Theatre of the Absurd in Dubai



I like watching tennis and particularly enjoy watching Roger Federer and Andre Agassi play, as long as my tennis-fanatic friend is with me to explain the points and all the bad calls by judges. But this match in Dubai makes my head spin. It’s certainly dramatic to play a game of tennis on a building’s top floor heliport in a small Middle East country. But how can this kind of exhibition game do anything but inflame the passions of Middle…

Wow! We Won One! <em>Gunner Palace</em> Wins its Battle for PG-13 Rating



Thanks to all of you who signed the Gunner Palace petition requesting that the Motion Picture Association of America revise its “R” rating of the film to “PG-13”. This is a big win for Michael Tucker who shot this documentary and the soldiers whose story he helps tell in their words. The New America Foundation hosted 400 people to see the film at a recent screening in DC at which the film producer and several of the soldiers attended. E-mail…

Did Stan Shih Really Say that a Woman’s Place was in the Home?



I am just wrapping up an interesting conference in Kauai sponsored by the BMW Foundation which assembled about 50 alumni of the foundation’s various young leaders programs over the last decade. We had a bunch of Russians here, Germans, Chinese, Americans, and some individuals from Singapore, Canada, the Netherlands, and India. Fascinating group of people. One of the dignitaries that spent yesterday morning with us was Stan Shih, founding Chairman & former CEO of Acer, one of the largest computer…

America’s China Gambit: Why Showing our Limits in Iraq Has Hurt Us



A few weeks ago, I happened to be included at a dinner at the home of the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Singapore Embassy, Susan Sim, who invited a small handful of people together to toast a mutual friend. One of the other guests was a senior Pentagon official who covers East Asia & Pacific Affairs. I told him that it seemed to me that the distraction of Iraq was harming American interests in several ways. First, America had…

MPAA ALERT: <em>Gunner Palace</em> Appealing “R” Rating — Sign Petition



With all of the recruiting our military services do among our country’s youth — it is outrageous that the Motion Picture Association of America would try and bar youth from seeing Gunner Palace. This documentary is about as honest and unbiased a documentary on the realities of a soldier’s life in Baghdad as I could imagine. I just signed this electronic petition to MPAA President Dan Glickman that reads: We the undersigned demand that the Motion Picture Association of America…

A Soldier’s Magnanimity: Comment from Brady Van Engelen



I posted a comment the day before yesterday on a New America Foundation sponsored screening that I helped host (with my colleague Jenny Buntman) of Gunner Palace. There were some interesting folks in the audience, including the mother of one of the memorable characters in Michael Tucker’s documentary. I think his name was Sargent Beasley, but I may have the name wrong. This was her first time seeing the film — and meeting her, seeing her reactions to the environment…

Big Earthquake in American Trade Circles: Glen Fukushima Goes to Airbus



Glen Fukushima has just been announced President of Airbus Japan. This is huge, earth-shaking news for US-Japan trade types. Glen Fukushima, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the Japan Policy Research Institute which I co-founded with Chalmers Johnson, has been an American trade policy official and businessman committed to prying open Japan’s markets to American products and services. He would have been a great U.S. Trade Representative himself or even a brilliant U.S. Ambassador to Japan….

Requesting Day Pass & Hard Pass White House Press Credentials



A good friend at a local news bureau just shared with me his office’s standard letter for requesting a “hard pass” for access to the White House press corps. Jeff Gannon/James Guckert could not get this kind of pass — and instead got a daily pass which had to be secured by faxing a slightly more simple request to the White House — lower press office — with full name, date of birth, and social security number. These day passes…