State Department Policy Planning Chief to Speak at US-Saudi Forum

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home_slaughter.jpgAnne-Marie Slaughter had one of the coolest jobs that met at the nexus of public policy and academia.
She was Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
There are only two other jobs that are practically as cool in my view — one is heading the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace which Jessica Tuchman Mathews now does and the other is Directing the Policy Planning operation at the State Department.
Anne-Marie Slaughter is now the 26th Director of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State.
George Kennan was the first. Other notables have been Paul Nitze, Walt Rostow, Mitchell Reiss, James Steinberg, Richard Haass, Paul Wolfowitz, Winston Lord, Anthony Lake, Stephen Bosworth, Richard Solomon, Peter Rodman, Gregory Craig — who now serves as President Obama’s White House Counsel, David Gordon, and Dennis Ross — who is rumored to be coordinating (i.e., complaining about Iran) with the Saudis in Riyadh on the day of my big US-Saudi conference in Washington next Monday.
And participants in the forthcoming “US-Saudi Relations in a World Without Equilibrium” conference can hear her views on broad dynamics in the Middle East on the afternoon panel of the forum.
Slaughter’s most recent high profile article appeared in Foreign Affairs and is titled “America’s Edge: Power in the Networked Century.”
The conference will STREAM LIVE here at The Washington Note.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

48 comments on “State Department Policy Planning Chief to Speak at US-Saudi Forum

  1. arthurdecco says:

    “Was that some kind of threat, or what?”
    No, Paul, it wasn’t.

    Reply

  2. Paul Norheim says:

    Was that some kind of threat, or what?

    Reply

  3. arthurdecco says:

    I’m not interested in prolonging my agony, Paul.
    …But let’s see what happens the next time you have something to say I take offense to or disagree with.

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    arthurdecco,
    I notice that you still don`t do any attempt to counter any of my arguments. A
    couple of days ago I added content on the thread linked to a couple of posts above
    – since you continue to accuse me of dishonesty. Obviously you chose the easy way
    out – incapable of arguing, you continue your habitual character assassination.
    I can`t remember any attempt from your side either to counter WigWag`s
    arguments (which Dan and I actually do frequently). Also there you chose the easy,
    distractive and disturbing method, questioning the motives and character of the
    poster instead of arguing against his opinions. That is the classic definition of ad
    hominem attacks, whether you like it or not.
    But you are still welcome to counter my arguments with arguments. The thread is
    still there:
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/04/saudi_minister/#comments

    Reply

  5. arthurdecco says:

    It was you who started in with the ad Hominem attacks with me, Paul, not the other way around as you now grievously, and dishonestly claim. Your earliest ad Hominem attacks on me were brutal knee-cappings – rude and always ignorant assaults for which you have never had the grace nor the courage to apologize for and which I believe you threatened to reintroduce with your “do you really want to go there?” bullshit crack that appeared in your last “poor, pitiful me” post. (Another thinly veiled “anti-Semite” face-slapping directed at me, I assumed.)
    Identifying you as a dishonest interlocutor is nothing at all like an ad Hominem attack. In fact, it’s more like tough-love truth-telling. You need to get used to it, grow a thicker skin or maybe even some balls if you’re going to continue to toss bullshit into the fray when I’m paying attention. It would be wise for you to never forget I am not your friend. I do not look for friendship or respect in the circles you hang with here.
    Let’s face it – describing your pedantic, smug, self-satisfied sermonizings and scoldings as pedantic, smug, self-satisfied sermonizings and scoldings doesn’t get me even close to engaging in ad Hominem attacks. But it should win me an award for truth telling somewhere, somehow.
    Having said that, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I consider all of your contributions to TWN to be equal to the feeble claptrap you never tire of trying to shove down my craw because that’s just not true.
    You’re quite capable of offering insights that might otherwise not appear here. But there are times when you push every button I’ve got in much the same ways that Wig Wag, and to a lesser degree, Questions do. And they are not good company to find yourself in if you’re trying to align yourself with the honest and fair-minded members of the TWN community.

    Reply

  6. Kathleen says:

    Anne Marie Slaughter was the moderator for this panel
    The Israel Lobby: Does it Have Too Much Influence on US Foreign Policy?
    http://www.scribemedia.org/2006/10/11/israel-lobby/
    Really worth watching

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    arthurdecco:
    you have repeatedly attacked me ad hominem, also on a recent thread, and I have answered you there.
    Unfortunately the actual thread disappeared in the archives during our “conversation”.
    Here`s the link:
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/04/saudi_minister/#comments

    Reply

  8. ... says:

    captcha 2nd try…
    dan kervick quote “I also think it is very irresponsible for outsiders to harp on, hype and promote this kind of strife, which *some* elements in the United States and Israel are currently trying to do.” the usa and israel have more then likely funded a few terrorists organizations that have some ability to undercut iran, while people like wigwag promote the same agenda on a verbal level only… the usa can claim iran is funding terrorists all they want.. it is the pot calling the kettle black and what many come to expect from the usa… carrying water for a greater israel in the middle east has never been a great idea, but being easily bought off is no problem for these same folks…

    Reply

  9. Dan Kervick says:

    Integrated neighborhoods, WigWag? In one of the places I lived as a kid, the Irish Catholics lived in one neighborhood, the French Catholics in another, the Polish Catholics in a third and the Protestants in a fourth. But we didn’t nuke each other. How much do integrated neighborhoods have to do with geopolitics? These Muslim communities have existed for centuries, and yet the recent wave of Sunni-Shia mutual paranoia is of very recent vintage, in part unleashed by the invasion of Iraq, and cynical US attempts to exploit the divisions that were found in that country for US benefit.
    Again, my focus is on the chief motivation for Saudi Arabian elites, and other elite US allies in the Middle East, to talk up this alleged “threat” to US patrons. My contention is that the motive is the preservation of power, privilege and existing special relationships, and that genuine fear of military attack has little to do with it.
    I also think it is very irresponsible for outsiders to harp on, hype and promote this kind of strife, which *some* elements in the United States and Israel are currently trying to do. Playing this game will get people killed. It is also a bad idea to attach ourselves so closely to unpopular and authoritarian elites, no matter which of their principals went to Western universities and prep schools, or know how flatter the sensibilities and palates of Washington society.
    The current attempt at a revival of Sunni-Shia strife is of a few years vintage, and is the work of Sunni governments exploiting extremist Sunni Islamist movements. This is a nasty Machiavellian business. It may warm your heart, and I can understand why you would wish to leap into the rhetorical fray to exploit it, but it is not good for most of the people in the region.

