The irony of holding an event on communism and Marxism in Gangnam, the zone of gaudy consumerism made famous by Psy, was lost on no one. This irony was compounded by the fact that Gangnam is only 35 miles away from the DMZ.
Before we get this ball rolling, we have two minor points which relate to the calendar which we feel merit mentioning. First, for the superstitious among us, it's not only Friday the 13th, but it's actually a double-dose, being 9/13/13. Wooo! Scary!
The message that our military has exported for the last half century --- America as a super-nation, as the exception to all rules --- has made its way around the world and has returned home. Too bad so few of us have read Chalmers Johnson.
The most important lesson that we learn from John Kennedy is to fashion the future out of our rational hopes, not our fears. He was the first to deny the baseless hopes of idle dreamers. But he was also for seeing things as they might be, and asking, "Why not?"
"Peace," he emphasized, "is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. And however undramatic the pursuit of peace, that pursuit must go on."
"There's always some son-of-a-b**ch who doesn't get the word," John F. Kennedy exclaimed in frustration. The president and his advisors were huddled at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, with the United States and the Soviet Union on the brink of nuclear war.
Whether we like it or not, we are now playing a game of diplomatic and military chess in the Middle East, and like any good player, we must think through several moves ahead if we want to have any hopes of winning. So far our government has not done that.
The whole Arab Spring movement has woken America up to the fact that we've been propping up some pretty brutal leaders for a long, long time. Which leads us to the uncomfortable position of not having a clear ideological position.
President Obama's cancellation of the summit with Putin demonstrates the extent of the deterioration in American Russian relations. In a short time, the U.S. and Russia have moved from what some in Washington viewed as a hopeful partnership to an adversarial relationship.
We will never get to the business of choosing a peaceful future until we declare war obsolete, and that will never happen until we are able to look squarely at what we ourselves have done as a nation over the years, and what we're doing right now.
Growing up in 1980s America, we were inundated with images of life on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Everyday, news reports beamed stories of soldiers patrolling the Berlin Wall and Eastern European politicians spouting rhetoric against the United States.
The end of the Cold War promised a remapping of European security. The Warsaw Pact disbanded officially in 1991, though it had functionally ceased to exist at the end of 1989. NATO, without its longstanding opponent, no longer had a raison d'être.
Was Snowden a "traitor," as both California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and former Vice President Dick Cheney have insisted, or a genuine whistleblower, as some of our allies are beginning to grasp for letting folks around the world in on the dirty secrets of U.S. intelligence?
We need all our voices of conscience to rise in unison so that Edward's Snowden's courageous and immensely important revelations don't get side stepped by the government, the corporate media, and by the right- and left-wing pundits.
As a father, I question myself: what am I -- and what are we - -going to do over the next two decades to ensure that our children, when their time has come to lead, have a better world in front of them, just as we have had?
At a time when the budget is stretched to the breaking point because of poor decisions like the sequester, choices need to be made. If the choice is between taking care of our troops and veterans or protecting Europe from a ghost, it should be an easy choice to make.