The End of the Liberal World Order?

Don Menzel

“America,” former Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, in his later years proclaimed, “is the locomotive at the head of mankind, and the rest of the world the caboose.” The new liberal world order fashioned together after WWII was the “rules-based order” led by the United States. The alternative, Acheson believed, is an international jungle with no “rules, no umpire, no prizes for good boys.” Does Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military incursion into Ukraine signal a return to the jungle and an end to the liberal world order? View more

The Ukraine Invasions

As we write this, the actual invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s forces is ongoing. Whether that stage of the “war” will be over by the time we publish is something we don’t know. Whether it is or not, conflict will certainly continue. But war and conflict aren’t new to the Ukraine, as you know from your own memory of “history”.  OLLI members have an edge on the general public in that we’re old enough to have lived some of the history that they only read about on the Web.

We have two articles today. They were written separately, but we think they fit together well. 
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A Leap of Faith Helped Soviet Émigrés

Diane Henrikson Russell

Watching the news coverage of refugees fleeing Ukraine during the Russian invasion brought me back to 1980, when a leap of faith helped a family to emigrate from the USSR. Here is how it all began.

A middle-aged, well-dressed man approached us outside of a Tbilisi museum in February 1980. We were wary as he said, “Hello,” in English.

My first husband and I were in Tbilisi, Georgia as part of the (more…)

America’s Fragile Democracy

Don Menzel

America is a 245-year-old experiment in democratic governance that is in grave danger of vanishing from the globe. Oh, you say, why are you so pessimistic? It never, ever occurred to me that I would see in my lifetime so much ill-will and downright ignorance embraced by millions of Americans. And then, as I began to ponder why so many Americans had reached this point, an “aha” moment struck me. Perhaps the stars had aligned to cast such a dark shadow.

Let’s begin with our fading civic culture, the social glue of trust that is essential for living with one another, add (More…)

Teaching and Learning in Retirement

Don Menzel

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I retired at age 64+, moved to Tampa, bought a new fishing/leisure boat, went to fishing school three times (was a slow learner), and worked on publishing articles and books in my field, primarily ethics in government. Meanwhile, Kay began teaching in the USF OLLI program for seniors. Two years later she convinced the program coordinator to invite me to deliver a few lectures to seniors. That kicked off ten years and 27 classes of learning with seniors. Wow! What an experience.

Seniors who want to learn about new subjects or engage in stimulating exchanges are a delight, with one exception:   (More…)

Political Discussion at OLLI

Unlike Congress and much of the media, OLLI members can discuss politics without losing their tempers.  Classes on contemporary politics as well as P-SIG, our Politics Shared Interest Group (SIG) offer us lots of opportunities to listen, to think, to learn, to discuss, and to enlarge our political views.

Let’s drop in for a few moments on a P-SIG meeting and discussion that took place just before the 2018 congressional elections.  (More…)