Last evening, 250 friends, benefactors and admirers gathered in the Nixon Library’s East Room to pay tribute to two men whose names now join an elite pantheon of notable Architects of Peace: former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien.
The awards were given for their work developing and implementing both the 2020 Abraham Accords and the 2020 Serbia-Kosovo economic normalization agreements, as well as their oversight of the repatriation of more than 50 American hostages detained abroad.
In accepting their awards, both the Secretary and the Ambassador stressed pragmatism over ideology, as well as the need to work with American allies and adversaries from a position of strength and take concrete steps to deter aggression.
AMBASSADOR O’BRIEN ON THE ABRAHAM ACCORDS
Foreign policy experts will tell you nations change their conduct or nations do things because of geography, because of geopolitics, because of demography, because of economic trends, because of social trends, because of ideology. They overlook the impact of personal negotiations and diplomacy and if the Abraham Accords do anything, they demonstrate how important those personal touches are in diplomacy.
AMBASSADOR O’BRIEN ON THE ABRAHAM ACCORDS
It took courage. For the President, it took political courage to accept a potential political defeat and just end up as one more president that chased the mirage and was deceived by the mirage of Middle East peace. For the leaders in the region — the leaders of Morocco, Bahrain Sudan, the UAE and Israel — it took real personal courage. None of them forget what happened to Anwar Sadat or Yitzak Rabin who took big gambles for peace. They were martyred for it and so it took personal courage.
AMBASSADOR O’BRIEN ON THE RETURN OF AMERICAN HOSTAGES
During the Trump administration we brought over 55 Americans home who were wrongfully held overseas. We used every tool in the kit. We used military rescues. We used diplomatic efforts. We used economic sanctions. We used intelligence operations. We used our allies. And we never paid ransom and we never compromised our principles as America.
SECRETARY POMPEO ON NORTH KOREA
We didn’t ultimately deliver peace to the Korean peninsula, but we convinced them not to test their long range intercontinental ballistic missiles. We convinced them not to conduct any more nuclear tests and we had the biggest sanctions campaign against the North Koreans that has ever been put in place. We had an enforcement mechanism that convinced Chairman Kim that he should meet with America’s leader not once, as we did in Singapore, not twice as we did in Hanoi, but then the third time, ultimately, at the demilitarized zone. There’s still room for building out peace in that space. It’s a place where we made progress, but not a finish. The progress only came because we were prepared to use American power.
SECRETARY POMPEO ON THE KILLING OF QASAM SOLEIMANI
This is really the counterpoint to the way the Biden administration has handled Afghanistan. The world took note of that debacle, not just in the Middle East. Just as the world took note, when President Trump made clear that we would defend American interests and we attacked the Iranian most senior leader, Chairman Kim saw that, Xi Jingping saw that, I assure you that Vladimir Putin saw it as well. They knew we were prepared to do what it took to create peace in the world.
SECRETARY POMPEO ON THE CHALLENGES AMERICA FACES
As we talk about all the challenges America faces I want to remind you that we often focused on the negative. We know how difficult some of these things are. I left office after exactly 1000 days, as your secretary of state. I left even more convinced of the continued greatness of this nation of the country, continued exceptionalism, of the United States of America, none of that happens without hard work without prayer.
The Architect of Peace Award was established in 1995 shortly after President Nixon’s death and is given to individuals who embody his lifelong goal of shaping a more peaceful world.
Among the 250 guests were such notables as Governor and Mrs. Pete Wilson —the Governor is a longtime member of the Nixon Foundation Board— four members of Congress, Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight, and Hollywood icons Mary Hart and Burt Sugarman.
The OC Music and Dance Fanfare Trumpets began the evening with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem while those in the room sang along.
The Architect of Peace Gala raised nearly $450,000 to support the ongoing works of President Nixon’s Foundation.
The Gala Leadership included:
Marc Carlson and Dr. Jacqueline DuPont
Tricia Nixon Cox and Edward Cox
Julie Nixon Eisenhower and David Eisenhower
ARCHITECTS OF PEACE
Lisa Argyros / Argyros Family Foundation
The Honorable and Mrs. James H. Cavanaugh
Ginny and Dave Hanna
Donna G. Loren
Kelly and Duane Roberts
Maralou and Jerry Harrington
Ling and Charlie Zhang
WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS
American Global Strategies LLC
Betty and John Barr
Steven L. Craig
Christopher Nixon Cox
Victoria and Michael Crow
Ninetta and Gavin Herbert
Betsy and Hugh Hewitt
Nancy and Rick Muth
Robert O’Brien Family
Holly and Steven Pizula
Joan and Randy Redden