Michael Ignatieff will hold private meetings in Washington this week with President Barack Obama's inner circle in a move to showcase the Liberal leader's close bonds to the Democratic administration
A pretty impressive itinerary by any measure, which speaks to stature:
Ignatieff will deliver an off-the-record keynote address on Afghanistan on Thursday to an exlusive group of U.S. policymakers that includes Richard Holbrooke, the president 's special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Liberal insiders say.
On Wednesday night, Ignatieff will have dinner with Holbrooke, who is spearheading Obama's aggressive new policy to defeat the Taliban and crackdown on insurgents using Pakistan as a safe haven.
Ignatieff will also be the guest of honour at a private dinner Thursday night in Washington hosted by Obama's White House foreign policy adviser Samantha Power and her husband Cass Sunstein, who also works for Obama and is rumoured to be in line for the president's first Supreme Court appointment.
Larry Summer, the president's economic adviser, is also expected to attend the private dinner. Summer, the former president of Harvard University, is a close friend of Ignatieff as is Power. Sumner and Ignatieff have often vacationed together.
The Liberal leader will also meet Barney Frank, the powerful chairman of the House Representatives Financial Services Committee to discuss American efforts to combat the global recession and deal with the banking crisis.
...But he will also argue Canada should be taking a much bigger role in the Holbrooke mission given the country's military and financial commitment to Afghanistan. Ignatieff has criticized the Harper government for failing to appoint a special envoy to region as Britain, France and Italy have done.
Guest of honor, keynote speaker, it's no appearance on Fox mind you, but it sure says something about genuine substance. I don't doubt for a moment that there is a political consideration here, but you can't fake well earned intellectual respect on the international scene.
Anyways, whomever it was in the Ignatieff inner circle that "found" the time in Michael's schedule for this visit, let me say BRAVO. The optics are delicious.