Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Ep 41 Ambassador Jack Maresca: the Unknown Peace Agreement and the Ukraine crisis


Ambassador John “Jack” Maresca with Secretary General of UN Ban Ki-Moon

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Diplomacy, at its best, is the very essence of the notion of Radical Centrism. After all, the ability to see beyond the traditional conventions that so often cause conflict between people and nations in order to pave a path that both sides can walk together is a rare and precious gift. It is the difference between a good diplomat and a great diplomat.


With chaos reigning (and raining) all around, a great diplomat finds ways to think outside the box and create avenues for progress and peace in spite of the chaos. That may have been part of the reason his colleagues affectionately dubbed Ambassador John Maresca "Full Metal Jack".


World War II was sweeping through Europe on that fateful day that young Jack Maresca said what would be a final goodbye to his father along Lago Maggiore in Italy. His mother and American and his father Italian, both had determined that the safest place for Jack was in the United States. That meant, however, leaving behind his father who -as an Italian man - was required to remain in Italy. Since that fateful day, now Ambassador John Maresca has seemingly been destined to play a part in history that was characterized by riding the curl of chaos from Europe to the Urals over the ensuing decades.


In this podcast he brings that knowledge to bear on the current crisis in Ukraine and helps give us some historic perspective, gleaned from his work over the past 6 decades


A significant portion of that time was consumed by the process outlined in his newest book "The Unknown Peace Agreement"

How the Helsinki–Geneva–Vienna–Paris Negotiations of the CSCE Produced the Final Peace Agreement and Concluded World War Two in Europe (Ibidem Press - Columbia University). The book outlines the challenges that he - and his assistant Marie Ivanovic. Faced in trying to negotiate a final peace treaty to end WWII , postponed, first, by the occupation and division of Germany; and later rained on by the dissolution of the USSR.

Ultimately, even all those years later, the signing of a peacy treaty ending WWII in Europe should have been a grand celebration, but the signing of a treaty demands that the parties to that treaty be signatories. The beginning of the process was made possible when the Germany occupation by allied forces ended and Germany was reunified - in theory restoring all of the parties and making a treaty possible. Then, well into the process, the Soviet Union dissolved before our eyes, eliminating a critical party and making a full blown treaty impossible.

Ultimately, the "Joint Declaration" was negotiated carefully, and privately, among the Ambassadors representing the 22 countries which had participated, in one way or another, in World War Two in Europe. The resulting document—the “Joint Declaration” — was signed at the summit level, at the Elysée Palace in Paris, on November 19, 1990. But this “Joint Declaration" never reached the "Treaty" stage because of the dissolution of the Soviet State one year later, making it impossible to include them as a treaty signatory. Indeed, it also was overshadowed at the time by the "Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe" — signed at the same signing ceremony. It has remained largely unnoticed since then. Yet the process that produced both the "Joint Declaration" and paved the way for future efforts by Ambassador Maresca to support the "Emerging States" after the dissolution of the Soviet Union has played a critical role in maintaining a reasonably peaceful world order since then for over 50 years.

Perhaps this book (and - in a small way this Podcast) will play some role in outlining the  important role Jack Maresca and his team have played in establishing the rules of the road by which we have co-existed for more than half a century, despite the recent events in Ukraine.


New Hampshire Poster - Moose in First Snow


The Unknown Peace Agreement

How the Helsinki–Geneva–Vienna–Paris Negotiations of the CSCE Produced the Final Peace Agreement and Concluded World War Two in Europe

