QUEST — Risk, Adventure and the Search for Meaning
Available: June 13, 2022.
To me as a young man, adventure was everything, and each brush with death only pushed me to up the ante—and to bury ever deeper the emotional life needed to make me 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.
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
THOUGHTS ON UKRAINE AND OTHER SELECTED BLOG POSTS
Will a nuclear war start in Ukraine? Is that even possible? Maybe we’re just watching a Netflix re-run of Dr. Strangelove.
No. It’s possible. As someone who once planned nuclear war for NATO, I can tell you that events in Ukraine have moved us closer to Armageddon than anything since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Putin said two weeks ago that he’d placed Russian nuclear forces in “a high state of readiness,” but NATO intelligence has...more
“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”–Vladimir Lenin
I was wrong. A month ago I predicted that Putin’s massing of Russian troops on the border of Ukraine was a bluff—that he was too smart to launch a full-scale invasion because the costs would far outweigh the benefits.
But I was not as wrong as Putin, who grossly underestimated the strength of Ukrainian and global resistance as well...more
375 people have now been arrested, charged and intensively interviewed about their participation in the attack on the US Capitol January 6. A reliable picture is emerging of who they are and what motivated them.
It’s no surprise that they were overwhelmingly white and male and strongly influenced by Donald Trump’s campaign to overturn the November election
But it came as a bit of a surprise, at least to some, that only about 10%...more
In the summer of 1964, on a year-long global journey by bus and hitchhiking, I found myself in the middle of one of the worst famines in history. I was on the Ethiopian plateau, 10,000 feet above sea level, and it would be the most godforsaken place I would ever see. Hidden from the world in this barely accessible place,peasants wrapped in rags or even old newspapers huddled in the bone-numbing rain and cold. At everystop, crowds of them...more
A few days ago, my daughter and I carried out her wild idea of re-creating the Last Dinner on the Titanic. It was a daft way of celebrating our own rescue from another sinking passenger ship exactly 41 years ago.
She made cocktails, an elaborate appetizer, and an extravagant dessert. I did salad and meat, both of us following the recipes used on the Titanic. We had to assemble truffles,...more
Two new books suggest that on January 6 we came far closer to losing democracy than we thought.
Landslide, by Michael Wolff, describes Donald Trump’s increasingly unhinged behavior after his election loss. In I Alone Can Fix It, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker detail how the top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, was so shaken that then-President Donald Trump...more
Memorial Day 2021
President Biden’s withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan will be completed before the deadline he set—September 11, exactly 20 years after the attacks on the US that were our reason for starting that long, unwinnable war.
As you know, the United States went into Afghanistan in December of 2001 to find and destroy the Taliban (the ultraconservative political and religious faction that ruled Afghanistan...more
As you know, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd was convicted on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter.
Since then there’s been nonstop coverage and analysis of the trial. Many people feared that the killer would get off because history shows it’s extremely difficult to get a murder conviction of a police officer.
Juries give cops enormous latitude and, if that wasn’t enough, in too many...more
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...more
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