    Reply

  10. WigWag says:

    Dan Kervick, to use the nomenclature of George W. Bush, I think you “misunderestimate” the degree of animosity between the Sunni and Shia not only historically, but in modern times. In fact, other than the Hajj it is hard to find any example of cooperation between Sunni and Shia. In most nations with Islamic majorities Shia and Sunni live in separate communities with very little integration in housing or schooling. In virtually every majority Sunni nation the Shia minority feels oppressed. In the few Shia majority nations, the Sunni minority always feels oppressed. The only exception might (I emphasize the world “might”) have been the center of Iraq (around Bagdad) but now even that has changed.
    It’s hard to think of intra-religious factionalism anywhere else in the world that resembles the ferocity of the intra-Islamic dispute. I suppose the Protestant-Roman Catholic Wars in Europe 300 years ago comes closest.
    It’s not surprising that this dispute finds its sources in Saudi Arabia and Iran. After all, Sunni Islam has its origins in Saudi Arabia and the Shia apostasy took root in Persia. Nor is it surprising that the Sunnis in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere have played the major role in driving the conflict; after all, 85 percent of the world’s Muslims are Sunnis while the Shia account for slightly less than 15 percent.
    Almost everywhere you look conflicts between Sunnis and Shia are unfolding in dramatic and often violent ways. In Saudi Arabia, the Shia in the oil producing regions are mercilessly persecuted, prevented from practicing many of their religious rituals and discriminated against in virtually every sphere of life. It is against the law for the Shia to observe the Ashura Holiday in Saudi Arabia. Followers who do have been beaten and arrested and this has led to several riots between Saudi police and the Shia that have resulted in many deaths over the years.
    In Iran, despite the fact that 10 percent of the population is Sunni, there are no Sunni ministers in the government. The one million Sunnis in Tehran have no place to worship because the Iranian government will not permit a Sunni Mosque to be built in the nation’s capitol. In Iranian Balochistan the Revolutionary Guards have routinely assisinated Sunni political leaders and Sunni terrorist groups commit violent acts almost every week. (the 2007 Zahedan bombings being amongst the most famous). In Iranian Kurdistan similar attacks and counter attacks take place but there the attacks have both a religious and a nationalistic motivation.
    In Iraq the level of sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shia has been nothing less than extraordinary. In retaliation for years of abuse under Saddam Hussein (who was after all a secular leader) Iraqi Shiite groups (affiliated in one way or another with Iran) have purged the southern part of the country of all Sunnis. More importantly, in and around Bagdad, Shia terrorist groups and militia affiliated with Shia political parties have exiled more than 2 million Sunnis from homes and communities that they have resided in for generations. By comparison, in the years leading up to Israeli independence, the U.N estimates that approximately 700 thousand Arabs left (voluntarily or by force) their homes in what would become Israel. More than twice this number of Sunnis were exiled from Bagdad by their Shia brethren in less than two years.
    Of course the Sunnis responded by committing vicious terrorist attacks against Shia pilgrims and Shia Holy Sites in the southern part of Iraq. Thousands of Shia have been killed in the process. Of course while it may be tempting to blame much of this upheaval on the Americans, Sadaam Hussein viciously persecuted the Shia and it is generally accepted that the country only held together because of his propensity to use violence against any expression of dissent.
    In Syria, the 1982 Hama massacre which resulted in the death of 25 thousand Sunnis was perpetrated by Hafez Al Assad on behalf of the Alawite minority rulers of the country; as you know, the Alawites are an off-shoot of the Shia Twelver movement. The victims in this case were members of the Muslim Brotherhood who resented that the majority Sunni population was ruled by a small sect that they considered apostates. The nominally Shiite Alawites still rule over a Sunni population more than ten times larger than the Alawite population in Syria.
    In Lebanon, relations between Sunni and Shia are as complex and fraught with peril as in the rest of the Muslim world. Sunni and Shia live in separate enclaves, vote for separate political parties, have completely different views of the role of Syria in their country and (last year) engaged in a mini-civil war. Sunni and Christian Lebanese were generally saddened by the assassination of President Hariri while the Shia were generally indifferent. The Druze Party (led by Walid Jumblatt) has also developed an implacable hostility towards Hezbollah and the Lebanese Shia. The relationship between Sunni and Shia in Lebanon is at best fragile. The only Sunni groups in Lebanon that support Hezbollah are Palestinian factions allied with Hamas; but after all, as all the Lebanese factions keep reminding us, they’re not really Lebanese.
    In Afghanistan the majority of the nation follows Sunni Islam but the Hazara minority is Shiite. In 1998 Taliban soldiers killed 8,000 Hazara Shiites many of whom were women and children. The Taliban outlawed Shia rituals in Afghanistan, a ban that continues to this day in parts of the country under Taliban control. In Pakistan, one of the demands of terrorist groups like Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam is the expulsion of all Shia; Shia places of worship are attacked in one part of the country or the other almost every week.
    Even in relatively peaceful nations like Jordan and Bahrain Sunni-Shia violence periodically breaks out. Jordan (which is 95 percent Sunni) is the home to many of the suicide bombers who attacked Shia pilgrims in the south of Iraq. So irate were the Iranians that in 2005 a Shiite mob burned down the Jordanian embassy in Tehran. In Bahrain a Shiite majority is ruled by a Sunni Monarch and oppressed by a Sunni army and police force. Demonstrations and riots break out almost every day.
    In light of this, I would be interested to know if you can site even one nation where Sunni and Shia live in integrated cities, go to integrated schools and generally feel enfranchised (if not politically, at least communally).
    Such a place might exist; I just don’t know where it is.
    The dispute between Israelis and Palestinians is important (as is the dispute between the Israelis and Syrians) but it’s only one of many issues that the Saudis are implicated in. Sunni-Shia relations are also very important and so is the relationship between fundamentalist Muslims (of both the Sunni and Shiite variety) and their mores secular co-religionists.
    The meeting Steve Clemons is organizing will be far more productive if it addresses all of these important and interesting issues.

