On March 10, 2009 Jonathan Fanton introduced John Hamre, President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Jessica Matthews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, to discuss the foreign policy challenges and priorities facing the then recently-elected President, Barack Obama
Jonathan F. Fanton
Introduction of John Hamre and Jessica Matthews
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I am pleased to welcome John Hamre, President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Jessica Matthews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with the MacArthur Board and senior staff.
We are holding our March Board meeting in Washington so we can talk with senior members of the new Administration about issues of mutual concern. We are obviously pleased that our friend and Chicago neighbor has become President, and proud that he has recruited so many people with MacArthur ties as Senior Advisors, to his Cabinet and in key positions throughout the executive branch.
As you know, MacArthur supports a variety of initiatives, including research, policy analysis, demonstration projects, and capacity building on issues like affordable housing, education, peace and security, and conservation. But, in the end, our financial contribution is modest, and it takes government policy and action to move good ideas to scale. In the U.S. and in 60 countries around the world, we work with government agencies and follow government policies closely.
For the most part, the landscape in the U.S. is changing in ways that create a more favorable context for our work. We need to understand those changes and then adapt to new opportunities – and perhaps new challenges as well. We will spend our June Board meeting on that review, so our conversations today and tomorrow are part of the learning process.
On the domestic side, we will be meeting with Valerie Jarrett, Shaun Donovan, and Arne Duncan. And Bill Burns has organized a conversation at the State Department with Anne Marie Slaughter, the new Director of Policy Planning. Other senior officials may join, if confirmed and available.
Before embarking on those meetings, we thought it would be useful to get an overview from people we know, trust, and respect with whom we have been working. Bruce Katz of Brookings and Len Burman of the Urban Institute Tax Policy Center gave us a good hour on domestic policy.
We have been pleased to support CSIS for international security policy studies, workshops in the areas of Russian security, biological threat reduction, and Asia-Pacific issues, among others.
And we have benefited from John’s long experience in government, during which he served as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense. John maintains strong ties to the Department of Defense, serving as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, an advisory committee to Secretary Gates. From 1993-1997, he served as under secretary of defense (comptroller), and for ten years he was a professional staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
MacArthur has benefited from a long relationship with Jessica, which goes back to the early days of the World Resources Institute. Currently, we work with the Carnegie Endowment on international migration research, nonproliferation work, and in Russia. where we enjoy a particularly close relationship with Carnegie’s Moscow office and support its journal, Pro et Contra.
So John and Jessica together touch on every aspect of our international program.
In the opening days of his administration, President Obama set a clear tone for some of the changes he intends for U.S. foreign policy—from closing Guantanamo to the appointment of the high level envoys George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke to manage relations with key countries. John and Jessica, we would like to hear what your thoughts on these steps and what you project to be the defining foreign policy challenges of the new administration.
In particular, we are interested in the future of disarmament talks, prospects for the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship, your thoughts on peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery (such as in African or South Asian conflicts), and your thoughts on the roles India and China may play in international institutions and development — what opportunities do their evolving roles in foreign policy afford the new administration?
We would be interested in knowing what your greatest hopes and worries are for the new Administration and how your institutions will adapt to the new context.