Of Graham and Ghosts

Of Graham and Ghosts

Welcome back, y’all! You might have noticed that bit of southern flair, just a hint of what I’ve been up to this week, after the hustle and bustle of the previous week. Rather than keep you in suspense, I’ll fill you in. I went to see Senator Lindsey Graham speak at the Atlantic Council on Wednesday morning. Now while I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a hundred percent aligned with him in matters of policy, I doubt that there’s any politician in the running to be president who wields his level of southern charm and wit. For example, he responded to an angry person who grabbed the mike during the question-and-answer period by chuckling and saying, “I guess I’ll put her down as undecided.”


I wanted to shake his hand, maybe offer him my business card, but the Senator was whisked out of the conference room before I got the chance. Ah well, easy come, easy go as they say.



But Senator Graham was not the only person I had the fortune to go see speak. On Tuesday, I was privileged enough to witness a panel including the two authors of the novel Ghost Fleet. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, you’ll be filled in. Everyone from the leaders of countries on down are reading this book, a thrilling tale of what World War III might look like. After the talk, the authors, August Cole and Peter Singer were selling and signing copies. I didn’t have enough money to purchase a copy, but when I went up to congratulate the authors and tell them how much I enjoyed the talk, one of them reached behind him and gave me a copy signed by them both! The only caveat is that now I owe them a signed copy of my own book when I write it, so I better get working so I don’t have to hand them some Pokémon story I wrote when I was twelve.



Hearing about, and starting to read, Ghost Fleet got my thinking, and, helped along by a talk about the future of naval warfare by a vice-admiral at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, made me think more about the idea of a career more related to the military. The description of the strategic, logistical, and other challenges that lurk in the twenty-first century excited me in a way that I hadn’t expected. There hasn’t been any kind of life-changing revelation yet, but the possibility definitely intrigues me, whatever form it might take.


Faithful reader, it just goes to show you that, like loose change, inspiration is everywhere, especially in a city like Washington, D.C.!


Ryan’s Recs

Use your resources! The Washington Center provides you with a lot of support. Whether it’s talking to your LEAD or Professional Track advisor about any difficulties you’re encountering or finding a nice, quiet place to study when your roommates want to have a big party, there’s something to be gained. Friends and family back home can provide valuable council and laughter as well, so don’t forget about them just because you’re a big shot intern in the nation’s capital.


When you’re on the subway, read a book! Sometimes you need to pass time on the commute to and from your internship site, but instead of popping in the headphones, pop open a book. Music is a private thing, and headphones tell people not to bother you, and that’s fine some days. But in my experience, you meet some really interesting people by reading a book. Newspapers or magazines will work in a pinch, but the Economist won’t start a conversation like Jurassic Park, The Invisible Man, or Ghost Fleet, three books I saw just this week, will.


Until next time, remember tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.

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