Monday, September 02, 2013

"The Start Of The Historic American Retreat"

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The world news coming out of Damascus last night is saying Obama's indecisive behavior regarding Syria amounts to, "The start of the historic American retreat."

Fox News' Chris Wallace noted yesterday that officials in Damascus are saying the President "flinched" and had "made a joke of the American administration."

He asked Secretary of State John Kerry whether the administration "had handed Syria and Iran at least a temporary victory?"

Kerry said, no, President Obama's indecision would actually give the US more time to prepare.

Meanwhile, Syria has moved large numbers of its troops and weaponry into highly civilian populated areas.

The Associated Press reported, "For more than a week, the White House had been barreling toward imminent military action against Syria. But President Barack Obama’s abrupt decision to instead ask Congress for permission left him with a high-risk gamble that could devastate his credibility if no action is ultimately taken in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack that crossed his own 'red line'.”

AP also said, "The stunning reversal also raises questions about the president’s decisiveness and could embolden leaders in Syria, Iran, North Korea and elsewhere, leaving them with the impression of a US president unwilling to back up his words with actions."

In making his hurried pivot Saturday, President Obama said, “While I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective. We should have this debate.”

Israeli Economy Minister, Naftali Bennet said, "The international stammering and vacillation over Syria proves yet again, that Israel can trust in none but itself."

The "debate" with Congress will apparently begin the 9th of September when Congress is back in their offices.

The consequences for Obama’s turnabout could be sweeping, both at home and abroad. If Congress votes against military action, it would mark a humiliating defeat for a second-term president already fighting to stay relevant and wield influence in Washington. It could also weaken his standing internationally at a time when there are already growing questions about the scope of American influence, particularly in the Arab world.

Certainly how and whether the United States should respond militarily to Syria is very, very important.

There is also another very important factor in play in this matter----A lack of leadership and the paralyzing effects of relativism and lack of deeply held convictions.

An NBC News poll conducted last week suggests the use of chemical weapons has not shifted public opinion in favor of taking military action against Syria. About 50 percent said the US should not take military action against the Syrian government in response to the use of chemical weapons, while 42 percent said the US should. Just 21 percent say military action against Syria is in the US national interest.

This is a crises that the entire world is watching. A crises in the sense that a dictator is killing his own people---adults and children, and a crises in the sense that the most powerful nation on earth has a leader who appears to be double-minded.

He speaks of the moral mandate to respond to the atrocities in Syria, while looking to the political right and to the left for cover.

The press, who has steadfastly supported this president, are, ironically echoing these concerns regarding lack of conviction.

Fortune Magazine published an article in 2011 in which they said, "In business circles, 'creativity' has become a buzzword to describe a desired trait among employees. It's widely believed that having creative thinkers on staff will boost overall team levels of innovation. Yes, creativity can lead to a surplus of original ideas. But when it comes time to sell those concepts internally, and then later take those ideas to market, creativity is not enough. More important is conviction."

The article lists a number of high achievers who have started their own companies and changed our world---Amazon, Facebook, Google and others.

Fortune quotes Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon speaking to the graduating class at Princeton University, "Will you wilt under criticism, or will follow your convictions?"

People wilt under criticism, because they lack convictions.

Fortune says "conviction" is the powerful force that built Facebook and Google and other companies.

Their conclusion is that, "Conviction-driven thinkers on all levels of an organization, from the C-suite to the executive suite, want to share their specific visions more that they seek fame or power."

"As a result they are very persuasive," Fortune says.

Which brings me to this.

People of faith---Christians, have the most profound message and life plan ever offered to man kind. The gospel transforms people, gives them a second chance and hope for the future.

The principles of Christianity were the foundations upon which this country was built. The Founders and others who embraced those principles, did so passionately---with conviction. They truly believed their ideas were better than those of Europe and the rest of the world.

Arrogance? No. Conviction.

And a humble dependence upon God.

Much of this has been lost in America at this particular time.

Relativism depletes the enthusiasm and passion of conviction because there are no prevailing or better ideas. All ideas are "good" ideas and must be treated with "value" and equality. There can be no winners and losers in this artificial narrative. All ideas have merit and value and must be treated equally with managed outcomes.

Those who express passion and conviction are labeled extremist. Or narrow minded. Or bigoted.

Yet a person without passion rooted in conviction cannot lead, at best they can merely hang around at the front of the parade claiming leadership, anticipating the parade route so they can stay near the front while continuing to claim leadership.

I'll be talking more about conviction and biblical beliefs today on the radio. You may join me from anywhere in the world, live at 9 AM, PDT and rebroadcast at 7:30 PM PDT, here's how.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.