Three tenors of foreign policy -- former Sen. Sam Nunn, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates – sang from the same hymnal about America’s dealings with Russia at the pre-Alfalfa luncheon Saturday: those sanctions aren’t working well and this nation should get busy restoring its status around the world.
"The 3 Tenors of Foreign Policy” luncheon at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ headquarters drew 350 from the centers of power in D.C. and elsewhere from across the nation. It was a prelude to the Alfalfa Club Dinner that night.
Perhaps the collective foreign policy sentiment could be summed up in one marvelous German word:
Rough translation: Hurry up, get in, before the doors close.
Most of the remarks centered on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“…he is kind of a bully who will keep moving ‘til somebody stops him,” said Gates. “Over the last few years,” Gates went on to say, “we have put ourselves on the backburner” in the Middle East compared to the actions of Russia, Iran and Turkey. Make no mistake, he said, “The Russians are here for the long term.”
On sanctions, Gates said: “the problems with sanctions is they don’t work very well….as far as sanctions to try to get Russia out of the Crimea…forget it…we like sanctions in this city because they are easy.”
Nunn described what is happening between the USA and Russia as “a dangerous situation….” and, to begin with in this new presidential era, “I would start with military communications.” Nunn, former Democratic senator from Georgia and CSIS chairman emeritus, testified at Senate hearings on behalf of Trump nominee Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State and for Gen. Jim Mattis as Secretary of Defense.
Nunn also said the U.S. should be working economically to assist Ukraine.
Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a guest in the audience, was invited to address the gathering. He called Tillerson “uniquely qualified” to be Secretary of State because of his relationships worldwide and for his “insights.”
As far as the Crimea is concerned, Corker said, “That is over.”