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Obama’s Letters and Trump’s Delusions

15 4 1

TOKYO – When was the last time you sat down and wrote a letter? I don’t mean an email or a text message; nor would I count a dictated message to a machine or a personal assistant. No, I mean an old-fashioned “Dear Donald” or “Dear Hillary” letter.

Oct 22, 2018 Richard N. Haass worries that North Korea is receiving much more than it is giving in denuclearization talks.

The reason I ask is that 65,000 people actually did write such letters to Barack Obama every week when he was serving as president of the United States. According to a recent feature in The Guardian, a team of White House staffers would select ten letters each day to pass along to the president, who would then respond to them personally that evening.

Was this nightly ritual a waste of time for the most powerful leader in the world? One might think that Obama would have been better served reading policy briefs on Syria or on the implementation of health-care reform. No doubt, he read those, too. But I suspect that he realized the value of a daily encounter with voters. His ritual was a partial solution to a fundamental problem that all political leaders face: keeping in touch with........

© Project Syndicate