Sunday, April 14, 2024

Berlin, Week Acht!

 Wow, time is flying by.  I have one week in Finland, two weeks of tourism in middle Germany and Northern Italy with Mrs. Spew, and then two weeks left of research and speaking and networking and Berlining. I have really enjoyed my time here, have made significant progress in the project, learned a lot about how Europeans are thinking about Ukraine (haven't had a chance to talk with them about Iran-Israel yet), and eating a lot of great baked goods. 

 The research has been good but not great.  Parliamentarians have been too busy to talk to me, so I am hoping for better luck next winter when I return for another three months.

This was a fun week as I started it having a beer in a beer garden with Erin Koenig, a Canadian diplomat I know via her work as chair of Women in International Security-Canada.  Tis a CDSN partner, so we had much discuss on that as well as comparative Berlin experiences.  And she was a great photographer as she patiently endured my interview on the Canadian defence review for the home crowd.  Had I had more warning about the DPU (I learned it was dropping a day before it dropped), I would have gotten my hair cut.  Shaggy, beer swilling Steve on the CBC


I had a very productive visit to Potsdamn.  The Bundeswehr's Center for Military History and Social Sciences is in a very scenic location, right on the river.  I met with a couple of folks there to discuss future cooperation with the CDSN as we move towards our next big grant application which will focus more onc civil-military relations and will involve international partners more directly and more extensively.   

I had a fun conversation with a Canadian student studying at Hertie about why Canada doesn't produce foreign policy reviews.  Tis is his project, and he guessed right that I might have opinions.  I have interacted with a handful of Hertie students regarding their projects.  They are sharp and engaging and fun--kind of like NPSIA students, as Hertie is the closest thing to NPSIA in Germany.  

I spent my Saturday walking to and from an excellent small Indonesian restaurant.  One of my basic rules of life: if I can find such a place with a good rating, I must go.  And it was pretty terrific.  The walk was great too, as it was a spectacular Berlin spring day.  My only regret was that I discovered a street market too late in the day to enjoy it--it was closing up when I arrived.  So, something to do when Mrs. Spew is town in a couple of weeks.  I walked past some neat murals and a funky park (see pics below).

I am finishing this now as I am about to board my flight from Frankfurt to Helsinki.  It has been one of my best Frankfurt experiences--incoming and outgoing planes eight gates apart, a small coffeeshop with sandwiches in between.  I may start to hate this airport less!  Anyhow, enjoy the rest of your weekend.  Next weekend's post will be about my first trip to Finland since a very short layover going from Leningrad to NYC long ago. 

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