WASHINGTON – At a celebration honoring former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft on Tuesday night, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates lamented the political gridlock preventing Washington’s leaders from solving the most difficult challenges facing the United States and its allies today, saying that compromise has become akin to selling out.

“I’m deeply concerned about the decline of views and values associated with Brent Scowcroft when it comes to how we govern and relate to one another here at home,” said Gates. “Civility, mutual respect, putting country before self and country before party… these virtues in this town are becoming… historic relics,” he said, praising his former boss during the George H.W. Bush Administration as one to look to for inspiration to overcome differences.

The Atlantic Council celebrated the legacy of the former two-time national security advisor Tuesday night at a dinner attended by nearly 500 friends and current and former colleagues of General Scowcroft, including former national security advisors, members of Congress, and ambassadors. In addition to Gates, also speaking at the event were current National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and former National Security Advisors Steve Hadley, General James L. Jones, Jr., Dr. Henry Kissinger, and Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski. Former National Security Advisors Sandy Berger and Robert McFarlane were also in attendance.

On its 50th Anniversary, the Atlantic Council is responding to Secretary Gates’ challenge, and a transformed strategic landscape, by creating the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. The Scowcroft Center will build on the Atlantic Council’s bipartisan tradition, extensive international network, and policy-relevant approach to address a fast-emerging security environment marked by non-state actors, non-traditional security threats, newly assertive rising powers, and profound shifts in economic and political influence. The Center will build on the Council’s rich transatlantic heritage while bringing new global partners into a security debate focused on finding policy solutions to shared challenges.

“Through the work of this new center, we at the Atlantic Council are determined to embody General Scowcroft’s legacy of wise, consistent, visionary leadership and effective US foreign policy management,” said Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe.

Scowcroft, a West Point graduate and retired Air Force lieutenant general,served as US national security advisor for Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush, as military assistant to President Richard Nixon, and as deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs in the Nixon and Ford administrations. He is presently the Chairman of the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board and President of the Scowcroft Group.

“The United States, its transatlantic allies, and our global partners face a strategic moment the likes of which we have not seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall,” said Scowcroft. “As the foremost promoters of security and democracy, the United States and its allies are confronted by extraordinary challenges and opportunities that arise from a world in rapid and historic transformation.”

Upon its formal launch in 2012, the Scowcroft Center will include the Council’s work on all global security issues, including transatlantic security; emerging threats and defense industry; regional security programming in Asia and the Middle East; new forms of cyber cooperation and conflict through the Cyber Statecraft Initiative; and tracking global trends, disruptive change, and strategic shocks through the Strategic Foresight Initiative. 

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