After finishing my column for The Hill this morning, I spent the whole day at the âNew American Strategies for Security and Peaceâ conference. This is the conference put on by the Center for American Progress, and cosponsored by The Century Foundation and some magazine called The American Prospect.
The event kicked off with a speech by Wes Clark, which was quite good. (Thereâs no question that the long-form exposition is Clarkâs forte and in this case it showed.)
Clark was invited before he announced his candidacy. And though his speech was quite well-received, there was some chatter about whether he should have been given such a prominent and singular role, given that heâs contesting for the nomination against nine other Democrats.
I thought his speech was sufficiently un-campaign-like to be appropriate for the venue (Clark spoke by satellite). But Ted Sorensenâs introduction of Clark was surprisingly fulsome.
In any case, Clark was good. He was followed by a number of good panels filled with various luminaries. (Between you and me, I had to spend a lot of my time in the hallways on my cell phone working on reporting out a certain story.) But what stood out to me over everything else was the speech in the early evening by Zbigniew Brzezinski.
I donât know whether a transcript of the speech will be available. Iâm not even sure how much of it was precisely written out or just extemporaneous. But the basic sanity, wisdom and tough-mindedness of it was bracing. And for me it brought home the nature of our historical moment, and the critical turning point weâre at, more powerfully than any other public address Iâve heard. I donât know if the transcript will be available or if thereâll be some sort of recorded live feed on the conference website. But if it is, watch it. Balanced, powerful, shrewd -- it was that good.