Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Real Leadership

For those of you who have forgotten or for those of us who have had to block it out of our minds because of a deep deep depression of leadership, here is what a POTUS is supposed to sound like.

The Opportunity for Private Citizens to Effect Positive Change
in an Increasingly Interdependent World
William Jefferson Clinton
March 28, 2006
London Business School


It seems to me fairly straightforward that the major mission of our time should be to move from an inheritably unstable and unequal interdependence, to a more integrated world locally, nationally and globally.

And to me, every successfully integrated community or organization has three characteristics: you have equal opportunities, shared responsibilities and shared values, shared sense of belonging and community that crosses all the lines that would otherwise divide us.

What is keeping us from that sort of movement and what we need to do?

I think that there are four challenges all of which have economic components and other components.

There is a security challenge.

It has been warped by overemphasis on what happened in Iraq. But there is a security challenge from terror, weapons of mass destruction, slaughter of innocents in place like Darfur and from the threat of global epidemics in an interdependent world. The security challenges are best addressed cooperatively. Our position should be that we will cooperate whenever we can, and act alone only when me must, not the reverse.

The second thing that I would like to talk briefly about is global warming. I believe that it is the only existential threat that, those of you who are students here, your generation faces. It could literally undermine your ability to raise your children and grandchildren.

A whole spade of new books and studies have come out in the last couple of months, and I will just cite two or three. A dig through the ice pac in Antarctica, deeper than any before it had achieved has enabled us to measure the pattern of climate warming in the last two hundred years.

The climate is warming more rapidly than anytime in the last two hundred thousand years. Homosapiens stood up on the planes of the savannah in East Africa somewhere between 130,000-150,000 years ago. This goes back before the time when our species was on the planet. The last ice age receded 15,000 years ago that allowed people to move across the globe. There were five civilizations on earth five thousands years ago.

We are playing with serious fire.

The Indians and Chinese are in this huge fight now to see who can get the most oil. We may be at a point of peak oil production. You may see $100 a barrel oil in the next two or three years, but what still is driving this globalization is the idea that is you cannot possibly get rich, stay rich and get richer; if you don’t release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

That was true in the industrial era; it is simply factually not true. What is true is that the old energy economy is well organized, financed and connected politically. The new energy economy is underfinanced, under organized, entrepreneurial and in need of the type of research and development work that we routinely did when we were trying to sequence the human genome or go into space.

But just with existing technologies for conservation and clean energy, we can more than meet the Kyoto protocols if we were remotely serious about the targets and in the process create jobs in the developed and developing world on a scale that is otherwise unimaginable to me.

It is just a question of whether we accept this, but I can only tell you that I have studied this data seriously.

I consider it an existential threat to your future.

It may be the most remote security threat you face, but the only one who has the chance to change the life of everybody on the planet for the worst.

And yet it is a phenomenal opportunity. "


The final thing that I want to say is fairly simple but maybe the most important of all.

People ask me all the time, okay I get how we can push for equal and shared opportunities; I get how we can have shared responsibilities for security and climate change, but how in the world can we ever have a shared sense of community with all the different religious and other problems we have?


Underneath all of this, most people who use religion as an excuse to kill are just politicians trying to get power. In every religion there is a conviction that there is a truth, but there is a very great deal of difference between saying there is a truth and saying that any person in this lifetime can be in full possession of it, much less turn it into a political program that is fully true, so that if you reject it you don’t deserve to live.

All we have to do to build a global community, an integrated global community, is to have people believe that every person is entitled to dignity and a chance, that competition is good but cooperation works better, that our differences are really important but our common humanity matters more.

You can get up here about all the platitudes you want about how great this is, but if half the people aren’t a part of it in the end,

the system will collapse.

So I ask all of you

to think about that. "


This is the way

Real Leadership

thinks and speaks.

The bleed and greed dribble we hear today,

is Demagoguery.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a terrific post. It is a sad thing though, that we get the leadership that we deserve - the decider not the thinker.

6:00 AM  

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