Today is the first day in weeks that I have enough time to write. I’ve missed it. It’s not that things have been so stressful — just way too busy for a guy who is supposedly retired. I was so determined to be consistent. But it’s tougher than I want it to be.

The biggest challenge has been the demands that go with the preparation of two new lectures. Neither is directly in my wheelhouse, so they required research and careful thought. One is about the rise of China and what it may mean for the US. The other looks at a rising China’s role in SouthEast Asia with the uncertain future of the mighty Mekong River providing the context for the narrative. Until I had them finished, or at least well on the way, they were hanging over me.

But it’s not as if that was a bad thing. I not only enjoyed doing the research but the challenge of synthesizing way too much information, and telling a coherent and relevant story, keeps me on my toes. I think that they came out well. I hope that the audience does too.

One of the things that struck me as I wrote was that our China strategy has felt more reactive than visionary and more about constraining China than about asking how we will redefine — grow — our own nation’s future.

The challenges posed by a resurgent China have gotten the attention of Democrats, Republicans, and even determined nationalists like Steve Bannon. But finding a national consensus on a future strategy might be difficult in the current political environment. But, if we are not able to look beyond our tribal divides to address these issues, our troubles as a nation run far deeper than the issue of dealing with a resurgent China.

In any event, preparing the lectures was my primary preoccupation and an alternative to rambling on here. But now, I’m back.

In five weeks, we’ll be off and running again and these lectures will be among the four I’ll deliver on our next adventure…a cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong by way of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Lots to do between now and then, but I hope it will include more time to reflect, to write, and think.

We’ll see. Talk soon.

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