Saturday, May 19, 2012

Stephen Walt has an Important Message for Congress

Nothing to do with Israelis and Palestinians, the Arab Spring, or other continuing crises du jour - unless you're a frequent flyer.  I fly frequently enough for Prof. Walt's request to feel very zeroed in:

Finally, I flew here [to Istanbul]on Turkish Airlines via John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. The flight was fine, but the on-the-ground experience in JFK was one of the more miserable I've had in the past decade. And I couldn't help but wonder -- and not for the first time -- how this affects how non-Americans view the U.S. when they arrive here. So I have the following modest proposal to offer: Every U.S. congressperson should be forced to fly through JFK on their own (i.e., with no staff to help), and to go through the normal TSA procedure (no VIP lines). And then they should be flown to a really first class airport in some foreign country (say, in Singapore, or Munich), so that they can see just how decrepit U.S. transportation infrastructure has become. And a few hours interacting with the Keystone Cops at JFK's TSA checkpoints would be instructive for them too. I'd like them to have those experiences in mind the next time they have to vote on some expensive nation-building project far away.

In the last few years, I've had the chance to fly into - and tour - both Shanghai and Beijing.  I love NYC, but these days, compared to the lights and hi-tech of Shanghai, the Big Apple - and it's truly shabby (Kennedy) airport, along with its TSA quasi-goons who seem to LOVE to order around us poor shmucks who've come to their increasingly less fair city - looks worm-ridden.

So . . . to those Congresspersons who are so ready to send our tax dollars to fund Israel's Maginot Line Iron Dome, . . .  look homeward, angels.

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