When I left Japan on Tuesday, I had breakfast in the Orchid Room at the Okura Hotel, still the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge equivalent for power breakfasts in Japan.
I saw Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill dining with quite a group of Americans and Japanese — no doubt laying the groundwork for further coordination with Japan on our collective response to North Korea’s nuclear tests and for Condi Rice’s arrival.
She arrived a day later than I thought she had originally planned, and I joked with George Soros that it might be that it was because he didn’t check out of the hotel until Tuesday. Soros then went off to Seoul.
In any case, Chris Hill knows what he is doing. At the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan speech I gave, I encouraged reporters to query Hill on why it has been so hard to get a Bush administration consensus behind his views of what needs to be done. It probably won’t make him happy to point out that there are serious divisions inside the Bush administration about how to proceed with North Korea — and that Chris Hill heads the more enlightened faction — but these are just the facts.
More on that later.
Consider this an open thread. I have some deadlines today on some material I need to write on Cuba, a comprehensive national energy strategy, and on Think Tankism and policy entrepreneurship abroad.
All quality commentary on these three subjects or other matters most welcome.
— Steve Clemons