John J. Maresca

ibidem Press

The “Joint Declaration of Twenty-two States,” signed in Paris on November 19, 1990 by the Chiefs of State or Government of all the countries which participated in World War Two in Europe, is the closest document we will ever have to a true “peace treaty” concluding World War II in Europe. In his new book, retired United States Ambassador John Maresca, who led the American participation in the negotiations, explains how this document was quietly negotiated following the reunification of Germany and in view of Soviet interest in normalizing their relations with Europe. With the reunification of Germany which had just taken place it was, for the first time since the end of the war, possible to have a formal agreement that the war was over, and the countries concerned were all gathering for a summit-level signing ceremony in Paris. With Gorbachev interested in more positive relations with Europe, and with the formal reunification of Germany, such an agreement was — for the first time — possible. All the leaders coming to the Paris summit had an interest in a formal conclusion to the War, and this gave impetus for the negotiators in Vienna to draft a document intended to normalize relations among them. The Joint Declaration was negotiated carefully, and privately, among the Ambassadors representing the countries which had participated, in one way or another, in World War Two in Europe, and the resulting document—the “Joint Declaration” — was signed, at the summit level, at the Elysée Palace in Paris. But it was overshadowed at the time by the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe — signed at the same signature event — and has remained un-noticed since then.


No one could possibly have foreseen that the USSR would be dissolved about one year later, making it impossible to negotiate a more formal treaty to close World War II in Europe. The “Joint Declaration” thus remains the closest document the world will ever see to a formal “Peace Treaty” concluding World War Two in Europe. It was signed by all the Chiefs of State or Government of all the countries which participated in World War II in Europe.


John J. (“Jack”) Maresca spent a career as an American diplomat and negotiator, after six years as a US Naval Officer. He was the “Chef de Cabinet” for two NATO Secretaries General, and was involved in the CSCE negotiations from the time when NATO was preparing for them in Brussels. He went to Helsinki for the opening round of the CSCE, pursued the negotiations through the first CSCE conference, which was concluded at the summit level in Helsinki, and became the Deputy Head of the United States Delegation. He was then responsible for the State Department office which tracked the follow-up to the Conference and was later named as the Ambassador and Chief of the American delegation when the Conference was reconvened in Vienna to prepare for the second CSCE summit in Paris. He was then designated as a special Ambassadorial envoy to open US relations with the newly independent states after the dissolution of the former USSR and was the first official American visitor to these countries after their independence.

Painted Fungus


Helsinki Revisited
A Key U.S. Negotiatoras Memoirs on the Development of the CSCE into the OSCE
By John J. MarescaAndreas Umland (Series edited by)Hafiz Pashayev (Foreword by)



Who is Vladimir Putin?

John J. Maresca, (US Ambassador, Retired)


So now we know who Vladimir Putin really is.  He has been a somewhat mysterious figure all these years — seen but not really understood — with more secrets than known facts, more enigmatic facial expressions than genuine “looks”.   But now he has defined himself for history; the little bully from the back streets of Leningrad, with the inscrutable face-mask of the KGB agent, has shown us his true character, and how he will be recorded in the coming analyses of our time. 


And it will not be a very positive evaluation.  No — he will surely be known by future students of our time for what he is doing now, for his ruthless, pointless, unscrupulous and irrational destruction of a neighboring state — the very state which gave birth to the idea, and the soul, of Russia -- the “Kievan Rus” of the Middle Ages.  Putin has deliberately chosen an historical role for himself which can only be compared with one previous national figure in Europe: he is Russia's Hitler.  


Why would he choose such a horrific identity for himself? And what glory does he seek — for himself and for the historic view of Russia?  Can he possibly believe that there are benefits which will come from this war?  What could those benefits be, in the midst of this extraordinary cruelty and destruction?  Does he really believe that Russia, and its people, will be happier, stronger, more prosperous, more popular on the world stage — after his horrific invasion of their closest neighbor -- than they were before?  The world is watching with astonishment as proud Russia, under Putin’s dictums, is gradually destroying its closest neighbor and nearest cousin.  Such mass killings and truly wanton destruction has not been seen in Europe since Hitler, so the world must call this invasion what it is, call Putin what he is:  he is the Hitler of our time!  Yes, Vladimir, that is who you are; are you happy now? This is what you have made of your country: you brought proud Russia back to this; down to this!  


