The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

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.

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