- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2005

NATO reunion

David Abshire, one of America’s most respected statesmen, held a reception in the garden of his Old Town Alexandria home that was more like a reunion of NATO ambassadors and cold warriors who helped defeat the Soviet Union.

The aging veterans of the Cold War mingled Monday evening with the next generation of foreign policy analysts who work for Mr. Abshire’s Center for the Study of the Presidency.

Frank Carlucci, defense secretary under President Reagan, chatted with guests in the garden, while James Schlesinger, defense secretary in the Nixon and Ford administrations, talked with friends on the veranda of the Abshires’ elegant Victorian home.

Max Kampleman, a Reagan administration foreign policy specialist, former Sen. Charles S. Robb, a Virginia Democrat who advocated a strong defense policy in his years in Congress, Paula Dobriansky, undersecretary of state for global affairs, and William H. Taft IV, NATO ambassador from 1989 to 1992, were among the guests who also included Ambassadors Jose Octavio Bordon of Argentina, Wolfgang Ischinger of Germany and Elena Poptodorova of Bulgaria.

Mr. Abshire hosted the reception to honor R. Nicholas Burns, ambassador to NATO from 2001 until earlier this year when he was appointed undersecretary of state for political affairs, the No. 3 position in the State Department.

He called Mr. Burns a “great diplomat with great diplomatic skills.”

Mr. Burns said, “NATO needs a strong United States, and Europe needs the United States to be active. … We know we cannot go alone in the world.”

Although the reception was formally for Mr. Burns, the real guest of honor was Truman Hall, an elegant country house outside NATO headquarters in Brussels that serves as the residence of the U.S. ambassador.

Mr. Burns and his wife, Elizabeth, formed the Truman Hall Fund to restore and maintain the gardens and grounds of the 27-acre estate. Mr. Abshire negotiated the purchase of the house during his term as NATO ambassador from 1983 to 1987. He proposed the name to honor Harry S. Truman, who as president signed the treaty creating NATO in 1949. Mr. Abshire and his wife, Carolyn, donated $20,000 to the fund.

Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Truman Hall is a “symbol of America.”

“There is no invitation more coveted than one to Truman Hall,” Mr. Warner said.

Terrorists will fail

The new U.S. ambassador to Iraq yesterday pledged to help defeat the terrorists and insurgents who, he said, want to plunge the country into civil war.

“I will work with the Iraqis to break the insurgency,” Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters after presenting his credentials to President Jalal Talabani.

“Foreign terrorists and hard-line Ba’athists want Iraq to descend into civil war,” he added, referring to the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party.

He said he is “horrified by the daily suffering of the Iraqi people.”

“Foreign terrorists are using the Iraqi people as cannon fodder,” he said.

Lebanon killing

The killing of a prominent anti-Syrian politician was an attempt to crush the “Lebanese voices demanding freedom,” U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman said yesterday.

Mr. Feltman told reporters in Beirut that the terrorists who killed George Hawi “placed no value on human life.”

“Mr Hawi was an opponent of the Syrian presence in Lebanon,” Mr. Feltman said. “He, like thousands upon thousands of Lebanese, joined his voice to those demanding an end to Syrian influence in Lebanese politics.”

Mr. Hawi was killed early yesterday by a bomb placed under his car.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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