According to some private feedback, last week’s rant apparently did not get its point across. Just to be clear, my point was only that a president or a chief executive at a company has to be decisive, to show leadership. Publicly passing the buck is not leadership especially after you draw a ‘red line’ to try to intimidate a country. Notice I said publicly. That means the president or chief executive can and should consult with his/her trusted advisors when making a major decision. However, these meetings should occur behind the scenes. Once a course of action has been defined, the president or chief he executive must announce the plan of action to the public (or corporate staff).
In this case, there are no clear good guys which complicates the decision. Both sides of the conflict in Syria may have used chemical weapons. That makes it hard to identify who deserves to be supported. Of course, it could be argued that Obama painted America into a corner when he threatened to take action against Syria if they used chemical weapons against their own people. Now if he does not do anything, he may appear weak. Furthermore, Congress may back attacking Syria more because they feel they need to back their commander-in-chief in this case. Yet by attacking Syria in support of the ‘revolutionists’, they will be sending mixed messages to the American public and world because that could look like he is supporting Jabhat Al-Nusra. This is the same organization that the U.S. State Department called a terrorist organization just a few years ago. So by attacking Syria, are we supporting terrorists or fighting them. On the other hand, while the Syrian government under Assad may not be our idea of a democracy, far from it, at least they did attempt to stop other terrorist groups within Syria in the past, many of which were associated with al-Qaida.
On the third hand, if the threat to attack Syria is based mostly around their use of chemical weapons, we really do not have the jurisdiction. The use of chemical weapons is a violation of international law. However this law does not sanction any one country to act as a policing or enforcement organization. Does that mean that this issue really needs to be bumped to the United Nations. Now there is another potential problem. The UN may not have the ability or will to step in and stop this conflict. However, this problem may truly belong in the laps of the Security Council to decide what action, if any and by whom should be pursued.
So where does that leave us. Well over the weekend, both the House and the Senate refused to talk with a Russian delegation to find a non-military solution to this problem. Was this just posturing to show support for the president? Presidents Obama and Putin however did meet, but the only thing that came out of that meeting was that that agreed to disagree. Not great progress, but at least they did talk. Most recently I heard that President Obama will address the public today, September 10th. Of course this was posted before that address, so I don’t know what will be said, if decision as been made, or if the decision is to postpone any immediate action to see if the United Nations or at least a consortium of world powers might step in to jointly act to stop the conflict. In my opinion though, stopping the conflict is not the ultimate answer to problems in Syria. There are obviously some root issues that must be addressed to truly defuse the situation. Merely delaying the conflict without solving those issues may only lead to a more heated conflict the next time. As someone once said, (and it is not really Chinese) ‘May you live in interesting times.’ I’m just not sure if that is a wish, a threat, a promise, a warning, or something else.
Now for some lighter news. This coming Saturday is the 7th annual SQL Saturday here in Orlando. I will be speaking there about Data Quality Services and hope some of you can make it to the event, if not may session. SQL Saturday’s started here in Orlando back in 2007. Today, they are international. We are also hosting several pre-conference sessions starting Wednesday with two more on Thursday and Friday. Except for Wednesday, these training sessions due have a cost associated with them, but the cost is minimal considering the quality of the speakers we have talked into coming to Orlando a few days early. Check out the Orlando SQL Saturday event at: http://sqlsaturday.com/232/eventhome.aspx. We are expecting a big crowd, so make sure that your register so we can properly plan the day.
C’ya next time (or this Saturday in Orlando).