Sunday, October 17, 2004

Mao, Abe, & W

Juan Cole's Informed Comment is a blog that I check on a regular basis. Recently he discussed Ron Suskind's article in the New York Times regarding George W. Bush and his faith.

Professor Cole compares Mr. Bush to communist leader Mao Zedong. He makes an interesting argument.

The above description of the way in which China fell apart under Mao sounds eerily like contemporary Iraq under Bush, since both situations were produced by the same mantra. Reality doesn't matter. Power creates reality. Suskind says that a senior Bush official told him, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." This official may as well have been quoting Mao's Little Red Book: ""it is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever."

Personally, I thought a comparison of George W. Bush to Abrabam Lincoln would have been a better comparison than to Mao Zedong. Or perhaps a comparison of Abraham Lincoln to Mao Zedong.

Here you had this president who wouldn't face the fact that half the country thought it best to secede than accept a president that might work to limit their expansion of slavery. The end result of this 'inability to face the facts' was the largest loss of American lives in a single war. Rather accepting the fact that half the nation believed differently than he did, Mr. Lincoln held on to the 'blind faith' that the nation should remain united.

Personally, conviction to principal, is not something I see as a weakness in a leader. I view it as a strength. In a position of leadership, you will often find that many 'facts' contradict and ultimately you have to make decisions based on a confusing or incomplete picture. It is at this point that one must draw upon their core values of what they believe is right and decide accordingly.

Perhaps the 'intelligentsia' believes talking to God is a sign of mental unbalance or deficiency. Or... perhaps there is something in their inability to 'face the fact' that there are those who believe differently than they, that is threatening to them?


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