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Quote of the Day

President Barack Obama “To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill,”

 

November 21, 2014 Posted by | Politics, Quote of the Day | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio Show 88 Thursday November 20, 2014 9-11pm Eastern US Time WBKM.ORG

WBKM CREW

WBKM CREW

 

I just got back from doing my local music radio show on internet only Wbkm Dot Org, and seeing music at Club Metronome. Much like Blue Button I started and ended classic and threw some new songs in the middle.

Song Before: Like A Hurricane – Neil Young

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intro

From our small city to the great big world, these are the Sounds of Burlington. It’s a cold night in Burlington and it’s making me want the comfort of come classics. Here are some spy songs to get us going. This is Opium Spy Thriller by Ninja Custodian on WBKM, and this is Burlington’s kind of music.

1.) Opium Spy Thriller – Ninja Custodian
2.) The Spy Song – Pinhead
3.) Goodbye Mr Bond – Blotto

I loved seeing Blotto at Hunt’s. All three bands used to play in the ’80′s in Burlington. It’s cold, and one of the best ways to warm up is to burn something. This band is likely playing right now at Club Metronome.

4.) Burn Burn Burn – Phil Yates & The Affiliates
5.) What’s In California? – Joshua Glass
6.) A Quiet Pun – Joe Adler
7.) Gold in California – The Red Telephone
8.) California’s Burning – Thompson Gunner

The best ways to stay warm in a Vermont winter are to burn something, or go somewhere warm like California. OK, on to the next song on Lipstick and Dynamite.

9.) Rejected – Black Rabbit
10.) We’re Closed – Blue Button
11.) I-90 East – ROUGH FRANCIS

Rough Francis have a couple of birthday shows coming up in early December at Radio Bean. Blue Button are playing with Phil Yates and Dino Bravo VT at Metronome tonight. I keep missing shows by this next band and will have to cure that soon. I love these three as one piece.

12.) Sequoia I – Binger
13.) Sequoia II – Binger
14.) Sequoia III – Binger

Love the music and the deep thinking lyrics. This next guy has some great lyrics too.

15.) The Time Traveler – Jeremy Gilchrist
16.) Flux Capacitor – Wave of the Future
17.) Linea – Vetica

Vetica have broken up and have a new album coming out soon. I can’t wait! Wave are so much fun, and I love the lyrical tie in with Jeremy. The WBKM birthday party at Nectar’s last Saturday was a blast. These guys were amazing.

18.) Echoes – Bud & Budd ~ The Kind Buds
19.) Restraints – Seth Yacovone Band
20.) Bamboozled By Love – Bob Wagner and the Book ‘Em Blues Band

Book ‘Em played a killer version of that Frank Zappa song at the birthday show. Seth and the band were amazing doing a Neil Young set, and the Kind Buds were just phenomenal. This next song is one of the great songs to come out of this town recently.

21.) The Next Instead – Swale
22.) Highway Brain – The Cush
23.) Vitamin Dee – Persian Claws

Great new song from the digital release of the Claws album. Thanks Cush for the killer shows at Arts Riot and Radio Bean!! Hmm, Swale. That was all new, so let’s end classic. I love this song.

24.) Powder – The New Siberians
25.) Tastes Like Nothing – Zola Turn
26.) Every Time I Hear That Mellow Saxophone – Big Joe Burrell and the Unknown Blues Band

I hope you enjoyed checking out the music of our town. Next week is Thanksgiving but we can check it out again the week after.

outro

promo

Song after: The Company – Fish

 

November 21, 2014 Posted by | WBKM Burlington's Kind of Music | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/67tlr7/bernie-sanders-pt–2

Stephen Colbert “Now, Senator Sanders you’re a guy who’s a rabble-rouser.  You whip people up.  That may play in Vermont, but there is talk that you may be throwing your hat into the Presidential ring.  Sir, I only have 15 more shows.  If you want the Colbert bump…  Are you ready to declare tonight? … Would you like to make some news?”

Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “The news is I’m thinking about running for President. “

Colbert “Sir, you have a campaign manager.  Is he doing nothing?  Is that just socialist handouts?”

Sanders “We haven’t put anybody on the campaign staff yet.  What we have to ascertain is whether or not in this country there is the appetite and willingness to put together a strong grass-roots movement to take on the billionaire class.  That’s a very difficult undertaking and when you’re running against people who have unlimited sums of money the question is how you raise the twenty dollars and forty dollar contributions, the money that you need to run a serious campaign.  So, those are the issues we’re looking at.”

Colbert “OK, you believe the government can achieve things.  True?  That’s a controversial stance.  Can you name a country where that’s worked out?”

Sanders “I think, one of the sad things about American politics is that we don’t know a whole lot about what’s going on in a number of other countries.  In Denmark, for example, you have a very good health care system which provides quality care to all of its people without out of pocket expense.  At a time when our young people, by the millions, are having a hard time affording to go to college, are graduating deeply in debt, in Denmark college and graduate school is without any out of pocket expense.”

Colbert “I do want to point one thing out to you Senator.  Denmark has five and a half million people and I have more than that on my Twitter feed.  So, I’m going to tweet something here tonight, uhm, hold on, ‘suck it Denmark’.  Alright folks, please retweet that.  If I get more get more retweets than there are people in Denmark, (points at Sanders) you have to move there.”

 

 

November 18, 2014 Posted by | Politics, Quote of the Day | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: But first here is my take. As Moscow continues to send its forces into Ukraine, it seems clear that Putin’s Russia presents America and the West with a frontal challenge. But in the longer run, it is not Russia’s overt military assault, but China’s patient and steady nonmilitary moves that might prove the greater challenge. Russia is a great power in decline. Its economy amounts to just 3.4 percent of global GDP. China’s is nearly 16 percent and rising. Now almost four times the size of Japan’s and five times that of Germany’s according to the World Bank.

Presidents Obama and Xi deserve the accolades they are receiving for their historic agreement on climate change and it seems to suggest that America and China are moving toward a new, productive relationship. Except that even while signing these accords, Xi Jinping’s government has been taking steps that suggests it is developing a very different approach to its foreign policy, one that seeks to replace the American-built post-1945 international system with its own.

If it continues down this path, it would constitute the most significant and dangerous shift in international politics since the end of the Cold War. It’s been widely reported that Xi has presided over a rise in nationalist rhetoric in recent years, much of it anti- American. While nationalism has been circulating in China for a while, the quantity seems to have risen sharply.

One count done by the “Christian Science Monitor, found that the number of anti-western polemics in the official “People’s Daily” in 2014 so far has tripled compared with the same period last year.

Perhaps more important, however, is that China has begun a low-key but persistent campaign to propose alternatives to the existing structure of international arrangements in Asia and beyond. It’s moved from being anti-American to post-American.

This summer Beijing spearheaded an agreement with the other BRICS countries to create a financial fund that would challenge the IMF. In October Beijing launched a $50 billion Asian infrastructure bank explicitly as an alternative to the World Bank. And last year President Xi declared that China would spend $40 billion to revive the old silk road to promote trade and development in that region.

For China to fit into an international system rubs against its deepest historical traditions. In his recent book Henry Kissinger notes that China has never been comfortable with the idea of a global system of equal states. Historically China considered itself in a sense the sole sovereign government of the whole world.

Diplomacy was a series of carefully contrived ceremonies in which foreign societies were given the opportunity to affirm their assigned place in the global hierarchy. One in which China sat on top. These are worrying signs not because Beijing’s efforts will surely succeed. They may not. Many of its efforts have run into opposition, but if China continues down this path using its growing clout to ask countries to choose between the existing set of arrangements or new ones, it might create conditions for a new kind of cold war in Asia.

