Atlantic Editor at Large Steve Clemons covers the announcement that former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has joined the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security as ambassador-in-residence:
But today, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Atlantic Council‘s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security Policy had made recent Israel Ambassador to the US and Middle East scholar Michael Oren its Ambassador-in-Residence.
This is kind of like the Washington Institute on Near East Policy offering senior fellowships to J Street Founders Daniel Levy and Jeremy Ben-Ami, something probably not likely to happen. That said, I was impressed when the Washington Institute demonstrated a lot of class and magnanimity in its invitation to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — someone most of the WINEP leadership wanted to see fail to get confirmed.
Ambassador Oren has been tirelessly committed to explaining to folks that the Israel-Palestine standoff is not one of the root drivers of the Middle East’s dysfunctional relationship with the West, while former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft has been even more tireless in making the case that it is. Oren is deeply suspicious of Iran and is mostly of the “it’s nearly too late to stop Iran’s bomb” school of thought, while Scowcroft thinks that Iran’s intentions to step back from its nuclear pretensions and negotiate a comprehensive deal needs to be tested.
That the perspectives of these two differ so dramatically assures that the Atlantic Council will be the home base for many important, feisty, discussions — and this helps move the policy needle in a constructive direction.