One must wonder what is going through Putin’s mind right now, or the minds of his close associates:  do they really believe he is sane?  It is true that the KGB had an appetite for cruelty, but they tended to apply it in great secrecy, while this episode is publicly shocking -- in its scope, in the monumental lies which have surrounded it, and the level of cruelty it reflects.  Could Putin really believe that somehow, after all this, the world will return to normal relations — with him, and with Russia?  Could he possibly think that normal state visits will resume, with handshakes and friendly chats among world leaders, with welcoming ceremonies, smiles-for-the-camera, amusing after-dinner jokes, and flattering toasts? 


But how can that be, how could that possibly be?  There can be no such return.  Not including Putin.  He has reserved a place in history for himself alright — a unique place, alongside Attila the Hun, Hitler, and other monumental murderers.  The battles are one thing — they will conclude at some point, and the world will then count the dead, and analyze what happened.  But the mindless death and destruction will remain — and that will be Putin’s legacy, which the Russian people will have to bear . . . forever. 


John J. Maresca (United States Ambassador, retired)


Ambassador Maresca was sent on a unique mission to open US relations with each of the newly-independent states from the former Soviet Union, after the break-up of the USSR. 

From Wikipedia

Last Light on the Mt. Washington Hotel

Dr. John J. Maresca is an Italian-American diplomat, business leader, and educator. Maresca has held a number of posts in the US government including Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and US Ambassador. He has also founded, led, and contributed to a number of prominent NGOs and private sector companies. He served as Rector of the United Nations mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica until February, 2013.
Early life[edit]

John Maresca has a Doctorate (PhD) in International Relations from Geneva School of Diplomacy & International Relations. Graduated from Yale University and then went on to pursue graduate work at the London School of Economics. Upon graduation, he served in the US military as a naval officer in North Africa and Europe. He then spent 6 years in early assignments as a career diplomat in the US Department of State.
Government career[edit]

Maresca was Chef de Cabinet for two Secretary Generals of NATO, Manlio Brosio and Joseph Luns, in Brussels.

From 1978 to 1985, Maresca held a number of senior posts within the US Department of State. He was Deputy Head of the US Delegation for the Negotiation of the Helsinki Final Act, Head of NATO Political Affairs, Director of Western European Relations, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy Paris.

From 1986-1989, Maresca served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO at the US Department of Defense in Washington. He was responsible for all US military activities in Europe, including participation in NATO, US bases, and military relations with the USSR and the Warsaw Pact.

In 1989, Maresca was appointed Ambassador and Chairman of the United States Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).[1] In this role he was the principal architect of the agreements which formally ended the Cold War and established new institutions for the post-Cold War era, the "Charter of Paris for a New Europe," and the "Joint Declaration of Twenty-Two States," both signed by the heads of State of 33 countries at the Paris Summit of 1990.

In 1992, he was appointed United States Ambassador and Special Representative for mediation of the conflicts in Cyprus and Nagorno Karabakh. In this role, Maresca was responsible for helping to create the so-called "Minsk Group," which since 1992 has been the basic forum for negotiation of a peaceful settlement of the N-K conflict. Following this post Maresca was appointed Ambassador and Special Envoy to open United States relations with the newly independent states of Central Asia and the Caucasus. He helped to establish the principle that the newly independent States from the former USSR were entitled to membership in the OSCE, thus giving them their first direct link with Europe and North America.
Post-Government Activities[edit]

Dr. Maresca was a Guest Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington from 1994-1995.

After his tenure at USIP, he spent one year as President at the Open Media Research Institute (OMRI) in Prague.

From 1997-99, Maresca Served as Vice President for International Relations, Union Oil of California (Unocal) where he created a single, company-wide corporate social responsibility program which directed millions of dollars toward constructive charitable objectives to countries in need.