It will certainly help to undermine and perhaps eventually destroy the current international order, one that was created by the United States after 1945 and which has been a platform on which peace and prosperity have flourished in Asia for seven decades.

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Politics, Quote of the Day | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WBKM 7th Birthday Party with Devin Gallucci, Bud and Budd The Kind Buds, The Seth Yacovone Band, and The Book ‘Em Blues Band at Nectar’s November 15, 2014

Book 'Em Blues band at WBKM 7th Birthday Party photo by Wbkm

Book ‘Em Blues band at WBKM 7th Birthday Party photo by Wbkm

I had a great time seeing music at the Wbkm Dot Org 7th birthday party at Nectar’s on Saturday night. The show started around 7 but I had to work until 8. I did a reasonably quick turnaround at home and arrived a little after 9 and Bud & Budd ~ The Kind Buds were on stage. Everyone knew that Bud on the right was a great guitar player, but Bud on the left was pretty extraordinary too. Together they weaved their guitars and voices seamlessly to create some magical songs. I only caught a couple of songs but they seemed to have a pattern of creating a really nice song, then as it got into the middle section they brought the music to tremendous heights, before gently returning it to an average normal brilliant song. It was truly breathtaking. As I had just arrived, I chatted with Tony Gallucci and Eric Koval for a bit, but mostly paid attention to the band. They wrapped up the set with a mellow version of Deal that floated along nicely, then started building and building in the middle until it seemed like the whole room would explode, then dropped it back into the chorus, and let the ending play out. I had a vague memory of being impressed with them before and was completely blown away Saturday. I’ve got to get their music on my radio show!
During the switchover, I chatted with Rich Haskell, and before the next band stated a few of us Wbkmers took the stage and Tony chatted with the audience about the station and 7 years of music.
We hopped off stage and Real Old & Insane Donkey (really The Seth Yacovone Band) started rocking. Everyone knew that Seth was a great guitar player, but the guitar player on the left was pretty extraordinary too. I missed his name but he and Seth traded leads all night long and both were stunning. The rhythm section was super solid and the whole set was songs from Neil Young & Crazy Horse. They opened with a solid Rocking In the Free World then wowed the packed room with Powderfinger. The next was a fun mid-tempo obscure Neil song who’s name eludes me, but was lots of fun. They turned it up to eleven and played a long and joyous Cowgirl In The Sand. Mere words cannot capture how amazing it was. It seemed to go on forever and was blissful for every note. The next one was a mid-tempo rocker. I think it was Welfare Mothers (they definitely played it but I did not keep track of order of the songs), then unleashed Cortez The Killer. Unfortunately, the guitar player not named Seth lost his amp in the middle, though fortunately he got in a nice solo before it burned out. D.Davis was on it and exchanged his amp for the burned one, and had the guitar back in the game by the end of the song. Seth did a great job holding it together, though I’m sure the song would have been greater without the glitch. They followed with a killer rock version of Fucking Up that made me wish the amp burned out in that one, just for humor’s sake. They played a couple of more obscure Neil tunes then floored the room with Down By The River. They followed with a stunning Like A Hurricane and wrapped it up with a super heavy My My Hey Hey. It was a truly tremendous show.
Usually, at the Wbkm birthday parties, Tony’s kids play a set or two, During the set break I chatted with Michele Clifford Streeter and Annemarie Gallucci and asked about the opening band Bruise Box. That was a band with their kids, but a last minute breakdown had only Devin Gallucci play solo. It must have taken a lot of courage to not have your band and just get up and play anyway. I wish I had been there to see it.
Up next, the Book ‘Em Blues Band took the stage. Everyone knows that Bob Wagner is a great guitar player, But D. Davis, the guitar player on the right was pretty extraordinary too. Joined by the one man symphony, John Rogone, on bass, and the constantly attacking Russ Lawton on drums, the band were super tight and quite stunning. The songs were mostly blues classics that I did not know. It didn’t matter. They played so well, everything sounded great. The place was packed and people were dancing like crazy. The first set was not too long, and I was getting tired. It had been a long day. In the set break I headed to the WBKM studio a couple of doors down to find a less crowded bathroom. I ran into Eric and we wandered into the studio and chatted a bit. We then headed back and the band were onstage ripping up the second set. I think they were playing a Dead song when we walked in, but I’m not sure. I was really tired and barely still standing at this point, but had to stick around as they let loose a killer version of Frank Zappa‘s Bamboozled By Love. I’m sure they played a bunch more killer songs, but that was it for me. I took the happy gentle walk home with a heart full of music and a deep appreciation for all the staggering musical talent that we get in this town.

