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The Sunni Response to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – Toward MAD or Stability?

The Sunni Response to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – Toward MAD or Stability
(Robert McFarlane, March 1, 2017)

Transcript available below

About the speaker

Robert “Bud” McFarlane was National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan from 1983 to 1985.


Robert R. Reilly:

Our speaker tonight needs very little introduction because of his distinguished reputation and you know of course of his tremendous service to President Ronald Reagan and this country as the National Security Advisor of the president and the key role he played in the peaceful elimination of the Soviet Union, particularly in creating certain non-kinetic pressures upon that evil empire that brought it down through economic and other measures, so our country owes a great deal to Bud McFarlane.

He also served as a counselor to the State Department, a military adviser to Brent Scowcroft and Henry Kissinger. He served for 20 years as a marine officer. I once made the mistake when I had the privilege of meeting Tom Moynihan, the founder of Dominoes Pizza, I said, “Oh, you were a marine.” He looked at me sternly and said, “No, I am a marine,” so I won’t make that mistake with you tonight, Bud. He is a marine. I know there are some other marines in the audience tonight, so…

Now, I won’t tell you where Bud McFarlane studied. It’s part of the resume you were sent on the email. I’ll just mention, he has been working hard in recent years in the kind of work out of which he will never run and that is reconciling Sunni and Shia, reconciling tribes in Darfur – you may have to go back, Bud, on that one – and most recently, working with recently retired four and three-star generals and other senior diplomats on arms control issues in the Middle East as of course he was a seminal player in arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, so it’s something about which he knows a great deal.

You know that the first lecture topic we announced might have been considered somewhat anodyne, “Restoring America’s Leadership Role in the World.” It’s not that tonight’s topic is unrelated to that, but Mr. McFarlane asked if he might be able to switch to this topic on which he will be speaking tonight, if conditions allowed him to talk publicly about it, and I’m so glad that conditions have permitted that and that he will be talking to us tonight on, “The Sunni Response to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – toward MAD or Stability?” Please join me in welcoming Bud McFarlane.

Robert McFarlane:

Thanks to each of you – you have choices in 68-degree evenings like this. You don’t have to be listening to turgid lectures from the over-the-hill gang so to speak.

Your introduction I noted was too generous and in passing you said early on that I don’t need an introduction but that provoked a memory here about- it must have been 2009, as a former staffer for Kissinger, I was asked to organize a reunion of all of the former staffers that had worked for him on the 50th anniversary of when he came to the White House.and so it wasn’t a big challenge. Everyone wants to be in the same room with Henry, so I got everybody together. Everybody came and because everybody knew him, for goodness sake. He really doesn’t need an introduction to that crowd, so I had the bad judgement to essentially use that cliche and say, here’s our boss, he needs no introduction, and sat down. Bad choice. Henry got up. Then he was obviously disappointed and he said, “Bud, I may not need an introduction, but I always enjoy one.”

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