How I Think
I end all of my blog entries with the words: “Just Thinking.” And people should not get onto trouble for thinking. Right?
But I do. People get upset because of what I am thinking. Ukrainians are upset with what I write about Russia and the Russians, with what I write about Ukraine. The Israeli are upset when I write about Israel. Some time ago, I wrote about Bosnia and all hell broke loose.
People write to me that they are unsubscribing from my blog forever. And that I should stick to management subjects only.
The worst reaction is when I write about women. Whoa. Here I am really in trouble.
Should I stop writing about God too? A subject that makes me think a lot?
Or maybe, I should explain HOW I THINK. Maybe that will take the heat off of my shoulders.
Let me try.
I work hard, rewriting every piece maybe a dozen times. I send it to my editor, Gene, and rewrite it again a dozen times after I get it back from him.
Why do I write and rewrite?
I try to UNDERSTAND what is going on. Not to take a position. Not to judge. Just to understand. And to understand, I need to think, and rethink, and rethink. And when I finally think that I understand something, I have to explain what I understand, or believe that I understand.
Maybe the reason people get upset with my writing is because they apparently believe that if I am explaining what is going on, I am supporting or defending that position.
Not at all. Not at all.
I am focusing on the IS. Not what I WANT, nor what I believe SHOULD be.
Take my recent blog on Putin and Ukraine. As an example.
I am not supporting Putin.
I’m trying to understand Putin.
I am trying to visualize things the way he must be seeing them:
The Maidan revolution can spread into Russia. It will endanger his (Putin’s) power position. What to do?
Demonize Kiev and take over Crimea. Now he is a hero.
And it proved right. Putin received an 80 percent popularity rating.
But then East Ukraine revolted.
What to do?
Putin must support the Russians there or he will no longer be the hero of Russian people, wherever they may reside. Russian history will judge him. And overall, there is the larger, ubiquitous need: How to regain the Russian pride that was lost along with the breakdown of the Soviet Union?
I do not think Putin killed Nemtzev. He did not need to. The opposition is small. Noisy, but small. He has the support of 80 percent of his people. So what is there to worry about? Moreover, Nemtzev’s death, when attributed to him, will cause Putin to lose power, not regain it.
That is what is going through his mind. Or at least, that is what I think is going through his mind.
I try to identify what drives the decision-maker and then try to understand it, not to support nor justify it. Just to understand.
Do you see how I think?
Take another example.
Bibi at the US Congress.
What drives him?
The same thing that drives all the politicians that I have had the opportunity to interact with: How history will judge them. At least, that is my belief.
Bibi Netanyahu does not want to go down in history as the Israeli leader who did not do his utmost to avoid nuclear holocaust. That is it.
Do I support Bibi? No. I just try to understand him.
Take another example.
Serbia. No leader there wants to be known in history books as the one who gave up on Kosovo. It is considered as their “Jerusalem.” That is where the Serb nation was “born.” So they twist and turn and do not walk their talk. What is going on? What will history books say?
Take the Greek leadership. All of them. They are fighting over the name of Macedonia. No one wants to go down in history as the national leader who gave up the heritage of Greece to some little country up north.
The same is true for the Palestinian leaders. They negotiate, but in the last minute before signing, they find some excuse why not to sign. As Abba Eban said, “the Palestinians never lose an opportunity to lose an opportunity…to sign an agreement.”
How is this behavior explained?
Well, no Palestinian leader can afford to go down in history books as the one who signed an agreement that states that the Palestinians have no right to return to their land. That he gave up on the ownership of Palestinian land. That, in their culture, would be inconceivable.
What the Israeli are asking for in order to have an agreement is NOT DOABLE. No Palestinian leader can agree to it. The history books will condemn them. Forever.
For years, I have tried to understand women. Never could. And now it is more difficult than ever.
The human race is going through a disruptive change ever since the pill was invented and mechanization began to change the nature of work at home. Women are no longer continuously pregnant, and they do not need to be barefoot. They earn a living.
The whole power balance between the sexes is changing in developed countries, in favor of women, and I believe one reason why there is the uprising among Muslims against the West is that Muslim men do not want this change to happen.
Hello. Do not get upset now. I am just trying to explain what I understand…And trying to understand does not mean understanding. It means it is an attempt to understand and seek other peoples’ opinion, so that I can understand even better.
Whenever I say, “Just thinking,” I mean to say, “I am not sure if this is right…I am just thinking openly in public.” And if someone disagrees with me, that is the whole idea of the blog: to stimulate thinking and exchange “understandings.”
Believe me. The first thing I do every Saturday, and every single day thereafter, is to open the “comments section” of my blog to read who disagrees and why. So I can learn.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes