Former Administrator of USAID
Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy
Institute of World Politics
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Ambassador Andrew Natsios was the next panelist. Natsios is a professor at Georgetown, and had previously served as Administrator for USAID. Natsios began by quoting Mitch Daniels, a former OMB Director and current Governor of Indiana, advising political appointees, "Don't be custodians, be activists." This is what exactly Maalouf did, he said. Natsios then zeroed in on the implications of great power politics in the Middle East, particularly the power vacuum caused by the United States withdrawal from Iraq. Other powers in the region will seek to assert themselves, especially the "Persian Empire", i.e., Iran. Iran's proxy, Hezbollah, has allowed it to have a sort of occupation of Lebanon, he said. Natsios looked forward to the end of the Assad regime, and hoped that it would also end the meddling of Syria in the affairs of its neighbors. Natsios concluded his remarks by talking about the great success of the Lebanese Diaspora; indeed, Lebanon is one of the only countries where there are more Lebanese outside the country then in the country. Natsios took this great prosperity as evidence that Lebanon itself would be one of the extremely wealthy and prosperous nations if it has a stable political situation.