In 1999, Dr. Maresca founded the Business-Humanitarian Forum (BHF) in Geneva, Switzerland. BHF is devoted to encouraging business engagement in sustainable development, and developing public-private sector projects in post-conflict and very poor countries of Asia, Africa and Southeastern Europe. And he worked as a Rector in ADA.

University for Peace[edit]

In 2007 Dr. Maresca was appointed Rector of the University for Peace, and served as such until February, 2013. Headquartered in Costa Rica, the United Nations-mandated University for Peace was established in December 1980 as a Treaty Organization by the UN General Assembly. As determined in the Charter of the University, the mission of the University for Peace is: "to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence, to stimulate cooperation among peoples and to help lessen obstacles and threats to world peace and progress, in keeping with the noble aspirations proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations".

Ambassador Maresca has served and currently serves on a number of boards including the American University of Paris; International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX); Search for Common Ground; National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR); Women and Public Policy Program, Kennedy School, Harvard University; Humanitarian Affairs Review; Commission for Security and Cooperation in the Persian Gulf; American-Iranian Council (AIC); Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of the Armed Forces (DCAF); AIG Silk Road Fund; ISO Senior Advisory Group on Corporate Responsibility; Commission on Business in Society of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); OECD Secretary General's Round Table on Corporate Social Responsibility.

Books: "To Helsinki," Duke University Press, 1985, second edition and paperback edition, 1987; "The End of the Cold War," Stanford University, 1995; "Helsinki Revisited: A Key U.S. Negotiator's Memoirs on the Development of the CSCE into the OSCE", ibidem Press, 2016; "The Unknown Peace Agreement. How the Helsinki–Geneva–Vienna–Paris Negotiations of the CSCE Produced the Final Peace Agreement and Concluded World War Two in Europe" ibidem Press 2022.

Articles: A considerable number of articles on international relations, which were published in distinguished dailies and quarterly magazines

Fiction: "The Russian Operation", Edition Noema
External links[edit]

Business-Humanitarian Forum (BHF)

United Nations mandated University for Peace (UPEACE)

^ "Interview with Maresca in Azerbaijan International". Retrieved 11 July 2010.


Authority control







National libraries

France (data)


United States




Social Networks and Archival Context

SUDOC (France)



American diplomats

American people of Italian descent

Living people

Yale University alumni

Alumni of the London School of Economics

United States Department of State officials

United States Department of Defense officials

Panted Skies over Lake Umbagog

Guardian of the Mahoosucs

Ice, Snow and Stone

Pale Lilies in a Platinum Storm

Thirteen Mile Woods Poster

Thursday, March 24, 2022

40 Going Deeper - Chris Kriesen Releases New Game Designed to Deepen Relationships & Build Bridges

 Going Deeper - Chris Kriesen Releases New Game Designed to Build Bridges and Deepen Relationships


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Kindred is an old school way to help address a very modern set of challenges.


When attorney Christopher Kriesen started his law firm Kalon in 2017 he wanted to found a different kind of law firm; one that was built around his vision of a better way to practice law, serve clients, and promote social good through entrepreneurship. Today, he leads the firm and serves as the ethics officer. He is also the founder of Cyrano, a story consultancy.


Kriesen has tried cases in State and Federal Court, has argued appeals before Connecticut’s Appellate and Supreme Courts, and has helped prepare amicus briefs on issues raising cases of first impression before the Supreme Court.


He is a trained mediator (Harvard Law School, Advanced Mediation Workshop, Program on Negotiation and the Quinnipiac School of Law Center on Dispute Resolution). He serves as an Attorney Trial Referee, Fact Finder, and Arbitrator in the Hartford Superior Court.

But his newest venture “Kindred” is quite a different approach to the same set of problems: Enhancing communication, building bridges, deepening relationships. Kindred is an experience, a game with social aims and a social message. Despite the wrapping, underneath we are all very much alike and if we share deeply enough with one another that will become clear and open up whole new avenues of communication and community.

