LEADING FROM BEHIND–THE ADVISOR
The Advisor was thinking about how forceful he could be in advising President Obama. The subject for his next visit would be the consequences in foreign policy of leading from behind. The President wasn’t a stupid or a cruel man. He was just a man who carried an enormous amount of baggage.
Could anyone walk away from the influences he was subject to in his earlier life? the advisor thought. Some he was personally responsible for, others he had no real choice. Parents from far to the left, several years in a Muslim Madrassi teaching Wahhabism. His father, an anti-colonialist Kenyan, whose family had been persecuted by the British Colonialists. For most of his formidable years he was exposed to radical leftist ideologies. Then, the influence of Ivy League progressives, Saul Alinsky and his radical plan for seizing power, Reverend Wright and his hate America sermons, William Ayers and his terrorist viewpoint and to top it off the ruthless and corrupt school of Chicago politics. The President never personally suffered from his associations and ideology. Therefore, he has no understanding of the consequences of following a revolutionary ideology. It is probably too late now but I must try. I will never knowingly give him bad advice or try to manipulate him. My mission code does not allow it. After all, he was elected twice and could probably win a third term if it were permitted.
The advisor’s musing is interrupted when the flashing red light and soft chiming called him to the phone.
The President arrived a few minutes later at nine o’clock PM. The President strode into the room, greeted the advisor and said, “Let’s get started. I have some extra time and need a cup of your coffee.”
“Mr. President, you look like a man who doesn’t have a care in the world.”
“Today was good day. No one was asking me to do the impossible. Why do my supporters and staff think I should get involved in everything?”
“You are the ‘point of the spear.’ They count on you to give them what they want without understanding that doing nothing is also, at times, a good action plan. There, a perfect opening for my talk. Remember, you told me to pick the topic. So I’m going to talk about the concept of leading from behind. Please interrupt at any time. I’m going to use foreign affairs as a backdrop for my advice.
“You are in the fifth year of your Presidency. That is long enough for you to own America’s position in the world. You will not like some of my statements. But I will assure you, the the facts are correct. My analysis may be faulty because I project it into the future where no one can be absolutely sure they are right. First our main adversary, Russia. They are stronger now than they were before your election. Today their fleet is in the Mediterranean, something that was inconceivable in the last several decades. They have nearly secured a warm water port in the Med, a Russian goal going back to the czars. They failed in Afghanistan to find a corridor to warm water. Russia’s ability to project power has been limited for centuries because they lacked a port with year round operations capability. The Syrian port of Tartous is the payoff for their support to Assad. Sure, they enjoy threatening American and Israeli interests in the Middle East, but Tartous is the real goal.
“To see more clearly the Russian move into the Middle East, imagine a monopoly game where the winner gains areas of influence and the losers, well, lose. You failed to negotiate a status of forces agreement in Iraq where it was in no one’s interest for the U.S. to abandon the country. Certainly sectarian violence would be lessened if we had a seat at the table. Iran could not supply Syria forces through or over Iraq. Iran could not threaten Iraq if we had maintained a presence in Iraq. Iran would have a harder time supplying Hezbollah and using that force to control Lebanon, another possibility for Russia to exploit to acquire a warm water port. Our anti-ballistic missiles on the ground in Iraq could bring more defense against an Iranian attack on Israel or the Sunni Middle East. ‘Leading from Behind’ policies have resulted in our loss of space supremacy, ABM land-based systems, and talks about unilaterally cutting force size and our inventor of ballistic missiles that have kept us from a nuclear war since WWII. Our loss of influence in Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and Pakistan is not a foreign affairs victory. Leading from behind means you are and will remain behind.
“Leading from behind does not win respect in the world. Your monopoly board does not look good. Putin has no respect for you as leader because he sees you weakening America and, therefore, believes you are not someone he should worry about. Most of the world respects power and distrusts weakness. To world leaders words don’t matter. Words without action are invisible. To start with I advise you to say less and do more. You can project American power without following the old colonial pattern you hate so much.”
The President puts his cup down, grinds out his cigarette.
The Advisor says, “Yes. I have known ever since you sent the bust of Winston Churchill back to England. Your constant concern is for the little nation, the poor people, the Muslim nations over the Colonial West. If you achieve your goal of leveling America and the world, you’ll destroy both and civilization of all will suffer. But that is for another time.”
The President gets up and strides to the door. He looks back as he leaves and says, “You can’t be right.”
The Advisor says, “Goodnight Mr.President,” to the sound of an automatic locking door.
He thought, that went well.
By the author of the Jack Brandon novels. http://www.factsandfictions.com
The author has 27 years of Government service, including two years serving President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s as an advisor. Considering today’s volatile political situation, you are encouraged to pass on this blog or parts of it to your contacts and friends. Comments and dialogue are welcome and helpful.