As an intern at The Heritage Foundation, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to see and hear a number of congressmen and Senators, but one of the first, and by far my favorite such occasion, was an event with Senator Rand Paul on 6 February 2013 entitled “Restoring The Founder’s Vision Of Foreign Policy” in which Senator Paul discussed the rise of Islamic radicalism and his containment policy regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. Aside from my own background research I did in regards to Heritage’s and other’s studies of Iran before and after the event itself, I found Sen. Paul’s application of George Kennan’s early Cold War policies, namely containment, applied to a modern and, forgive my pun, radically different geopolitical foe than the former Soviet Union very interesting, to say the least.
My second favorite event I attended during my tenure at the think tank, which was as head and shoulders above the rest as the Senator’s was above this one, was an annual lecture on 20 March 2013 entitled “The Enduring Legacy Of America’s Commitment To Asia” with an address from Representative Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Committee On Foreign Affairs, and, as you might expect, the major topic at issue was U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific region. A course I took on the Politics Of East Asia last semester only served to highlight the dynamic evolution in Asia. However, the trade driven development seems more and more to be slowly but surely leading to nationalism on both sides of the ocean, which makes for a much less peaceful Pacific, but, interestingly enough, Representative Royce points toward the failure of America’s North Korea policy as the cause of an even greater threat than nationalism itself. Certain aspects of his solutions for continuing to build trade relationships we have been constructing for generations is a bigger role in India, trade and investment in Taiwan and dealing the rise of China better than we have dealt with N. Korea.
I can say with confidence that I learned a lot of new information and am now able to better process old information just for attending these events and others, and I would strongly encourage anyone and everyone with the opportunity to do so to get out into the District and hear these great thinkers speak if your goal is, like mine, to continually grow your knowledge of the world Washington helps shape every day.