Posts Tagged ‘joan’s

02
Mar
11

joan’s journal

by (our very own!) Joan Katherine Shaw


Luck is half the game. It’s no good having it and being incapable of using it. On the other hand, great striving may come to naught without luck. My sense is that President Barack Obama is a lucky man. – Roger Cohen

Mr. Cohen, Obama is not just lucky, he is an example of the Great Man theory

Why is it luck that President Obama surrounds himself with advisors he carefully chose – a hydra headed advance guard with the expertise and intelligence and, best of all, contacts throughout the world, to see what’s coming in a year, two years, more?

Like FDR did in the 1930s, Obama acts as a sponge, soaking up the information culled from this advance guard. He orders and categorizes it, and then, after one helluva lot of cogitation, he acts on it.

Leaders of countries have always been faced with explosive situations, both at home and abroad, and they have not always been “lucky,” because they’ve not always acted intelligently while meeting them. Think of Vietnam, for instance – who in the world thought up the “domino theory” anyway? Eisenhower did, followed by Nixon who galloped off with it, complete with drafted soldiers.

Result? The domino theory resulted in the deaths of untold numbers of Vietnamese and American troops, not to mention the Vietnamese civilians caught up in it. Finally, the term was quietly put away and forgotten.

Then there’s the Cold War, a term coined by Bernard Baruch, a long-time advisor to presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Harry Truman. The term was picked up by the press through columnist Walter Lippmann and that’s all we heard for decades, killing millions in proxy wars backed by the US versus the USSR, stretching from the Korean War to wars in Southeast Asia and beyond.

We’ve all read, I’m sure, that Reagan “broke up the Soviet Union,” though what actually broke up the Soviet Union was exhaustion bred from too many wars, too many states pulled into their orbit. But it was as early as the late seventies that historians and analysts foretold the Soviet Union’s break up.

In fact, if any one person “broke up the Soviet Union” it was Mikhail Gorbachev who tried to stop his county’s economic freefall with his Perestroika and Glasnost. The reward he received was a Soviet jail and exile, in that order but, by 1991, the USSR was no more and all the dead were still dead, and for nothing.

Okay, say President Obama is “lucky” to be facing so many disasters all at once, including the revolutionary fervor spreading through the Middle East. Suppose he followed the advice of most of the far Left and all of the Right and went into the Middle East with guns blazing? Certainly there were more of the Hawks urging war than there were of his advisors. And even among his close advisors there might well have been some who counseled intervention.

But while he was still a US senator Obama said that he wasn’t against all wars. He was against dumb wars. And intervention in Tunisia and Egypt would have been dumb and Barack Obama is not dumb.

In fact I have always thought that Barack Obama is a real life example of the Great Man theory – that in times of need, a Great Man would arise and, further, that his actions would be impossible without the social conditions built before his lifetime.

The theory fits President Obama.  It took more than a confluence of good genes to give our president the brilliant brain and good sense and empathy he has. I agree with the posters here that Obama is blessed, except to add that we are infinitely more blessed to have him.

Visit Joan’s blog here




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