Something tells me it might be time to unsubscribe…
In his first press conference as president of the United States, Donald Trump said no fewer than seven times that it would be “positive,” “good,” even “great” if “we could get along with Russia.” In fact, for all the confusion of his policies toward China, Europe, and the Middle East, Trump has enunciated a clear three-part position on Russia, which contrasts strongly with that of most of the U.S. political elite. First, Trump seeks Moscow’s cooperation on global issues; second, he believes that Washington shares the blame for soured relations; and third, he acknowledges “the right of all nations to put their own interests first,” adding that the United States does “not seek to impose our way of life on anyone.”
The last of these is an essentially realist position, and if coherently implemented could prove a tonic. For 25 years, Republicans and Democrats have acted in ways that look much the same to Moscow. Washington has pursued policies that have ignored Russian interests (and sometimes international law as well) in order to encircle Moscow with military alliances and trade blocs conducive to U.S. interests. It is no wonder that Russia pushes back. The wonder is that the U.S. policy elite doesn’t get this, even as foreign-affairs neophyte Trump apparently does.
Gallup found that between 2006 and 2016 the percentage of Americans who expressed confidence in Congress as an institution fell from 19 percent to 9 percent. There is a reason for this.
Imagine dedicating a year of your life to the Russian language.
You must eat, sleep, and breathe Russian.
Could you do it?
Meet my friend Chris, a graduate of the Defense Language Institute and Russian-language enthusiast who also lives right here in Oregon…
Reminder: summer series poll closes in 6 days
Please vote if you haven’t already! As things stand now, I’ll have to hold a run-off election because two themes have received an equal number of votes. I won’t say which themes they are, but I hope that one of them will emerge the clear winner on April 1st…
Side books #5 and #6
This week, I began The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin: A Novel by Richard Lourie.
I also returned to Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, one of my favorite guides to the comics medium.
Think of your face as a mask.
That’s what it is, after all. A mask.
From the day you were born.
Slave to your every mental command.
Seen by everyone you meet.
But never by you.
Open its eyes now. Just think it. The mask will obey.
Language learning update: well, all this reading has definitely paid off
According to Morpheem, my Russian reading vocabulary now stands at 11,700 words. However, my active speaking vocabulary is likely far smaller than that.