Devin Gallucci  at WBKM 7th Birthday Party photo by WBKM

Devin Gallucci at WBKM 7th Birthday Party photo by WBKM

The Kind Buds at WBKM photo by Wbkm

The Kind Buds at WBKM 7th Birthday Party photo by Wbkm

 

Seth Yacovone Band  at WBKM 7th Birthday Party photo by WBKM

Seth Yacovone Band at WBKM 7th Birthday Party photo by WBKM

 

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Rock Shows, WBKM Burlington's Kind of Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day

John Fugelsang  “In Matthew 25 Jesus commands his followers – both individuals and nations – to care for the sick. Sigh.”

 

November 16, 2014 Posted by | Politics, Quote of the Day, Religion | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio Show 87 Thursday November 13, 2014 9-11pm Eastern US Time WBKM.ORG

WBKM CREW

WBKM CREW

http://wbkm.org/

I just got back from my local music radio show on internet only Wbkm Dot Org. I highlighted the Radio Bean birthday party from last Saturday, highlighted the WBKM birthday party this coming Saturday, managed to say Happy Birthday to Christopher Larrow and boldly stated how much I like the new album from The Cush.

Song before: Answers – Tilt

promo

intro

From our small city to the great big world, these are the Sounds of Burlington. I’ve got some birthdays to talk about but before I get into that, I’ve got a bunch of new music that has come my way, and I want to feature some of it. I just got the new album by a guy who played second at the Radio Bean birthday party last Saturday.

1.) Letter From The 21st – Jeremy Gilchrist
2.) Little Songs – Invisible Homes
3.) Overgrown – Eric George
4.) Garden Flower – Maryse Smith

Maryse and Michael Chorney played a great set at the RB birthday party. Eric works at Burlington Records and brought the album to the station. Lots of gardening songs, and I thought that one would go nicely into Garden Flowers. Cool songs from Invisible and Jeremy. One of my favorite parts of the RB birthday was Johnnie Day Durand and her magical musical saw. You can hear her play it wonderfully on this song.

5.) Brothers And Sisters – Joe Adler
6.) Everyone Likes To – Swale
7.) Politicians In My Eyes – Death

At the RB birthday Swale played a killer Everyone, brought up Lee Anderson and sang Thank You For Being A Friend then played Politicians. It was pretty intense and Bobby Hackney Jr. arrived just as they were finishing up another Death song, Nuclear War. If you have not see the movie A Band Called Death, definitely check it out. OK, now it’s time for the next song on Lipstick And Dynamite.

8.) Mark My Words – Black Rabbit
9.) Bleeping Burning Bridges – Blue Button
10.) Old North Ender – James Kochalka Superstar
11.) In The Pines – Vedora

Vedora played a killer set at the RB birthday with Matt, Caroline Marie and Jane Boxall Percussion on drums. Jane also plays with Black Rabbit. James played a killer set at the birthday, as did BB. Well, that was last week, this Saturday is the Wbkm birthday party. There will be lots of great music including Seth Yacovone Band doing a set of Neil Young covers and Bob Wagner and the Book ‘EM Blues Band playing two sets. Here is Book ‘EM from a WBKM birthday party a couple of years ago. They did this one last time. Will they do it this year? Who cares, whatever they play will be great!

