This morning, we got Ambassador Tom Pickering, Bud Mcfarlan, and Rick Barton in a room together to see what they had to say about the kinds of foreign policy our next president could enact with support from both sides of the aisle.
Pickering kicked off the discussion with a tidy summary of some of the most major foreign policy problems that the new president will have to face, placing emphasis on the middle east for the short term, but with an eye to future possibilities for conflict and cooperation with China, India and Russia.
From there the discussion centered on the ways in which the president could spearhead bipartisan cooperation on foreign policy. There seemed to be wide agreement on the idea that some form of consultation body or commission would allow for more informed foreign policies, and naturally promote greater bipartisanship on some of these tough issues.
Eventually the discussion moved on to the future of our Iraq policy. Naturally, there was disagreement on that issue, particularly on the timetable of an American withdrawal, but each of the speakers, especially Tom Pickering, noted that the major goals of both parties are the same. Though there may be widespread disagreement on when, and under what circumstances we ought to withdraw, the problem is not an insurmountable one.
After Iraq, of course, came the current worsening energy situation. Here, there was very little disagreement indeed. The main point was essentially that, regardless of method, our next president will have to work hard on weaning the United States off of gasoline.
Overall, the discussion was very interesting, and showed clearly both where the two parties agree and disagree, and how our next president might go about finding a foreign policy consensus.