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Tinker Barber Soldier Spy

plus minus 48 degrees wobble

Saturday, May 08, 2010

former military officers usually do not make good peace time leaders and vice versa

It is hard to distinguish when it is times of peace and when it is times of war, for Hawks, madmen and Jihadians can blur the lines however fine. American presidents and prime ministers everywhere chooses who they want as their cabinet colleagues. That is how a government is formed. A hawk shapes a hawkish government. A dove shapes a dovish government. Passive peace time or proactive war time follows.
Bill Clinton had his mind preoccupied with personal under the table matters and had little inclination for under the table matters deemed more important to the state by the men in the Pentagon. When push came to shove, as usually he was wont to deal with Saddam Whose Sane, he ordered to let fly a few handy cruise missiles and stocked up on more.
George Bush is more of a hawk and stuffed his cabinet with similar minded people. The pace of expansion of influence into Eastern Europe increased as well as the land link to the oil rich Middle East via Afghanistan and Iraq established. So discomfited does Russia now feel that it and China staged the just concluded unprecedented joint military exercise. To ease the minds of its American Middle Eastern allies was Ariel Sharon made to dismantle Israeli settlements in the occupied territories? Who knows? Will Bush know to stop only when the Tartars (Chechens) start to fight Americans rather than Russians? It may already have begun. The Uzbeks just legislated to kick the American military out of their country.
History amply suggests that former military officers usually do not make good peace time leaders and vice versa. Take Winston Church Chill for instance. His passive predecessor leading into WW2 gave and gave to Hitler’s thirst for territorial expansion. A wise electorate then chose Church Chill to lead, but dumped him after the war for peace. From Nape of Lion to Pint of Shit to Cold Is Sushi, from Chile, Argentina, Mexico, France to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, it has been amply demonstrated that the electorate will not hesitate to dump their former military officer leaders for more peace minded ones once the fighting is done.
There are exceptions to the above model. When the electorate becomes collectively mesmerized with leaders like Hitler or Napoleon? Or when there is a coup like in Burma. Or what usually happens to elections in the Philippines. Or when no leader comes forward that stays good for long enough like in Pakistan. Or when the country is Promised Land to more than one tribe like in Judea. Or when there is not much of a choice like in Singapore?
Is this the reason LHL chose to distance himself from his military past? I have had experience with how the military does a save water campaign. Unfortunately, it was my turn to clean the loo. It was a choice of taking the first bus to Changi or stay in. I took the first bus, got there to clear the leaves and clean the loo. The taps were turned off after that. There is only water to clear the first bombing runs after lunch. The second bombing runs stayed till it dried to welcome me the next morning. After a few days, I realized the save water campaign was a guaranteed success. Another example would be the banning of chewing gum to protect the MRT. Yet another example is the compulsory acquisition of Hock Kee House. Contrast these campaigns to the yellow ribbon project and the appreciation and employment of older workers. Running TV ads to raise charity funds might work. Running TV ads for political brownie points might yet work although, going by what is written on the internet, cynicism is setting in. But will such lip-service propaganda spins do anything at all to change mindsets? Not a chance when the doors are wide open to 'foreign talent’ and the goal being to increase the population to raise consumption GDP and tax. The 'goose-oil' used to fry the 'golden egg' is experience. How can the older worker stand a chance if only freshies get the opportunity to gain experience?
The latest spin is workfare. Even Ernie on Sesame Street knows that we cannot all be firemen. Just take for instance temporary jobs for distributing NDP tickets and yellow pages. Even these positions require interviews where the older worker is filtered out. The spin admits that the only position possibly available to older workers is coffee shop cleaner. (If there are enough new coffee shops to go around for the currently unemployed.) Realizing this, I went to Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho temple for advice. The Buddha vehemently advised otherwise. Apparently, even for the Buddha, cynicism is setting in.(My other blog is at http://mytoiletpapers.blogspot.com/).


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