BY JAMES TRAUB | FEBRUARY 24, 2012 In the summer of 1798, U.S. President John Adams faced the gravest crisis of his time in office. Hostilities with the revolutionary, expansionist regime in France had been rising since his election, with … Continue reading →
There are some things in leadership that I could honestly say I despise. Perhaps you have your own list, but this is mine. Here are 10 things that drive me crazy in leadership: Responsibility without authority – If you ask … Continue reading →
(Notes from a recent message given 19 Feb 2012, RAF Mildenhall, with credit to Rob Bell as well…but come on, anytime you can work The Matrix, The Ramones, and Clausewitz into a message…it’s got to be something, eh?)
The first three chapters in Sun Tzu’s timeless classic “The Art of War” describe how to make net assessments by comparing your strengths and weaknesses and those of your adversary and how to formulate strategy. Near the end of Chapter 3, he sums up his advice, saying, “Know your enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be defeated in every battle.”
The fundamental problem in the American military and foreign policy elite lies in an incestuously amplifying, self referencing orientation that makes it ignorant of both of Master Sun’s categories of knowledge. (I explain how incestuous amplification hijacks a decision cycle in this essay.) Briefly, the American policy elite’s self-referencing Orientation causes it to Observe what it wants to see.