I listened to Lee Hamilton speak at the UGA Chapel today about what the United States should do with its power. He is a former Congressman from Indiana, and he has been on the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group. He wasn't just another boring old lecturer; he knew how to give a speech. I guess that's why he got elected for 34 years. Anyway, he spoke passionately and sometimes decrescendoed to provide transition. His views seem pretty moderate. For instance, he said that although our country is justified in taking unilateral action to respond to dire threats, we generally should seek help from allies to accomplish our goals around the world. He said that the U.S. is the most powerful country but not powerful enough to bend the world to its will. He likened international relations to representation in Congress: he suggested that the U.S., like a Congressman to a constituent whose problem he cannot promise to fix, should tell other countries that we want to help them although we cannot fix every problem around the world. He said that our biggest issue is weapons of mass destruction, but diplomacy must be pursued with our enemies.
Hamilton summarized his advice with something to this effect: "We should be idealists without illusions and pragmatists with vision."
There was quite a bit of clapping. Let me just share a pointer on clapping: If you're one of those people who can make very loud, percussive claps -- the kind that stand out from the bleachers at a baseball field, sounding like a hammer rather than just a pair of hands -- please temper your enthusiasm when you are indoors and close to other people's eardrums. Use your "indoor" clap at lectures.
I looked for a quick lunch before going to the lecture. I was going to eat one of those instant Cup Noodles things, but I looked at the Nutrition Facts label for the sodium content because I know that's an issue with that product. OK, it had a four-digit number. You should not have over a gram of sodium with a small portion of food. I ate a sandwich instead. Do servings of Cup Noodles raise your blood pressure within, like, an hour? Because I feel weird after I eat those things.