    Reply

  11. ... says:

    great dan kervick quote “The fact that US’s first gambits after the Gaza war were to try to resurrect the fortunes of Mubarrak, Abdullah, Abbas and the rest of these deeply unpopular clowns shows just how tone-deaf our government still is, and how susceptible it is to the rhetorical blandishments of paid mouthpieces.”
    first attempt at captcha…

    Reply

  12. Sand says:

    Just in case people are busy.. 🙂 More updates if you’re interested:
    Scott Horton Interviews Philip Giraldi
    April 23rd, 2009
    http://antiwar.com/radio/2009/04/23/philip-giraldi-21/
    [40 Minute Audio Interview]
    “…Philip Giraldi, contributing editor at The American Conservative magazine and regular contributor to Antiwar.com, discusses the confirmed existence of an incriminating Jane Harman wiretapped conversation, the appearance that Harman is effectively an asset of a covert Israeli intelligence operation, the perception among some U.S. politicians that the road to higher office runs through AIPAC and the increasingly apparent near-total corruption in U.S. government…”
    New NYTimes Article:
    Gonzales Said to Have Intervened on Wiretap
    By Mark Mazzetti & Neil A. Lewis
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/us/politics/24harman.html?_r=1&ref=politics
    “…WASHINGTON — The director of the Central Intelligence Agency concluded in late 2005 that a conversation picked up on a government wiretap was serious enough to require notifying Congressional leaders that Representative Jane Harman, Democrat of California, could become enmeshed in an investigation into Israeli influence in Washington, former government officials said Thursday…”

    Reply

  13. Sand says:

    Update:
    –Tony Blair Wins A Million-Dollar Prize for global leadership Former PM given Dan David award for his determination to find solutions to areas in conflict — [16 Feb ’09]
    “…The award is presented by the Dan David Foundation, based at Tel Aviv University, and a spokesman for Blair said the money would be donated to the former Labour leader’s charity for religious understanding, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation…”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/feb/16/tony-blair-prize
    Yeah right… used for “religious understanding”
    –Tony Blair calls on world to wage war on militant Islam — [23 Apr ’09]
    “…Defending the Obama Administration’s ‘attempts’ to engage with IRAN, Mr Blair said: “The Iranian Government should not be able to claim that we have refused the opportunity for constructive dialogue, and the stature and importance of such an ancient and extraordinary civilisation means that as a nation, Iran should command respect and be accorded its proper place in the world’s affairs.” I hope this engagement succeeds
    He argued that the purpose of such engagement should be clear and was about more than preventing Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability.
    ——————–
    “It is to put a stop to the Iranian regime’s policy of de-stabilisation and support of terrorism.”
    ——————–”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6153607.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093
    Anything sound familiar?

    Reply

  14. Dan Kervick says:

    “And the degree of animosity between Shia and Sunni and Arab and Persian greatly exceeds the degree of animosity that ever existed between Jews and Arabs.”
    I don’t know that the history bears this out, WigWag. There are certainly many cases of oppression and outbreaks of conflict and hostility. But relations between Sunni and Shia have been much more frequently cordial or at least peacefully co-existent than otherwise. Every year, Shia and Sunni both make Hajj together in Mecca. Non-muslims, as we know, are not allowed.
    To the extent that there is an actual grass roots reality behind this sectarian conflict, and it is not just a propaganda, ground zero of the strife appears to be the fiercely anti-Shia attitudes of the fanatical Wahabbi takfiris, another dangerous movement centered in Saudi Arabia. Since these are the same radical extremists who are driving much of the Sunni jihadist terrorism in the world, which has been much more of a threat to Westerners than any Shia movements, it is rather incredible that status quo powers have made implicit common cause with these groups to stoke the fires of the Shia-Sunni “cold war”. It is reminiscent of, and even less excusable than, than the alliance with Sunni “Afghan Arab” radicals like Bin Laden in Afghanistan during the Soviet war there.
    But the efforts to provoke anti-Shia paranoia seem mainly to be elite conservative efforts to preserve systems of privilege or buttress faltering legitimizing myths in the face of widespread public skepticism. For example:
    http://arabist.net/archives/2009/03/28/moroccos-le-journal-we-are-all-shia/
    My impression is that ordinary people in the Middle East are not so much taken in by these manufactured conspiracy theories as some of their leaders would like them to be. Witness the popular acclaim for Hizbollah following the Israel-Hizbollah war in 2006, and the utter failure of the Saudis to counter it.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JJ21Ak01.html
    The problems in the Sunni world, and the fears of its elites, probably have less to do with any bad stuff the Iranians are doing than they do with the degenerate and moribund constitution of the old Arab state system – a crumbling, unpopular and stodgy old order of monarchies, despotisms and crony dependencies. Why would a sensible US statesman want to get caught up with these basket cases and further push our country onto the wrong side of history? The fact that US’s first gambits after the Gaza war were to try to resurrect the fortunes of Mubarrak, Abdullah, Abbas and the rest of these deeply unpopular clowns shows just how tone-deaf our government still is, and how susceptible it is to the rhetorical blandishments of paid mouthpieces.
    Right now, official estimates of “proven” reserves place the reserves of Saudi Arabia and the combined reserves of Iraq and Iran as about even. But there is a growing chorus of skepticism about Saudi reserves, since they stopped reporting them years ago. And Saudi reserves are now of lower average quality, and are more expensive to extract, than before. Meanwhile, undeveloped fields lie waiting in Iraq and Iran. Sanctions on Iran will only become more onerous if the forces in the world that want them to become more onerous – the status quo powers in the region and their American friends – succeed in their goal of weakening and isolating Iran.
    The nervous clients and vassals of US patronage are very busy, busy, busy talking up the great Persian Shia threat on US diplomatic tours of the region. This is at once a case of telling their patrons what they want to hear, and an effort by those decreasingly useful vassals to preserve their ever more precarious positions. I’m sure old crony pals like Prince Bandar will be very energetic in reinforcing the narratives that protect his interests.

    Reply

  15. ... says:

    how many times for the captcha this time??? 3rd time, this time… steve, do you pay any attention to this major flaw at your site??
    wigwag quote “Any objective observer realizes that the Saudis and their Egyptian and Jordanian friends would love the United States or Israel to attack Iranian nuclear installations.”
    dan kervick quote “But it is true that, as states with a strong common interest in preserving the dying status quo as long as possible, Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia currently find themselves on the same side in the struggle to preserve their common special relationships with the US, and to do as much fear-mongering as they can about non-existent Iranian nukes, fanatical proselytizing Shia hordes, hidden Imam millenialism and impending, but so far undetectable, Persian hegemony.”
    i side with dan kervicks view on this.. i have read no honest or healthy reasons for the fear mongering put forward by either wigwag, or neocons in general from either israel or the usa..
    wigwag quote “Despite this, I rarely hear you or others at your site criticizing the Saudis for their staunch fear of the Iranians that so closely resembles the attitude of the Israelis. In fact, I rarely hear you criticize the Saudis at all. The fact that the Saudis, Egyptians and Jordanians encouraged the Israeli attack on Gaza was never even mentioned here…. ”
    those saudis must be as good as the israelis at projecting their deep insecurities and dark shadows… i will give you that…

