Anyone who has ever been in a failing personal relationship or business knows that half measures only work to delay the inevitable. You cannot ignore the failings, or make restoration a part-time effort, without actually perpetuating an environment where failure grows exponentially. This reality applies to much more in life than personal relationships or individual businesses. Half measures generally get you a proportionate ROI.Take, for example, the financial crash of 2008 and Islamic extremism.
Last week, Christine Legarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that the next financial crisis is coming because we failed to fully address the factors that caused the last one. What she is referring to is 1) the stimulus package bailout of the big banks; 2) propping up of corrupted financial institutions and, 3) the Federal Reserve’s endless printing of money. In fact, the money printing has led to new bubbles (remember the housing market?) and greater debt (18 trillion and growing monthly). The dollar, which all the experts told us could never be replaced as the global standard in oil and other transactions now finds China and Russia accepting, in direct transactions, currencies from other countries thereby bypassing the U.S. dollar.
In 2011, President Obama announced that U.S forces had killed Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The President called it a milestone in the war against al Qaeda and terrorism. Al Qaeda was half the problem at the time. ISIS (a/k/a/ ISIL and IS) was the other half and it went relatively unnoticed and/or unaddressed. And so, while the internal battle for control of radical Islam waged on, President Obama went about courting and supporting the wrong players (Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, for example) while alienating our allies (Israel, for example) and decreasing the size and effectiveness of our military. The President’s fecklessness led him to call ISIS, the victor in the Muslim internal terrorism battle, the “Jayvee team” and, most stunningly, declared “ISIS contained” on the day before that entity successfully pulled off a heinous and disastrous act of terrorism in Paris leaving hundreds dead and wounded. Such failure of leadership also keeps this President blind to, or in defiance of, ISIS’s stated intention to wreak the same destruction and havoc here on U.S. soil. Remember, bin Laden vowed to do the same years in advance of 9/11 and he was ignored at our peril.
Half measures have gotten us a proportionate ROI in both the financial markets and national security. When the next predicted crash occurs there will be panic. When ISIS, with terror cells already in the U.S. makes good on its promise, there will be panic.
In our naive, and in some ways cowardly, efforts to commit no more than half measures towards stopping corruption in the public and private sectors and standing against evil in the form of Islamic extremism, we have painted ourselves into the age-old corner where cultural and societal decline follow and physical extinction becomes a brutal reality.
President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
We are passing on to our children debt and servitude by way of our selfishness and cowardice. We will be held accountable both in their minds and hearts but also in the eyes of God.
President Obama is a false leader and our political system has become but an illusion of democracy. It is clear that this system, in its current condition, will not readily permit the rise of a true leader. Yet, there is still a window of opportunity for leadership to emerge that is both just and righteous. However, it will come from outside the broken system and it will take enough individuals with the courage to publicly stand in support of that leadership to override the corruption endemic within both parties.
Caution: Look not for leadership in bravado, hubris, empty promises or free stuff. Look to the individual who talks and walks their truth, who is brave enough to give us the truth and who is hopeful enough to inspire us to tackle adversity and, by so doing, once again become the best that we can be.