Refreshingly, especially for those who are longing for more human interaction, it is not an app and does not require one nanowatt of electricity to play. In fact, one of the rules of the game is a simple command “Cellphones Off”!  Kindred comes as a deck of cards, perfect for your backpack or your back pocket and convenient for whatever venue you choose.

Knowing Chris, I presumed that both the name and the purpose of this game were very intentional and I was not disappointed. 

If you've been drinking from the firehose of bad news and dystopia that most of us have faced, this game sounds like a great way to get people communicating with one another again.

No APP, no phones, Just communication, pure and simple . . .  and perhaps some real community building in the process.

Kindred is a group experience 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Episode 39 In the Footsteps of Abbey, Muir, and Whitman - Tom Wessels

Tom Wessels

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Tom Wessels is a national treasure. In years to come I believe he will be remembered among the most important environmental and civil leaders of our generation. It's interesting that for someone for whom evolution, natural selection, and succession became the (early) hallmarks of his professional life it all began at an early age when he would escape to a nearby 70 acre forest for his own personal peace and evolved from an almost therapeutic and innate understanding of the natural world to a deeper understanding of our social and civic relationships.

As a generalist, with a deep understanding of natural ecosystems, ranging from biological -both plant and animal - to geologic, Tom calls himself a terrestrial ecologist.

Today he is professor emeritus at Antioch University New England where he founded the master’s degree program in Conservation Biology. With interests in forest, desert, arctic, and alpine ecosystems, plus geomorphology, evolutionary ecology, complex systems science, and the interface of landscape , culture, and economy. He has conducted workshops on ecology and sustainability throughout the country for over three decades and he is the author of numerous books among them: Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England, Granite, Fire and Fog: The Natural and Cultural History of Acadia, Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape, Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England, The Myth of Progress, New England's Roadside Ecology: Explore 30 of the Region's Unique Natural Areas, among others.

I caught up with Tom in order to speak with him about some of our mutual interests and present this episode of The Radical Centrist to you as both an introduction to Tom for those who don't know him as well as a call to arms for reimagining our story as humans and communities.

Lone Steer in a Painted Landscape

Squam Waterlilies

Wind on the Rail Trail

To Restory America (Tom Wessels) - Part 1

Oct 14, 2008

Tom Wessels, core faculty in the Antioch University New England Department of Environmental Studies, spoke about the need to reclaim the story the nation's founders told about the kind of country the United States should be. The story has shifted from thrift and community to consumption and the individual. The myriad problems we face today cannot truly begin to be addressed until we frame the story differently. (part 1 of 3)

To Restory America (Tom Wessels) - Part 2

To Restory America (Tom Wessels) - Part 3

Tom Wessels: Self-organization, Co-evolution, Resiliency, and Stability

Tom Wessels: Post-doom with Michael Dowd

Tom Wessels: Self-organization, Co-evolution, Resiliency, and Stability

Books by Tom Wessels

Tom Wessels

Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England


Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape by Tom Wessels - New - 0881509183 by Norton & Company, Incorporated, W. W. |


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Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape


Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England by Tom Wessels - New - 0881504203 by Norton & Company, Incorporated, W. W. |


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Granite Landscape : A Natural History of America's Mountain Domes, from Acadia to Yosemite by Tom Wessels



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Thomas Wessels - Antioch University › faculty › thomas-wessels

Tom Wessels is a terrestrial ecologist and professor emeritus at Antioch University New England where he founded the master's degree program in Conservation ...

Tom Wessels - Wikipedia › wiki › Tom_Wessels

Tom Wessels (born 1951) is an American terrestrial ecologist working as a professor at Antioch University New England in the Department of Environmental ...

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Tom Wessels: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle › Tom-Wessels

Tom Wessels, an ecologist, naturalist, and avid hiker, attributes the park's popularity—and its unusual beauty—to the unique way in which earth, air, fire, and ...