    Reply

  16. WigWag says:

    Dan Kervick makes some interesting points but I’m not quite sure he’s right when he says this,
    “I think what the Saudis are much more worried about is the prospect that Iran and Iraq are on the verge of forging a historic cross-Gulf bloc that in terms of total petroleum reserves outweighs the once-almighty Saudis. And they are concerned that if this bloc settles on a common petroleum policy, it will quickly displace the Saudis as acknowledged kingpins of OPEC and the Middle East oil game.”
    According to the CIA World Fact book, Saudi Arabia has the ability to produce 12.5 million barrels of oil per day. Iran has the ability to produce 4 million barrels per day and Iraq has the ability to produce at most 2.1 million barrels per day. Of course Iraqi production can be expected to increase significantly if and when the country recovers and Iranian production might increase if the Iranian economy ever gets better.
    More importantly, Saudi reserves are higher than Iranian and Iraqi reserves combined. The CIA estimates that Saudi reserves are 267 billion barrels. Iranian reserves are 138 billion barrels and Iraqi reserves are 115 billion barrels. If you aggregate the total reserves of Saudi Arabia with those of other allied Sunni Muslim nations (Kuwait with 104 billion barrels and the UAE with 98 billion) there are far greater reserves in the hands of the Sunnis than in the hands of the Shiites. The only other states in the region with substantial oil reserves are Libya (41 billion barrels) and Qatar (12 billion).
    Of course the Saudis, Iraqis and Iranians all face difficult problems with maximizing oil production over the long run. Saudi Arabia’s oil is largely found in regions with a Shia majority. Approximately half of Iraqi oil is found in the north of Iraq which has a Kurdish majority, a Sunni minority and almost no Shia. Iranian oil production is hindered by sanctions which are likely to become more onerous, economic mismanagement and potential military attacks by the United States or Israel.
    Incidentally, the county with the second largest oil reserve is Canada (with 179 billion barrels); Venezuela is number seven (with 87 billion barrels); Russia is number eight (60 billion barrels); Nigeria is number ten (36 billion barrels) and the United States is number twelve (21 billion barrels).
    In light of these statistics it seems unlikely that the Saudis are more afraid of Iranian oil dominance than Iranian nuclear weapons.
    Animosity between the Shia and Sunni goes back more than 1,400 years and animosity between Arabs and Persians predates even that. And the degree of animosity between Shia and Sunni and Arab and Persian greatly exceeds the degree of animosity that ever existed between Jews and Arabs.
    I think the mistrust between the Saudis and Iranians has deep roots that go way beyond oil policy.

    Reply

  17. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag says:
    “But it is obvious that the Saudis (along with the Jordanians and Egyptians) are as obsessed about the prospect of Iranian nuclear weapons as the Israelis are.”
    Maybe. But I think what the Saudis are much more worried about is the prospect that Iran and Iraq are on the verge of forging a historic cross-Gulf bloc that in terms of total petroleum reserves outweighs the once-almighty Saudis. And they are concerned that if this bloc settles on a common petroleum policy, it will quickly displace the Saudis as acknowledged kingpins of Opec and the Middle East oil game.
    They are also worried that, with the Americans already well-anchored in Iraq with what will likely grow into a perpetual military presence and security arrangement and with Baghdad, the next logical step is for Washington to reach out to Tehran, and to try to join in with the new bloc as the suppliers of the military muscle. They are surely worried to see the Americans taking preliminary steps to work with the Iranians to counter the Salafist fanatics in Afghanistan and Pakistan, fanatics that the Saudis are more than anyone else responsible for plating there.
    They are no doubt aware of the excellent strategic geographical position possessed by Iraq and Iran, and its attractiveness as a platform for projecting American power and influence into Central Asia, the Caucuses and the Caspian basin. They are also no doubt aware that Iranian culture and politics are much more cosmopolitan and modern, and ultimately more amenable to an open commercial and cultural relationship with the United States than are their own fanatical and puritanical subjects, or their backward 18th-century monarchical government. These factors must worry them as well.
    And they *should* be worried, because a US opening to Iran and a strategic realignment of the sort I just described would really be very *excellent* ideas, and *eventually* even the dumb Americans will figure this out, get over their knee-jerk addiction to the staus quo, overcome the special interests who prolong that status quo by paying for junkets for people like Steve to go to Saudi Arabia and soak up the full monty Saudi sales pitch, and actually start to move forward.
    But it is true that, as states with a strong common interest in preserving the dying status quo as long as possible, Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia currently find themselves on the same side in the struggle to preserve their common special relationships with the US, and to do as much fear-mongering as they can about non-existent Iranian nukes, fanatical proselytizing Shia hordes, hidden Imam millenialism and impending, but so far undetectable, Persian hegemony.