12.) Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad? – The Book ‘Em Blues Band

Wow, that was a fun 13 minutes! One of my favorite bands to play burlington for years was The Cush. They just came back and played a show at ArtsRiot last Friday and sold me a copy of their new album Transcendental Heatwave. Here it is: Turn your lights down low. Turn your lava lamp up to 11, Light some incense an smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

13.) Heavy Psych – The Cush
14.) One Shot Love – The Cush
15.) Orange Like Water – The Cush

You’ve listening to Transcendental Heatwave by The Cush on WBKM and this is Burlington’s Kind of music.

16.) Droids – The Cush
17.) Phantom Girl – The Cush
18.) Highway Brain – The Cush
19.) Broken Radio – The Cush

You’ve listening to Transcendental Heatwave by The Cush on WBKM and this is Burlington’s Kind of music.

20.) Summers Gone – The Cush
21.) Color Your Eyes – The Cush
22.) Distant Light – The Cush

What a great album! Thanks guys!! Here’s another great artist who played the RB birthday party

23.) You’ll Be The Sky – Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band
24.) Last Night In Amsterdam – The Red Telephone

I hope you enjoyed checking out the music of our town. Let’s do it again next week, shall we?

outro

promo

Song after: Faith Healer – Fish

 

November 14, 2014 Posted by | WBKM Burlington's Kind of Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quote of the Day

Stephen Colbert “Now folks, it might seem like the American people want Republicans to get something done, but don’t you fall for it.  And, that’s not just Akbar talking, that’s advice from Jabba the Rush.”

Rush Limbaugh 11-5-14 “It’s the biggest and perhaps most important mandate a political party has had in the recent era and it is very simple what that mandate is.  It is to stop Barack Obama.  Republicans were not elected to govern.”

Colbert “Thank you.  Republicans were not elected to govern.  Their one job is to stop Obama.  But folks, there’s an even more urgent reason to do nothing.  According to a new editorial by the National Review called The Governing Trap, ‘if voters come to believe that a Republican Congress and a Democratic President are doing a fine job of governing together, why wouldn’t they vote to continue the arrangement in 2016?’.  Yes, they you will be trapped together for another four years doing a competent job of governing.  Who wants that? (everyone but cable news)  The point is, anything the Republicans accomplish at all no matter how insignificant, could lead to President Hillary Clinton.  Besides, nobody likes people who actually govern.  I mean look at Obama.  He turned the economy around and gave millions of people health care.  What an asshole.  And, as the National Review points out, not only would governing be too effective, it would also be completely ineffective because ‘If Republicans proclaim that they have to govern now that they run Congress, they maximize the incentive for the Democrats to filibuster everything they can.’. Yes, and filibustering everything you can is cowardly (as of last Tuesday).  And, what is worse folks, ‘A prove-you-can-govern strategy will inevitably divide the party on the same tea party-vs-establishment lines that Republicans have just succeeded in overcoming’.  That’s right.  If Republicans do anything it will start the infighting.  Think about it.  The Beatles never would have broken up if they never released any records.  Instead of making the mistake of doing things now The National Review says the GOP should focus on the future by ‘building the case for Republican governance after 2016′, and explaining ‘what the Republicans would do if they had the White House’.  Yes, it’s time to show the American people that Republicans are capable of bold, decisive action, sometime later.  Then, Republicans will be able to take back the White House, and when they finally have control of the Presidency, and both houses of Congress, at last it will be time to govern, is what they want you to think.  But, that’s just another trap.  Because, the GOP can’t act until they’ve secured an all Republican Supreme Court, 50 Republican Governors, 50 Republican state legislatures, and an all Republican prom committee.  And, even then even when there are no Democrats left anywhere, they still should not govern because then another Republican could run against them in the primary and they’d be wide open to attack on their voting record if they have one.  Of course, refusing to govern at all might eventually become hard to sell to the American people, so they might have to wait until there isn’t an America anymore.  And, if they refuse the responsibility to govern, well, that will be right around the corner.”

