Peace Through Strength

conflict-management

So this is what I’ve learned about conflict management…


Obviously, we are better off without conflict and to simply all get along–that’s the ideal!


Now unfortunately, in real life there may be situations where we may have fundamental differences of opinions and goals, and at times these may seriously clash. 


What’s good for you, may be bad for me (or vice versa)…that’s called a win-lose situation. 


And when we don’t see eye to eye and can’t get along, then either we can try to work it out and that’s where diplomacy comes in or at other times, we may have no choice but to take up arms and go to war.


Our first choice is diplomacy. Here, we sit down to listen and try genuinely to understand each other, and have empathy on others…life is not easy for anyone. 


Still we need to mesh what others want with what we need for our own wellbeing and progress, and that’s where negotiation, compromise, and de-escalation come into play. 


Best case scenario, we come up with a win-win situation, where we can both walk away from the table with a respectable enough amount of what we each want and our egos still intact, so that that we can all go our merry ways and pursue our lives and live within our values and amidst security.  


However, in some cases, some may be so unreasonable, intractable, and their actions so aggressive, egregious, and dangerous as to threaten, harm, and violate the lives of others, that it’s intolerable for it to continue any longer.


What’s left when we can’t put up and shut up, and when talk is exhausted, is to fight for what we believe in, for who we are, and for our right to live and prosper. 


Once, twice, three times and you’re out of time and luck–we are seriously headed for a clash of persons and/or civilizations. 


Peace is better won without firing a shot, but when it’s time to pull out the guns, they better be damn big and deadly ones. 


That is called peace through strength…where we have the guts and means to back up our position with force, if necessary. 


None of this bullshit of bringing a knife to a gunfight; instead, when we have no choice but to fight, we fight to win and everything is on the table. 


Peace is the preference, but if war is the only answer, then the other side may have unleashed hell, and that is what they will get from peace through strength delivered! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Best Diplomacy Shirt

respect-fear-jpeg

I took this photo in the Metro, so I apologize for the poor lighting. 


But never-the-less, to me, this wins for best diplomacy shirt. 

“Respect All

Fear None”

In dealing with others at home and abroad, we must respect everyone. 


And this is not just paying lip service to others while really giving a tacit nod to derision and divisiveness.


Rather we need to have genuine respect for all people, cultures, religions, freedom and human rights. 


At the same time, we must fear no one. 


We need to carry a big stick, as my grandfather used to say.


That along with plenty of carrots (but used strategically and not wastefully) to positively influence the good in others. 


The point is that disengagement, appeasement, and weakness benefits no one. 


Rather, it encourages violence, destruction, and refugees, and global disorder. 


It’s time to stop fearing and running, and to make a firm stand for good and meaningful things that we really believe in.


We are not the police of the world, but we are smart, and good, and powerful, and will project and use that power wisely to ensure that good prevails over evil, always. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

7 Mind-F*cking Arguments

Because I Said So

So my daughter took a training class in critical thinking at work. 


And she brought home an excellent handout from the instructor, Haywood Spangler, about how people try to get you to their point of view, but without any real solid reasoning behind it.


My mother-in-law calls this concept in blunt terms, mind-f*cking!


Here are some examples:


1) Genetic Fallacy – Rejecting an idea based on where or who it comes from, rather than the merits of the idea itself.  I call this one, you’re an idiot, so your ideas are idiotic. 


2) Circular Reasoning – Restating the conclusion, rather than proving it. I call this hammering or going no where fast. 


3) Red Herring – Diverting from the real issue as a distraction. I call this the shell game. 


4) Ad Hoc Reasoning – Coming up with a reason to simply reject your every objection. I call this just say it isn’t so. 


5) False Dichotomy – Oversimplifying a complex situation and making it into only black and white. I call this my way or the highway.


6) Slippery Slope – Supposing that if one thing happens then something else terrible must necessarily follow. I call this following the false causality. 


7) Band Wagon – Everyone is doing it, so you need to also.  I call this classic groupthink or be careful not to stand in front of a moving train. 


Basically, when someone is not taking with you, but at you and trying to make you just do what they want, period, then watch out, you are probably being gloriously mind-f*cked. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A New Diplomacy In Town

Aircraft Carriers 3

A wonderful colleague sent me this really impressive photo.

