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Happy Dog Takes on the World

Our event for Tuesday, June 6th, was a "Happy Dog Takes on the World" discussion that took place, of course, at the Happy Dog on 58th Street and Detroit Avenue in Cleveland.

The topic for the evening concerned President Trump's recent trip abroad and implications indicating a new direction in foreign policy which was addressed via a panel discussion in which the participants were:

***Dr. Kathryn Lavelle, Ph.D., Ellen and Dixon Long Professor in World Affairs at CWRU

***Dr. Michael Scharf, J.D., Dean and Director of the Frederick K. Cox International Center; Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Professor of Law at CWRU School of Law

***Dr. Milena Sterio, J.D., Professor of Law & Associate Dean for Academic Enrichment, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

While we were having our usual veggie dog with all kinds of toppings (mushrooms, sauerkraut, onions, an egg, etc.) and tater tots (just couldn't say no) we shared a table and enjoyed visiting with Dr. Lavelle and Dr. Scharf. Before the discussion started, we introduced ourselves to Mr. Gary Sexton of WYSU-FM a public radio station in Youngstown who hadn't been to a "Happy Dog Takes on the World" event before. We talked to him for a moment about Ohio State Senator Joe Schiavoni's presentation at the City Club about two weeks ago. We went on to share with him that we like these Happy Dog gatherings because they are an enjoyable way of obtaining important information on world developments.

During the discussion, the panelists talked about Trump administration's departure from traditional U.S. foreign policy trends such as the withdrawal from the Paris Accord pertaining to climate change; indications that the U.S. will not contribute as much to the funding of NATO as it traditionally has done; and that a country's human rights record (within its own borders) might not be as important a factor as it has been in determining who our allies are; the possible dramatic overhaul of free trade agreements such as NAFTA; and our relations with Russia via President Trump's questionable dealings with Vladimir Putin. In addition, the mixed signals sent out by the Syrian bombing were explored.  

Just as we are, the panel was very troubled by all of the above; not only for the future of U.S. foreign relations but for the other countries who are affected by them. Along these lines, an item that was quite disturbing for everyone at the Happy Dog was that there are more vacancies to be filled for senior staff positions in the U.S. State Department than any time since the administration of George Washington.

Inclinations that were brought up which we found interesting was the emergence of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany as an outstanding human rights leader and that President Emmanuel Macron of France is very much a rising star and destined to be a powerful force on at least the European, if not the world scene and certainly not one afraid to challenge President Trump at appropriate moments.

Naturally we asked if the Trump Administration's controversial attitude regarding immigration might be giving people in other countries second thoughts about coming here to resettle or to stay for an extended length of time. In terms of international students, all three professors very much believed that it did based upon studies and/or what they have personally witnessed.

It was said, though, that Chinese students are breathing easier because they were afraid that their own government might call them home should a trade war with the U.S. be declared but now it doesn't look like this will happen.

And, then, on the other hand, the "pocketbook" was a said to be a major determinant on where a person chooses to live and with our unemployment rate so low the U.S. looks quite attractive now to international people regardless of the policies, tweets, and utterances of the U.S. President.

To conclude, let us remind our readers that all of the "Happy Dog Takes on the World" occurrences including this one have been faithfully and effectively moderated by Mr. Tony Ganzer, WCPN host/producer. When Mr. Dan Moulthrop, City Club President and CEO who introduced the program, pointed this out, Mr. Ganzer received a hearty round of applause so he smiled in appreciation and said that was glad to have been paid by "hot dogs and tater tots" just as we would have been.


Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

Kwasi Bediako