New England's Roadside Ecology with Tom Wessels



Tom Wessels: Reading the Forested Landscape, Part 1

YouTube · New England Forests

Jul 3, 2018

10 key moments in this video



Tom Wessels: Reading the Forested Landscape, Part 2

YouTube · New England Forests

Jul 3, 2018



Tom Wessels: Reading the Forested Landscape, Part 3

YouTube · New England Forests

Jul 3, 2018

Tom Wessels


1951 (age 70–71)

Academic background


University of New Hampshire (BS)

University of Colorado (MA)

Academic work





Conservation biology



Antioch University New England

Windham College

The Putney School

Rainforest Alliance

Tom Wessels (born 1951) is an American terrestrial ecologist working as a professor at Antioch University New England in the Department of Environmental Studies, where he founded a master's program in conservation biology. He is the author of five books and is an active environmentalist.




2.1Social commentary



5External links


Wessels earned a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Arts in ecology at the University of Colorado.


Wessels went directly into academia, beginning with a post at the now-defunct Windham College in Putney, Vermont. In 1978, he became an adjunct faculty member at Antioch University New England and was instrumental in developing numerous courses in Environmental Studies Department. He became a tenured faculty member at Antioch in 2000.

In addition to teaching at Antioch, Wessels has traveled on expedition to Iceland with Haraldur Sigurdsson. He chaired the Science department for ten years at The Putney School, a boarding high school in Putney, Vermont. He served as the chair of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, a foundation that provides grants and fellowships to promote environmental leadership. Since 1995 he has served as an ecological consultant for the Rainforest Alliance SmartWood Program in the Northeastern United States.

Social commentary[edit]

In his 2006 book The Myth of Progress, Wessels asserts that the aspiration to sustain indefinite exponential economic growth is an impossibility on the grounds that it violates three scientific principles: the limits to growth, the second law of thermodynamics and the law of self organization. An updated edition was published in 2013, with expanded discussion relating to the global financial crisis of 2008.


Gardner, Blake and Tom Wessels. Untamed Vermont (Thistle Hill Publications, 2003). ISBN 0-9705511-2-6

Wessels, Thomas. New England's Roadside Ecology: Explore 30 of the Region's Unique Natural Areas (Timber Press, 2021). ISBN 978-1-64326-009-9

Wessels, Tom. Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England (The Countryman Press, 1997). ISBN 0-88150-378-9

Wessels, Tom. The Granite Landscape: A Natural History of America's Mountain Domes, From Acadia to Yosemite (The Countryman Press, 2001). ISBN 0-88150-429-7

Wessels, Tom. The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future (University of Vermont Press, 2006). ISBN 1-58465-495-3

Wessels, Tom. "Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape" (The Countryman Press, 2010). ISBN 0-88150-918-3


Moose Dung Gazette: ESSP Attends Tom Wessels’ Talk

Unity College Keynote Speaker

University Press of New England site for The Myth of Progress

Wessels' Antioch University New England website

Wessels' Bio
on Medomak Camp website

External links[edit]

Medomak Camp

Rainforest Alliance SmartWood Program

Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation

Whole Terrain
link to Wessels' articles published in Whole Terrain

Simply Complex Systems | Tom Wessels | TEDxWindham

Thursday, March 10, 2022

EP 38 Ukraine, Russia and Putin: Perspectives from a Park Bench in Vermont


Ukraine, Russia and Putin: Perspectives from a Park Bench in Vermont

Though he is modest and self-effacing "friend of the Pod" V. Michael Hutchings has forgotten more historical information than most so-called experts can remember. 

I caught up with him this week to get his perspective on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its implications for all of us.

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The Curious Trio

Burro Rider - Puerta Vallarta, Mexico

Ironing Adds Color to a Room

The Fountain of Life

The Painted Rhodie

Oak Rhodie Panorama

Egret Glow

A Ripple of Hope