It’s been a sobering couple of days attending a conference with discussions about the political, economic, and military challenges facing the world today, including but certainly not limited to the war in Ukraine; Russia’s volatile leader; tensions with China on many levels but particularly over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait; economic uncertainty everywhere one looks; and important elections scheduled or expected in Germany, India, Mexico, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and of course, here in the U.S.

Roughly two-thirds of the four dozen attendees were Americans, the rest mostly from Europe and to a lesser extent Latin America. The group, made up of former senior-level government officials from our Treasury, State, and Defense departments, trade officials and central bankers, along with their counterparts from Europe and Latin America, and the prerequisite economists, foreign policy and trade experts, investment bankers, and other business leaders, held a vast knowledge and understanding of the world and its challenges. In other words, these were serious people talking about serious issues, a combination one sees less and less in Washington and, for that matter, in state

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