Mar 19, 2021Liked by Robert Wright

Well, this is what I pay the big bucks to you for he says with a smile although this one was free. To tell me that I am woefully clueless when I am reading about foreign policy issues and wake up. I sure am confronted with what I don't know that I don't know in reading this piece of yours. I really am getting my money's worth. I read tons of stuff daily in current events and you are the first one to tell me that the Solar Winds attack was within the norms. Sigh. Not only that I am also confronted with how easily a writer can get it over on me like the Sanger second paragraph. Now that blew by me totally and you had to explain that to me as well to wake me up. Thanks for the wake-up slaps!

Expand full comment

Hey Bob,

Have you heard of Peter Hessler? I bet you have! Maybe I've missed it, but I'm surprised to not see any (documented) interaction between you two online. I know you are more a high-level international relations guy, while Hessler is more of a street-level, if you will, reporter -- but you both take a empathetic approach to China, so maybe he'd make a good guest on your Talking Heads Podcast; I bet you'd have a lot to talk about. After all, you were both once John McPhee's students.

Just a thought.


Grayson Reim

Expand full comment

When bad actors are no longer rewarded for their bad deeds they will lose that incentive and likely move on. When good actors are rewarded for their good deeds, there will be more good actors.

Can we tax bad intentions? A surcharge on evil? As long as there is an incentive to create chaos -- war is BIG BUSINESS, the biggest and surest perhaps -- as long as people profit from fueling the apocalypse it don't look good.

Same thing with journalism -- if it bleeds, it leads.

Expand full comment

You imply that finding and exploiting points of intervention could be a successful strategy to avoid apocalypse.

David Sanger is a complex system working for a bigger complex system, the NYT, which is embedded in an extremely complex system, the USA, itself embedded in global complex systems. We have a big mess of complex systems all reinforcing each other. Perhaps exploiting points of intervention will not fundamentally change the whole.

Perhaps we need to build alternatives that can survive and thrive unattached to the big mess. Perhaps we can transition to such alternatives before the fragile complex systems collapse. Perhaps this is a better strategy for avoiding apocalypse.

Bob, you have enough credibility and wisdom to be a bridge for such a transition.

Expand full comment

Lot's of references to "norms", which I think are part of the fragility leading to the apocalypse. Need proof? Trump. Another 4 years of his norms busting would have taken us so much closer to the apocalypse (than he already did in the first 4 years). Trumps showed that norms only work for "nice guys". That includes journalists and their readers. Sigh

Expand full comment