Wednesday, January 18, 2017

USIP Hosts "Passing the Baton" Event with Trump, Obama Teams

On January 9 and 10 the US Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted a "Passing the Baton" conference to facilitate Donald Trump's transition into the presidency.

Here is more about the event from USIP:
Ten days before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, members of his national security team will join Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior foreign policy officials from current and former administrations to discuss immediate and long-term challenges facing the United States. The president-elect’s designated National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, current National Security Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other officials and experts join in a day of on-the- record discussion on January 10.
The meetings will form the third Passing the Baton conference hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace as part of the transfer of power between U.S. presidents since 2001. USIP, an independent and nonpartisan national institution founded by Congress, hosts the event in accordance with its congressional mandate to advance informed, problem-solving on threats to U.S. national interests and to promote international peace without violence. The conference will bring together current, future and former officials as well as hundreds of foreign policy and national security experts to cover topics such as America’s role in the world, and how the country can prepare to deal with unanticipated strategic surprises.
USIP’s partners for the conference include the American Enterprise Institute, the Atlantic Council, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for American Progress and the Heritage Foundation. Politico and SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel 124 are USIP’s media partners for this event.

Here is a full list of speakers and panelists, which included various think tank leaders and scholars such as Arthur Brooks (AEI), Fred Kempe (Atlantic Council), and James Carafano (Heritage).

An event program can be found here. Partners of the event included American Enterprise Institute, Atlantic Council, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Center for American Progress (CAP), and the Heritage Foundation.  Media partners included Politico and SiriusXM

Sponsors of the event included LMI, Boeing, Chevron, and J. Robinson West & Eileen Shields-West.  [J. Robinson West is the Founder and Chairman of PFC Energy.]

So, did the event accomplish anything?  Indeed it did according to the New York Times, which says that the Obama team and the Trump team engaged in a "public display of harmony" when incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn shook hands with outgoing National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

Here is how The Economist describes the think tank event.

In 2009 USIP held a "Passing the Baton" event 50 high-level speakers and 1,900 attendees.

Vanity Fair recently wrote a piece about USIP entitled "Is the US Institute of Peace Really Making the World a Better Place?"