Thursday, January 11, 2007

Competence Versus Ideology

I am an engineer by training and a money man by profession. Therefore, to me results matter.

I don't care if you are the most polite or despicable soul in the world, if you kiss babies or have rabies: if in the end the bridge you designed collapses you are nothing but a bum. Furthermore, if it was I that let you design it, then I am an even bigger bum.

Likewise for running a country. If you let your ideology run the show but fail to come up with the desired results you are a bum and a fool. Believe in Jesus, Yahve, Bhudda, Mohammed or the immortal soul of a giant jelly fish - you still have to provide for peoples' safety and sustenance. Subscribe to the theories of Karl Marx, Adam Smith or Joe the tipster down in the racetrack - but you better make sure that there's plenty of bread, milk and extra trimmings.

The problem I have with the current US administration is that it has allowed its "small government" and "free market" ideology to permeate and destroy the core competence of the country. It was not a tornado that struck New Orleans but an emasculated and incompetent FEMA. It is not the US Army that has lost the war in Iraq but the Transformational Army of an ideology-stuffed Defence Secretary. It is not the good people of America that are responsible for the rest of the world turning its back to the US, but a leader so full of himself that he believes he speaks directly to God.

And now this car wreck of ideologists are upping the ante even further, not because it will get the job done but because they believe. But competence is not faith-based and results require more than just mulish persistence.

"When I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"
J.M. Keynes


  1. Some 60 years ago, a person in a bunker in a besieged city told his supporters

    "We will win, because we have to win"

    They did not.

    And so will not the other person, sitting confused in this white bunker.

  2. True, but that person had already lost. His army was completely destroyed and his cities lay in ruins. He could do no more harm but to himself and a couple similarly delusional fanatics.

    This one, however, is just starting. I hope the good people of America wake up from their stupor and stop him before he sets fire to the world.

  3. Ahh yes, but we already knew what you Brits think of us. Didn't your Daily Mirror headline read, "How can 59,017,382 people be so DUMB?"?

    We don't get much appreciation for it, even by our own people, but America is "policeman of the world." This is not something that George Bush made up; it was enunciated by President Harry Truman in the Truman Doctrine of 1947, where Truman said that America had to be the country guaranteeing freedom around the world.

    He defended the doctrine by saying that, no matter how expensive it would be, it would be a lot cheaper than WW II was.

    Every President since then has followed the Truman Doctrine. Truman launched the Korean war. JFK launched TWO pre-emptive wars against Cuba -- the first, based on faulty CIA intelligence, led to the "Bay of Pigs disaster," and the second, the blockade of Cuba, risked nuclear war with Russia. Then Kennedy launched the Vietnam War. Skipping ahead, we have the Bosnian war in the 1990s, and the Afghan war in 2002. Lots of pre-emptive wars.

    And people also forget that the Iraq war didn't start in 2003. It started in 1991. It escalated sharply in 1999, with Pres. Clinton's daily bombing of no-fly zones, after Saddam expelled the U.N. weapons inspectors. It escalated again in 2003, but if we hadn't done that, then we'd still be bombing no-fly zones, and we still wouldn't know whether or not Saddam had WMDs. You guys in Europe would be in a lot more danger than we would, incidentally.

    But you're right, we're all pretty stupid over here.

    John J. Xenakis