    Reply

  18. WigWag says:

    Dear Steve:
    When you say “…this is not the kind of forum that makes everyone feel comfortable, as WigWag has already suggested” you are misconstruing the point I am trying to make. This is undoubtedly because I haven’t been articulate enough.
    I think your forum is important and likely to make a valuable contribution. The mere fact that you are the convener of the conference insures that it will be well-organized and highly substantive in nature. I think the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is extremely important and that we have to deal with the Saudis as they are, not as we wish them to be.
    My criticism is that many of your posts about the forum mention Israel and Israeli-American relations but make no mention of the extraordinary confluence of opinions between the Saudis and the Israelis. King Abdullah of Jordan mentioned in a statement just last week that there has never been a time when Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia shared a common set of interests in the way that they do now.
    Of course what the King was referring to was Iran. You, your guest posters and many people who comment here are highly critical of the Israelis, often with good reason. I know that you agree that an Israeli attack on Iran would be extraordinarily counter-productive and reckless. But it is obvious that the Saudis (along with the Jordanians and Egyptians) are as obsessed about the prospect of Iranian nuclear weapons as the Israelis are. And there is every indication that they mention their fear of putative Iranian nuclear weapons to George Mitchell, Hillary Clinton and other US government officials every chance they get. Any objective observer realizes that the Saudis and their Egyptian and Jordanian friends would love the United States or Israel to attack Iranian nuclear installations
    Despite this, I rarely hear you or others at your site criticizing the Saudis for their staunch fear of the Iranians that so closely resembles the attitude of the Israelis. In fact, I rarely hear you criticize the Saudis at all. The fact that the Saudis, Egyptians and Jordanians encouraged the Israeli attack on Gaza was never even mentioned here. The fact that the Saudis stymied the Arab League from criticizing the Israeli invasion of Gaza was never mentioned here. Nor have I ever heard you mention the Saudi record on human rights as it pertains to gay people, women or religious minorities. And I don’t think I’ve ever read a post at the Washington Note lambasting the Saudis for exporting their uniquely militant form of Islam to the rest of the Arab world, South Asia, or Africa. Surely the Saudis are as worthy of criticism as the Israelis, but for some reason you feel free to criticize Israel but are loathe to criticize Saudi Arabia.
    I just don’t get it.
    As for inviting Jane Harmon to your conference, I’m agnostic on that. I really don’t know enough about her to know whether she would make a valuable contribution.
    I do think the current controversy over her taped phone calls will die quickly and will have little (if any) lasting effect on her political career or on American-Israeli relations. In fact, in her district her support of AIPAC makes her more popular not less popular. I tend to agree with the point of view that Laura Rozen expressed on her blog. Rozen suggested that Republican operatives close to George W. Bush were infuriated that Obama declassified the torture memos and that in revenge they leaked contents of the Harmon tapes to embarrass Pelosi, Harmon, Saban and other important Democratic politicians and donors. It won’t work; the public just doesn’t care.
    If nothing else, the story will be overshadowed by a likely announcement that the government is dropping the case against Rosen and Weissman. The judge in the case has made various rulings that make a conviction especially difficult; in light of this it would be highly surprising if the government decided to proceed. We should know within ten days.
    If you want to shake up your meeting, why not invite some iconoclasts? Invite Chas Freeman. It would be interesting to know if he shares the views of his Saudi benefactors vis a vis their fear of Iran. Or perhaps you could invite some pro-Israeli journalists or bloggers; people like Marty Peretz, Charles Krauthamer or David Rothkopf might provide some interesting perspectives. Roger Cohen of the New York Times might make valuable contributions. He has written a number of recent columns urging US-Iranian reconciliation. Cohen has been highly critical of the Israelis in these columns. It would be interesting to know what he has to say about Saudi attitudes towards Iran that almost exactly parallel Israeli attitudes.
    Or if you really want to get adventurous, why not invite John Bolton? You fellows might not see eye to eye on many things, but you have to admit, he would shake things up a bit. Chas Freeman and John Bolton at the same meeting would be great; the two may hold exactly opposite views but in terms of temperament they are doppelgangers.
    Whatever you decide to do, I know that your sessions will be provocative and entertaining. It is kind of you to invite your readers to participate via streaming video.
    Best of luck with the conference!
    Sincerely,
    WigWag

    Reply

  19. Don Bacon says:

    Steve,
    This conversation never existed.
    Don

    Reply

  20. Sand says:

    Steve: “…clearly been close to the AIPAC groove — but that said, I have been successful in encouraging her to diversify her portfolio, which she did in encouraging a more flexible, engagement oriented stand towards Iran. She expressed regret for her Iraq War support given what we know today…”
    Ok, what I’m taking from this — seriously, is:
    Harman is untouchable. Accept it guys — you have to work with the Israel-Firster you have, and not the smart US-Firster you want. That the stroking of this woman’s ego is going to be far better for us in the long run, i.e. that we ‘might’ be able to persuade her not to be in the completely ‘obliterate’ Iran camp, but rather our second best option == flinging only a few bombs Iran’s way which will only sacrifice a couple of thousand US troops vs. oh… too many to imagine. That maybe we should back off on trying to expose her for the two-faced fraud she appears to be.
    S: “…She “expressed” regret for her Iraq War support given what we know today…”
    How sweet — “expressed regret”. Sorry I have a greater respect [not much] for Durbin who actually “publicly” expressed regret about the KNOWN LIES at the time — Noting, he was pretty brave actually because ‘his’ pro-Israel ‘investments’ come up a massive “3rd” on his career total. Plus, he actually had the ‘guts’ to vote NO. With Harman, I wouldn’t trust her new “diversified portfolio” in a million years.
    I guess, all it leaves ‘me’ to do — is to work like hell to get this woman out of congress — knowing that the same swarm that protected Lieberman will try and do the same thing for Harman — it’s what they do — protect their own.
    That said, yeah why not ask her to speak, get the kudos/commission for nabbing her and getting her on your speakers rostrum if it helps you.

    Reply

  21. Don Bacon says:

    SC: “. . .which she did in encouraging a more flexible, engagement oriented stand towards Iran.”
    Actually, that’s not the case. Some quotes:
    In 2006 Harman’s view was hazy:
    I continue to believe that our sources are stale and our case is thin on the weapons programs and internal politics of Iran, Ms. Harman of California, said.
    In 2007 it improved:
    it [the NIE] very clearly states the case, which is pretty persuasive as you read it, that Iran stopped its development of nuclear weapons in 2003 and at least at present has no intention to resume the development of nuclear weapons. . .It’s hard to penetrate Iran; a fair criticism which I am making is our government makes it harder because we don’t talk to Iran.
    And in 2008 Harman saw more clearly, if not truthfully:
    the dangers posed by unsupervised, weapons-grade material in the hands of a regime that has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map” [all untrue] are unacceptable . . .Iran’s unsupervised [untrue] nuclear program poses an existential threat to Israel and possibly other nations.
    So Harman is now a full-throated, lying hawk on Iran and her Middle East views would not be helpful.
    Even though Harman is no longer on Intelligence she has made two trips to Israel already this year and is slated to speak to the AIPAC Conference (AKA Israel pep rally) on May 3, where we have every right to expect her to bow and scrape before her kith and kin.
    NOTE: Captcha didn’t accept my hyperlinks.

    Reply

  22. Don Bacon says:

    SC: “. . .which she did in encouraging a more flexible, engagement oriented stand towards Iran.”
    Actually, that’s not the case. Some quotes:
    In 2006 Harman’s view was hazy:
    I continue to believe that our sources are stale and our case is thin on the weapons programs and internal politics of Iran, Ms. Harman of California, said.
    http://fairuse.100webcustomers.com/nws/nytimes48.htm
    In 2007 it improved:
    it [the NIE] very clearly states the case, which is pretty persuasive as you read it, that Iran stopped its development of nuclear weapons in 2003 and at least at present has no intention to resume the development of nuclear weapons. . .It’s hard to penetrate Iran; a fair criticism which I am making is our government makes it harder because we don’t talk to Iran.
    http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/archive/200712/20071206_harman.html
    And in 2008 Harman saw more clearly, if not truthfully:
    the dangers posed by unsupervised, weapons-grade material in the hands of a regime that has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map” [all untrue] are unacceptable . . .Iran’s unsupervised [untrue] nuclear program poses an existential threat to Israel and possibly other nations.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121391849561190295.html
    So Harman is now a full-throated, lying hawk on Iran and her Middle East views would not be helpful.
    Even though Harman is no longer on Intelligence she has made two trips to Israel already this year and is slated to speak to the AIPAC Conference (AKA Israel pep rally) on May 3, where we have every right to expect her to bow and scrape before her kith and kin.

