The Briefing

A Newsletter of The Alabama World Affairs Council / Fall 2005

Ex-CIA Director John McLaughlin, Terrorism Expert Brig Gen Russell Howard, Diplomat Chas Freeman Up This Fall

John McLaughlin, long-time Deputy Director, CIA and, for a short time in late 2004, actually Director of CIA [acting], is our first speaker on Tuesday, September 20th. He is a seasoned speakerówith much time as the intelligence briefing officer to U.S. presidents.

McLaughlin, said the Washington Post, is "a man of magical warmth and, too, a professional quality good magician," as in card tricks and assembling bits of newspaper into complete pages. One of his code names at the CIA was "Merlin." McLaughlin, 63, was with CIA for 33 years.

His rise through the ranks was astonishing. His first work was as an analyst of Russia and Eastern Europe. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was the Director of the Office of European Analysis. By 1997, he was Deputy Director for Intelligence, and by 2000, he had become the CIAís most senior figure next to the director. When George Tenet resigned in July 2004, McLaughin took over.

McLaughlin once said Harrison Fordís movie character, Jack Ryan, who played the CIAís acting deputy director for intelligence in Clear and Present Danger, had it about right. "But," said, McLaughlin, "The real thing was better," not as flashy, but more interesting.

McLaughlin currently serves as a Senior Fellow at the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

He graduated from SAIS in 1964 before serving as an officer in the infantry in Vietnam in 1968-1969, where he served with distinction, earning the Bronze Star. He holds a bachelorís degree from Wittenberg University.

He is married with two children and is a wonderful opening for the Alabama World Affairs season.

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Brigadier General Russell Howard speaks on November 8. He is the Director of the Jebsen Center for Counterterrorism Studies at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Previously, he was the Professor and Head of the Department of Social Sciences and the Director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Prior to that, then Colonel Howard was an Army Chief of Staff Fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. He commanded the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Lewis, Washington. He also served as the Administrative Assistant to Admiral Stansfield Turner and as a Special Assistant to the Commander of SOUTHCOM.

As a newly commissioned officer, Lieutenant Howard served as an "A" Team Commander in the 7th Special Forces Group from 1970 to 1972. He left active duty and served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1972 to 1980. He was recalled to active duty in 1980, and served initially in Korea as an Infantry Company Commander. Subsequent assignments included Battalion Commander and Classified Project Officer, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Operations Officer and Company Commander, Okinawa, Japan.

General Howard holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from San Jose State University, a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies from the University of Maryland, a Master of Arts in International Management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University.

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Ambassador Chas W. Freeman will speak to the Council on Tuesday, December 6. Widely considered one of Americaís greatest diplomats, Ambassador Freeman served in the State Department for over 30 years. He speaks Chinese fluently and was the principal American interpreter during President Nixonís 1972 pathbreaking visit to Beijing.

He then opened the first U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing in 1973, and later served as American Minister in Beijing from 1981 to 1984. Among his other high level assignments, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in the first Gulf War.

Amb. Freeman was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 1993-94. He designed a NATO-centered post-Cold War European security system and reestablished defense and military relations with China.

He was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the historic U.S. mediation of Namibian independence from South Africa, and during Cuban troop withdrawal from Angola.

Chas Freeman also served in Bangkok and was Director for Chinese Affairs at the U.S. Department of State from 1979-1981. He has Middle Eastern, Indian, African, and European diplomatic experience. When he left government in the late 1990s, Amb. Freeman served as President of the Middle East Policy Council. Today, he is Chairman of the Board of Projects International, Inc.

Freeman is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law school. He is widely recognized as one of the finest career diplomats of his generation, as attested by his election to the American Academy of Diplomacy. Other honors include the Distinguished Public Service Award, Defense Meritorious Service (Desert Shield/Desert Storm), CIA Medallion (Desert Shield/Desert Storm), and Presidential Meritorious Service Award.

Amb. Freeman is the author of Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy, and The Diplomatís Dictionary, both used in universities and diplomatic studies colleges world wide.

Finances: Need a boost, no change in dues structure

In this past 2004-2005 program year, our expenses of $36,395 exceeded our income of $27,518 by some $8,887. How, you may ask, can we stay in business with that kind of management? Obviously, we canít do that on a sustained basis, but there are mitigating factors that have allowed us to survive so far. First, we started this year with a carryover of $17,999, so were able to end the year with a cash balance of $9,121. Secondly, there are still Alabama Humanities Foundation grant funds from last year that have been approved but we have not yet collected. And thirdly, even with the lowest dues structure in the nation (to open the door for as many people as possible), we believe that those who can afford it will pay their dues at the higher levels shown on the pledge card.

Membership for the year held steady at 450.



Board Member Profile: Nan Rosa

Nan Rosa has been an integral part of the Alabama World Affairs Council for 13 years and has served as Secretary of the Board of Directors for 10 years. Nan, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, moved with her parents to Mobile, her fatherís hometown, in 1949. After graduating from Sweet Briar College in Virginia, Nan returned to Mobile for the next several years. She met her husband, Frank Rosa, Jr., an architect, and moved to Montgomery, his hometown. They have one daughter and son-in-law, Mary-Nelms and Will Parsons.

Nan has been active in the cultural and civic life of Montgomery over the years, volunteering with numerous organizations and serving on the boards of the Family Guidance Center, Montgomery Junior League, and Landmarks Foundation, among others.