This was one of my favorite of 3 aircraft carrier strike groups taken together (Abraham Lincoln, Kitty Hawk, and Ronald Reagan)–the 1st and the 3rd of which are Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarriers. 

According to the slides, there were literally 4 four nuclear submarines standing guard in the waters beneath, as well as a B-2 stealth bomber flying overhead.  

What I really liked the most though wasn’t even the photos, but rather the motto for the carriers of:

“Over 90,000 tons of diplomacy…wherever… whenever…”

Diplomacy can be listening, negotiating, and compromise, but it can also be through the projection of the ultimate national and human strength. 

With a staggering rise in global terrorism, militaristic adventurism, and the proliferation of dangerous weapons of mass destruction, perhaps it’s time to harden up on some of the soft power, and demonstrate as well the very credible hard power and resolve we have for protecting American lives, freedom, and human rights. 😉

(Source Photo: here)

Silence Or Violence

Communication.JPeG

So when it comes to “Crucial Conversations,” they unfortunately frequently end in silence or violence.


When the “stakes are moderate to high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong” that’s when communication really seems to break down, rather than achieve their goals of working things out. 


Like when our lives are in danger and we have the adrenalin rush reactions to fight or flight, similarly with potentially “dangerous” communications, people become aggressive and abusive or shutdown and withdraw. 


When your afraid of a negative outcome, either you start hammering others with your ideas and opinions or you exit the conversation and seek safety. 


Either way, at this point, there’s no real common ground, negotiation, compromise, or win-win to be easily had…in this pressure cooker poor excuse of a dialogue, it can basically become a tragic win-lose situation.


Perhaps, that’s why there are mediators and neutral third parties that are often brought in to make people feel (relatively) safe again, help them be understood and to understand, and to find a negotiated peace or settlement. 


And what happens when even this doesn’t work and communication and diplomacy fails?


Well that’s when people and countries bring out the big guns and they essentially go to war to win what they hoped to achieve with dialogue. 


Now words are no longer the only choice, but all options are on the table, and that’s when benign words can quickly turn into more drastic or deadly deeds (aka the children reframe of “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me.”


And there is always the thermonuclear option–people supported it with Japan in WWII and they say they would support it with a Tehran that violates the very generous nuclear deal they received.


Words are a prelude to a possible peace or an unwanted war. 


They can be the last chance to work things out the way we hope for.


And if words alone can’t resolve the issue, then blood and treasure is spent and spilt to resolve the otherwise unresolvable. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Who’s Gonna Pay For That Wall

Border Fence

So presidential candidate, Donald Trump wants to build a wall on the southern U.S. border with Mexico to control immigration for homeland security and the economy. 


But more than that, he thinks Mexico should pay for it.


Today, on CNN was a response from Mexico’s ex president, who said, we’re “not gonna pay for that f****** wall!”


I was walking around laughing to myself for about 10 minutes–the zany and (un)predictable action-reaction in politics and diplomacy. 


You can’t make this stuff up. 


Just an aside, but wouldn’t you say Ex-President [of] Mexico instead of the Ex-Mexico President –Oops, who was working the captions at CNN today. 


What will be surreal and hilarious after this is if the “f****** wall” would really happen, and if Mexico would seriously end up paying for it. 😉


(Note: This is not an endorsement for any candidate or party.)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Indians And Palestinians

American Indian

September 4, 1886, Geronimo, the last American Indian warrior surrenders to the United States and later after some time in prison, Geronimo converts and becomes a successful farmer. 

November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly votes 33-13 in favor of a partition from what was land prior under the control of Britain leading to the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948 at which time the surrounding Arab nations attacked and were defeated, and this replayed many times in 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982 and subsequent Intifadas.

Recently, I had a conversation with a lady who is a Lacota Indian and who happens to be a proud supporter of the State of Israel.

This is what she told me: 

“The Indians and Palestinians have a lot in common in that we both have to share land.”

But, what is different is that we [American Indians] don’t act like some [extremist] Palestinians teaching endless cycles of hatred and violence.

We don’t go around knifing people, throwing stones, shooting, or blowing people up.”

I had understood many people think this, but I had never heard anyone actually come out and say it–let alone a Native American Indian. 

Even now-a-days, I think we must admit that American Indians live in a challenging state in this country and certainly they deserve more and their standard of living should be vastly improved, but at the same time, they manage to live with all the immigrants that came to the United States from all over the world, and they do this in peace.  

Perhaps, in Israel, where there is tacit agreement towards an even better scenario–a two-state solution–with the real potential of peace, prosperity, and security for both Jews and Palestinians–the cycle of hatred and violence can end and should end. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Maryland GovPics) 

Lights, Camera, Inaction

Inaction 2

So the lights dim, the camera starts to roll, and what happens…


ACTION!


The show starts…actors spring into action, and the plot takes shape–we have a positive influence and impact on our fellow man and the world we live in. 


But there is a sorry alternative storyline.


Where after the lights and camera…nothing happens.


There is a eery silence and a weird INACTION!


Like the actors are asleep at the wheel, went off to play golf or to comedy night, or perhaps went home to momma, and are cowering, and hiding under their beds.


Is this the unfortunate state of our country today?


The world is our stage. 


As the sole superpower, the United States is the prime actor today.


We have our calling to go do good–to help, to save, and to bring peace and freedom. 


But lo and behold, what happens when we have a policy of inaction?


Where we want peace, but are not willing to do to much of anything for it or perhaps in spite of it. 


So how is our world faring today:


– In Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, and more, millions are dying and injured, while tens of millions are fleeing, displaced, or are in refugee camps, and chemical WMD are in use by Syria and ISIS, while our red lines were drawn and then withdrawn, and we don’t know if we are training the opposition or throwing in the towel on the ground.


ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, etc. are rampant and overrunning the Middle East and North Africa, killing, torturing, raping, destroying, and plummeting, as well as recruiting back in Europe and here in the States, amidst calls for attacks against us and our allies. 


Russia takes Crimea and is resurgent in Eastern Ukraine and the Arctic, and antagonizing all around Europe with ever encroaching warplanes and warships, and militarizing and modernizing their formidable nuclear arsenal, and we stand up a new NATO rapid reaction force, while we are again surprised by Russia, now in Syria.


China is expanding into the South China Sea, flexing it’s economic and military muscle, and cyber attacking and stealing our vital government and economic information assets with relative impunity, while we trade with our partner and pivot this way and that. 


North Korea restarts it’s nuclear plant, readies for another banned missile launch, sinks South Korean ships, plants deadly landmines on the South’s side of the demilitarized zone, and provokes toward a military confrontation, while we lick our wounds from the last broken agreements with them. 


Iran has stymied the people’s freedom movement, executed the opposition and homosexuals, builds toward a deadly nuclear and ballistic missile future, seeks the destruction of America (“The Great Satan”) and Israel, is massively funding and arming their terrorist proxies to the tune of billions of dollars, and has gotten a get out of jail free card and sanctions lifting.


So what can we do?


Well in the past, we were a meaningful deterrent to countries and people doing bad things. 


We stood proudly and tall for human rights, freedom, equality, democracy, anti-proliferation, and sustainability.


We didn’t have to fight everywhere to make our point–but just knowing that we were willing to stand for righteousness and justice often meant those with evil intentions stepping back and rethinking it.


Occasionally, we did have to put our blood and treasure where our mouths were, and perhaps we often did this too rashly and imprudently (when diplomacy or some saber rattling might have done the trick). 


However, the world cannot afford for us to be war weary or chase empty legacies of peace built on blind hope or a running away from our responsibilities. 


While the world burns, we can’t be looking for Nobel Prizes instead of seeking out the fire extinguishers and medical kits to save and to heal. 


As it is so wisely stated: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.


Peace is not born of inaction, but of brave actors willing to do what is necessary to achieve all that is good and all that can be done. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fist With Parachute

Fist In Parachute
I took this photo in Miami yesterday.


A fist attached to a parachute. 


Sort of a strange image of strength, fighting, and resolve with making a safe landing. 


Perhaps that’s the intersection of defense and diplomacy.


Where we employ soft and hard power to achieve worthy goals and follow one’s moral compass. 


My grandfather used to joke that he would come with the big stick if anyone bothers us. 


He, like my dad, was a very good man! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Traits To Be Prez

The personality to be President:


1. Experience, Diplomacy


2. Direct, Honest, Strong, Results-oriented


3. Passionate, Dedication, Survival of the Nation


A short interview with Andy Blumenthal


(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)