    Reply

  23. ... says:

    steve, why don’t you get the captcha fixed so that it works properly?
    steve, i tend to agree with dan kervick on the value of inviting harman to the us-saudi conference… it seems politicians mostly talk, but when you examine their actions its not so pretty usually.. i guess your conference is mostly about more talking, so in this sense it would seem like a good idea to hear harman who will come with a different perspective talk…
    i think the number 1 issue to be talking about is all the efforts by a small group of creating war on iran.. will that be discussed at this conference? i doubt it… these politicians are pretty consistent in doing what is exactly wrong for the planet, while stating all sorts of high sounding platitudes and harman is no exception..

    Reply

  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve, nothing ventured, nothing gained. However, key word in Harman’s case; “nothing”.
    If one could actually have some faith that whatever comes out of her wordhole would resemble the truth, it would be a different story.
    Besides, she is now in CYA mode, and will turn you down.
    But hey, I like the consistency of parading another crooked American politician before the international community as if such a crook has credibility. It shows typical American arrogance, and that seems to be one of the few basic foundational traits we haven’t yet cast aside.

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Poor little POA…”
    Trouble is, Angels, anyone here can go look at the horseshit that passes for a “thread” over there. And they can’t fail to note the hypocricy as well. But hey, thanks for coming over and demonstrating my point.

    Reply

  26. angels81 says:

    Poor little POA, just can’t get any respect at Taylor Marshes site, so you come here and cry like a baby. Your like the nine year old who gossips about, my mom is better then your mom. If you don’t like Taylor’s site, and you get no respect, why go there? You need to get over yourself, your not that hot.

    Reply

  27. questions says:

    My brief thought…will her lawyers let her speak in public ever again?
    Paul, on the Rice torture item, we all knew at some level that the uppermost reaches of the Bush admin approved of the “harsh interrogation measures.” It was never about Lynndie England or other “rogue elements.” And yet reading those memos, trying to figure out what it must mean to have been waterboarded 83 or 183 times in a month, realizing that we elected a monster for real…. There are a range of ways to know this information, but as more comes out, the way of knowing becomes more and more visceral.
    I’m starting to think that this mess will never go away without some kind of reckoning of major proportions. I have concerns still about governance and the criminalization of legal advice, but when the legal advice is actually criminal…. And, further, when the legal advice was devised as a CYA policy and not as actual honest advice….
    So much depends upon the goodwill of governing officials. My guess at this point is that Obama will quietly allow/encourage a growing storm until action is simply a fait accompli. He’s quite good at this strategy.

    Reply

  28. Paul Norheim says:

    I have serious doubts that Barack Obama will be able to cherry
    pick from the smorgaasbord of disasters he inherited from
    George W, Bush and Dick Cheney. Torture, wiretapping, and a
    whole range of other rather unpleasant issues will claim their
    rightful place besides the debt, financial meltdown,
    unemployment, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
    We`ll see much more stories like for example this one:
    “RICE OK`D CIA WATERBOARD REQUEST AS BUSH ADVISER”
    “By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer – Thu Apr 23, 1:35
    am ET
    WASHINGTON – As national security adviser to former President
    George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice verbally approved the CIA’s
    request to subject alleged al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah to
    waterboarding in July 2002, the earliest known decision by a
    Bush administration official to OK use of the simulated
    drowning technique.
    Rice’s role was detailed in a narrative released Wednesday by the
    Senate Intelligence Committee. It provides the most detailed
    timeline yet for how the CIA’s harsh interrogation program was
    conceived and approved at the highest levels in the Bush White
    House.
    The new timeline shows that Rice played a greater role than she
    admitted last fall in written testimony to the Senate Armed
    Services Committee.”
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090423/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us
    _interrogation_memos_senate;_ylt=Amselcgu6GIo1C93ytEcfWAE
    tbAF

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    “I think it would be interesting, provocative, not predictable”.
    Steve, this seems to be in line with your own inclinations as
    well; your blog exposes a certain talent for interesting,
    provocative, not predictable posts.
    A conversation with Jane Harman at the US-Saudi forum?
    Instinctively, I felt that this was a brilliant idea the moment I
    read it, and I`m sure your inner journalist is screaming: “YES!”
    However, I have no idea how your inner Nixon reacts to all this
    – I guess it depends on his mood…
    But you have to play YOUR PART in making this “interesting,
    provocative, not predictable” (beyond the mere fact that she
    may participate in a conversation in this particular context and
    under these circumstances). The potential “upsides and
    downsides” depend heavily on your questions and preparations.
    Are you up to it? Then go for it!

    Reply

  30. Dan Kervick says:

    Upside and Downside?
    Downside for America: It gives Harman a centrist platform, and a chance to chance to reach out and rehabilitate herself among Democrats with some phony-baloney “nuance”, when it would be better for the country to see her twisting in the wind.
    But lots of upside for all the people who really count:
    The Saudi participants will probably like it, because it gives them a chance to freshen up their US public diplomacy cred by publicly hob-nobbing with a noted, non-veiled, uterine-American Aipac lover. If Harman drives to the event herself, they can *really* trumpet how progressive they are.
    Upside for New America: more press attention for the event.
    Upside for Bibiyahoo, Haim Saban, Steve Rosen: obvious.
    The fact that Harman now supposedly regrets her Iraq War support doesn’t impress me. Screwed-up wars are always orphans, and Iraq War recantations are a dime-a-dozen in Washington these days. But when it comes time for voting on war with Iran for Israel, Harman will be back up at the head of the line to ship our kids off to be splattered across the Persian landscape, helping to defend our freedom from them that hates it, and helping to defend the major nuclear weapons power in the region from the dreaded and threatening non-nukes of the major non-nuclear power in the region, all on Haim Saban or Michael Oren’s say-so. And if it all goes horribly wrong, I’m sure she’ll once again be first in line to say, “My bad.”
    Lip service for “engagement” with Iran is also conventional these days. But given Secretary Clinton’s testimony yesterday before Congress, it sounds like the whole Iran diplomacy kabuki is just for show – window dressing to appease the left for a limited period of time, and buy support for crushing sanctions and possible military action later on. Harman probably knows that.
    So sure, Steve. Let ‘er rip. Nothing will change one way or the other as a result.

