I am prevented from writing about my experiences last week as a guest of the Australia America Leadership Dialogue by the rules of the meeting (everything was off the record). Having said that, there are a few things I can probably say without violating those rules. To wit:
1. The whole experience was well run and rewarding. I was particularly pleased to have a chance to meet the Australian delegation, and look forward to seeing them again during a return visit next summer.
2. Our group was addressed by a rather striking list of US and Australian leaders, including (and not limited to):
Barry Jackson (Rove’s replacement)
Susan Schwab (US trade representative)
James Connaughton (Council on Environmental Quality)
The undersecretary of the treasury
Commerce Secy Gutierrez
Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard
World Bank President Robert Zoellick
Past BHP CEO Hugh Morgan
3. I made a few public points, including:
The US should conduct its foreign policy according to its own national interest, and not Israel’s
Energy policy should include an immediate, and limited, shift to nuclear energy, buying time for the ultimate conversion to solar, wind and other (which I was able to discuss directly with the Australian Minister for Resources)
The economic crisis is a global liquidity crisis, and should be dealt with from that perspective
All in all, the time spent at the White House, State Dept, and elsewhere seemed worthwhile, with a sincere exchange of views, and a strong delegation. I look forward to continuing my relationship with the Australian members of this group.