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SWAN Intelligence Panel Offers Fresh Insight into Foreign Policy

By Emily Howells Matson (B'07, DC'08)

Patricia Sabga, Yael Eisenstat, John McLaughlin and Alexandra Rogan

On September 11, the SAIS Women’s Alumni Network, SAIS New York Alumni Club and the NYU Center for Global Affairs hosted a candid panel discussion, ‘Understanding the US National Security and Intelligence Landscape’ with John E McLaughlin ('66), Yael Eisenstat ('99) and Alexandra Rogan and Patricia Sabga ('95).


With a panel that included a former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence and a former CIA analyst, the evening offered a rare glimpse into the politics of the Intelligence community, its relationship with the current and past administrations and the shaping of US foreign policy today.


The topic couldn’t have been more timely. The conversation touched on the evolving relationship between the Trump administration with the Intelligence community, the muted diplomacy emerging from within the White House, and the repercussions of a foreign policy stance that spurns international values for pure national interest.


In the end, the defining factor in the post-financial crisis era will be the ability of the United States to construct and broker strategic alliances with other countries. Leadership with optimism can be transformational. To paraphrase the comments of John McLaughlin, JFK had said that within a decade we would put a man on the moon. Who knew we could do that? But if he didn’t say that, it wouldn’t have happened.


On the anniversary of such a sobering moment in US history, I hope that our foreign policy will be grounded in the past and optimistic for the future, embracing leadership and diplomacy that is both inclusive and visionary. Thank you all for a thought-provoking and compelling discussion this evening.

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