Summits and Conferences. And Initiatives.
The U.N. Millennium Summit was an opportunity for America to make "real" what George Bush stated during his first trip to Europe after his last election: that America was ready for a "fresh start" with our allies, particularly in Europe. But John Bolton is wrecking this Summit and squandering another opportunity for the U.S. to get its diplomacy pointed in a more constructive direction.
Many progressive readers get frustrated when I suggest that Condi Rice, Bob Zoellick, Stephen Krasner, Nick Burns, Paula Dobriansky and others at the helm at State are in a completely different zone than John Bolton. But they are.
Yesterday, it was clear as day that Nick Burns, in a meeting with NGO representatives, would neither confirm nor deny that the U.S. was dropping support for the Millennium Development Goals. In other words, Burns would not support John Bolton's rejection of them in the leaked document showing Bolton's edits to the Millennium Summit draft. Nick Burns' silence is a sign that Bolton bolted ahead of Madame Secretary.
But no word from Condi Rice on all of this. Someone in the press corps -- or one of the young college students she seems to frequently meet with (given her recent appearances on C-Span at liberal arts schools) -- needs to ask her whether the MDGs are out. Has she decided that they ought to be tossed in the trash can? If so, has she consulted with any of our allies about this?
Or, does John Bolton need to be reeled in? Condi needs to respond.
Bill Clinton is piggy-backing on the Millennium Summit with his "Clinton Global Initiative". I am planning to attend -- either as a blogger on site or as a regular attendee (via the support of friends -- as the price tag is a whopping $15,000 to get in the door, and I don't think that even gets one into the VIP circle). We'll keep you posted on that one.
And finally, for those of you interested, on September 6-7, I am helping to organize a major conference on America's "next phase" response to terrorism. It coincides with the 4th anniversary of 9/11 and is designed to bring an ideologically diverse crowd (a genuinely diverse crowd) together to think beyond the police and military responses to terrorism.
It's open to the public -- and there will be live, high-quality webcasting of the entire program. Information on the conference -- Terrorism, Security and America's Purpose: Towards a More Comprehensive Strategy is here.
Speakers and participants include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., General Wesley Clark, author Tom Clancy, Senator Chuck Hagel, Rockefeller Brothers Fund President Stephen Heintz, Congressman Jim Saxton, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, George Soros, former Deputy National Security Advisor Jim Steinberg, University of Chicago Professor Robert Pape, Harvard University Stephen Walt, Woodrow Wilson School Dean Anne-Marie Slaughter, former Attorney General John Ascroft, University of Michigan professor and Informed Comment blog proprietor Juan Cole, former State Department Chief of Policy Planning Mitchell Reiss, and many others.
The list of speakers and agenda are being released shortly -- and it's a fascinating roster and may be a genuine opportunity to get American policy makers and leading players in Beltway civil society to begin thinking beyond bullets regarding terrorism