Over Memorial Day weekend, more than 3,000 runners in this year’s Boston Marathon who were unable to finish their race due to the bombings in April completed their journey in a one-mile run organized by the city. The event demonstrated, once again, American resilience in the aftermath of terrorism and provided a perfect prelude to IFE’s latest INFO Global Connections Series Roundtable.
On May 28, IFE hosted His Excellency Sergey I. Kislyak, Russian Ambassador to the U.S.; General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA; and Ambassador John Negroponte, former Director of National Intelligence, at the Federal City Council to discuss how the U.S. national security landscape has changed in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Coach Kemper opened the forum by recognizing the State Department’s Ben Beach, awarding him IFE’s Athletic Achievement medal. Beach is an extraordinary athlete who has run the Boston Marathon no fewer than 45 consecutive times; he was also one of 5,000 runners who were unable to complete the marathon in April because of the bombings that claimed three victims and injured over 200. Beach plans to run in his 47th Boston Marathon next year.
Kemper then moved on to IFE buzz, recognizing IFE Fellow Ali Wyne for his accomplishment as a first-time book co-author. In February, MIT Press published Lee Kuan Yew: The Grandmaster’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World, which Wyne co-authored with Graham Allison, the Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, and Robert Blackwill, the former U.S. Ambassador to India. The book has sold 25,000 copies and been recognized as one of the most authoritative reads on the Singaporean statesman.
The Honorable Mayor Anthony Williams opened the forum proper by reflecting on his experience as mayor of Washington, DC on 9/11. Mayor Williams distinguished between emotional leadership and organizational leadership in the wake of a disaster. In the days immediately after 9/11, following emergency response procedures was straightforward enough. The mayor and his senior staff collaborated with the federal government and arranged for foreign dignitaries stranded in Washington to take shelter at an Emergency Command Center. But there was no playbook for helping people feel safe again. Even so, the mayor noted, “There are no excuses. Even if you are not good with people or a people person, there are times when you have to act out of character.”
General Hayden pointed out that the Boston Marathon bombings were “a tragedy, but not a catastrophe.” The incident was representative of the nature of post-9/11 terrorism insofar as casualties were limited and the operation itself was not particularly sophisticated. The security measures that were implemented after 9/11 have by and large been successful—disrupting major terrorist plots and eliminating much of Al Qaeda’s top leadership. But the very success of those measures, General Hayden noted, means that terrorist incidents are assuming a different form. Smaller operations are now the norm and may well become more frequent because they are easier to organize—a development that Ambassador Negroponte compared to cancer “metastasis”.
The panelists agreed that most Americans would not be willing to accept the trade-off between security and freedom that would be needed to completely eliminate the possibility of terrorism. General Hayden and Ambassador Negroponte pointed out that a bombing like the one that disrupted the Boston Marathon probably would not have occurred in New York because the city’s police department is much more aggressive. But it is unlikely that the country as a whole would be willing to accept the controversial measures New York has relied on.
Greater bilateral cooperation can help increase the effectiveness of security measures that are already in place. Ambassador Kislyak pointed to the need for greater intelligence-sharing and closer collaboration between his country and local U.S. law enforcement. Terrorism is a problem that both Russia and the U.S. face, though incidents in Russia are not frequently reported in the western press.
General Hayden emphasized the importance of fighting the long war against terrorism: “We won’t win the war at the near fight [attempting to stop terrorists and would-be terrorists whose views have already hardened].” The best path forward, he asserted, may not be even more draconian security measures, but simply a combination of American vigilance (“See something, say something”) and British hardiness (“Keep calm and carry on”). Ambassador Negroponte added, “Don’t let the turkeys get you down.”
Members of the diplomatic community were also present, including H.E Jose Cuisia Jr of the Embassy of the Philippines, IFE Diplomatic Steward H.E. Jan Matthysen of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, H.E. Elena Poptodorova of the Embassy of Bulgaria, H.E. Manuel Sager and Christine Sager of the Embassy of Switzerland, H.E. Wegger Chr. Strommen and Rev. Dr. Cecilie Strommen of the Embassy of Norway, and H.E. Kairat Umarov of the Embassy of Kazakhstan.
