I wonder what would happen if the world’s storytellers and artists were to throw themselves into making the 2014 summit succeed. Invite the wizards of digital creation and distribution, the social media entrepreneurs and software geniuses, the networks and studios, to lend their talents to a communication campaign. Imagine if film-, video- and game-makers, musicians, photographers, screenwriters, graphic novelists, comedians, actors, essayists and fashionistas were inspired to tell the tale of climate change. Think of what designers, logo makers, branders and advertisers could contribute.Read More
The greatest American civil rights leader of my lifetime was a South African. I say this not just because Nelson Mandela’s fight for equality and justice followed a path blazed by Henry David Thoreau and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I say this because he carried the torch for freedom at a time when it was under siege throughout the world. He held it high and with dignity, never letting it be extinguished by violence and recrimination.Read More »
I’m giving a workshop for diplomats on speechwriting, with material I’ve used dozens of times. But this first day hasn’t gone well in Hanoi.
Yes, Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, the country that once consumed me and my friends, then mostly left our minds in 1975, shortly after Marine helicopters lifted the last refugees and Americans off the roof of the US embassy. The country that in the past four decades has tripled in population, reduced poverty, and, not without missteps, created a nimble hybrid of communism and capitalism that’s brought 6 percent economic growth a year since 2000.Read More »
So where are we in the Iran narrative?
I mean no disrespect to the victims of Iran’s terrorist clients, or the existential fears of Israelis and world Jewry, or U.S. security interests in the Middle East by calling it a narrative. Real events do happen in the real world, but people can’t help trying to fit them into larger stories. We love to connect the dots. Storytelling isn’t some atavistic remnant of our pre-scientific past; it’s how our brains are hardwired.Read More »
Any speechwriter’s toughest assignment: what words to use when the policy is in utter disarray? President Obama’s team last night made the best of a dismal job.
Syria is a classic example of what I call TSOP: The Shrek/Onion Paradigm. Issues are like onions are like ogres: they have layers. Look at some of Syria’s layers, in ascending order of abstractness.Read More »
Advocates of American military action in Syria have – with a predictable lack of both creativity and historic relevance – invoked the memory of Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who announced the achievement of “peace in our time” after negotiating a deal that gave Hitler a piece of Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain is regularly cited by hawks thirsty for action.Read More »
In 1938, Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas expropriated and nationalized the largely foreign-owned petroleum industry in Mexico. Since that time, Mexico has maintained one of the most restrictive legal frameworks for energy development in the world. The Mexican constitution virtually excludes participation by foreign energy firms, with the result that Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the national oil company, has a monopoly on the exploration and production of oil and gas.Read More »
Good day, mates! I’m going to do something that’s been done by every pundit in Washington, some of whom have made a career out of it. I’m going to write on something about which I know absolutely nothing.
In this case, it’s the Australian elections. Conservative Tony Abbott led his Liberal-National coalition to a smashing victory over Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Saturday, leaving the Labor Party at a 100-year electoral low point.
How did he do this? For clues, I looked to his victory speech.Read More »