Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 335- Dating advice from some one who really sucks at it

Dear Mr. President,

I'm really terrible at dating. I'm making my peace with this, slowly. I tend to make all of the classic missteps- I come on too strong when I should be cautious, I get too frightened or shy when I should be bold and direct. I panic unnecessarily and I talk way too much. I'm secretly convinced that if I were tiny and blonde and traditionally feminine I'd have no more problems, but I'm sure that being this insecure is just as unattractive wrapped in tiny, blonde packages. The advice I get from friends can be succinctly summed up: calm down, be brave, and stop acting so desperate.

Reading through the Wikileak diplomatic cables, and reading the latest news from the non-existent Isreali/Palestinian peace talks, I can't help but notice how we could really apply this advice to foreign policy. America seems alternately too aggressive and too passive, quick to throw itself without shame at allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and completely prone to panic over Iran. (Oh, and we definitely talk too much.) American foreign policy shouldn't seem this desperate. James Zogby has an eloquent essay discussing the highly illogical (and counter-productive) strategy of bribing Israel with aid money, arms sales and UNSC vetoes in order to get them to agree to abide by international law. Despite our boasting of our military, economic and moral prowess, we seem too cowed to stand up even to the countries we call our friends.

Sure, it's easy for me to give advice that I'm too thick-skulled to follow, but, seriously, one of us should start showing some self-respect, and soon. I'm thinking that it's a much bigger deal if America keeps getting pushed around on the international stage (or making a complete fool of itself) than it is if I stay single for a few more years. So, in full acknowledgement of my own hypocrisy, I think that you (and Secretary Clinton) need to calm down, be brave, and stop acting so desperate. The United States is a superpower (for now) and we ought to remember that, and use our clout responsibly. We should expect our allies to live up to their human rights obligations to their own citizens and to their neighbors. We should not sensationalize the threat posed by rogue states like Iran and North Korea, but should calmly and rationally rally the international community against these threats. It might be easier if we were tiny and blonde and popular like Switzerland, instead of the world's police, but I think we could manage our awkward and often unlikable tasks with a lot more dignity. Maybe America will still end up as whatever the country equivalent of a 40-year old spinster with tons of cats is, but at least we will conduct ourselves abroad with something like self-respect.

Respectfully yours,



  1. As always, I appreciate your points so very much.

  2. Hey, don't beat yourself up too much about the whole being-bad-at-dating thing. Most of the time, the girls I'm interested in either have no clue I'm interested in them or I scare them off. I have no idea how I've ever managed to get a girlfriend!

    So, you're not the only one! :P