DICK BAYNTON: Leading From Behind is Craven

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Dick Baynton
Dick Baynton

Excluding conspiracy theories, it is probable that at least part of the world’s problems is because of our strategy of ‘leading from behind.’ The expression of ‘leading from behind’ is an oxymoron because great leaders are those who lead from the front. They are the ones who are the inspiration for those who follow. Great leaders find inspiration in the clearly outlined and articulated cause and goals and pass that inspiration along to loyalists who share those goals.

Here is where the real story of world evolution comes into question. The United States of America with a short history of just 240 years has, in the past century been the arbitrator, the mediator, the counselor, the reluctant combatant in world conflicts. We participated in WWI by sending an ‘Expeditionary Force’ to Europe in April 1917 under the leadership of General John J. Pershing. The Armistice ending WWI was signed at Forest of Compiegne, France at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

When the Nazi machine rolled over Europe in 1939 and 1940, the U.S. created the ‘Lend Lease’ program to supplement Britain and other allies’ need for war materiel, including 50 surplus navy destroyers. When Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor confirming their ‘axis’ link to Germany, we declared war. Germany surrendered to allied forces on May 8, 1945 and Japan signed surrender documents aboard the U.S. Battleship Missouri on September 2, 1945 endorsed by General Douglas MacArthur.

The United States, a nation dedicated to liberty and freedom had overcome the Civil War and other hostilities in an awesome venture that placed our nation at the pinnacle of industrial might early in the 20th century. While brave Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines fight and die, they must have the munitions and ships, airplanes, tanks and support beyond the capability of enemies. Our awesome industrial complex came through by providing all the components of an indomitable war machine. Hundreds of thousands of our precious military members died and a grateful nation hoped they had not died in vain.

In the memory of living military veterans, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War (Desert Storm) and the second Gulf (Iraq) War, begun in 2003 is still in progress contrary to the words of some of our leaders. The first Gulf War was a U.S. coalition of several nations to reverse Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. That dustup lasted a few weeks between January 16, 1991 and February 27 when Saddam agreed to a cease-fire.

Here is an equivalent to consider: On August 18, 2011, Mr. Obama said this, “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” On August 20, 2012, Mr. Obama mentioned the use of chemical weapons by Assad would be a ‘Red Line’ meaning that we (or someone) would take forceful action against the Bashar al- Assad regime. No action was forthcoming and Mr. Putin stepped forward to lend a hand. Now millions of refugees are trudging out of Syria flooding into Europe, Canada and the U.S.

While Syrian refugees are causing financial, cultural, religious and political disturbance and distress in host nations, Mr. Obama’s failure to lead the exit of Bashar al-Assad from power is one of the foundation causes for the migratory mayhem. And yet, the U.S. pledged last year to resettle 85,000 refugees of which 10,000 would be Syrians. An actual count shows that by the end of June refugee admissions to the U.S. had reached 49,791 of which 5,211 were Syrians.

The UN and regional alliances need to fix the problems inside troubled countries, not wait until millions of residents adopt refugee status. Dictators like Syria’s Assad are the winners who send their disaffected citizens out of the country, reducing their budget problems while increasing their grip on tyranny. The rest of the world absorbs these people at great cost, inconvenience and disruption. The United States, the UN and the 28 member nations of NATO have done little to restrict Putin from invading the Crimean Peninsula and Ukraine. We have a flimsy nuclear ‘deal’ with Iran, a world leader in terrorism.

These are the disastrous spoils of ‘leading from behind.’

Dick Baynton