This was an absolutely amazing session – I cramped up my hand taking notes- but hopefully what I learned comes through here.
Madeleine Albright enumerated 6 key situations/considerations that need to be immediately addressed:
1) How to fight terrorism without creating more terrorists – it’s a mistake to lump all enemies as terrorists
2) Broken non-proliferation regime (that some nuclear nations would disarm and others would not go there. The US has not lived up to our commitments on this front either)
3) Negative aspect of globalization is the growing gap between rich and poor people. This leaves many people who are outside the system as susceptible and fertile ground to be recruited by terrorist organizations
4) Energy policy; global warming and the related growth and threat of pandemics
5) Restore the good name of democracy that this country has destroyed
6) Global financial crisis
Add to that 2 hot wars
Afghanistan – whose unintended consequences are that of Pakistan where there’s a very volatile cocktail of a weak government, nukes, poverty and more.
Iraq – which will go down as the greatest mistake in history. The unintended consequence, of course, is an emboldened and almost nuclear Iran as well as the damage to the US reputation.
We have to have a policy where we look at other continents.
Africa is not just one country
We do not have to cede Latin America to Hugo Chavez
More should be done without the US having to act alone.
Susan Rice then spoke and shared that Obama has a concrete and ambitious affirmative agenda – not just cleaning up Bush’s mess. Steps:
1) responsibly end the Iraq war – don’t give them a blank check and rest and rebuild our military; we will see another report soon about how unstable Afghanistan is and the security situation there is slipping away. Barack feels that we need to station 2 or 3 brigades there – but we need to combine security with economic and political support and training. We have to invest in the Pakistani PEOPLE – especially where extremism is growing. One thing that’ll help here is an energy security agenda.
2) Non-proliferation. Obama has been a leader in seeking out and securing loose nuclear materials (these exist in over 40 countries. We need to strengthen the global non-proliferation treaty through negotiated reductions.
3) In the 21st century, we share a common security across cultures. We can defend against transnational challenges, but we have to invest in what threatens them:
a. Poverty reduction
b. Double our foreign assistance
Back to Madeleine Albright to learn what Kissinger actually said when all of the secretary’s of state agreed that meeting with Iran made sense – she said that Kissinger actually proposed the highest level meetings with the Secretary of State. Reminded us that meeting with Iran was part of the 9/11 commission and was supported by James Baker. She also said the Rabin quote: Make peace with enemies, not friends.
Question on why not say the surge is working?
Susan Rice reminded us that the Iraq war didn’t start in 2007. Obama has complimented the military personnel on their fortitude – but the surge was supposed to make room for political stability – which it still hasn’t. Plus – Afghanistan continues to worsen and Iran to get stronger.
Question on attention to Africa?
Rice responded that they need to root out corruption & resolve conflict