20 May 2011


When I look at Dominique Strauss-Kahn he appears to be an older man to me, even though we are the same age. Yet in his interaction with a hotel maid he appears to have deluded himself that he is younger. I just don’t get the sexual assault he is charged with. Why bother with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with you? Where’s the joy in that? But I’ve seen this kind of thing before. When I was a boss I periodically had to deal with sexual harassment problems always caused by men in their early sixties.

My take on men in these situations is that they probably want to be sure they can still do it. They haven’t yet reconciled to that image in the mirror or the idea that no one younger is going to be attracted to them, unless they are very rich- and how real is that? Almost anything young will do, as though their vitality could somehow be transferred. Whatever these men have accomplished in life, they are missing a priceless attribute of aging, which is the wisdom which comes with maturity. Rather than developing on the advantages of being relieved of passionate infatuations, they seek to return to the prerogatives of an age that is gone forever. Thus they make fools of themselves, and there is no fool like an old fool.

04 May 2011


Justice was long delayed, but the killing of Bin Laden brings some degree of closure, particularly for those of us living in New York, to the horrors of September 11, 2001. Yet joy is tempered by the fact that we know we are always going to be a target for the fanatics and must be ever vigilant. All those involved in this successful mission deserve our praise and thanks. Even better they apparently recovered a treasure trove of computer information that will aid in the war against the terrorists, which needless to say, continues.

Still at large is Ayman al Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s number two, who if anything is far more evil than Bin Laden, who was something of a nut case. But Zawahiri is an Egyptian doctor for whom there is no excuse. Also at large, is the “American”leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, Anwar al-Awlaki , who probably represents a greater threat at this point.

There are only remnants of Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan, and with the demise of Bin Laden there is less reason for our presence there. Our conflict was never really with the Taliban, but the fact that they refused to give up Bin Laden. But as awful as they are, given our flaky Afghan government allies, we need to rethink our policy there. The Afghans are the most backward white people in the world, and bringing them into the modern world may be an exercise in futility. As for the opium crop, instead of antagonizing farmers we should simply buy it up, given how much we’re already spending there.

The real problem now is Pakistan, which is virtually a failed state. It is noteworthy that Bin Laden lived in plain sight in a modern development outside of Islamabad. It is just not credible that elements of the Pakistani government did not know about this. Today’s Pakistan encompasses much of the heartland of ancient India, and the biggest mistake the British made was to allow the creation of Pakistan out of a portion of British India, to provide a Muslim majority state. The Pakistanis are in fact Indians, who were converted by Muslim invaders, and it is the only state founded specifically to be an Islamic country. That is the whole rationale for their existence. Initially a moderate form of Islam prevailed, but after a military dictatorship promoted Islam, and the Saudis financed a vast number of madrassas, providing little in the way of education outside of Islam, a significant portion of the population has been radicalized. Given the fact that they possess nuclear weapons the Pakistanis represent a far bigger problem than the Afghans. Continued instability there is a cause for concern and provides a greater rationale for remaining in Afghanistan than Afghanistan itself.

Bin Laden’s strategy of provoking the United States to overreact, thereby inflaming the Muslim world has failed. He totally misread us in terms of determination and staying power. But he partially succeeded in one intentional objective- wrecking our economy by forcing huge expenditures on wars that would consume vast resources and weaken our economy. What we need to do now is pursue a smarter and cheaper targeted anti-terror policy and instead of larger scale military engagements focus on pursuing terrorists.