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John Graham Speaks at the Naval Academy

At Annapolis all 4,500 midshipmen roared to their feet in response to Graham's speech, challenging them to think deeply about "War, Leadership and a Moral Life." For more on John Graham's speeches and workshops, go here.

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Sit Down Young Stranger -- a memoir

To the young Graham, adventure was everything, and each brush with death only pushed him to up the ante—and to bury ever deeper the emotional life needed to make him whole. Then it changed, sometimes dramatically, including a desperate fight to survive in a lifeboat in a typhoon in the North Pacific. More of the story here. You can get the book here


(from the Blog) Vietnam Revisited

In 1972, I was US Advisor to the City of Hué, South Vietnam. Some evenings, especially if the day had been difficult and dangerous, I would drive a few miles outside the City to an ancient pagoda called Linh Mu. There I would sit at this very spot on a wall overlooking the Perfume River where I would try to absorb some of the calmness of the river, the temple bells, and the monks sweeping the courtyard with straw brooms. But the war was never very far away. more

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Every four years, on January 6, Congress meets to confirm the people’s choice of the winner of the presidential election. This meeting has always been just a formality. It has never changed anything.

This year, however, a small group of die-hard Trump supporters in Congress, led by Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, and Representative Mo Brooks, have announced their intentions to object to Biden’s win in the Electoral College, using an...


Smart Speakers

A year or so ago, a smart speaker came into the house as a gift when my wife Ann subscribed to the New York Times. I was agin it but Ann and her son David got it set up to say “Good Morning” and report the day’s news and weather, play podcasts, and radio stations anywhere in the world and—with the addition of a bunch of special plugs—to turn the lights on and off here in the living room.

I had to admit that...

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Talking to the enemy—and in these incredibly polarized times, who doesn’t have some?

I’ve got some useful suggestions for how to turn battlegrounds into conversations.

Know first that I’m no idle theorist. My ideas on conflict communications come from a lifetime of dealing with serious conflicts, from planning nuclear war for NATO, to environmental battles in the Pacific Northwest, to trying to cope with an out-of-control...


LRT #9

Tonight I’m thinking about battle fatigue. Mine and yours.

Reading, listening, figuring out what just happened, braced for what could happen next, I’m just tired of all of it. Maybe you are too.

I’m tired of this pandemic and mostly because an inept and uncaring national leadership has made it so much worse than it had to be—so much more sickness, too many deaths, more and more losses of jobs and homes, more people...

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Living Room Talk #6: Biden Wins; Now What? [see video version here]

It seems now that Joe Biden will be the next President of United States.

But the road between now and Inauguration Day on January 20 is going to be rocky and that’s what I want to talk to you about tonight

My name is John Graham and in past sessions I’ve told you more about me than you probably want...

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It isn’t something you want to hear; it’s not something we want to say. But there’s a tried and proven path that autocrats take to lead their countries into fascism. Adolph Hitler refined and perfected that path. Donald Trump is making one move after another that replicates Hitler’s drive to fascist control of his country.

We write this piece as seasoned political observers whose politics are just left of center; we are not far-left...

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As we all cope with the current challenge of the pandemic, I keep thinking about the post-pandemic world we’ll have to deal with when we emerge from this. I don’t want to miss the lessons we’re being hit with now because they’ll be crucial for surviving the next crisis—the climate crisis—which will be a greater threat than COVID-19. And it’s already bearing down on us.

Stripped down to the rivets by this pandemic, what did we get...

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Keep your eye on the ball. President Trump's performances with Kim Jong Un are not the biggest game in town. The foreign policy pot most likely to explode in the near future is not North Korea. It’s Iran.

As a former US Foreign Service Officer who has traveled in that country—and who was once even jailed there as a spy a half-century ago—I'm mindful that Iran aka Persia has always been, continues to be, and has every right to be a...

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Take a step behind the discussions on guns, misogyny, and the anger and loneliness that are driving men’s addictions and suicides. Time after time, in that dark place, I see men struggling to communicate or even acknowledge their emotions, men wanting but failing to form positive relationships with other men, men whose fathers were emotionally AWOL, men who grew up without good role models for what it means to be a brave, caring and...


New privacy rules. I invite you to sign up for my blog on the form below. Roughly once per month I'll put up some hopefully competent, provocative words on a hot button issue go which I invite you to respond. I'm now compliant with the new privacy rules established by the European Union. You can check out my Privacy Policy here. I protect your data and I don’t sell or lend my subscribers’ addresses to anyone. Ever.

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