Exceedingly Astute: Timothy Egan

It’s always gratifying to read a journalist who hears a speech the same way I do, makes sense of it, and approves. I suspect that’s called somewhat narcissistic, but. . . tough. So after listening to a number of the talking heads arguing about what Obama did say and mean or didn’t say and didn’t mean, here’s Tim Egan on Obama’s West Point speech:      Obama didn’t specifically say so, but the guiding principle for this era of nuance and shadows may be no more complex than this: Stay out of wars of unintended consequence.How’s that for a big strategy? Cheeky of Egan, eh? No question, however, that it’s highly realistic. It’s certainly something for HR people and executive coaches to talk about.Well, as Egan points out, “the map of McCain’s (et al) wars is worth considering as a what-if had the would-be vice-president Sarah Palin and her running mate in 2008 prevailed.” You really, really should look at this map. It’s more than illuminating.You might also be amused by our future military leaders’ response to Obama’s speech. “The biggest response from the cadets at West Point came when Obama said, ‘you are the first class to graduate since 9/11 who may not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.’ They cheered….Egan also has no qualms about attacking the intellectually bankrupt.Al Qaeda was never in Falluja before the American invasion. They have a stronghold in Falluja now, for which McCain blames the withdrawal of United States troops. Think about that: it’s not our fault because we opened the doors to the factions of hell; it’s our fault because we withdrew from hell.As Obama tries to pivot from foreign policy by bumper sticker, McCain and an intellectually bankrupt clutch of neocons are trying to present themselves as the alternative. Dick Cheney, the warrior with five draft deferments, is in this diminishing camp, calling Obama “certainly the weakest” president in his lifetime. But both McCain and Cheney are outliers, blustery relics with little backing in either party. Only seven percent of Americans expressed support for even considering a military option after Russia forced Crimea into its fold. That’s a sea change in sentiment from 2001, or even 2008.So how’s this for a great summary paragraph? Obama’s foreign policy is a lot like his economic policy. Give him credit for preventing something awful from happening. The financial collapse could have been truly catastrophic, save for the action the president and the Federal Reserve took in the first year following the meltdown. For that, history will be kind. The wars not fought by Obama are the alternative to John McCain’s map. For that, the verdict of the ages is less certain. After 50 years, what a war-weary nation does know is this: the doors into hell are many; the exits, fewer.- – – – – This is the third commentary I’ve read from Egan. So I wondered, who the hell is Tim Egan? One of my quick tricks for finding out about execs who live in offices with doors is to check out the library and anything displayed–a task that can reveal more than the exec may want me to know. Fish hanging on the wall or sports trophies mean nothing. But check to see if he or she has revealing photos or paintings and at least a small library of books. Then, if there’s nothing to the books, you can decide quickly. There’s probably nothing in the executive.But, intriguingly, Egan invited me into his “office.” See About.  Now look at his library. This is really impressive!   
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Exceedingly Astute: Timothy Egan

It’s always gratifying to read a journalist who hears a speech the same way I do, makes sense of it, and approves. I suspect that’s called somewhat narcissistic, but. . . tough.

Boots on ground
So after listening to a number of the talking heads arguing about what Obama did say and mean or didn’t say and didn’t mean, here’s Tim Egan on Obama’s West Point speech:  

    Obama didn’t specifically say so, but the guiding principle for this era of nuance and shadows may be no more complex than this: Stay out of wars of unintended consequence.

How’s that for a big strategy? Cheeky of Egan, eh? No question, however, that it’s highly realistic. It’s certainly something for HR people and executive coaches to talk about.

Well, as Egan points out, “the map of McCain’s (et al) wars is worth considering as a what-if had the would-be vice-president Sarah Palin and her running mate in 2008 prevailed.” You really, really should look at this map. It’s more than illuminating.

You might also be amused by our future military leaders’ response to Obama’s speech. “The biggest response from the cadets at West Point came when Obama said, ‘you are the first class to graduate since 9/11 who may not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.’ They cheered.

Egan also has no qualms about attacking the intellectually bankrupt.

Al Qaeda was never in Falluja before the American invasion. They have a stronghold in Falluja now, for which McCain blames the withdrawal of United States troops. Think about that: it’s not our fault because we opened the doors to the factions of hell; it’s our fault because we withdrew from hell.

As Obama tries to pivot from foreign policy by bumper sticker, McCain and an intellectually bankrupt clutch of neocons are trying to present themselves as the alternative. Dick Cheney, the warrior with five draft deferments, is in this diminishing camp, calling Obama “certainly the weakest” president in his lifetime. But both McCain and Cheney are outliers, blustery relics with little backing in either party. Only seven percent of Americans expressed support for even considering a military option after Russia forced Crimea into its fold. That’s a sea change in sentiment from 2001, or even 2008.

So how’s this for a great summary paragraph? Obama’s foreign policy is a lot like his economic policy. Give him credit for preventing something awful from happening. The financial collapse could have been truly catastrophic, save for the action the president and the Federal Reserve took in the first year following the meltdown. For that, history will be kind. The wars not fought by Obama are the alternative to John McCain’s map. For that, the verdict of the ages is less certain. After 50 years, what a war-weary nation does know is this: the doors into hell are many; the exits, fewer.

– – – – –

This is the third commentary I’ve read from Egan. So I wondered, who the hell is Tim Egan? One of my quick tricks for finding out about execs who live in offices with doors is to check out the library and anything displayed–a task that can reveal more than the exec may want me to know. Fish hanging on the wall or sports trophies mean nothing. But check to see if he or she has revealing photos or paintings and at least a small library of books. Then, if there’s nothing to the books, you can decide quickly. There’s probably nothing in the executive.

But, intriguingly, Egan invited me into his “office.” See About.  Now look at his library. This is really impressive!   

For those of you who occasionally wonder about the stuff I put on this site, thought you’d like to know that the owner, Jerry Bowles, approves of the “catholic” nature of my posts. I, of course, believe that business folk ought to be able to talk beyond their discipline.

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