Senate Foreign Relations Committee Forum on Financial Crisis


kerry hearing twn.jpg
Today at 2:30 pm, there is a very interesting forum, or I should say a “roundtable”, that Committee Chairman John Kerry and his staff have organized on the national security and foreign policy implications of the financial crisis.
This follows the course I recently scribbled about in which both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the State Department are quite intent on fudging up the borders between classic geostrategic issues and economic ones — or as State Department Deputy Secretary James Steinberg said, they’ll be getting into “NEC issues” as much as “traditional NSC issues.”
Those speaking at the forum are former State Department Policy Planning Staff Director and National Intelligence Council Vice Chairman David Gordon. He’s well worth the time. He knows the future big game is with China.
Niall Ferguson who is mesmerizing will be fun, though he pines a bit too much for Americans to embrace empire the way Britain once did. Niall is dramatic but often wrong.
Douglas Rediker, a colleague of mine who directs the Global Strategic Finance Initiative at the New America Foundation, is a leading expert on the emergence of sovereign wealth funds and “state capitalism.” Worth listening to.
Sebastian Mallaby who is the 900 lb. (but thin in real life) economic brain at the Council on Foreign Relations and wrote a revealing, excellent book on World Bank President James Wolfensohn, and who also writes as an editorial writer for the Washington Post will have great insights on what is going on in the global economy — and my hunch is that most of his comments will address the coming trauma for developing nations, particularly Africa.
And lastly, there is Desmond Lachman from the American Enterprise Institute. I want to head Lachman’s fan club as he has been among the most accurate and straightforward of economic analysts to outline and predict the housing collapse and its broader ramifications.
I invited Lachman to speak at the New America Foundation in November 2007 on the future of the global economy — and everything he outlined has happened in proportion to his expectations. Too bad Dick Cheney didn’t listen to Lachman; he might have then seen this crisis coming.
Good panel and worth attending if you can. 2:30 pm EST. Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 419.
— Steve Clemons


6 comments on “Senate Foreign Relations Committee Forum on Financial Crisis

  1. VAR says:

    Niall Ferguson seems like an unreformed neo-con,
    un-Fukayama, if you will. Thanks for pointing out
    that while exciting, he is so often wrong!


  2. Robert M says:

    This goes back to the article about the dreck that is our Sec of State. In theory, the state dept recognizing that the financial crisis is paramount everywhere wishes to have a dept/asst sec to deal w/ it. Ignoring that I believe the dreck is doing it as a power grab, from a realistic point of view shouldn’t at some sub asst sec level their be a joint committee from state, defense, treasury and agriculture(read here to understand:,1518,606937,00.html#ref=nlint)that co-ordinates these issues?


  3. Steve Clemons says:

    macheath — I stand by my reviews of all those on the panel. I think you overgeneralize about people based on the institutions that employ them. Lachman is not ideological or partisan — a complete straight-shooter, and yes, Sebastian Mallaby is extemely smart. best, steve clemons


  4. macheath says:

    C’mon Steve–Sebastian Mallaby of the CFR as a “brain.” Mallaby was an apologist for the Bush years until the winds began to shift; he was a quasi-privatizer for Social Security. He works at CFR, which increasingly has cranks and fringe ideas in its economics program–Benn Steil, their director of intl. economics is a crank and a gold bug who wrote an incoherent piece about Keynes last week, and the odious Amity Shales, who is the main source of right-wing revisionism on the New Deal, is also on the CFR payroll.
    Add Niall Ferguson, another New Deal-denier, and someone from AEI, and you have to wonder what Kerry is doing here. But CFR is increasingly a haven for goofy right-wing ideas about economics. Steve, stick with praising Maureen Dowd’s parties–you need to exercise some critical judgement somewhere.


  5. JohnH says:

    It will be interesting to see the tone of the discussion. Will they be lamenting the destruction of America’s global influence? Or are they still in denial?
    Two of America’s trump cards have been wiped out. The huge market, which the world covets access to, has shrunk dramatically. And America’s position as underwriter of “emerging” markets now depends heavily on its ability to get loans from China.
    I expect that these hearings will once again reveal America as an exceptional nation, in this case exception for its ability to delude itself and act as if business can proceed as usual.


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