s and Europe’s leading current and former political personalities were there — 60 people only — and among them a few former Secretaries of State and foreign ministers, top intelligence officials, think tank chiefs, Senators and House Members, former National Security Advisors and Secretaries of Defense. The attendance list was extraordinary.
And the conversations — on the whole — were about the crappy condition of America’s national security position. The guests in this dinner probably represented key participants in any new strategic consensus for the country. If there were brlliant, silver bullet ideas that might help this country move quickly beyond its problems, it would have been in such a crowd where such notions might be taken seriously and have impact.
But nothing. Absolutely nothing. People were depressed and dismayed about current conditions. One very, very senior Bush administration official when asked by me what ideas he had to stabilize Iraq and stop our slow bleed situation said he had exhausted what he felt was possible.
Another top tier official when another guest pushed him to move the President into some rational deal-making that might trigger a more fruitful trend, ominously said “don’t hold your breath.”
Many TWN readers have already known and posted commentary on how screwed America is in its current situation — but still, it’s a different thing when actually dining and drinking with folks in mega-power positions who concur.
— Steve Clemons