Foreign policy expert to speak

Talbott will discuss 'Foreign Policy in an Election Year'

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Strobe Talbott's professional career has taken him around the world and into the top levels of U.S. government and journalism.

On Friday, Talbott brings his experience and expertise to Steamboat Springs, where he will lead a discussion titled "Foreign Policy in an Election Year." The free discussion, scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday at Centennial Hall, is part of this summer's Seminars at Steamboat series.

Foreign policy is a topic of particular interest to many Steamboat residents, said Belle Sawhill, a Seminars at Steamboat organizer. Exit polls conducted by Seminars at Steamboat during last year's series indicate residents have a desire to hear discussions on foreign policy more than talks on other public policy issues such as education, the economy and health care, Sawhill said.

But Steamboat residents aren't the only ones concerned with foreign-policy decisions.

"It's pretty clear that this election, more than most, is going to hinge on people's views of our foreign policy, particularly the war in Iraq and how we deal with the war on terrorism," said Sawhill, vice president of the Brookings Institution.

Talbott, who was deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration, thinks foreign policy will have a bigger impact on this presidential election than any other election in the past three decades.

"More than any election since 1968, when the war in Vietnam loomed large, how America votes on Nov. 2 will depend on foreign policy and national security issues," Talbott said in a statement. "The backdrop of the race between President Bush and Sen. (John) Kerry includes ongoing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, the looming threat of more terror attacks on the United States and rising resentment of U.S. unilateralism around the world."

In addition to his work as deputy secretary of state, Talbott worked in the State Department as an ambassador-at-large and special advisor to the secretary of state for the new independent states of the former Soviet Union. Before his government work, Talbott was a reporter, Washington bureau chief, editor-at-large and foreign affairs columnist for Time magazine.

He was the founding director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization and is the author of numerous books. Talbott is the president of the Brookings Institute.

"I think we're very fortunate to be able to hear from someone with such a deep background on these issues," Sawhill said.

Seminars at Steamboat discussions are free to the public, though donations are encouraged. Talbott probably will speak for about half an hour, after which he's expected to open up the discussion to the audience, Sawhill said. Talbott's discussion will be balanced and nonpartisan, she said.

The seminar series began last year as a way to engage the community in timely and relevant national and international topics. E.J. Dionne, a nationally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post, will be in Steamboat next week to lead a seminar titled "Why the American Electorate is So Polarized."

Daniel Marcus, general counsel for the Sept. 11 Commission, will lead a discussion Aug. 30 titled "What the 9/11 Commission Found, What They Recommended and How They Got There."

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234 or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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