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Michael Maccoby

Michael Maccoby

Michael Maccoby is an anthropologist and psychoanalyst globally recognized as an expert on leadership. He is the author of The Leaders We Need, And What Makes Us Follow.

Obama's Khruschev

In his new book, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall, W.R. Smyser describes how Nikita Khruschev tried to bully John F. Kennedy at their first meeting in Vienna. After the Bay of Pigs disaster, Khruschev saw Kennedy as a weak leader who would cave into his threats of war. Kennedy had come to the meeting advised by White House staff and Soviet experts at the State Department to expect a smooth, cordial meeting. His lack of firmness in response to threats led Khruschev to believe he could get away with placing missiles in Cuba. With bullies like Khruschev or Ahmedinejad, it is essential to take unambiguous, unyielding positions or they will think we won't stand up to them.

President Obama's position will be greatly strengthened if he meets Ahmedinejad with the full support of the other members of the UN Security Council. He should assume that Ahmedinejad's ambition is to use nuclear weapons to gain power and status in the Middle East, and he should take seriously the threats against Israel. The position of the Security Council should be that if Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons, the consequences will first be economic. If they are a poor country, they will not be respected by anyone.

However, if Iran stops making nuclear weapons and allows full inspection, the United States and its allies could help Iran to gain power and status in a positive way, by developing their economy. Nuclear power could be used for peaceful purposes and to prepare for a time when oil runs out. If economic sanctions do not convince Iran to take a positive path, it should be made clear that there will be even harsher consequences.

Ahmedinejad will probable make accusations and threats. He will either deny that Iran is building nuclear weapons or claim that Iran has just as much right to have them as Israel, Pakistan and India. But Obama should keep in mind that his strong words will also be heard by the ayatollas who are the ultimate authority in Iran. The generals and industrialists in Nazi Germany were ready to oust Hitler when he trashed the Versailles treaty, but when the British and French gave into his early aggression, they decided to go along with him. Let's not repeat the mistake of letting a dangerous bully believe he can get away with murder.

By Michael Maccoby

 |  September 29, 2009; 5:46 AM ET
Category:  Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The generals and industrialists in Nazi Germany were ready to oust Hitler when he trashed the Versailles treaty

Nonsense. These two groups were eager to an end to Versailles. The generals (some of them--in particular Halder, the Chief of the General Staff) were ready to oust Hitler when he threatened to go to war against Czechoslovakia,
as that would have put Germany into a two-front war with England, France and Russia. When England and France caved at Munich (and Russia's treaty with Czechoslovokia only required that Russia come to that country's defense if England and France honored their treaty committments), Hitler was overwhelmingly popular and Halder called off his plot.

Posted by: garbage1 | September 30, 2009 8:39 PM
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Is Obama a weak leadear;do the americans need at the Capitol Hill a sort of John Wayne-Minuteman patrolling the whole World?
"El Pais"`(30 Sept.- 2009,pg.5 International .Some reflections about it)
Is Obama in Afganistan in a similar trap as ex-president L.Johson was in Vietnam?Used that experience.History mater et magister est(Mother-Teacher)But how difficult is to hear a mother advice and much more difficult to interpret it.
To interpret always means action,to take a pondered decision.Is President Obama lacking that faculty?If yes,then he is not the offspring of Roosselvet or or Abraham Lincoln.But the shooting of the Movie is not finished, gentlemen.What is 9 months for the life of the New Roman Empire? Nine seconds.
St. Ignatious was a courageous army officer an he considered in some occasions to retreat in order.
Obama is trapped among Penta-agonics, UCLA-agonics & the Middle American,the street-walker,who smels something "rotten in the kingdom" o Denmark-istan.I have some knowledge of that standard american in the person of my first teacher, of american-english, a run away from Vietnam war.Unpatriotic? Not at all.He loved his biological mother as well as his native Pensilvania.An he loved his Civil Rights cleverly not to fight a sylly useless war.
My personal picture about the normal, standard american coincides, in some way with "Sargent York".He killed germans,like ducks on a pond.Why did he do it?Sollely & exclusivelly to save human lives, his comrades wiped away by those deadly machine guns.
The soldiers of those 42 nations engaged in that Afgha-Vietnam war are "infidels,foreigners killing innocent civilians" according to those chieftains good-for- -nothing, except to wash the brains of his brothers,with the help of the AK-47+the poppy bud( Nip that war in the bud)
Only Islamic Nations no-brainwashed, carrying Corans on the barrel of his guns, may win that war with the help of the Mighty &Compassionated Allah.In Oman, where a read the Coran firs time, I was surprised that almost each sentence ended with that wonderful word, a word not made for fanatics.

Posted by: justdiogo | September 30, 2009 5:54 PM
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"However, if Iran stops making nuclear weapons...." [Quoted from Michael Maccoby's "Obama's Khruschev" (30 Sept. 2009).]

And this man is advertised as a "scholar"? Well, Mr. Maccoby, wwhen did you stop beating your wife?

Have you noticed that the world has noticed Iran has not made a nuclear weapon and that no one has proffered any credible evidence of Iran's actually trying to build a nuke?

But, then, what's a false premise, here and there, among friends?

Oh, and thank you for your unique, deep insight that atomic energy can be "used for peaceful purposes and to prepare for a time when oil runs out." Wow! I and Iran the beyond-Iran world would not have thought of that prospect. You edify us, sir.

But wait. There's more! You are "an anthropologist and psychoanalyst globally recognized as an expert on leadership." I bet you hold a DLE (ore LED) -- leadership expertise doctorate. Did you earn it online, from BsU (Bulls**t University)?

One must be amazed by WaPo's publishing your stuff (and that of "dithering," blathering, blithering, Barbara Kellerman, whose surreal Harvard professorship impugns the vaunted superior intelligence and uber-integrity of Anglo-Saxon America's first college.

Posted by: ljaffee | September 30, 2009 5:08 PM
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Problem is, Obama is wimp and there's no hiding it. He will only grow a pair when he realizes he's about to be voted out of office. That sort of desperation is dangerous and usually ineffective.

Posted by: carlbatey | September 30, 2009 12:38 PM
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Noone is afraid of Comrade Obama. Pres sarkozy of France says Obama is full of naivete and ego which means West will not be led as US was the leader but now we have a naive Kenyan rookie better suited to lead a banana republic. We are in big trouble with Obama.

Posted by: mascmen7 | September 30, 2009 12:24 PM
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