Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Center of the Pentagon

This semester is zooming by. In about a week in a half, I'll be half done. Weird.

I spent my Monday coming home from Dickinson. Now I have heard a lot of horrible stories about Greyhound buses but my ride, while a bit too expensive, was actually pretty smooth. The Greyhound bus station is less than a block and a half away from where I live, so it's a pretty good deal.

Tuesday I met Kwaku Aning, one of the six Deputy Director-Generals of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency, very relevant in the news). He spoke very good English, and demonstrated that the IAEA wants to expand its mission. While still being the international expert in nuclear safeguards and technology, he presented a vision where the IAEA helps agriculture, medicine, and other trades internationally through technical diffusion. He had some basic talking points, but was pretty consistent throughout his presentation.

Mr. Aning

On Wednesday I worked a half day and went to a tour of the Pentagon! Just so you know, the structure of the building is massive. Now I thought State had a big building. But the Pentagon has enough square footage wide than the Empire State Building is tall. Go figure that. The visitors entrance used to be a long escalator down to the metro stop, but since 9/11 they closed it up and built a lobby with quilts honoring those who died that day. While the tour was short, it was pretty cool. They took us through the shops (there is a Best Buy inside of the Pentagon, not kidding), and into the central courtyard. Back in the day, the Soviets would use satellite imagery to spy over D.C. (which everyone still does), and were really freaked out about the center of the Pentagon courtyard. To imagery back then, the building in the center looked like a top of a missile silo. So in the worst case scenario of an all out war, the Soviets though that if they hit the center of the Pentagon it would explode the silo.


In the center is a cafe, fitted with a Sbarros and another chain restaurant. So much for missiles. In addition, they took us to the part of the Pentagon where the airplane hit, and the memorial chapel. Pretty powerful stuff. It was very interesting to be inside the building, and was a great experience.

Secretary Hillsberg giving a Press briefing

Thursday afternoon my adviser, Prof. Wolff came to visit me at State. From what I can tell, he had a great time. We spoke with my supervisors which were happy with the work I was doing (WOOOO!) and I took him on a mini tour while discussing my research paper proposal. Here is my topic:

In the past decade, U.S. engagement in multilateral international institutions have served to further our global  interests. Due to successes in the UPU, WIPO, ICAO, IMO, and UNEP, the U.S. should continue to be involved in these institutions to further steer the world agenda in the path of U.S. interests.

I am working on the language and presentation of the thesis, but that's the overview of it. My paper will include four organizations, so one will be cut out. A lot of research ahead of me.

On Friday I attended and IAEA policy discussion on Governance and Reform. I was rather interesting to see critiques of the agency and also new studies showing possible linkages of Technological Cooperation and desire for a nuclear weapons programs. It was attended by U.S. Government Officials from all departments as well as a lot of State people.

This weekend met up with some State Dept interns. We had a great time getting to know eachother and its never bad to make connections. I saw Keystone alum Dan Owins '09 and went to see Act of Valor. I strongly recommend it, a very cool, engaging, revealing movie into what goes on inside a SEALs unit and how special forces work. Its also based on true acts.

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