Sunday, August 31, 2014

On leadership...

A lot has been said during these last few weeks about our president...and his feckless foreign policy.

A lot.

The "back story":
  • Across the Pacific, the Chinese are "projecting power" with their growing blue water navy, harassing neighboring nations and threatening expansion. The ChiComms are being so aggressive that Vietnam is turning to its old nemesis, Japan, for aid; and Japan, no friend of nuclear weapons, is giving serious thought to changing its constitution to allow its military to have nukes. (The wild North Koreans also figure into the equation.)
  • In Eastern Europe, Vlad Putin is doing his best to restore some bizarro version of old Imperial Russia. First, it was Crimea (now a wholly owned subsidiary of Moscow); and now, Ukraine is seeing its sovereign territory nibbled away...daily. Next up: Lithuania? Can we get a Estonia? Latvia? How about Poland? (And you thought the Cold War had ended.)
  • The worst appears in the guise of a rogue bunch of "non-state actors," who are tearing-up the Middle East and threatening everyone else. Known as ISIL, ISIS or "those bat-sh** crazy bastards," the group (once called the "jayvee" team by President Barack Obama), has now swelled to more than 20,000 strong. Nerves were further rattled when, last week, Obama said he had "no strategy" in place to deal with ISIL/ISIS...a group that has been steadily menacing for close to a year. (Even The Washington Post's editorial board took notice!)

Which brings us to the following. Below is a perfect dissection of the problems at hand...chief among them: a lack of leadership -- on the part of our president.

This piece is by Kevin Elliott, a Bay Area public relations professional who knows a thing or two about leadership, strategy and communication. The White House would be smart to follow his lead(s) here. But then, that's probably expecting waaaaay to much.

The Bliss Index gives you Kevin Elliott:

I've been trolling the news this morning and it is interesting to see how ideology colors pronouncements by various news outlets. Various outlets that are either balanced or conservative in their editorial policy point to the British Prime Minister -- the man with a plan -- as the example of leadership. 

The same outlets reflect the frustration of the nation at the President's announcement that he doesn't have a plan to deal with the growing threat that his defense secretary has called, "unlike anything we've ever seen." 

Enter the other side... The Huffington Post is beside itself that American conservatives are praising David Cameron's no-nonsense tough talk. HuffPo points out that at least we are bombing the terrorists. And then they go on to lament the daily cost of the military action on the Islamic State. 

In Britain, the left opposition is answering Cameron with a call for (wait for it) mandatory programs for deradicalization for young jihadi wanna-bees. Okay, so if some nut wants to run off and fight for the terrorists, the Labor Party wants to send them to a mandatory government program. 


Where is Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill? Okay, at least the British have their clear leader... But why is it wrong for us to ask -- no, demand -- clear and unambiguous leadership? 

President Obama has made his position clear repeatedly. The threats against our country are of our own making, he believes. They are the result of generations of exploitation at home and abroad. He was elected, he believes, to get us out of foreign conflicts and he has declared those wars in the Levant and Afghanistan to be over. 

We will not get a firm, clear word from the White House that we are committed to defeating or destroying the Islamic State. It's not his style and doesn't fit his narrative. So, instead, we will have an election this year...and another in 2016. 

And if anyone doesn't believe that elections have consequences, you need look no further than this week...either here in the US or over in the UK.


Bonus add: Dilbert gets it.