(Click the thumbnail to enlarge.) Next to fields of waving grain, a family anxiously shelters from the approaching storm (triple tornadoes). Look closely; you’ll see someone making a mad dash for shelter. Their hopes focus on the keyhole, through which sunny skies beckon. 40″x30″; acrylic with objects on panel.
The keyhole symbolizes our wishes. Now it is time to make them. For the U.S., I hope that:
- the fledgling democracies of eastern Europe will not be sacrificed to geopolitical games. Bismarck wrote that diplomacy is the art of the possible. Unlike many other aims of U.S. foreign policy, their preservation is a reasonable goal.
- we husband our diminishing resources for the truly important struggles. Defend democracy where it is defensible.
- democracy and the free press survive in the U.S.
- the U.S. remains committed to the Paris climate change accord. If the wet-bulb temperature rises above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the human species cannot survive. Before that point, it will become miserable. This temperature has already been reached in a few weather events. Think about it before having kids.
For Russia, I hope for
- resumption of social evolution and human development. It was moving right along until about 2008. The social system of Russia is historically better than anything of the past, but it has not reached western levels, or even that of China, now a moving target. The democracies of eastern Europe are terrified of being pulled down to the Russian level. The solution is to uplift Russia, not to pull down her neighbors.
- a liberal Russia, not a conservative one, which would be dwarfed by the future.
- Hint: With better television, and better diversions, there would be less resort to alcohol. A friend of mine, visiting Russia, remarks that Russian TV is incredibly boring. It’s enough to drive one to drink.
- reconsideration of foreign policy towards the West. Though Russia’s borders present sovereign risks on a scale unappreciated by some, Russian policy has in some cases actually magnified those risks.
For China, I hope you do not replace soft power with hard power. They are not as compatible as you think.
For foreign policy in general, more consideration of human welfare in the scheme of the inevitable, amoral geopolitical games. Historically, “realpolitik” associates with pursuit of national interest. It could accommodate another meaning, a willingness to dissolve and reconstitute a failed state along completely new lines. There are hints of new thinking with Syria, but with agonizing slowness. It is such a painful struggle,over barren ground, almost worthless even as a pawn.
For myself — greater contact with the readership. I’d like to hear from you!
As Walter Cronkite said: And that’s the way it is. This blog will continue with the usual regular irregularity.