The Runaway General
The Council has yet to host movie star Brad Pitt but as it turns out, we've come close. The week's early rumors have been confirmed -- the actor will portray Council speaker Gen. Stanley McChrystal in the movie version of author Michael Hastings' book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan. Rolling Stone broke the story, which is appropriate since it published Hastings' article "The Runaway General." That story described how the general and his staff at the command center in Afghanistan were criticizing President Barack Obama. That, in turn, resulted in the president ordering McChrystal back to Washington and the general resigning. The Council hosted Gen. McChrystal in January 2013 as he discussed his memoir My Share of the Task.
The Council recommends some enjoyable reading today, a very prominent piece in the current edition of Baylor Business Review by Council President James N. Falk. In his guest column, titled "Maximizing A Global Connection," President Falk gives some personal insight and offers suggestions for enhancing business practices. He also reminds readers, "Awareness of current global events, once a casual office luxury, has evolved into a daily necessity for the successful business leader." Read the current Baylor Business Review online.
The U.S., Iran and Diplomacy
As our April 30 guest speaker may tell you, even though the United States and Iran are speaking again after 35 years, it may not always be the warmest of conversations. For example, last Friday the U.S. said it would refuse to grant a visa for Iran's new envoy to the United Nations.
Why? Because Hamid Aboutalebi is a member of the group that took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, initiating what became known as "The Hostage Crisis" -- 52 American diplomats, citizens and Marines were held hostage for 444 days, beginning Nov. 4, 1979. They were released when Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president, replacing Jimmy Carter. Our Wednesday, April 30, guest speaker Suzanne DiMaggio is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Iran Initiative/Southwest Asia Program at the New America Foundation. Ms. DiMaggio, an "expert dialogue practitioner," will discuss secret negotiations that got the U.S. and Iran into conversations again and will assess the prospect of further talks and the potential for a normal diplomatic relationship.
Free Speech in Cuba
A secret U.S. social media program in Cuba? Yes. Our April 29 speaker Julia E. Sweig was the expert panelist on National Public Radio's Morning Edition Tuesday when the topic was a clandestine American social media program designed to enhance free speech in Cuba. Ms. Sweig, a Senior Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on Cuba, pointed out that the U.S., which has stern economic sanctions against Cuba, paid the government-owned Cuban telephone company "revenue for providing the connectivity." A recording of the NPR program and text are available online.
Fracking, Oil and Dr Pepper
Three things you find in North Dakota that you find in North Texas: Fracking, oil and Dr Pepper. You can glean that in an excerpt from upcoming Council speaker Russell Gold's book The Boom How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World.
Gold, the Austin-based senior energy writer at the WSJ, will speak to a Council luncheon at noon, Thursday, April 24, at the Rosewood Crescent.
The excerpt from The Boom recounts Gold's visit to a fracking field near Killdeer, N.D., where you find a traditional Lone Star soft drink. Gold writes that as a "fluid technician" oversees testing, "an open tub of potato salad and a Dr Pepper sit near his computer."
Earthquakes in the fracking area? Not as many as in Oklahoma and North Texas.