A conversation with the Honorable Chuck Hagel, 24th Secretary of Defense, and Barbara Slavin, Washington correspondent for Al Monitor and Director, Future of Iran Initiative, the Atlantic Council, as part of the Pacific Council x World Affairs Global Leaders Series.
Chuck Hagel served as the 24th Secretary of Defense from 2013 to 2015. He is the only Vietnam veteran and enlisted combat veteran to serve as Secretary of Defense. He represented the state of Nebraska in the U.S. Senate for two terms from 1997 to 2009. In the Senate, Secretary Hagel was a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Intelligence Committees. Previously, Secretary Hagel was Co-Chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration, a Distinguished Professor at Georgetown University, Chairman of the Atlantic Council, Chairman of the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration Advisory Committee, Co-Chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Corporate Council, President and CEO of the USO, and The Private Sector Council. He is a Senior Advisor to Gallup and Distinguished Statesman at the Atlantic Council and currently serves on the RAND Board of Trustees, PBS Board, Corsair Capital Advisory Board, and American Security Project Board. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Barbara Slavin is the director of the Future of Iran Initiative and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a lecturer in international affairs at George Washington University and a columnist for Al-Monitor.com, a website devoted to news from and about the Middle East. The author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation (2007), she is a regular commentator on US foreign policy and Iran on NPR, PBS, and C-SPAN. A career journalist, Slavin previously served as assistant managing editor for world and national security of the Washington Times, senior diplomatic reporter for USA TODAY, Cairo correspondent for the Economist, and as an editor at the New York Times Week in Review. She has covered such key foreign policy issues as the US-led war on terrorism, policy toward “rogue” states, the Iran-Iraq war, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. She has traveled to Iran nine times. Slavin also served as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where she wrote Bitter Friends, and as a senior fellow at the US Institute of Peace, where she researched and wrote the report Mullahs, Money and Militias: How Iran Exerts Its Influence in the Middle East.
U.S. strategy on Iran and the greater Middle East is evolving in 2021 under new leadership in Washington and a new administration coming soon in Tehran. With the ongoing efforts to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal) on the one hand and Iran’s presidential elections slated for June 18 on the other, can we expect significant changes in U.S.-Iran relations? Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, one of our best security strategists, will discuss these key questions for U.S. policy against the backdrop of the shifting political landscape in the greater Middle East—from Israel to Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan, in conversation with Barbara Slavin.
The Pacific Council, based in LA, and World Affairs, based in San Francisco, are California’s leading global affairs organizations. We have joined forces to bring our members exceptional opportunities to hear from global leaders throughout the year ahead. The Pacific Council x World Affairs Global Leaders Series features the world’s top thinkers and doers from government, business, and civil society.