The Global Citizen
Support for a permanent United Nations Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS) is increasing. 37 non-profit groups, including the United Nations Association USA, Refugees International, the International Crisis Group, faith-based organizations, and many others, have sent a letter to members of Congress urging their support of H. RES. 213, U.S. legislation that calls for the creation of a U.N. Emergency Peace Service.
We're now hearing a terrific panel on the Middle East, feturing Helene Cooper, Daniel Levy, Ellen Laipson and Daniel Kurtzer. We're an hour in, and we've heard some really interesting perspectives on the the Israel-Palestine conflict and the nuclear threat in Iran. But what we have not heard is one word on Iraq. Nor on Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, or any other country in the region....
Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) is speaking right now, and the main focus of his remarks is Iran. But as a lead-in, he told a story about his mother punishing him as a child for doing something he wasn't supposed to do. When he asked her if she still loved him, she answered "Son, I will always love you, but it is better to be trusted than loved." He then went on to argue that that is where the United States finds itself -- trusted, not loved.
The subtitle of the conference is "forging a New Vision for Foreign Policy and International Security." That's a worthy goal, and one I share -- but the panelists don't seem to necessarily be "new." The lineup is heavy on veterans of the Clinton and Carter Administrations (and one token Reaganista) and not very much on the people who may be generating policy at the sub-cabinet level in future Administrations. There are a few "younger" folks like Daniel Levy and Cathy Zoi (and at age 45 I define younger differently than you might), but for the most part it's the old guard.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm always interested in hearing what Madeleine Albright, Tom Daschle, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Sandy Berger have to say. And to the credit of those who have spoken so far this morning, they are putting forward some new ideas. But wouldn't it also be interesting to hear from the next generation of leaders -- folks like Dan Feldman, Rosa Brooks, Harold Hongju Koh, and Anita Sharma.
I'm at the Hyatt Regency this morning with my colleagues Charlie and Julia at a conference jointly sponsored by the Center for American Progress and the Century Foundation. The topic? "America in the World."
Madeleine Albright kicked things off this morning. A couple of takeaways:
Over the years, depending on where I lived, my morning commutes have been quite diverse. My first job, as a sports editor at a small daily newspaper in Michigan, involved about an eight-block walk to the office. Another post, at a small liberal arts university, included about a four-mile round trip in my 1979 Cutlass.
As I was sitting here this morning, taking in my daily dose of caffeine and energy headlines, something caught my eye. A top Chinese official spread the word that China may put an end to projects that convert coal to oil.
"Liquefied coal projects consume a lot of energy, though the successful industrialization of liquefied coal could help reduce the country's dependence on petroleum," the official said.
I spent my morning meeting kids at Barnard Elementary School in D.C.'s Petworth neighborhood. I talked a bit about the problems I care about and learned a good deal about the problems they see as relevant to them.
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