The many horrible conflicts around the world that the Times reports about have one common link: stupid, selfish, dishonest, and cowardly leadership. Whether the current leaders are tribal warlords seeking to fund their Swiss bank accounts, ideologues, or heads of organized states currently embroiled in wars, these men (all are men) understand or care little about the people and regions they supposedly "lead," much less their enemies. The al-Malikis,Netanyahus, and their counterparts  lack the greatness of spirit to rise above their selfish concerns. Until the suffering citizens of their states have the good fortune to find greater leaders, like Mandela and deKlerk, or Kagame, the misery will continue. 

It will also continue unless good leaders retain continuing support. Obama, for example, has been hampered, even blamed, because of fanatical Republican opposition and incompetent DemocratIc politicians AND VOTERS. He is a good leader with no adequate counterpart.

1 comment:

  1. I essentially agree with all this except for the last paragraph, of course. I also believe it's unfair to lump Netanyahu in with the killer warlords you speak of. Like his policies or not, he's head of a functioning democracy and subject to the collective will of his people. Israel's paranoia in my opinion reflects a survival instinct and not an ugly will to power.

    As for our own President, as you know, I didn't vote for him but respected him when he came into office. I have since lost much of that respect. I continue to regard him as the most gifted politician of our era, but now see him as inadequate to the task of leading an important nation locked as we are in a tangle of crises. I also consider it delusional thinking to image that he would somehow have our problems well in hand if only he could be shorn of those "fanatical Republicans". Given untrammeled power, Mr. Obama would go from being an inadequate leader to becoming a disastrous one. That, of course, applies to all leaders in my opinion.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I continue to see little leadership on the Republican side either. Their intransigence is real but reflects and is aggravated by intransigence on the other side. One of the secrets to Mr. Obama's political success is his ability to project a reasonable, nice-guy persona that covers up a fairly simplistic and doctrinaire grasp of economic and political realities. The press, already generally biased in his favor, picks up on the posture and largely gives him a pass. He seems largely disinterested in the process of negotiation. This problem has been evident for some time in his handling of domestic policy and unfortunately is now showing up in our approach to foreign affairs as well.

    I hope I'm wrong about this, but I sense our two-party system may be in the process breaking down. I worry about who might come crawling out of the woodwork in the years ahead.