Harvard-NY Prison, Kennedy-Khrushchev and Obama-Putin

What do these three disparate phrases have in common? Consider these two historical facts.

June 4, 1961. Vienna, Austria. (NYT)

Kennedy’s assessment of his own performance was no less severe. Only a few minutes after parting with Khrushchev, Kennedy, a World War II veteran, told James Reston of The New York Times that the summit meeting had been the “roughest thing in my life.” Kennedy went on: “He just beat the hell out of me. I’ve got a terrible problem if he thinks I’m inexperienced and have no guts. Until we remove those ideas we won’t get anywhere with him.”

October 7, 2015. Napanoch, NY (The Guardian)

Months after winning a national title, Harvard’s debate team has fallen to a group of New York prison inmates.

The showdown took place at the Eastern correctional facility in New York, a maximum-security prison where convicts can take courses taught by faculty from nearby Bard College, and where inmates have formed a popular debate club. Last month they invited the Ivy League undergraduates and this year’s national debate champions over for a friendly competition.

In light of the above two facts, consider this outcome.

October 9, 2015. Washington DC (Bloomberg)

White House Is Weighing a Syria Retreat

A week into Russia’s military intervention in Syria, some top White House advisers and National Security Council staffers are trying to persuade President Barack Obama to scale back U.S. engagement there, to focus on lessening the violence and, for now, to give up on toppling the Syrian regime.

Summary: It doesn’t matter which Ivy League university you went to or the colour of your skin, thugs using street smarts will beat you up both physically and intellectually. .