Journal Entry #38

NORFOLK, CONN., OCTOBER 24—Last summer I was honored to be invited to speak at an annual event in a very special place. The Star Island International Affairs Conference has been convening for a century of so on one of the tiny islands known as the Isles of Shoals. They are some miles out from the coast of New Hampshire. Remarkable place, with a history of settlement going back to the 1620s.

And a remarkable group of people converge each summer, I should add. I remain grateful for the generous welcome I received during my stay on Star Island, and for the respectful attention those present gave my remarks.

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THIS YEAR’S TOPIC was well-chosen: “America’s Place in the World: Power, Influence, and World Order.” I can’t think of a better time to take up the question.

My corner of the theme was China—or, more specifically, Sino–American relations. I called my presentation “Seeing China as It Is: Recovering our Sight,” and maybe that tells you a little right away about my perspective on the subject. I don’t think we have the dynamic right at the other end of the Pacific. We seem to be caught in a web of nostalgia and wishful thinking that deprives us access to the present—a point I made in my speech.

My speech was recorded, and at long last the video arrives. It’s an hour, I will warn you in advance. (And when it was done I had another hour of Q & A with my audience, making for a long morning.) It is as clear a statement of my views on America’s relations with China, and the mistakes we are making as China emerges as a regional and global power, as I’ve yet made.

Here is the YouTube video:

An audio version, for those who like to be doing something else while listening to a podcast, will be produced soon, and I will make that available immediately after receiving it.

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