Not so long ago — before I was sprayed by political skunks and had to excuse myself to avoid subjecting others to the stench of political vilification — I had occasion to spend some time thinking about intelligence, in the sense of the analysis of information relevant to statecraft.
It’s good to be back at PPI, an organization that includes so many old friends, one whose formal launch I helped stimulate, and one that my wife, Margaret Carpenter (who sends her regards from afar) can take considerable credit for institutionalizing.
Next Tuesday, just four days from now, we Americans will select a new president and his back-up. Exactly eleven weeks later they will take office. They will inherit a dog's breakfast of policy catastrophes from the outgoing administration. Everyone will look to them to clean these up.
In the last days of the last century, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright described the United States as "the indispensable nation." "We stand tall," she claimed, "and we see further than other countries into the future." She did not seek the views of any foreigners on either point.
Welcome to Washington!
You have asked me to speak to current American policies in the Middle East, with an emphasis on the prospects for peace in the Holy Land. You have further suggested that I touch on the relationship of the Gulf Arabs, especially Saudi Arabia, to this.
Last week Americans voted in record numbers for a new president. However you felt about the outcome, you must have been moved, as I was, by how the two candidates reacted to the election results.
It is a pleasure and honor to be here. I benefited greatly from the introductory remarks by Congressman Skelton and Andrew Hoehn. They have gotten this workshop off to an excellent start.
Thirty years ago, the late Deng Xiaoping persuaded the Chinese Communist Party to make two linked decisions. In the first, China resolved to risk eclectic borrowing from other socio-economic systems to invigorate its own.
We live in a time of great transitions and confusions. The global distribution of wealth and power is in rapid evolution.