Other distinguished members of the audience included IFE Stewards Chris Caine, John P. Farmer, and Marci Robinson.
Forum attendees included distinguished members of the media and diplomatic community as well as long-time IFE supporters. Media representatives included CNN’s Jill Dougherty and Molly Jay, Al Jazeera’s Abderrahim Foukara, Associated Press’s Kimberly Dozier, CBS’s Henry Schuster, NPR’s Greg Myre, The National Journal’s Michael Hirsch, The Wall Street Journal’s Jerry Seib, TIME Magazine’s Jay Newton-Small, Reuters’ Lesley Wroughton, The Hill’s Jordy Yager, The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin, and Washington Life’s John Arundel.
Written by IFE Fellow Zaahira Wyne. Photos by IFE Intern Mbala Mendouga.
Click here to review: Event Photos | Program and Guest List | Round-up | Video | Russian Embassy posting
Click here to review media coverage in: The Hill | Washington Diplomat
About our Speakers:
His Excellency Sergey I. Kislyak became ambassador of Russia to the United States on Sept. 16, 2008, having previously served as Russia’s deputy minister of foreign affairs since 2003. Prior to that, Ambassador Kislyak served as ambassador to Belgium and simultaneously as Russia’s permanent representative to NATO in Brussels (1998-2003). He has also served various postings in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including director of the Department of Security Affairs and Disarmament (1995-98), director (1993-95) and deputy director (1991-93) of the Department of International Scientific and Technical Cooperation, and deputy director of the Department of International Organizations (1989-91). In addition, he served in the United States before as first secretary and counselor at the Russian Embassy in Washington (1985-89) and second secretary at the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York (1981-85). Ambassador Kislyak graduated from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in 1973 and from the U.S.S.R. Academy of Foreign Trade in 1977.
As Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, General Michael Hayden was responsible for overseeing the collection of information concerning the plans, intentions and capabilities of America’s adversaries; producing timely analysis for decision makers; and conducting covert operations to thwart terrorists and other enemies of the US. Before becoming Director of the CIA, General Hayden served as the country’s first Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence and was the highest-ranking intelligence officer in the armed forces. Earlier, he served as Commander of the Air Intelligence Agency, Director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center, Director of the National Security Agency and Chief of the Central Security Service. General Hayden graduated from Duquesne University with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1967 and a master’s degree in modern American history in 1969. He also did postgraduate work at the Defense Intelligence School conducted by the Defense Intelligence Agency. He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Mason University.
Ambassador John D. Negroponte, a United States career diplomat and national security official, held government positions abroad and in Washington between 1960 and 1997 and again from 2001 to 2008. He has been ambassador to Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, the United Nations, and Iraq. In Washington, he served twice on the National Security Council staff, first as director for Vietnam in the Nixon Administration and then as deputy national security advisor under President Reagan. He has also held a cabinet-level position as the first director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush. His most recent position in government was as Deputy Secretary of State, where he served as the State Department’s chief operating officer. As a more junior diplomat, Mr. Negroponte also had assignments in Hong Kong, Vietnam, France, Ecuador and Greece. While in the private sector from 1997 to 2001, he was executive vice president of the McGraw-Hill Companies, with responsibility for overseeing the company’s international activities. During those years he was also chairman of the French-American Foundation. Since January 21, 2009, Ambassador Negroponte has been vice chairman of McLarty Associates, a leading international strategic advisory firm in Washington, D.C. He also holds a part-time position at his alma mater, Yale University, as a senior research fellow in Grand Strategy and as a lecturer in international relations. Since 2009, Ambassador Negroponte has been chairman of the Council of the Americas/Americas Society, a New York-based NGO which advocates for commercial and cultural relations in the Western Hemisphere. He is also on the board of The Asia Society. He recently became Chairman of Walmart’s International Advisory Council. Ambassador Negroponte has received numerous awards in recognition of his more than four decades of public service, including the State Department’s Distinguished Service Medal on two separate occasions, the highest award which can be conferred by the secretary of state, and on January 16, 2009, President Bush awarded Ambassador Negroponte the National Security Medal for his outstanding contributions to U.S. national security