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  • Upstart CEO: Hypocritcal Hypochondria

    Isn’t it better to inconsistently save some lives than to consistently save none?

    Upstart: Gamechangers

    As the CEO of Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals, everyday I face tradeoff’s, regarding how to make our fledgling enterprise faster, clearer and more valuable, while doing “no harm.”

    But my tradeoff’s are so much on a micro level, they seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of world affairs. Which brought me to the fluid and unsettling nature of current geopolitics, and how tin-eared  government’s and restless populations, are not only mired in deep conflict, but  now face never-seen before questions: questions where the solutions might have more adverse long-term affect than the original problem — no one knows — it’s troubling.

    What if you had to pick between one crisis or another: both harrowing and immediate — how would you do it, and what would be the metrics for the tradeoffs? It seems this is the moment President Obama is now forced within, and how does he know which crisis — which Middle East movement/awakening is the right one, as opposed to the least impactful one, and how can he avoid getting mired in another Iraq, another Afghanistan – God forbid: another Vietnam.

    One of the main things within America’s theaters of war was “clarity:” in terms of why America was fighting. America was sure who the good guys were, and who the bad guys were – and now, not so much. In Libya, America does know that it’s right to support the call for “democracy,” but America really does not know, who it’s supporting, at least militarily. There is a good chance that the American government might be arming and aiding factions of Al Qaeda — now that’s creepy.

    America has entered a truly hazy area, where they have embarked upon a humanitarian/non-military military mission, without really knowing, who they are aiding, nor do they seem to have a coherent strategy for the end game – the steps to get there, and what it will mean to American interests. The other issue is that there is a swelling of democratic movements, which is very good for those indigenous populations, yet it is forcing American foreign policy to look and act hypocritical, but because these events are so disparate and the circumstances so eclectic — hypocrisy might be the new American foreign policy: not by choice — by requirement.

    America is vehemently in favor of removing Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, while allowing Bahrain’s government to take a very “hard lined” position against its people, also strongly supported by the Saudi Arabian government.

    Why the hypocrisy: it’s always the same – American “interests.” It’s very simple: aiding the rebels in Libya can only help American interests, while opposing the Bahranian government can only hurt America’s very sensitive strategic interests within the Middle East. Just because the vision is “simple,” does not mean that the execution and outcomes won’t be difficult. American interests are not only about what’s right, it’s more about what’s achievable.

    As , Nicholas D. Kristoff of the New York Times put it in his article, Is it Better to Save No One , “Critics argue that we are inconsistent, even hypocritical, in our military interventions. After all, we intervened promptly this time in a country with oil, while we have largely ignored Ivory Coast and Darfur — not to mention Yemen, Syria and Bahrain…..We may as well plead guilty. We are inconsistent. There’s no doubt that we cherry-pick our humanitarian interventions.”

    Also, America has to demand that European allies take a more forceful role in these conflicts, being that their interests are more immediate within the region, and what about China and Russia? It seems that China and Russia always get to sit out these matters – act as surrogates of Switzerland, save their money, save their resources, save their people – and pursue sanguine opportunism when promising commercial possibilities arise, while global coalitions have to recover from the outlay of their humanitarian/military engagement.

    America cannot only call out madmen, they have to call out those countries and leaders, who conspicuously and consistently, let the United States, England and France do all the dirty work, yet they are the most zealous and calculating to claim benefits from such outcomes – events they had no immediate or peripheral investment within.

    So who does America help next, and why – will it be because of strategic maneuvers or will it be because some madmen has decided to exterminate a good portion of his people to keep power. Nonetheless, America better get clear on its foreign policy: it needs to be as evolving as the events within the region, and they also should recognize their limitations, because this democratic fervor won’t ever again be stagnant — it will now and forever be restless and ambitious.

    The questions Kristoff magnificently paints, “Isn’t it better to inconsistently save some lives than to consistently save none?” These interventions will tell more about more America’s direction than its foreign policy — the use of its “smart power:” the intervention will demonstrate the new “American idea globally,” and its way forward for the next twenty years.

    Good Luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Gamechangers


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