I interviewed former UK Ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher Meyer on his new book Getting Our Way: Five Hundred Years Of International Diplomacy. I have begun the book — and it’s a terrific review of five centuries of the world’s big moments and how competitive statecraft in very difficult circumstances turned out. Here is a review from The Guardian.
Meyer has important insights into Afghanistan, stating that the “penny is dropping in London that the democracy project in Afghanistan is a fool’s errand.” He is increasingly of the view that the entire Afghanistan exercise is a disastrous mess without any “clarity” of objective. He offers a logic-led critique of matters rather than just asserting the Afghanistan War is doomed.
Meyer wrote one of the major insider accounts of the lead up to the Iraq War, reporting from private memos and other personal observations about the Tony Blair-George Bush relationship. I recommend DC Confidential: The Controversial Memoirs of Britain’s Ambassador to the U.S. at the Time of 9/11 and the Run-Up to the Iraq War.
Fascinating diplomat — and great interview. Hope you find it useful.
Leaving Italy this morning — and heading back to Washington.
On other fronts, for those who want advance word, I will be chairing a meeting at the New America Foundation in Washington, right after I land at Dulles, titled “Iraq: The New Forgotten War” with a distinguished former Dutch political leader, Ad Melkert, who was former executive director of the World Bank and who now serves as Special Representative for the UN Secretary General in Iraq.
Melkert attracted a lot of headlines as he headed a key committee that wrestled with then President Paul Wolfowitz over various ethics questions — ultimately resulting in Wolfowitz’s departure from the Bank.
The meeting will stream live here at The Washington Note and also at the website of the New America Foundation starting at about 4:15 pm EST (so anyone around the world can watch). Those in DC are welcome to attend — and more information on logistics is here.
— Steve Clemons