Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Leadership We Need - A Wake-up Call


And suddenly we had a major crisis in Ukraine. Suddenly? Or was it foreseeable? Could it be expected to happen?

When you analyze the situation you’ll find that this wasn’t surprising at all. Dissecting the facts of just about let’s say the last 10 years will open your eyes. Its’ about knowing and understanding the game being played. Yes, I know that this sounds harsh and cold calling it a game. People are dying, people are held hostage, an economy is destroyed. Yet in essence it is nothing else but a game. John Nash (Nobel Prize Laureate in Economic Sciences), a pioneer in game theory, understood this.

To gain a better understanding one must understand geopolitics and geostrategic imperatives. One also must know the players in that game. Who are they? In the case of Ukraine there is first Russia. Then there is the European Union. There is NATO. Also, of course, the US. And don’t forget Turkey. Now, the question is what is in the best interest of each one?

Let’s do a quick analysis of each player to get a better understanding of the context:

Russia:

  • After the implosion of the former Soviet Union Russia lost its status as a global superpower. Coming with it it lost the former soviet republics being part of the USSR. Ukraine is one of them. Thus Russia’s influence is depleting. Imagine what that meant to the ego of some of their leaders. And don’t underestimate what it means to the Russian soul at large.
  • Then the Berlin Wall came down and Germany became reunited. Russia accepted this only with conditions. The conditions that neither NATO, nor the EU would extend its influence towards east. Hence, agreements were signed, And then NATO and the EU began anyway to extend their “territory”. Without consulting with the Russia about it. And there was not much what Russia could do about it. It was busy with itself.
  • Russia of today will not and cannot allow being surrounded by countries out of their control. It would be a strategic mistake. They want at least a belt of countries between their border and NATO / EU to feel safe.

EU:

  • The EU is economically the strongest block around. Yet, politically not really on the map. Within the EU are some strong players with different interests at stake. And getting 28 opinions / interests aligned is next to impossible.
  • The EU, led by the strong players France, Germany, and also Poland, has strong geopolitical / geostrategic interests when it comes to Ukraine. The goal is to integrate Ukraine somehow into the EU thus controlling it. It could have some economic advantages for Ukraine though in the longer run.

US:

  • The US have of course generally strong geopolitical interests. It’s, at least still, the only remaining superpower. Hence, it’s the strategic imperative for the US to extend their influence and control all over the world. Politically and economically. And they do have a plan.
  • Russia is too strong of an opponent in this worldwide game. It has shown no interest whatsoever to work together with the US as “junior partner”. And in their point of view there is no reason why they should do that. Hence, the idea is containment of Russia. Ukraine is just one piece of the puzzle.

Sure, there is so much more to it. And one must also take into account all other conflicts brewing, like Syria. Yet, I hope this quick analysis gives at least a rough idea where we are at and what’s at stake.

It’s already a complex situation. Uncertainty, volatility, ambiguity determine this game. Now add to that the human beings, the leaders of these players. One has to take into account their personalities, their character (or lack thereof), their egos. And, most important, the way they feel. Could it get any more complex?

Sure it can. There are the “official, assigned leaders”. And there are the hidden leaders pulling the strings, making the calls. Sometimes the official leaders may be part of the real leadership, sometimes they are just puppets on a string.

One thing becomes clear: Russia and the US are the main players. Yet, there is also China. And they do know what they want. If you take their overall moves into account, worldwide of course, you can see that there is a strategy behind it. Sure, they have their blunders as well. Yet, they maintain their course.

The EU is by far too busy with itself determining things like the “curvature a banana must have to be accepted as such”. The main players within the EU have a hard time to agree upon where the EU should go. And more often than not the “government actors” are unbelievable naive. The question is not whether you like the game. You have to be a player. Bystanding / fence-sitting doesn’t work. You’re either in, or you’re out. Period.

Check out all the different conflicts and how those developed / were created on purpose. You cannot understand the Ukraine crises giving it an isolated look. You must see the big picture of the world. And trying to understand it requires, here I go again, thinking for yourself, critical thinking. Just listening to the biased news in the media will keep you dumb and numbed. You must inform yourself in any way you can to get to a somewhat educated conclusion. Ukraine, like all the others, is just a piece on the game board. Tools like game theory provide a more profound understanding of the game.

What’s the name of the game that’s being played? It’s called world domination. And it’s a power game. And it influences every bit of your life. Get real people.

Why am I writing about all this in this post? And why did I call the post “The Leadership We Need”?

Thousands of years have past. Yet, mankind has not reached a higher level of development, a higher level of consciousness. Only the methods and tools of killing each other, destroying the environment human beings can survive in, became more sophisticated. Would you call that “the leadership we want”? Call that leadership at all? It’s the leadership we deserve, I am afraid. Until we change … until we, the human race, develop ourselves.

We need new leaders. These new leaders must know and understand all that mentioned above and in depth. Without understanding where you are at and where you came from you cannot lead. These leaders must have the ability to lead in these complex environments. These leaders must thrive in a world of complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity, and volatility. These leaders must transcend boundaries, literally. And those are just the basics.

These leaders must create a new world of mutual respect, freedom, and collaboration. These leaders must understand technology and beyond that the impact technological advancements will have. These leaders must have integrity, trustworthiness, and ethical behavior. No ‘minority report’ kind of things. No spying on and monitoring every move of people. People have human rights and privacy is one of them.

We need leaders who understand that it’s no longer good enough to be busy with your daily trivia at work. Leaders, who understand that we cannot continue creating more uninformed, numbed consumers making irrational decisions. We need leaders who no longer support the creation of products and services with no value added to society. Useless stuff no one needs and has asked for. We need leaders capable of speaking the language in a way people can understand. We need leaders creating education for people that deserves its name. We need leaders teaching people how to think and think critically.

I am talking about new leaders we need everywhere. In Government as well as in organizations and companies. In society.

The leaders we need, where are they? They are right here: it's you! Those of you able to recognize that we need to change now. Those of you accepting such a responsibility and are willing and able to lead. Those of you willing to learn and train to become such a leader. Those of you no longer accepting that everything is set in stone. Those of you defying the status quo. Those of you taking the risk of leading. It’s tough. It’s hard. It’s worthwhile.

It’s you, the younger generation, I have in mind. I hear you, you want to make a difference, make this world a better place. Just do it then. Yet, be warned: it's not easy.

The question is: Who of you is up to that task? Who of you is made of the material a true leader is made of?

I sincerely hope I get your thinking in gear, which was my aim.

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