Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 17, 2011

Obama’s Bye on Leadership

Great teams get a Bye, but not Presidents

There are crises and then there are real crises.  Crises arise in every news cycle for journalists and politicians – whose historical memories mimic the fruit fly.   But, the real crises that sear memories into Peoples and Nations only come a few times for each generation.   Their burning brand touches the flesh of 4 generations.  As the Bible says what happens today is felt by our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Such a time is upon us now in Japan.  The Japanese will retain a memory of this time for generations.  It is the biggest single shock to them – as a People and as a Nation-state since WW II – 66 years ago.   How the United States of America responds will be remembered.

It is not a time for a bye on leadership.  A bye may be a good thing for a top seeded team during March Madness, but it is a terrible thing for the President of the United States of America.

President BHO is taking a bye.  A puffed up stand up statement to the White House press corps isn’t good enough for this.  Predictable words of help and concern offer insufficient commitment and caring.  He doesn’t have his head in the game.  Our grandchildren’s grandchildren will pay a price if a resurgent Japanese nationalism – anytime in the next 150 years – doesn’t see the U.S. as it closest, most trusted, most loyal ally and friend.

Different crises demand different leadership – and different communications.  Look at our American experience.

Every national crisis that becomes a national memory has a narrative.  The narrative is the same to the great majority of Americans.  No matter how complex the issues of the day, the narrative is the sum of the story in a few simple words.

In wartime the narrative answers the gutcheck questions, “Why must my son fight?”  and “Why must we sacrifice?”   For liberty.  For independence.  For the Union.  For Our Rights.  To defend Democracy.  To defend our Freedoms.  To stop Communism.  To hunt the Islamists.

General George Washington provided the battlefield leadership to keep fighting after loss after loss.  The bayonets of the American Army carried the Revolution.  Our communication was our arms.  Our sustainment was the preaching from the pulpit.

President Lincoln wrote a lot of letters.  His letters communicated forcefully and personally with thousands of Americans who shared them with many more.  When the time came for a speech, Lincoln captured the whole experience of saving the Union in 865 words.  His Gettysburg Address became the national memory.

FDR in the U.S. and Winston Churchill in the U.K. spoke confidently and reassuringly about victory as defeat loomed and when the burden became tiring and heavy.

Truman didn’t make the aims clear enough – because they weren’t.  LBJ just failed miserably – stooping to the low politics he grew up in.

George H.W. Bush created the moment of success with the Germans when The Wall fell.  He wasn’t cautious, calculating or slow to offer the Germans every support needed to reunify as quickly as they could.   He preserved a place for America as Germany’s constant partner for a long time.

Rudy Giuliani provided the energetic, yet calming can do confidence, in daily contributions to the narrative of 9-11.  George W. Bush provided the presence on key occasions and then marshaled the forces for war.

Now it is time to reach the Japanese in real ways.

Since WW II Japan went from a enemy – with the additional cuts from two-edged racism – to an ally.  From an ally to a partner.  From a partner to a friend.

Now is the time to exceed the Japanese expectations.  To bear a special burden for a special friend.  To let the state witness our Judeo-Christian culture by the charity from our country.  And for each American Christian to pour out whatever they can for the Japanese in the abiding love of Lord Jesus Christ.

And send another carrier battle group – loaded with extra helicopters – and many of our chemical, biologicial, nuclear military experts and teams – now.




  1. […] usually think of friendship as an obligation that we accept in love. With Obama’s Bye on Leadership, James Atticus Bowden reminds us there are practical dimensions of friendship that stem from […]

  2. Thanks for the link.

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