OUT OF SIGHT
Pat Cleary is senior vice president of one of Washington’s larger public-affairs firms. He previously held top positions at the National Association of Manufacturers and at the Labor Department, and is past chairman of the National Mediation Board.
That said, in light of the “billions” and “trillions” of dollars now being tossed around Washington like Monopoly money, Mr. Cleary points out that suddenly “millions just seem so quaint.”
“Millions are now spillage down there on Capitol Hill, a mere rounding error,” he said.
Thus, he’s encouraging members of Congress, and President Obama for that matter, to get back to reality by reading the children’s book “How Much is a Million?” by David M. Schwartz.
“Maybe it’ll help get their brains around the concept,” he notes.
Sure enough, we have found on Amazon the 20th-anniversary edition of “How Much is a Million?” (ages 4-8, $6.99). And how much is a million?
According to the book, it would take 23 days to count to a million. Otherwise, a goldfish bowl large enough to hold a million goldfish could hold a whale. And if a million children climbed on each other’s shoulders, they would reach higher than an airplane could fly.
So how much are a billion and trillion? Mr. Schwartz writes that if a billion children made a human tower, it would reach past the moon. And a trillion children standing on each other’s shoulders would practically touch the rings of Saturn. will provide clues to the challenges the new president faces when it comes to foreign policy.
“The Godfather Doctrine: A Foreign Policy Parable,” due out this month, and co-authored by John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell (the latter co-founder of the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington), recalls New York crime family boss Don Vito Corleone being gunned down in broad daylight, leaving sons Sonny and Michael, and adopted son Tom Hagen, to chart a new course for the family.
The aging and wounded don, explains one summary, is emblematic of Cold War American power on the decline in a new world where U.S. enemies play by unfamiliar rules. The don’s heirs, meanwhile, uncannily exemplify the three leading schools of U.S. foreign policy today.
Tom, the left-of-center liberal institutionalist, thinks the old rules still apply and negotiations are the answer. Sonny is the Bush-era neocon: shoot first, ask questions later, while providing an easy target for your enemies. Only Michael, the realist, detects the changing scene, recognizing the need for flexible combinations of soft and hard power to keep the family strong and maintain its influence and security in a dangerous and rapidly changing world.