I’m working on some writing this morning at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo — where I stayed the last time I came over when accompanying George Soros on a trip to kick the tires of the health of Japan’s civil society.
On my last morning here on that last trip, in the Orchid Room at breakfast I ran into and winked at (but didn’t speak to) Asst. Secretary of State for East Asia Affairs Christopher Hill — who was then on yet another near breakthrough in the Six Party Talks with North Korea. Condoleezza Rice arrived the day I left — though she was supposed to be here the day before — and I always wondered if there was a chance the delay was because of the fear that she might bump into George Soros in the well-trafficked lobby of the Okura and not know how to manage an encounter with the world’s real transformational diplomat.
But I am excited today because I’ll be meeting again Yukio Satoh — Director of the Japan Institute of International Affairs and former Japan Ambassador to the United Nations.
Satoh is one of the more interesting and sensible strategic minds in Japan today and long ago when a senior foreign ministry official, he was the background architect and animator of the ASEAN Regional Forum, a modest but important vehicle for the great and small powers around Asia to discuss and occasionally resolve their security disputes.
I’ve been thinking that an ASEAN Regional Forum like model is what the Middle East needs in the not too distant future to softly align together the security interests of Israel and the moderate Sunni governments — and eventually all players in the Middle East.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the JIIA are sponsoring the conference. I’ll report more later.
— Steve Clemons