In 1964, when they moved to Old Cloverdale, she and Frank helped organize the Old Cloverdale Association, recognizing the need and advantage of a strong community group to protect property values. Several years ago, they downsized to a townhouse in Hillwood West, and again became involved in formation of a community group there. Nan serves on the board of the Malone-Wentworth Association.

The work of Landmarks Foundation has long been of vital interest to Nan, who was the first executive secretary of Landmarks in 1969. This led to the start-up of The Montgomery Tour Guide Service, which she and Joan Loeb owned and operated for over 10 years, helping to raise awareness of Montgomeryís historical background and sites.

Nanís next involvement was with the travel industry for over 20 years as an independent travel agent with several agencies. She also organized and led group tours, with Frank bringing up the rear, to many historic destinations in the Eastern United States.

Since retiring, she is enjoying golf, tennis, swimming, bridge, volunteering, and lollygagging. They are members of St. Johnís Episcopal Church, where Frank is finishing his second term as Senior Warden.

Nan and Frank have been members of the Alabama World Affairs Council since 1992. She has served as secretary of the Board of Directors for over 10 years, melding into that position after being Jim Nathanís secretary at AUM in the early 1990s.


Executive Directorís Corner: Dr. James Nathan

My son and I were off to Russia in July. I was the guest of several institutes, one associated with the Russian Parliament, or Duma. Everybody knows Russia has changed since Communism, but the extent of the change is breath taking. Old Soviet Russia was called by its citizens, under their breath, "the society of the great lie." It was also a society predicated on theft.

Some of the lies and the theft are still there, of course. The government controls the media and is regaining access to oil and gas, the countryís leading industries. And much of the controlling interest in Russian markets was garnered by old regime insiders. But the fear is gone, and the shortages have vanished. So too, unfortunately, has much of the highly competent education. Russiaís birthrate has nosedived, and the male death rate is alarming. The average age of death for the average Russian man is somewhere in the mid 50s.

The prosperity and openness of Moscow is staggering. In a decade, it is a place more changed, in some ways, than China. First of all, of course, the fear is gone. More than that, security has been reestablished without a heavy police presence, anywhere that I saw. There is less public security at stores and places of amusement than in China, or elsewhere in Asia. And the visible aspects of public security now seem about the same as in any major American city. No longer, for instance, do people have to take their windshield wipers with them. Theft is no longer blatant. There are rarely checkout police at the doors of shops or shopping malls as there are elsewhere.

In Moscow, the idea of customer service is pervasive, something not even dimly understood until the opening of McDonalds nearly 15 years ago. Now, there are sushi restaurants in profusion all along the Kremlin area downtown. Russian internet cafes, uncensored [unlike China] abound, some just 100 yards from Leninís tomb. Young Russian women are as beautiful as ever, but now stylish as if they were Parisians. And older women in Moscow were astonishingly well dressed.

The cost of living in Moscow is very high, like New York or Tokyo, but the average per capita wage in Moscow is close to $8000 a year, a far cry from where it is elsewhere, even in Petersburg [$1000 or less]. I saw no public drunks in Moscow, as I used to, although I certainly did see drunks elsewhere. Traffic is better organized than it was a decade ago, though modern cars, including credible Russian-made cars, abound. Putin arrived in a motorcade when I was in Red Square, and amazingly, he traveled with far less ceremony and security than leaders do in China [where traffic is locked down for blocks], and even in the US for President Bush. The grocery stores, even off the beaten path, offer a vast array of choices at world prices.

The farms I saw from the road looked well tended. There were more animals, and in better shape than there used to be. But an alarming amount of food is still imported.

Hospital care, once at a decent standard, has collapsed. Medical personnel are not being trained in meaningful numbers, and MDs outside of Moscow are pitifully paid, as are school teachers and public officials. It is an invitation to corruption that is not well resisted, anywhere, though it didnít seem to have the surface outrages of, say, Mexico. Pollution was less in the summer in Moscow (and Petersburg) than in any big US city.

Aside from health, and uneven wealth, and the plummeting birthrate, there is the issue of the pitiful state of people at retirement. Their pensions are miniscule, and they have very few means of survival unless they live in the countryside; and then their lives are hard, and chancy. The closure of institutes and the near collapse of the defense industry is a cause for real alarm. First line weapons are being sold to any buyers. Weapons stores are unguarded. There is the bleeding of the Chechin war and its attendant breeding of terrorism and huge, largely unnumbered casualties on both sides. The morale in Russia's armed forces, never that great in the Cold War, is now shameful.

None of these problems is as bad or as seemingly lethal for Russian society as was communism. The "cure" many Russians appear to reflexively seem to embrace, authoritarianism, however, doesnít look all that promising either. Somehow, the old, huge stocks of atomic arms and germ warfare have to be secured. And the emerging of a new China-Russia military axis, though now mostly a matter of military trade, is ópotentiallyóa matter of serious concern.

On another matter, I have won yet another Fulbright Competition. Itís the Thomas Jefferson Distinguished Fulbright Chair in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, perhaps in 18 months, for a semester. Meanwhile, the Alabama World Affairs Councilís programs continue to set high standards for the World Affairs Council system country wide. I think our program this year may be the best in my memory. Most of our speakers, those who are not current government employees, routinely get from $5,000 to $15,000 elsewhere. We secure speakers for cost and virtually a token honorarium. I find colleagues from across the country in the council system amazed by our group. And, of course, I am more than a little pleased myself.


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President Charles Cleveland and Vice President Bowen Ballard confer before a presentation.


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French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte speaks to the council on December 9, 2004.