November 16, 2012

The U.S. and Central and Eastern Europe in the 21st Century: Promoting Democracy, Security, or Both?

In response, I would like to relate an old story. Several decades ago, in 1975, I wrote my first policy oriented piece in a magazine that very few of you would recognize. I’ll show it to you: This was the way Foreign Policy magazine looked then. It was printed this way so that people traveling on the Washington Metro or in New York City on the train or subway would be able to read it, but it didn’t work out. Yet the magazine is still around. In any case, my policy advocacy piece for this magazine was called “The Forgotten Region” and it dealt obviously with what we then called Eastern Europe. The State Department did not like it at all, but I got a phone call from Zbig Brzezinski, who really liked the piece. He said you are doing something important; you are keeping Eastern Europe on the agenda. This is what I want to say now to Wess and to CEPA and of course to Larry and Susan Hirsch: You are keeping Central and Eastern Europe on the agenda, and you are doing a fantastic job. I would not have imagined this much progress a few years ago when Larry was my student at SAIS (he did get an A by the way). So I should thank you now for putting Central and Eastern Europe on the political map. I’ll only add that Wess did make one mistake earlier today. I asked him how long I should speak and he said as long as you want to, as long as you are provocative. Well, Wess, you do not say this to a professor.

In response, I would like to relate an old story. Several decades ago, in 1975, I wrote my first policy oriented piece in a magazine that very few of you would recognize. I’ll show it to you: This was the way Foreign Policy magazine looked then. It was printed this way so that people traveling on the Washington Metro or in New York City on the train or subway would be able to read it, but it didn’t work out. Yet the magazine is still around. In any case, my policy advocacy piece for this magazine was called “The Forgotten Region” and it dealt obviously with what we then called Eastern Europe. The State Department did not like it at all, but I got a phone call from Zbig Brzezinski, who really liked the piece. He said you are doing something important; you are keeping Eastern Europe on the agenda. This is what I want to say now to Wess and to CEPA and of course to Larry and Susan Hirsch: You are keeping Central and Eastern Europe on the agenda, and you are doing a fantastic job. I would not have imagined this much progress a few years ago when Larry was my student at SAIS (he did get an A by the way). So I should thank you now for putting Central and Eastern Europe on the political map. I’ll only add that Wess did make one mistake earlier today. I asked him how long I should speak and he said as long as you want to, as long as you are provocative. Well, Wess, you do not say this to a professor.


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