Adlai Stevenson moment
(ad.lye STEV.un.sun moh.munt) n. A dramatic presentation of conclusive proof of wrongdoing.

Example Citation:
It was dramatic, but was it an "Adlai Stevenson moment"? When the veteran American politician and diplomat tried to convince the world that the Soviet Union had positioned nuclear missiles in Cuba over 40 years ago, he did not have the multimedia tools Colin Powell had at his disposal yesterday.

But Stevenson's presentation to the security council on October 25 1962, using 26 black and white aerial pictures, became a historic standard for diplomatic coups, and the standard against which Mr Powell will be judged.

Arthur Schlesinger, an aide to President Kennedy who was in the security council for the original "Adlai Stevenson moment" said Mr Powell could not come close. "Powell didn't have the definitive evidence that Stevenson had then, particularly on the relationship with al-Qaida," Mr Schlesinger, 85, said in an interview from his New York home yesterday. ...

Stevenson ... had an easel set up in the chamber to display the grainy monochrome images of vehicles towing long white trailers he identified as Soviet nuclear missiles. "The impact in the room was very considerable," Mr Schlesinger said. "Back then, even the British had their doubts, but it was pretty convincing."
—Julian Borger, "Threat of war: Was it an Adlai Stevenson moment?", The Guardian (London), February 6, 2003

Earliest Citation:
Officials say some of the new evidence will be included in Bush's UN speech. "This is his best opportunity to address the international community on this threat," an official said. "He will take full advantage of it."

But that doesn't mean what some inside the Bush government have taken to calling an "Adlai Stevenson moment," referring to JFK's UN ambassador confronting the Soviets during the Cuban missile crisis with aerial reconnaissance photos of Soviet launchers in Cuba.
—Thomas M. DeFrank and Kenneth R. Bazinet, "W taking Iraq case to the UN," New York Daily News, September 10, 2002

Related Words:

Categories: