Hapaboy and all, I'm writing this from Chiang Kai-shek International (Tapei). Had a great flight from Bangkok talking with a ex American Infantryman. We are both reading Robert Kaplan's latest book, 'Imperial Grunts'. My new friend is a genuinely well-meaning American, trying to understand the clash of civilisations, the perennial topic of ET. He seems more compromising towards Islamic sentiments that me- and he was stationed in Saudi Arabia- but also understood it, a very reasonable, likeable person. If his character is common in America, then I take it as good sign for USA's culture to prevail for the next century at least.