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/full-episodes/jhvbbh/november-10–2014—andy-cohen

November 11, 2014 Posted by | Politics, Quote of the Day | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio Bean Birthday Party Part 4 with The Lynguistic Civilians, Joe Adler And The Rangers Of Danger, Ryan Miller wtih Swale, Lee Anderson And Appalled Eagles, Kat Wright And The Indomitible Soul Band, Brass Balagan, Mal Malz, The Cush, and The Eames Brothers Band on November 8, 2014

Radio Bean picture by Tim Lewis

Radio Bean picture by Tim Lewis

 

When last I wrote about the amazing Radio Bean birthday show, Swale had just finished up a killer set. After such an amazing run of music I needed a little break, so I left the crowd and headed to the back of the bar to get a drink. The Lynguistic Civilians were onstage and had the crowd dancing in a hip hop frenzy. I wasn’t too focused on the music, but a ton of people were having a great time. I chatted with Bobby Hackney Jr. and was excited to hear about a couple of upcoming ROUGH FRANCIS shows with lots of great special guests. It sounds like a couple of really rocking nights in early December are coming. The one thing that struck me as odd while the Civilians played was that Amanda Gustafson stayed at her keyboard on the other stage. Hmmmm. Anyway, I was about to buy a drink when Bobby bought it for me. Thanks! That was very kind!!

When the Civilians finished up,Joe Adler & The Rangers Of Danger took the stage and I headed back to the crowd. The band is a bit mutable and in this version Joe was joined by Eric Segalstad on guitar, Bob Wagner on guitar, Padraic Reagan on bass, Amanda on keys, and Jeremy Frederick on drums. They did not play any of the songs on Joe’s album, and I did not know the first one but the band was very solid and a rocking good time. They invited Aya Inoue to the stage for the second song, and played a sweet Atlantic City. Ryan Miller sang backup on the next one and they had a trombone player add a bit of brass to finish off their set with a rousing Let It Bleed.

When the set was done, a couple of people left the stage, and Eric Olsen and Tyler Bolles returned. Ryan Miller’s backup band was Swale and they launched into a set about friends. They started with I’ve Got Friends In Low Places. They kicked up the energy and volume for a ferocious rocker, something about All My Friends Are Dead, then wrapped the set with a rocker driven by Amanda’s steady keyboard riff. I’m not sure the song, but I’m sure it was about friends.

Everyone’s attention moved to the other stage as Lee Anderson and Appalled Eagles took the stage. You never know what you are going to get with Appalled but it will be oddly fun. This version had Eric Segalstad on guitar, Tyler on bass, and Brett Hughes on drums. Lee asked the audience for a few different musical genres and the band played the suggestions. The first suggestion was bubblegum pop, and the band obliged. The second was polka. Lee asked if anyone knew how to polka and a woman in the back did. She came forward and both she and Alyssa Solomon polkad like crazy as the band jammed. Up next was some disco, then they slipped into some dubstep. During this part, Joe brought a cake to the stage and they lit the candles. We did a spoken word Happy Birthday to Radio Bean and Lee took the cake to the bar and used the ceiling to smother the candles. I wonder if there is still frosting up there.

Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band followed with a killer 5 song set. They just ooze style and class and had the whole room dancing. I’m not as much of a dance music fan, but Bob Wagner had a few sweet guitar lines that kept me going. Kat is a great singer and instead of belting songs out, just sort of lets them emanate from her soul. Listening to her sing is like hearing a casual utterance of beauty. The band were super tight and occasionally fierce, and the audience had a great time. They ended with The Light and as the song fell into it’s closing section members of Brass Balagan, who had been infiltrating the room for a few songs, joined in then took over. They kept the dance party going for a few songs, but it was a bit too crowded for me, so I headed to the back for a bit.

At this point it was after 1am and I was very tired. It had been a long day, but there was one more band I just had to wait for.

