Monday, July 31, 2017

Unfinished Stories!

What will happen in Pakistan now that Sharif has been ousted?  Will his brother end up on top?  Will Imran Khan mobilize a popular uprising?  What will the military do?

Who will be next to hear “You’re fired,” from the maniac in charge?

Will the woeful Giants manage to lose more than 100 games this season?

Will Neymar leave Barcelona?

Will the Democrats ever figure out how to articulate a compelling narrative that speaks to the average voter?

What will Special Counsel Mueller find and when will he find it?

When will Artificial Intelligence take over?

When will Apple admit that the Watch has been a failure?

When will electric cars take us as far as a tank of gas?

When will we clone a human being?

Does Assad have a future in Syria?

Is there a viable alternative to war with North Korea? If Chinese pressure is the answer, what will it take for them to do something?

The clock is ticking for Brexit.  What will it look like for Britain and Europe when time has run out?

Have a nice day!

Saturday, July 22, 2017


I was a loyal American as I charted my course in life.  Not a super-patriot, but proud of my country and what it stood for.  Indeed, in 1961 I heeded Kennedy’s call and joined the Foreign Service.  I was happy to represent the USA overseas.

The time we’re living through now is challenging my assumptions.  It’s not only Trump, although he embodies pretty much everything I hate.  It’s where we are as a people.  What I once took for granted – an America that led the way in freedom and respect for others – is hard to find.

Why do I have such an emotional response to what I see?  I feel betrayed.  It’s more than simply watching my youthful idealism go into the toilet.  My identity as an American, what I assumed my country (and by extension me) is all about, is being called into question.  And I feel helpless to stop the rot.

I haven’t given up all hope that our current path will be reversed.  But I am skeptical, even cynical, that my dream will be revived.  Like every empire in human history, we have a limited time to be #1.  It looks like our time has run out.  Betrayed!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Drip, Drip, Drip!

The good news (some would say bad news, but not me) is a highlight of every day.  Drip, drip, drip it comes:

Another potential Trump scandal;
Another lie, clarification, retraction;
Another incendiary tweet;
Another Russian contact not reported;
Another legislative setback;
Another poll with bad numbers;
More easily refuted lies;

On it goes.  Good news every day.


Sunday, July 09, 2017


We define intractable as “hard to control or deal with.”  In our world today we live in a sea of intractables.  Take a look:

The Israelis and Palestinians – intractable
Acts of individual and group terrorism – intractable
Shias and Sunnis – intractable
Race relations in the U.S. – intractable
Tens of millions of refugees and no end in sight – intractable
Income inequality – intractable
India and Pakistan – intractable
Prejudice against “them” or “the other,” whoever is different than we are – intractable
Political dysfunction in Washington – intractable

And the list goes on – and on.

For glass half full people, there are rays of sunshine that break through the clouds every once in a while:

The Irish stopped killing each other – finally
In many places same sex marriages are legal
LGBTQ rights are greater than they used to be
Medical breakthroughs are saving many lives
A black man was elected president of the United States
Most of the world is taking climate change seriously
Infant mortality rates are declining
The Chicago Cubs won a World Series

The problem with cynicism and bemoaning the state of things is that it doesn’t help.  If you don’t like what you see, sitting on the sidelines is a safe place from which to criticize, but you won’t change anything.  Theodore Roosevelt makes the point:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena: whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who arrives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause: who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievements; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”