Friday, April 20, 2007

I've been away ...

From blogging, but also from Washington DC. I was up in New York City for nearly a week, attending board meetings of the Open Society Institute's information program and media program, and the Media Development Loan Fund. Many corporate governance issues as well as substantive and programmatic issues. As anyone who has been involved with any large nonprofit knows, corporate governance issues at nonprofit institutions are at least as difficult and challenging as they are at for profit institutions, and perhaps - precisely because they lack the clean, clear incentives of a profit motivation - even more so.

But I got back in time to teach my last class of the term in my just war ethics course, and now I am trying to catch up on everything - which means, first and foremost, completing my UN reform book for the Hoover Institution. In addition, I have some long lost reviews for the TLS, one on immigration and the other on microfinance and development finance generally. I have a small essay to revise - remarks, really, even though I had to miss the conference and didn't get a chance to deliver them - from a conference on counterterrorism at Fordham Law School last fall. And finally - and I can't tell you how much pleasure this gives me - the Revista de Libros of Madrid, which is kind of the TLS/NYRB of Spain, is translating and publishing my TLS essay on Fukuyama and neoconservatism in its June issue. So I am going over the really marvelously elegant translation the editor sent me.

I am setting up two small Hoover discussion lunches in May - one the launch of Lee Feinstein's new Council on Foreign Relations report on responsibility to protect in Darfur and beyond, and a second on the idea of a national security or counterterrorism court.

I know there are professors out there who do many more speaking engagements than I, but during this spring term I've done a lot for me - three or four events at my own law school (WCL),the Stanley Foundation, OSI, UVA, NYU, NCS, the Hoover Institution, Bard College, and Wayne State. I've enjoyed it, in fact - people at all these institutions have been wonderfully hospitable. But now I need to do some more writing.

As long as I'm catching up on various things, I wanted to thank Matthew Waxman for taking time out of his busy schedule as Principal Deputy Director of Policy Planning at the State Department - I think he is perhaps now the Acting Director - to talk with my daughter Renee about realism, idealism, and the evolution of Secretary Rice's thinking in foreign policy for a paper Renee is doing at NCS. I must say that Matt has been through hell these past few years, fighting from inside the administration against Cheney's people - his was one of the first and strongest voices in favor of the Common Article Three standard for detainees, among numerous other reforms he sought. He fought hard to reform the entire detainee legal structure, eventually concluding that he couldn't stay in his Pentagon post after clashes with David Addington et al. for his pains. The irony, of course, is that Matt's views were those largely adopted in Hamdan, while those of the Cheney faction largely lost - a result that a moderately competent lawyer without the ideological blinders of Addington et al. and their reading of executive power would have realized from the get-go. The Addington faction will likely respond in the most petty way possible - by refusing, I would guess, to move Matt from principal deputy to director at Policy Planning although, especially at this stage of the presidential term, it is both deserved and obvious. Maybe I'll be wrong about that, but I doubt it.

And likewise thanks to Kori Schake for taking time to talk with Renee - Kori is a foreign and defense policy specialist formerly with the Pentagon and the NSC, now a Hoover fellow finishing a book and a professor at West Point. Anyway, I feel a little embarrassed reaching to the big guns to talk with an eighth grader about foreign policy, but Renee learned a lot more from her discussions with them than she ever did talking with me ...

Other than expressing my sorrow and condolences, I don't really have anything wise or intelligent to add to the discussion of the Virginia Tech shootings.

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