Mal Maiz took the stage next with some polka music. The first perked me up a little. I’m not sure what the lyrics were, but the music was Black Sabbath‘s Iron Man. They played a couple more, and then it was time.

Billed as the Fourteens, The Cush took the stage with a roar. With Jake on guitar and Steve Hadeka on drums, they lit into a new heavy rocker. The exhaustion melted and I was in rock heaven. They followed with another killer new song and the still full house was going crazy. They closed the set with a blistering I Shout Love At The Heart Of The Atom. I danced almost every last bit of energy out of my body and sang along with delight.

The moment they finished, The Eames Brothers Band started up on the other stage. They sounded pretty cool, but I was exhausted. I grabbed my coat and said a quick goodbye to Caroline Marie and Savanna and headed out the door. The walk home was quick and pleasant and had a nice extra good night exchange a little ways in.

I always think of the Radio Bean birthday party as the best day of music in town, and this years version lived up to that title nicely. Thanks everyone!!!!!!

 

 

November 11, 2014 Posted by | Radio Bean Birthday Party, Rock Shows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quote of the day

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: But first, here is my take. Despite this week’s elections, President Obama has the opportunity to do big things over the next two years, but they will have to be in the world beyond Washington. Next week’s trip to Asia would be a good place to start. In fact, it’s odd that Obama has not already devoted more time, energy, and attention to foreign policy.

It’s been clear for a while now that there is no prospect of working with the Republican Party on any major domestic policy, but if Obama seeks some kind of foreign policy legacy, he will first have to maintain the discipline with which he began his presidency.

If he ends up with incremental, escalating interventionism in Syria it will absorb fully the White House’s mind share, the public’s interests and the country’s resources. It will also not succeed if by success we mean the triumph of pro-democratic forces in the Syrian civilian war.

Obama’s biggest foreign policy initiative is powerful and intelligent — the pivot to Asia. The greater threat to global peace and prosperity over the next decades comes not from a band of assassins in Syria but from the rise of China and the manner in which that will reshape the geopolitics of Asia and the world.

If Washington can provide balance and reassurance in Asia, it will help ensure that the continent does not become the flash point for a new Cold War.

But the Asia pivot remains for rhetoric than reality. Having promised a larger U.S. military presence in the Philippines, Singapore and Australia, there is little evidence of any of this on the ground. The most ambitious element of the Asia pivot is the Transpacific Partnership. The idea is simple. To lower trade barriers and other impediments to commerce among 12 large Pacific economies comprising 40 percent of the global GDP.

This will provide a boost to global growth but, more importantly, shore up the principles and practice of open markets and encourage open economies at a time when state capitalism like the Chinese model and new nationalist barriers are creeping up everywhere. The good news is that the Republican victory this week actually might make this more likely. Trade is one of the few issues on which the GOP agrees with the president.

Obama has one other major foreign policy initiative — nuclear negotiations with Iran. Again, here the basic strategy has been smart, sanctions plus talk, but it has not received presidential attention and focus.

It remains unclear whether Iran is ready to make peace with America and the West, but if it is, Obama should present Washington and the world with the deal, even though it will surely be denounced as treason by Republicans and attacked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

I know the world looks messy and the administration is now on the defensive, but recall what the world looked like when Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were conducting foreign policy. America was losing a war in Asia in which it had deployed half a million troops. The Soviet Union was on the march. Domestic opposition and troubles were mounting.

Nixon and Kissinger had to initiate a major retreat, but as Robert Zoellick has pointed out, they combined this with the seize of bold, positive, assertive moves, arms control deals was the Soviet Union, the opening in China, shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East. The result was that by 1973 people were dazzled by the energy and ingenuity of American foreign policy.

The historian John Gaddis has described this as one of the most successful reversals of fortune for American foreign policy in modern history.

To achieve a similar kind of legacy, it’s now time for a foreign policy presidency.

November 10, 2014 Posted by | Politics, Quote of the Day | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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