Thursday, December 14, 2006

Nixon Center dinner and the realists

Tonight was the 2006 Distinguished Service Awards dinner for the Nixon Center, honoring Senator Richard Lugar and General Brent Scowcroft.

Having just returned from this event, I am not prepared to post any exhaustive transcript (speakers included a good cross-section of what might be considered the Republican realist community--James Schlesinger, Henry Kissinger, Maurice R. Greenberg, Dimitri Simes, Senators Lugar, Chuck Hagel and Pat Roberts and Scowcroft.)

Two impressions.

First, despite all the ballyhoo about the Iraq Study Group being a "realist report", there was certainly a good deal of scepticism expressed not only by speakers but but people in attendance about its conclusions and about its strategy.

Second, despite the common opinion of U.S. foreign policy realists as being "unrealistic" in having an antiquated and outdated world view, there was certainly a good deal of commentary about the revolution in international affairs and the impact of globalization and the decline of the nation-state.

UPDATE: This is what the Washington Times had to report:
The Nixon Center honored former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican, at its annual Distinguished Service Award dinner Thursday with a program filled with spirited commentary that is too rarely seen these days.

Speakers mulled not just the changing characteristics of the enemies of freedom but the world in general. With the war in Iraq looming over every syllable, the conflict splintered the experts' wisdom on the subject.

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