Monday, March 05, 2007

EPIIC Thursday and Friday

Thursday night's panel "The Future of Nuclear Proliferation" was more upbeat than the subject matter would suggest. There were five interesting speakers although the best was Jim Walsh from MIT. I learned lot's about the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, India's nuclear program, and what the current thoughts are regarding Iran's nuclear program. I enjoyed Dr. Walsh very much.

Friday's first panel wasn't until noon and I still missed it. I am always tardy.

The second panel was "Cocaine and Kalishnakovs: How Illicit Trade Fuels Conflict". I am now more worried about MS13 than Al Qaeda. My favorite speaker in this panel was Paul Kan from the US Army War College. Another speaker was Moses Naim, the editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine (I am a subscriber and a fan).

After a dinner break, during which I checked into the hotel Priceline picked out for me (Naval officers in the lobby, yum!), there was "Forward Engagement: Global Risks and Governance". Interesting topic and stimulating questions raised by William Moomaw. This one was quick and then we were onto "Democratization in the Middle East". Several interesting speakers and then,..........duh, duh, duh.......there's always one! On this night it was Tony Smith. What an asshat! According to him, America is a "rogue state". Yeah, whatever buddy. Don't get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I go to these things deliberately to keep my mind open. I learn lots and lots of new things. I always come away the better for it. But how does it advance any discussion to spew such vitriol and hate? Bush is the imperial presidency or...wink, wink, nudge, nudge...... Cheney is the imperial vice-presidency. Yeah, pal, that's helpful, I'm really listening. Fortunately there were several speakers and they were all more reasoned even though pretty much everyone had a view to the left of mine.

So, back to the hotel, where I'm thinking that finding the bar in the lobby full of sailors would be nice.....but no. So I went to bed.

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