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Posts Tagged ‘Putin

Op-Ed Wars: Putin on Obama. McCain on Putin. Rouhani on Conversation

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Words are The Best Kind of War09202013-Iranian-President-Hassan-Rouhani

As far as wars go, this one is easily sustainable. And we all have a vested interest in sustaining it, because when we’re talking (even combatively), we’re, well, talking.

Just talking. Not bombing. Not spying (well, OK, probably still spying). Not releasing nerve gas on civilians (well, OK. Some of us can talk and still gas/butcher/jail civilian populations). But talking directly to our various populations is at least different than cold-warring it. Talking is the opposite of the silent treatment.

Talking accomplishes stuff: McCain’s sharp criticism of Putin comes on the heels of Putin’s criticism of Obama’s Syria plan. And Obama’s Syrian plan floated out with words and met all sorts of ridicule and resistance and ire and…success (or at least the beginning of movement toward success).

What if more of our conflicts started in our enemies op ed pages, long before we took action?

What I like most about all this talk is the corollary comments that come out when McCain or Putin or Rouhani poke their sharp sticks in the eyes of the audience. The audience responds bringing up all sorts of truth and innuendo and implications that may apply or may not apply, but all of which allows us to think together. All this talk allows us to stay engaged. Engaged audiences are a good thing.

Keep talking Mr. Putin. Say on, Mr. McCain. Let’s grab a chai, Mr. Rouhani. You are right: “constructive dialogue” is a great win for everyone. Even if Iran is on a PR spree with their new reasonable-sounding president. Let’s jump on this bandwagon. We’ll need to move to the next step, of course: if Iran’s nuclear program is truly for fuel only, then allowing third-party inspections will be not big deal, right? Inspections could begin to put the rest of the world at ease about Iran’s seeming bomb-making proclivities. On the other hand, the US also needs to offer movement toward transparency: we’ve certainly hid plenty. Being a superpower should not make us bullies—we need to play by the same rules.

Yes. Let’s chat.

We may not believe everything each other says, but talking is a start.


Image credit: Times of India

Written by kirkistan

September 20, 2013 at 10:16 am

Memo To My People Updating My Facebook Page

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How about a few less quotes from old dead white guys?

Post-election, let’s have a little less constitution-driven stuff. I need to sound hip and with-it (You kids still say that?). Sprinkle a few Malcolm X quotes in there (Yes?) and maybe—I don’t know— Nietzsche (why not?). Our business partners and potential clients need to see we’re deep and edgy. But trustworthy—so, ok—maybe a few quotes from Jefferson, but way less than three a week.

Jenny: Put the business books and blogs down: Covey and Collins are sounding stale. Give me more of that pithy stuff like Seth G. puts out. In fact—give Godin’s people a call and tap into that well they are pulling from. I want to sound more like Godin. And Spike Lee.

Jerrold: Give me more comments on human interest stuff. I need to sound warm and supportive. Potential clients need to see the entire organization as approachable—so that starts with me. And do the same with Ivan in the St. Petersburg office. He needs to sound a lot less like Putin, that grandstanding old propagandist. Ivan needs to sound like New Russia—starting now.

Jamison: you gotta tune my Twitter feed. Post-election, work with Jenny on the Godin and Spike Lee stuff—get me solid tweets that pull in about a thousand more young managers. Skew young!

All of you—people tell me I should read beyond history books. Make me current! Wired. Salon. The New Yorker (within reason). Whatever.

Jenny–What’s that? Godin writes his own stuff? Which of his people said that?


Image credit: Sammy Slabbinck via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

November 5, 2012 at 9:03 am

From Watergate to the Arab Spring to Votes in Mexico: Our Views on Authority Keep Changing

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Approach Authority with Grace and Questions

It’s been just over 40 years since the Watergate break-in. Nixon’s long gone. Colson’s newly gone. Woodward and Bernstein still don’t know who ordered the break-in. I was a kid back then and Watergate was my first taste of big authority gone terribly wrong. Since then, those in authority continue to take advantage of their positions with breathtaking hubris. Every day shines the spotlight on yet another leader: a few weeks back it was the investment bankers tilting the Facebook IPO in favor of their friends. Yesterday it was the Barclays CEO Bob Diamond resigning over manipulating loans.

And globally the despots are disappearing and sometimes returning: Tunisia’s Ben Ali gone. Egypt’s Mubarak gone/jailed/hospitalized. Libya and Yemen, gone and gone. Syria’s Assad holds on but his well-publicized homicidal sprees among his own people make him the latest Hitler wannabe. Putin is hard pressed to control the growing awareness and unrest in Russia.  And yet in Mexico, the PRI party that ruled corruptly for much of the 20th century is…back? The student movement in Mexico promises to keep shining light—just in case that group has not changed its ways.

Shining light is the key. Smart reporting that shines light on wrongdoing has played a huge role in getting rid of the bad guys. I believe social media has also opened a way for people to share information outside of heavily regulated state channels controlled to the interests of the leaders.

Are all authorities corrupt? No. Authorities all over the world continue to create order and move groups toward larger goals. It’s just that when a corrupt leader gets payback, it becomes an irresistible story to us commoners.

How should we respond to leadership and authority? With grace and questions. Grace because leadership and authority takes its toll on the leader. Sacrifice is involved. That old dead letter writer Paul had it right when he wrote that authorities are placed on purpose and in the end are subject to the Creator’s command. Questions because we all need the benefit of each other’s wisdom. Some leaders and authorities just don’t yet realize it.

This is why it remains important for me and you and the employees of United Health Group and Target to regularly read about how CEOs like United Health Groups Hemsley or Target’s Steinhafel  are rewarded like robber barons for their role at the top of the pyramid. A bit of light helps us formulate questions.


Image Credit: Olga Ziemska via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

July 4, 2012 at 5:00 am

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