Teaching The Vietnamese How To Write Speeches

vietnam 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. Continue reading Teaching The Vietnamese How To Write Speeches

Syria: What Would Neville Do?

Munich PactAdvocates 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. Continue reading Syria: What Would Neville Do?

When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again

War should always be detestable; too awful to consider as anything but a last desperate resort. But the end of any war, and the people who fought it, should be celebrated and remembered. Continue reading When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again