|The RAND view of NATO, at WVRC on May
PP CHRIS GAYNOR stood in for Prexy TED, who realized after he left his office that his briefcase was still IN the office. So he drafted CHRIS, and except for a bit of nepotism, or whatever it is called, we were in good, if temporary, hands. First up was SEAN McMILLAN, who led the Pledge. In the continued absence of LENNY, PP STEVE SCHERER offered to lead the song, and of course the accompanist was PP JIM DOWNIE. We did America, and PP JIM tells me he slipped in some voice choir material via his keyboard. That's really an amazingly versatile instrument, and it's fun to hear some of the extra melody and sounds that JIM can produce. MICHAEL GINTZ allowed us to sit, and then quoted from "How the World Turns". Based on a total population of one hundred, over half the world is Asian. 30 white, and 70, non-white and the same percentage between Christians and non-Christians. Just six people would own 59% of the entire assets of the world, and all would reside in the U.S. 80% would live in substandard housing, and 70% would be illiterate. Half would suffer from malnutrition, and only l of the 100 would have a college degree. The same number - 1 - would own a computer, and you get the idea - we are indeed a privileged society. MICHAEL, thanks for the reminder of how truly blessed we are.
RAY ZICKFELD introduced a Visiting Rotarian, Iao Katagiri, from the Santa Monica Club- she is in Research. RALPH SMITH came forward to introduce his Special Guest, Morgan Jamger, who is in charge of the Mercedes Benz Tennis Tournament which is coming up shortly at UCLA. Morgan, who is also a softball aficionado, outlined the cast of who will be playing, and then (note paragraph above) offered a prize to whoever could first give the name of last year's winner. Somehow, PP CHRIS managed to blurt out Agasi, which was, of course, correct. But the timing bears some questioning, since CHRIS is a known tennis fan, and it could be imagined that he and Morgan had visited beforehand about this subject. But let it go - CHRIS was there when Prexy TED needed him, and we all know there are often perks that accompany such opportunities…While Morgan offered to answer any questions, someone - was it PP ERIC LOBERG ? - asked if JACK HARRIS would be playing this year, and Morgan appeared to be a bit stumped. Anyway the dates are July 28th through August 3rd, and the Stadium seats only 7700, so all the seats are good. FLOYD DEWHIRST brought along his good friend, Bob Greer PP STEVE SCHERER again introduced his Special Guest, Christ Bradford, and noted that Chris is a true-blue Bruin (which elicited a scattering of applause). LILLIAN KLIEWER was accompanied by her husband, Dr. Karl, and she allowed as how they met at UCLA. Finally, PP GEORGE DEA was welcomed back, after a tough recovery from back surgery.
At this point, Prexy TED once again appeared, and asked if we had missed him. The answers were mixed, of course - TED, such leading questions can get you into all kinds of trouble, OK? However, in fairness, it should also be noted that the audience booed when asked how CHRIS had done - it's a tough group, obviously. On a more serious note, Prexy TED reported that PP RON LYSTER had told him of the recent passing of JOHN QUILICO. JOHN was a forty-year member of WVRC, and we will miss him. RALPH SMITH next gave an update on our forthcoming softball activities. Manhattan Beach will host the Tournament, and Del Amo already has FIFTEEN players signed up. Ralph expects that Culver City will be playing - but he needs to know who among WVRC will be taking the field. Please let him know - after all, establishment of true amateur eligibility takes some research, so get on the phone, OK?
DAVE MATSON outlined an upcoming five-week series, "Upon this Rock: A Roman Catholic / Protestant Bible Study" which will be co-led by William Shaules, a Pastoral Associate at Incarnation Catholic Church. They will meet on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. starting on May 29th, at Westwood Hills Christian Church, and they will present an ecumenical viewpoint on some of the differences between these two major religions. DAVE preceded his announcement by relating the sad story of Louise, a good Catholic girl, who fell is love with Keith, a confirmed Baptist. Urged by her Mother, Louise began to 'sell' Keith on Catholicism - and finally succeeded so well that Keith decided to become a Priest!
Prexy TED called on PETER MORE, asking what he was up to, and PETER allowed as how he and Shirley were heading off to New Zealand for a few days on business, and then proceeding to BRISBANE, site of the R.I. Convention. PP RON LYSTER and Guin will start in Sydney, and then to Brisbane, and they expect to be joined by PP DAVE WHITEHEAD and Karen. TED reminded us that these three, between them, are our club's Techno-Literati. After all, we have PETER MORETECH, LYSTERdotCOM and DIGITAL DAVE - and what are we going to do, back here at home, without them? Prexy TED did provide each of them with a going-away present - a surgical mask, 'just in case'! These gifts produced a certain amount of good-natured kidding, as you might expect. Apparently ANN SAMSON will also be in Brisbane, and our Parkinson's Plus Exercise Program will once again be displayed.
The 11th Annual District Day at the Races will take place at Hollywood Park on June 20th, starting with cocktails and dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets to the Turf Club are included, cost is $50.00, and this is always a well-attended event. YOE was fingered as the source for Reservations, so give me a ring for details, please. RUDY ALVAREZ has landed in Italy, with the Group Study Exchange team, and he is emailing back detailed descriptions of what he is encountering. TED read us just one excerpt from a recent communiqué, and RIUDY really does tell the whole story - tune in, you'll enjoy it! We also had a report of an activity on the 7th of May by our Rotaract Club at UCLA. They visited a downtown Shelter which helps women who need to be protected from their husbands or boyfriends. These unfortunate women are able to stay up to six weeks at the shelter, while they get their lives back together, and the girls from our Rotaract Club spent a couple of hours in the evening with them. This is an example of the kind of community effort Rotaract can provide, and we can certainly be proud of their outreach.
SEAN McMILLAN introduced our Speaker, Thomas Szayna from the Rand Corporation. We were reminded that RAND is not what we generally consider to be a Think Tank - that is, they work with real numbers and real data - they don't just pontificate. Dr Szayna was born in Poland, did his graduate work at UCLA/Claremont, and is a well-known specialist on NATO. He is a Political Scientist, and his research is funded by the U.S. Army. His title is Associate Director of Strategy Doctrine and Research Programs - and SEAN confessed that he didn't really know what that means!
Dr. Szayna began by suggesting that he would discuss the underlying elements of the evolution of NATO, historically, since 9/11, and into the future. It is not as successful as it was before 9/11, yet it did survive after Russia came apart in the late 80's. By the mid 90's, they were wrestling with the question of whether to enlarge or not. NATO became established as an incentive for eastern European countries to join - it represented a kind of acceptance into the 'club'.
After 9/11, the catch phrase was GWOT - that is, the Global War on Terrorism. The U.S. and its foreign outposts were targeted, but Europe felt they were being drawn into this problem against their will. However, 9/11 changed this perception, and the emphasis turned to preemptive and proactive policies. Where does NAT fit into this program? While we think terrorism is the basic problem, they tend to think otherwise. One of the major differences between the U.S. forces and those in Europe is that our equipment is so far advanced over theirs technologically that they simply cannot fight alongside us.
They would like to produce a 20,000 man Rapid Response Team - but they don't spend enough money to provide the necessary equipment. As an example, we spend 3% of our GDP on military programs, and while Europe is asked to spend 2%, they don't come close. Germany provides only l.3% of their overall budget, and that simply won't get the job done. Our lead in technology will only grow, and Britain is probably the only country that can effectively fight alongside us. The rest of Europe will essentially become peacekeepers. Dr. Szayna noted that NATO has over FOUR HUNDRED Committees - so they won't go away, but their relevance will decrease.
Q&A - Prexy TED - Why is NATO important to, say, Rumania and Bulgaria? Because they have deep-seated fears about security, and thus feel they need an alliance with the U.S. SEAN McMILLAN - What are 'niche commitments'? Ah, you have been coached by your son, I see. Since they cannot provide the rapid reaction forces, they will concentrate on lesser duties. PP STEVE SCHERER - Is a strong defense good for business? Our technology lead is overwhelming - our kids grow up with computers, and this gives them a major boost in learning to use our advanced technology. We are a huge economy, and thus we need a huge military force. There doesn't seem to be any way for us to reduce our role. Dr Karl Kliewer - what is our postwar role in Iraq? It will be long term, and we will provide extensive training. PDG ANDY ANDERSON - Do we need as many troops in Europe as we now have? No, but we are having trouble deciding where to locate our overseas forces. Ideally, they should be near seaports, since that will provide their transport to trouble spots. CLARK McQUAY - How many troops are in NATO? Presently nineteen units, with seven more to come - it will grow. Guest Bob Greer - Should we take our troops out of Germany? Yes, they would be more useful in many other countries. YOE - Is NATO headed by a U.S. Officer? Yes, the military side is, but the Europeans do provide civilian leadership.
This is a complex subject, and one we need to know more about. Thanks for starting us down the road to better understanding, Dr. Thomas Szayna.
YOE, Ernie Wolfe