I had dinner last night with Madelaine Albright – yes, shameless name dropping, I know, but the fact remains, I and a few other people did have the pleasure of hearing her talk frankly about US foreign policy on her visit here to mark the opening of the LBJ School’s new Masters in Global Affairs. Following tradition, dinner with the assembled guests was run as a single conversation only, so we all heard each other. Nice style but somewhat forced and it left little opportunity for chatting with the other people there but I was impressed nonetheless with her insights, very factual tone and honest telling of the personalities and politics involved in negotiating with other countries. Yes, state leaders do shout at each other, get moody, threaten, weasel and generally behave like everyone else negotiating a pay rise or promotion. Best line of the night? Many that are unrepeatable here but she did admit that experience consists of more than lipstick.
We touched on the issue of cybersecurity and there was a general agreement that this is where the action will be in the decades ahead. I didn’t want to depress anyone with my take that we are relatively clueless on how to guard against the actions of the fanatical few in this arena who now can create the military equivalent of an invasion online in a way that’s not possible in the physical world of traditional warfare. But there was a brief suggestion that maybe the Russians were a little ahead of others in this regard. The public part of the evening was streamed into second life, from where a few folks even submitted questions. Reminds me, didn’t Obama promise to hold court on C-Span if he gets elected?