Weekly Letter to the President
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INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
September 8, 2017
Mr. President: For those living in the northern climes of our great country, the season
is just beginning to change. Summer has lost its worst heat. The air smells and
tastes different ... like Spring except that unlike Spring, instead of freshness ... there
is an undertone of decay.
At the end of the American century, her voice has become as shrill as those listening
to it are few. And Kim Jong Un is thumbing his nose. Following a missile fired across
the bow of an ally, he has had the audacity to explode a nuclear device an order of
magnitude more powerful than the last. It is unquestionably thermonuclear, in other
words a hydrogen bomb, which from released photos appears to be of a size not
difficult to position atop a missile.
Under these circumstances, rationality would dictate bringing allies and those with
influence over North Korea closer. The President, instead, is fighting a trade war with
South Korea, China and anyone else he can sniff out.
Meanwhile, inane military threats continue to make nonsense out of sense, leading
South Korea's President Moon Jae In to assure his people it will be up to his
government to decide whether their country goes to war with North Korea or not.
President Putin was asked a few days ago what he thought of Mr. Trump as
President. Without a trace of irony, he replied he as President of Russia must do the
best for it, and President Trump has to do the same for his country. Seemed like
code for ... I am quite happy with Trump as president. He should be. He has a free
hand in Syria, and the U.S. is at loggerheads with almost every major world power.
World leaders have taken Trump's measure and decided that, as a president, he is a
How did a businessman and TV reality show star with absolutely no political
experience, who was manifestly a diplomatic zero, get elected in the first place? As
they say in the press, he was good copy -- "... damn good for CBS," said CEO Leslie
Moonves. The coverage Trump attracted and received gratis from U.S. media was
worth $5 billion according to mediaQuant. Trump has a knack for it, and the media
are happy to go along -- it generates ad revenues.
But then think of the alternative. Hillary the Hawk could have taken us to war with
Russia over Ukraine. After all, it was her State Department that initiated the Ukraine
coup. On December 13, 2013, Victoria Nuland, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for
Europe and Eurasia, boasted of 'investing $5 billion' and 'five years worth of work and
Everyone knows what the North Koreans want. They want a formal peace treaty,
acceptance of their government, and more trade and economic links. Enough of the
latter and it increases leverage, so why not give it to them.
Unfortunately for us, we have the Donald. The Russians have had their Ivan the
Terrible. Never to be outdone, the U.S. now has Trump the Terrible. If the word is
the same, the meaning ... well, that's the beauty of the English language. Worth
noting, they were not quite so ambivalent in the Middle Ages and had he been a
Plantagenet, we all know what he would have been called.