Obama’s Leadership Style
Please join Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes, Ph.D. on October 6, 2012 at 10 AM Pacific Time. Live on VoiceAmerica Radio.
Dr. Adizes will share with his listeners the speech given at the XI International Investment Forum held in Sochi, Russia on September 21, 2012. As well, he will explore insights that were not included in his speech; what he learned from the Forum and discuss the changes that are needed for managers to succeed in Russia and other parts of the world.
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In my freshman year of college, I took a course on international relations.
In the very first class, the professor told us that interpersonal ethics do not apply to inter-country relations. What works in family therapy or community organizing does not work in international relations, he said.
I do not know if he was right, but it is worth analyzing.
Four years ago, when Obama was elected President of the United States of America, several associates and I analyzed his inaugural address and tried to diagnose his style.
(See “An Analysis of President Obama’s Style” on my blog: https://www.ichakadizes.com/an-analysis-of-president-obamas-inaugural-address/)
Our conclusion was that he is predominantly an (I). Now, with four years of experience, I believe my colleagues and I were correct in our analysis of Obama’s management style. In this blog I wish to focus how his (I) style is manifested in his foreign policy; He started his career as a community organizer, and his approach to problem-solving like foreign affairs is still that of a community organizer, through (I).
He is not confrontational. For comparison, try to imagine Dershowitz as President of the United States, a trial lawyer. Or McCain, if he was elected. How would they approach the Muslim riots and the murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens? They would read them the riot act, that’s how! And what did Obama, the community organizer, do about all the anti American demonstrations throughout the Middle East? He apologized as if it is the nations fault that someone was practicing the right to free speech and made a movie which offends radical Muslims. He apparently believes that “being nice,” being understanding and empathetic, is contagious. It may be true in community organizing, but it is not true in international relations.
Building bridges with your adversaries, especially in the Arab world, where they interpret efforts to build bridges and appease anger as a sign of weakness, apparently it does not work. The rules of family therapy and community organizing apparently do not apply to international relations, especially those that show aggression towards you.
In the Middle East the rules of the bazaar dominate. You have to haggle. If you accept their first offer, it shows you are weak and unlikely to protest if they subsequently raise prices, make new extreme demands or ignore you.
That is where we are today with Iran, I believe.
And what does a community organizer do with one member of the community who is an ally, but is nevertheless a source of turbulence? Israel is the case in point. The community organizer will do his best to control, isolate, and insulate the disruptive member of that community. Not support him. Why should he? He is already an ally. A community organizer will appease the enemies in order to integrate them. And that is what Obama is doing as I see it. Instead of threats or punishment, he send billions of dollars in aid to countries that harbor terrorists. Obama bows to the king of Saudi Arabia, a country that finances madrassas: schools that teach hatred of the West.
Obama’s first trip abroad as President was to Egypt. His speech in Cairo, addressed to the Muslim world, was an attempt to build bridges. In 2010, in his speech to the Muslim world at Ramadan, he made a point of saying that American Muslims made extraordinary contributions to the United States. One wonders what those contributions might have been because there is no evidence that it is true but the truth is irrelevant to an (I). He will bend in any direction if it helps bring peace and unity; a textbook (I) behavior.
Please note: I am not criticizing nor supporting Obama. All I am doing is trying to analyze his leadership style. Is it constructive and desirable or not, it is up to you to make that call. May be his (I) way is the right way in a new world we live of a global village, a new global community we need to have…I did not take sides in this blog. I will in a future one.
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes