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About Jack

Jack is really a storyteller, international explorer, and humanitarian and everything else rolls out from there. As a writer, its what he does.  As a trial lawyer, its his most important tool.  As a former CIA officer, the only way to truly motivate people is to connect and to tell them a story that they can feel viscerally.  As a media analyst, what better way to make a point.  In the end, he tries to captivate his audience about the world and its people as much as he himself is captivated. 

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Entries in china (5)

Monday
Dec042017

Lost and Confused in Southeast Asia - My Doctor Means Well.

There is a long standing and proud tradition.  Oh yeah, I know all about it.  The doctor patient relationship. The wise sage doctor guides the patient.  Gives them years of advice and experience.  And the patient, doe eyed, dutifuly and seriously listens, takes in the gospel, embraces it and makes it their own.  The patient then goes forth into the world, safe in the knowledge that they are now protected, in some John Travolta-esque plastic bubble.  Makes total sense.  Yup, totally logical. But, there's a problem . . .   

Ok, this may be a shock but i'm not always the deepest of thinkers nor am I necessarily the best at tradition or sadly taking the best and most earnestly delivered advice.  I'll start by saying that my doc Laurie is much smarter than I am. Amazing, right? Yeah, I know. Not a surprise to me either. I can tell by the big words she uses, the logic in which she delivers them and the general competence which she seems to possess. I'm not even talking about her education and experience.

Of course, the problem is that if I listen to her entirely, I'd have to completely change my general approach to life and the world and I'm not generally competent enough to change my singular approach. Genius is not exactly my forte so better to accept my inaqequacies and drive on.  As I walk into the clinic, I do my best to ignore her only slightlyhidden looks of pity or disdain or both as she laughs at me.  They's not helpful.

"Back again Jack?" She says with a grin.

"Uh huh" ( I say with a sheepish grin).

As I prepare for this next Lost and Confused journey, it starts so simply.  Time for shots, again. Now I should tell you and admit, that I'm not particularly a fan. I know, right?  I have tattoos all over me including sak yat ones which are essentially somebody jabbing at me 10,000 times with a sharp stick. Must be some ridiculous childhood trauma that clings to me like the time I heard the story about the boogeyman when I was six. Nevertheless, I know she's right and this needs to be done. Typical tetanus and more Hep A and B and some other voodoo concoction. Now, I accept these grudgingly but once we figure out what I need, this is where we start to part company.

While waiting for Nurse Ratched to come in with her modern day torture devices, only joking, Doc Laurie hands me a small pamphlet called the Travel Health Companion. I have a bad feeling because I know its likely to include a whole bunch of things that I would be insane to do but have a tendency of doing anyway. I look at her dubiously and try to drown out her suggestions by singing the Girl from Ipanema in my head.  And trust me, the list of do not to do's is longer than I expect. "Tall and tan and lovely . . ."

Apparently, I'm not supposed to eat food on the streets when I travel around the world.  I think about being in the mountain towns of Haiti after the Earthquake and this is about my only option.  I'll take two helpings please.  What about the mystery meat I find in the streets of Northern Thailand?  How about Nan and God knows what in Afghanistan? They all make sense to me.  This ain't going to end. In fact, its usually the best stuff. Just brush the gunk off of it first. Safety first!

How about swimming?  Apparently according to the pamphlet, swimming in dirty disgusting waterways is a bad idea.  Huh?  Really?  Never occurred to me?  She strangely disagrees with my swimming naked in the Nile in South Sudan.  So, the worms and microscopic creatures that will crawl up your johnson or the raw sewage and radioactive material or the 4 meter Crocs aren't good either. She just doesn't understand. This has to happen. Its not my choice. I do it for the children.

And what about the tattoos in strange places administered by highly dubious individuals of questionable repute? I guess this is a bad idea. Who'd a thunk it?  After all, what's not to love about odd strangers stabbing you over and over on a dirty floor?  I don't see a problem. 

Now, this is the final one.  Gun shots and bombs.  Yeah I know. I'm shocked too.  Apparently Doctor Laurie thinks that roadside bombs and people shooting at me is not a good idea and should be avoided.  Weird right? I agree. Makes absolutely no sense to me either.  Why the hell do you think I ended up in war zones in the first place. Damned if I know . . .  

So, as I prepare for this next trip, this time, a little China, Thailand and Cambodia, I have no clue what other of Doctor Laurie's rules that I'm going to break.  Nevertheless, this is how I work. This is how I play. So as I start to ramp up in preparation for this trip, I hope you can join me.  

It promises to be  . . . well, I have no clue what it promises to be. But we will find out together. 

 

Thursday
Jul062017

[AM 950 Minneapolis] July 6th: Will the U.S. Attack North Korea?

I appear on AM 950 on July 6th  at 3:00 p.m. c.s.t.to discuss a really complicated issue, North Korea. During the election, Donald Trump said the issue was easy. It is a lot of things but the one thing it isn't is easy. The reason it is so difficult is because there are no simple answers and the ramifications of making mistakes couldbe millions of dead people. The North Koreans have nucs, probably anywhere from 10 two 20 of them and they have the capability to deliver those nucs to South Korea and Japan.  Further, they have large numbers of conventional weapons and that capability could kill millions.  Of course, the U.S. could turn North Korea into a parking lot with millions of dead people.  However, the North Koreans could respond before they go down in flames.  Talking tough is all well and good but pointless.

This is a question of security for Kim Jong-Un.  Very simply, he is afraid of external forces and internal ones.  Both of which would be more than happy to kill him.  As a result, the question needs to be, what is he trying to accomplish.  We are going to flesh this out today on AM 950.  I'll be on for an hour so this is certainly going to be interesting.  Hope you can catch it.

 

Thursday
Jun222017

[I24 International News] June 22nd: Jack Talks China's Muscular Foreign Policy

What happens when the United States starts to pull back from its traditional role on the world stage. Simply put, you create a vacuum. And frankly, President Trump has created a vacuum in terms of how he has treated traditional allies like Germany, France, Mexico and Australia as well as the UN as a whole as well as NATO.

As importantly, nature hates vacuums and always attempts to fill them.  It is equally true in the political world. As a result, note the shifts from the likes of the Chinese and the Russians to fill those gaps.  Geopolitics is changing dramatically as we speak and the ramificaitons are likely to be huge.  If you don't have a seat at the table, you likely will be left out in the cold. 

 

 

Thursday
Jun222017

[I24 International News] June 22nd: Jack Talks China's Muscular Foreign Policy

I appear on I24 International News on June 22nd. Just travel to Southeast Asia and Chinese influece is obvious. In fact, it is truly ubiquitous.  Travel to Africa and the Chinese are flexing their international muscles almost everywhere.  I recall some years ago being in Juba, South Sudan and the largest hotel in the country was the Beijing Hotel.  One of the reasons was because of the incredible number of Chinese workers working on international projects in the region.  This is true in countries across the continent. Most recently, look at what the Chinese have been doing in Europe.  As President Trump seems to be pulling back from engagement on the world stage, the Chinese have absolutely been filling the vacuum.  Consider, if you aren't at the table, you don't get to dictate terms and negotiate the new world order. China is absolutely at the table when the U.S. seems to be abscent.

I will appear on I24 International News to talk about the ramifications of what this means for the Chinese, for the Americans, and for the world.  Hope you can watch.  

Wednesday
Dec072016

[AM 950 Minneapolis] December 6th: Jack Talks China and Trump's Call with Taiwan Pres.

I appear on AM950 in Mpls at 3:30 pm ct to discuss China & why breaking diplomatic protocols with Taiwan is so massive & why State Dept is apoplectic.  No US President has spoken with a Taiwanese President since 1979.  The was extremely purposeful.  The Chinese have called Taiwan a rogue state and would be willing to take it back by force.  With so many issues on the table like the South China Sea and trade, to simply make this blunder is ridiculous when it beings no political or diplomatic benefit.  So much for art of the deal.

Hope you can listen.