    Reply

  31. Paul Norheim says:

    Steve,
    I´ll probably be offline till 4PM today, but I`ll give it a thought in
    the meanwhile.

    Reply

  32. Dan Kervick says:

    I will give a the Harman invite a full-throated endorsement … long as she’s willing to make some calls and fix some parking tickets for me.

    Reply

  33. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear POA, WigWag, Paul, Tahoe, others. . .
    I have a really big US-Saudi forum next week as you folks know — and this is not the kind of forum that makes everyone feel comfortable, as WigWag has already suggested.
    Let me ask you a question though that may make some of you cough a bit — but think it through. I know Jane Harman and deal with her and her staff in Washington. I think she’s smart and also has clearly been close to the AIPAC groove — but that said, I have been successful in encouraging her to diversify her portfolio, which she did in encouraging a more flexible, engagement oriented stand towards Iran. She expressed regret for her Iraq War support given what we know today — and she has essentially endorsed the notion that we can’t adopt a zero sum game approach to Israel interests and ignoring Arab interests in the region. This is good ground to be standing on.
    The tape disclosure is serious – -and she has to deal with it, though at this point, I don’t now see a pathway to making anything legal happen, although i did hear about the house intel chair’s call for an investigation.
    my question to you folks, and others, and I mean it seriously — so please try to be thoughtful….
    I doubt she would accept — but what in your view are the upsides, downsides, relevant issues, and irrelevancies if I asked Jane Harmon to share her views on the Middle East at my US-Saudi conference.
    I think it would be interesting, provocative, not predictable — give her a chance to articulate a fuller position on the broad Middle East — and even to potentially respond to some of the charges that have been bubbling in the press….
    I know it would be provocative — but how much screaming would there be — and wouldn’t it be better to have her speak at something like my forum than say the AIPAC forum…?
    Let me know your thoughts — but breathe, and relax – before you type.
    Email me if you want instead at steve@thewashingtonnote.com.
    take it easy,
    steve

    Reply

  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “what are you trying to achieve at Taylor March`s blog”
    Good question. Taylor has proven herself to be quite the snake, and her commentors, for the most part, are true jackasses.
    I think it just pisses me off to see a bunch of ignorant bullshit advanced out of some sort of perverse party loyalty. These people aren’t doing the progressive movement any favors with their naive groveling to empty political posturing.
    I am convinced more than ever, particularly after Taylor’s unabashed censorship today, that my lack of “civility” is an excuse for Taylor’s blog community to alienate and silence me, and anyone that dares not worship at the altar of the Democratic party. These people are as blindly and ignorantly partisan as the most rabid Hannity or Limbaugh disciple.
    And I have to agree with you, Paul. The format, and the level of discourse here is far superior to that found at Taylor’s koffee klatch. And our host, Steve, has been gracious and unbiased in his tolerance of dissenting opinions and all manners and styles of expression. Perhaps that open mindedness and even-handedness is what has Steve on national news networks, and his blog achieving reknown, while Taylor wallows in relative obscurity.

    Reply

  35. Paul Norheim says:

    POA,
    what are you trying to achieve at Taylor March`s blog?
    Are you posting there because the contributors have the
    opportunity to decide the topic they want to write about (with
    others commenting on the actual topic) – in contrast to TWN,
    where you more or less have to comment under a topic
    determined by the host?
    Personally I prefer TWN – the opinions here seem to be more
    polarized and diversified in a real sense (and not only
    psychologically, personality wise or regarding nuances). This
    creates more interesting tensions, based on real differences in
    ideological positions and opinions. At least this is my impression
    after reading perhaps 20 threads at T.M.`s blog.

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Off topic, yes. But note here two more examples of the kind of foolishness that is endemic at Taylor Marsh’s site.
    http://www.taylormarsh.com/2009/04/22/lieberman-us-to-accept-any-israeli-policy-decision/
    http://www.taylormarsh.com/2009/04/22/clinton-calls-cheney-out-2/
    Of particular irony is their inability to separate fact from fiction in their adoration of Hillary Clinton. Hillary, now our Secretary of State, seems to have a wide range of adoring fans that are willing to pervert a true accounting of history in order to preserve her “legacy”.
    More on topic; especially despicable from our State Department is its complete failure to address the issue of Tristan Anderson, while decrying Iran’s treatment of Saberi. Number one, we have lost the moral standing that allows us to question another nation’s treatment of its captives, and number two, the outcry about Iran’s treatment of Saberi, while ignoring Israel’s treatment of Anderson is a despicable double standard.
    But anyway, the situation at Taylor’s blog is laughable. The snake Taylor has taken to removing posts of mine that were neither rude nor off topic, without explanation. She has also edited article postings of mine, using the escuse that I posted “the whole article” when she knows for a fact that it is untrue.
    Taylor’s site is no better than the RW blogs, and uses the same tactics os spin and alienation to discourage dissenting opinions.
    Like I said, a real snake.

    Reply

  37. Don Bacon says:

    Steve,
    So I’m to believe that on July 10, 2008, published in the Financial Times, p.8, Slaughter (& Ikenberry) said this. . .
    “A Concert of Democracies could bring India, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Turkey and many others to the table well before they are likely to succeed in getting there in current institutions. . .A Concert of Democracies reaching from Brasilia to Ankara to Seoul could lobby within the UN for such a conference [on economics] and ensure that once convened it achieved its purpose.
    Another immediate task for a Concert of Democracies would be to achieve the long-awaited expansion of the G8 to a G13 or a G16. . . .If the US had proposed invading Iraq within a Concert of Democracies, the opposition of friendly democracies around the world would have reinforced the opposition of the Security Council in ways that would have had greater resonance in American public opinion.”
    http://www.princeton.edu/~slaughtr/Commentary/FTJuly102008.pdf
    but six weeks later during the DNC on August 25-28, 2008, at an unreported “policy forum” Anne-Marie Slaughter “publicly retracted her support of concert of democracies?”
    Come on, Steve. This gives a new meaning to “publicly.”
    Do we have a new standard for getting at the truth now, here on TWN? Complete, important and sudden policy reversals are verified by hearsay?
    I don’t buy it.

    Reply

  38. Curious George Bush says:

    Anne-Marie Slaughter was an extremely outspoken opponent of torture before she took this State Department position. Read what she has to say in her book on The Idea that Is America. I would hope that she is internally pushing hard for prosecution of those responsible for crafting and executing the torture policy of the Bush administration. Perhaps someone could ask her about that.

