Will I be able to speak to Brzezinski? I hope so.

My Political History & Current Events club on campus is growing in ambition… or at least I am. I believe Richard Reeves has accepted an invitation to do a teleconference (Skype) chat with us, and I’ve emailed David Reynolds and Zbigniew Brzezinski asking for them too. Awaiting responses with giddy anticipation. 

I will be seeing Donald Rumsfeld on May 20th

I will also be receiving an autographed copy of his new book Rumsfeld’s Rules

With the opening of his library this week, the 43rd president is edging back into view — but he still prefers painting and golfing to politics.”

I am quite fascinated by the Nixon administration and the trip to China for a few reasons.

1] Demonstrates the political prowess of Dr. Kissinger. 

2] The gravity of the moment in foreign policy for Americans.

3] The thought and preparation it took for the Nixon people to plan the trip and execute it according to their plans.

and for many more reasons, but really I just want to talk a little about the photographs seen above.

The first photograph depicts the Chinese prime minister Zhou Enlai (or Chou en-lai) and Henry Kissinger, the national security adviser to the Nixon administration. Over there they are having a nice meal and if I recall correctly, Kissinger was pretty bad with chopsticks. Nixon on the other hand was practicing for a while on how to use the eating utensil properly for show of respect.

The second picture shows the presidential limousine used by Nixon in China. That vehicle now sits in the Nixon library in Yorba Linda, California… collecting dust and getting pictures taken of it by tourists and history lovers. The guy giving a tour of the museum noted that Nixon and Kissinger had their talks inside the limo since everywhere else was bugged. 

Finally we come to the picture of Nixon and Mao, sitting down for their first talk, and Mao was quite ill and requested his health to remain in secret. 

Good stuff there… 

Perhaps this Sequester won’t be so terrible.

Admitting to the public that the consequences are the faults of the others might be a great political strategy for everyone in government. Since Obama has no third term, he can play this game and not necessarily take the blame since budget issues are not his problem, he only executes the legislation and cuts that are already in law.

As for the Congress, they can continue to blame each other and say that the Senate or the House is sitting on their asses and all will continue as did the last few years.

These cuts, however devastating, may be necessary for the long-term spending trends since increasing revenues is much harder than cutting programs. This type of politicking is just riding off the laziness of the others, at least in press conferences. In reality they are fighting difficult battles with debate and voting on the Hill. 

Blaming it all on one another may be the easiest thing our representatives can do right now as they face the reality of spending cuts and increasing taxes during difficult times.

These cuts can of course be reversed if the legislatures provide funding again soon, but perhaps it is in the best interest of the budgeting to continue this blame game and take it now rather than over the lengthy period of time. Perhaps now we can focus on increasing efficiency rather than increasing overall revenue and spending. 

There are plenty of places where our government can cut back or reform (entitlements, defense) and still manage to maintain power. 8% cut now, and more over the next decade. That’s horrible for re-election, unless they continue to play the same politics of the blame game. It’s 2am please don’t take me too seriously.

Woot I am busy.

First week of spring semester!

Calculus homework finished to my satisfaction near 3AM and I’m reading one book a week (possibly more if I had some time or if I had shorter books), and watching anime to catch up for Anime Expo 2013. 

As suspected, my first accounting class has a dull textbook. 

Goddamn I love anime soundtracks. Beautiful and EXCITING music. 

Current book is Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates

Afghanistan!

President Karzai visited the United States over the past week to have talks on the future events concerning American involvement in Afghanistan. A “Zero Option” has been put on the table along with other smaller numbers that the president seems to be interested in such as leaving fewer than 10,000 troops in the region after the conclusion of the war. Some figures are as low as 2,000 (of course zero is a possible option as well). 

With Obama’s new picks for cabinet, his foreign policy may be shifting towards that of less military intervention. Chuck Hagel (nominee for Secretary of Defense) and John Kerry (nominee for Secretary of State) have both served during the Vietnam war, and more interestingly, Chuck Hagel will be the first Secretary of Defense to have served in the Vietnam war. 

Perhaps with Karzai gone by 2014, Barack Obama may be planning ahead by trying to reduce Afghani dependence on American military services and our troop presence. Considering a similar case with Iraq, it may not turn out well no matter how many troops are left behind. 

Also, my family now has more than 30 television channels so maybe I’ll start watching television more often. WE HAVE C-SPAN NOW! Oh also, January the 11th was my birthday and I had a fantastic day.

Similar to the last link I posted, this article has taken a cool look at how the emerging middle class in the east will shape consumption and the world economy.

Why walkable communities, sustainable economics, and multilateral diplomacy are the future of American power.

"Genghis Khan, founder of the great Mongol Empire, was reported to have said, “The greatest pleasure… is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.” He succeeded quite well at satisfying the last of these aspirations. Through DNA testing, it is estimated that 8 percent of the present-day male population of a very large region of Asia are descendants of him or his lineage."

Francis Fukuyama, “The Origins of Political Order” page 76.

Published 2010