Charlie was a pretty good musician. He played guitar, composed songs. Dennis Wilson, the drummer and co-founder of the Beach Boys, befriended Charlie and tried to help him make it in the music industry. He arranged for the young man to make a studio album, which eventually came out in 1974. But before that, the… Continue reading Je Suis Encore Charlie?
The world converged on New York at the end of September to discuss the most pressing issues facing the globe. The heads of state from more than 140 countries tackled climate change, sustainable development, global peacekeeping, and the Islamic State. There were some important agreements at the UN and in various side discussions. But consensus… Continue reading The World Talks But It’s Not Enough
They were the “best and the brightest” but on a spaceship, not planet Earth, and they exemplified the liberal optimism of their era. The original Star Trek,whose three-year TV run began in 1966, featured a talented, multiethnic crew. The indomitable Captain Kirk had the can-do sex appeal of a Kennedy; his chief advisor, the half-human,… Continue reading The Star Trek Fallacy
“The upcoming summit between China and the United States will feature a major plan for reducing the military arsenals of the two countries, an initiative to stabilize and grow the global economy, a follow-up effort to further reduce carbon emissions, and a brand new proposal to address global poverty and health pandemics.” Oops, wrong press… Continue reading China and the Opportunity Costs of 9/11
The United States recently conducted a raid in Yemen to free an American hostage. The raid failed. The Navy Seals killed 11 people, including a 10-year-old boy. The kidnappers executed the hostage, journalist Luke Somers. They also killed South African teacher Pierre Korkie. The South African was on the verge of being released as part… Continue reading America Held Hostage
We who live in the industrialized world have put up a large retaining wall to safeguard us from the horrors that have plagued humanity throughout history. We no longer worry on a daily basis about some Genghis Khan figure sweeping through our towns and leaving great piles of skulls in his wake. We don’t obsess… Continue reading The Sum of Our Fears
U.S. troops have left Iraq and are leaving Afghanistan. The “war on terrorism” now seems so last decade. U.S. military spending has leveled off, and the Pentagon is looking at some fairly serious reductions after 2015. Last month, President Obama finally pulled the various threads of his foreign policy approach into a “doctrine” that emphasizes incremental diplomacy… Continue reading The Three-War Doctrine
I’ve had arguments with some Korean friends about the National Security Law (NSL). They tell me that the law may not be perfect, but I should remember that North Korea still harbors a desire to reunify the peninsula by force. It continues to send its agents to the South, sometimes in the guise of defectors.… Continue reading McCarthyism in Korea?
I was at a wedding not long ago of two dear female friends. The ceremony mixed together various religious traditions, including a Quaker meeting where people in the audience could stand up and speak spontaneously. After a number of people had already spoken, an old man made his way to the front of the space.… Continue reading Running Off to War
I like my politics the way I like my baseball. I prefer to wait for the highlights reel. Like baseball, political events in Washington, D.C. tend to be long and boring, punctuated by the occasional home run speech or graceful double-play legislative maneuver in Congress. Have you ever wondered why, when you turn on C-Span,… Continue reading American Politics Needs More Drama