    Reply

  39. rich says:

    Anne-Marie may have worked at walking back the ‘concert of democracies’ idea, but she did leave oodles of wriggle-room. In the posts I’ve seen, which aren’t all-inclusive, Ann-Marie did not acknowledge the core critique of the ‘concert of democracies’, nor did she explicitly rule out end-running the UN Security Council.
    Now, that’s just my sense. But when one writes that much and that carefully while studiously avoiding the core issue, it’s not because one is conceding the point–it’s because the author wishes to maintain ground while talking past their interlocutors. Fine person, etc., but throwing up lots of verbiage doesn’t amount to good-faith dialogue or a substantive concession. She held onto much of her position in fact.
    Several of Ms. Slaughter’s vaunted conferences were insider-driven, funded by the Carlyle Group, and brought no new voices at all into the discussion. Given this historical juncture, that strays into the irresponsible.
    The last thing this country can afford is to shut out fresh perspectives from the rest of the country, while hand-holding those players whose policies have failed us so miserably. Least of all at a conference billed as forging a centrist pathway toward a new way forward. No offense; just sayin’.
    If her policies reflect her use of language; we’ll need to keep a close eye on how her ideas translate into policy.

    Reply

  40. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks Don — Anne-Marie Slaughter publicly retracted her
    support of concert of democracies at the New America
    Foundation/Middle East Policy Forum at the Denver Democratic
    National Convention at which other speakers beside Woodrow
    Wilson School Dean Slaughter were Senator John Kerry, Walter
    Isaacson, Joschka Fischer, Mel Levine, Gregory Craig, and others.
    best, steve

    Reply

  41. Don Bacon says:

    Steve,
    Would you please provide a reference on Slaughter’s alleged retraction of a concert of democracies?
    If true, this a huge change.
    past statements by Slaughter:
    “We see a huge role for a community of liberal democracies to support new democratic forces in different countries. . . I would love to see a concert of democracies . . . The concert of democracies must be global. . .I see the concert of democracies as ideally operating to push UN reform . . .This idea that the concert of democracies is going to ‘back’ countries is not at all our conception. . .etc.”
    Thanks, Don

    Reply

  42. Steve Clemons says:

    WigWag – -Thanks for mentioning Samuel Lewis and Mort
    Halperin — two very important Policy Planning directors. I
    shouldn’t have missed them. Thanks too for mentioning Anne-
    Marie Slaughter’s former membership on the NAF board. I had
    no idea she was on the McDonald’s board of directors….thanks
    for sharing the scoop.
    Don — Anne-Marie has actually publicly retracted her support
    for the concert of democracies idea. She and John Ikenberry
    have both walked that back, to their credit.
    Thanks to Dan and David — but I also have a very cool job now,
    though I’m pretty tuckered out.
    More soon,
    steve

    Reply

  43. David says:

    I have to second this: ” And I suspect Steve would also be very good at the job Slaughter has.”

    Reply

  44. Dan Kervick says:

    From my outsider perspective, Anne-Marie Slaughter’s greatest strength appears to lie in her skills in organizing groups of people to work constructively together on collaborative projects. It may be that what most appealed to the administration was not her background as an independent scholar and thinker, but as a dean of a major research institution. I have to admit that I don’t have a very clear idea about just what exactly the Director of Policy Planning does, but it’s supposed to involve directing the State Department’s internal think-tank. So I’m guessing it requires some of the same managerial, collaborative and ego-salving talents that are required of a dean.
    Slaughter also co-directed the Princeton Project on National Security, which was put together to develop a new bipartisan foreign policy consensus among the key thinkers and leaders in the foreign policy establishment. While I had my own serious reservations about the output of that project, which was too conventional, establishment and oh-so-20th-century for my tastes, I appreciate it is no easy thing to put such a collaborative effort together. It’s up to Obama, of course, to see to it the the policies planned by his own State Department comport with his personal strategic agenda.
    In a way, Slaughter reminds me of Steve: the same sort of entrepreneurial and collaborative talents, the same ability to develop and maintain relationships and reach across ideological and interpersonal divides, and the same grace and courtesy under fire. And I suspect Steve would also be very good at the job Slaughter has.

    Reply

  45. Don Bacon says:

    Anne-Marie Slaughter has been a strong promoter of the idea of a concert of democracies, a favorite idea of recent Democrat liberal inter-nationalists which was even picked up by John McCain in the recent presidential campaign.
    Perhaps Dr. Slaughter won’t mention it in front of the Saudis, whose country is a monarchy in which females can’t vote.

    Reply

  46. rich says:

    The question is, will Ms. Slaughter be bringing her benefactors at the Carlyle Group with her?
    Or more accurately, will the roles reverse, and Ms. Slaughter become benefactress of the Carlyle Group’s interests?
    Either way, her every move will by scrutinized for attempts to end-run the UN Security Council.

    Reply

  47. WigWag says:

    You left out a couple of the “notables.” Samuel Lewis and Morton Halperin were particularly influential.
    The contrast between the first Director of the Policy Planning Staff and the current occupant is particularly striking. George Kennan was the quintessential realist while Slaughter is a Wilsonian (after all she comes from Princeton) of the liberal internationalist variety. Kennan was a seasoned diplomat who served as Ambassador to the Soviet Union and later to Yugoslavia; Slaughter’s career has been limited to bloviating from one academic perch or another.
    Kennan was the father of the containment policy though he spent years trying to prevent political leaders from misconstruing what he meant by “containment.” He was also profoundly influential in the establishment of the Marshall Plan and in urging Congress to pass it. As for Slaughter’s influence on American foreign policy; well it’s hard to think of anything she’s accomplished.
    Although she’s spent her entire professional career in an academic setting, her books and journal articles are of passing importance. She must be one of the people Joseph Nye had in mind when he penned his April 13th Washington Post Op Ed touting the irrelevance of academic “experts” in international relations. When George Kennan was forced out of government because of disputes he had with Dean Acheson he joined the Institute for Advanced Study and authored scores of journal articles and books that are still studied and referenced to this day.
    Kennan’s books on the Soviet Union and the origins of World War I are extraordinary and his memoirs read like a veritable history of the second half of the 20th century.
    About the only thing Kennan and Slaughter have in common is geography. His old office at the Institute for Advanced Study and her office at the Woodrow Wilson School are separated by at most a 15 minute walk
    Oh yeah, at one time Dr. Slaughter was on the Board of Trustees of the New America Foundation and the Board of Directors of McDonald’s. Those are two honors never bestowed on George F. Kennan.

    Reply

  48. don nash says:

    The State Department has “policy planning?” The State Department
    has a “policy planning chief?” Really? Wow, it sure seems that State
    is just making stuff all up as they go along.

    Reply

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