Archive for category Politics
On a lark, I recently participated in a Huffington Post online interview on the state of American education as compared to a global perspective. I got some good ideas into the conversation and rambled a bit (what do you expect for midnight conversations?).
But, more important to note that I felt bad about some of my comments after re-watching this. I’m afraid I lost a bit of my optimism in this piece. I was a bit critical in places and may have overestimated the number of international teachers that “escape” their domestic systems. It’s possible I’m fairly accurate, as confirmed by my esteemed colleague in Japan. But, nonetheless, troubling is the way I suggested it as a reflection on these domestic systems that are trying to understand education and come up with a plan for refreshing and retooling them. As noted by each of us, there are pockets of excellence. The challenge is still about finding a methodology that is transferable and sustainable while at the same time not becoming more factory assembly line than it already is. What do you think?
An article in the New York Times this week named the billionaire owner of the New Jersey Nets as a potential candidate for Russian president, but his actual run is far from formal announcement until his party tests their merit in upcoming parliamentary elections in December. It’s interesting that this Billionaire Bachelor is a potential candidate in Russia while he would be unlikely for consideration in the current conservative atmosphere. His tendency to frequent the clubs with Russian models is well known and he does little to hide this reputation. Seems interesting that his party of record is name “Right Cause” and is clearly opposed to Putin’s party, United Russia. He seeks a multi-party system where none currently exists and this may be a tough challenge.
So the question emerges — Can leadership that seems out of touch with the moderation of character and values survive in this kind of environment? In this environment of a young and developing democracy, is any leadership better than no leadership?
It was recently announced with little fanfare that Michael McFaul will take the post as new Ambassador to Russia from the United States, pending Senate confirmation. Nice to know that a highly qualified and thoughtful individual will be entering the Russian environment on my heels and I look forward to greeting his family at the Anglo-American School.
I’ve been reading a bit of his most recent book (Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should and How We Can) and looking to potentially incorporate some of his leadership thoughts in my own dissertation work. He has presented a well thought out case for instituting change in a complex global context.
Recent pundits have suggested that foreign policy centered on elections is shortsighted by ignoring the other institutions necessary to give sustainability to those election results. Namely, a sufficiently mature legal system and a methodology for assuring basic rights and establishments that resist be undermined by leaders who are ultimately elected. Ground rules or rules of engagement are critical to the success of democracy and is ultimately based on the premise of shared leadership.
In that sense, Dr. McFaul stands poised to answer some of the tough questions about how we increase both individual freedoms and responsible governing beyond U. S. borders. In that sense I value what he brings to the table that is distinctly different from the more typical career diplomat that is often appointed.
President Obama has made a good choice here and, again, has demonstrated a deep understanding of the complex relationships that must be addressed in foreign policy. The criticisms that come with more simplistic attitudes serve only to undermine U.S. credibility and push back peaceful coexistence with each unrelenting barrage. Time to leave our president alone and let his intelligence and leadership drive the agenda like no other president in recent memory has been able to do.