What some of you may not know about me is that aside from my travels, which are usually for work, I tend to get very passionate about foreign aid and development -- and how we are aiding developing countries abroad escape from poverty. I also tend to get a bit revved up by the discussion surrounding "smart power." This is the term coined by Joseph Nye some time ago to describe how to get what you want through methods other than military might -- like public diplomacy and simple persuasion. I spent my morning listening to Nye and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage at an event hosted by D.C.-based CSIS to unveil the Smart Commission's report. One assumes, simply given the name of the Commission, that you are going to learn something novel. I love Armitage in these settings -- candidly bashing the hard-hitting, caustic and brash style of the Administration in his self-deprecating way, having been a key member of the team and yet not seeming disingenuous. Both Nye and Armitage talked a great deal about our need to export "hope," not "fear" -- a message that resonates for me personally.
I hope you might take the time to be a little wonkish today: http://www.csissmartpower.org/