Over the course of the last couple of blog posts, I have mentioned the late Zbigniew Brzezinski and his contributions to American foreign policy during the course of his long and illustrious career and fulfilling life, in addition to mentioning the fact that he was someone I looked up to and emulated as a teen and young adult. But what is perhaps at the core of Brzezinski’s contributions to political philosophy was a subtle piece of advice he gave in his final book, titled “Strategic Vision.” Brzezinski’s advice was to “be the leader,” but not to act like one.
Thus, combining belief and confidence with humility and simplicity is perhaps the formula behind Brzezinski’s advice on leadership. Through this formula, leaders have to assert themselves to advance an agenda and a vision, without being authoritarian or dictatorial. Therefore, the proper strategy for a leader in advancing an agenda and vision is persuasion, rather than force. Also, the best visions are often self-fulfilling. Moreover, a viable agenda or vision is one whereby everyone’s interests are accommodated and taken into consideration.
In turn, global order and peace result from the accommodation and consideration of everyone’s interests, and this reality ties in with the notion mentioned in a previous blog post, which is that order and peace rely on oversight and management. And in turn, oversight and management is essentially the oversight and management of people within a system, to borrow from the legendary Andrew Carnegie.
What is also important to note is that oversight and management ties into a system that is derived from core principles. These principles are then embedded into a blueprint or framework for the crafting of the system. Thus, people are inserted into a system, and everything is about the system rather than the people. And leadership ties into the system in the sense that leaders make sure that the system is functioning and operating in an orderly and peaceful manner. There are those over the course of the last two decades who sought to sabotage and undermine the system through the imposition of chaos and war, such as the neocons. But the objective and purpose of the system is order and peace, and thus the objective and purpose of the system has to prevail over a set of individuals who seek to undermine the system through the imposition of chaos and war.
The imposition of chaos and war was a strategy behind a whole-of-government policy on the part of the neocons known as “global hegemony,” which was not only a policy that violated international laws, rules, and norms, but it was also a policy that failed. Part of the functions and operations of the system is to hold accountable the individuals who seek to undermine the system for nefarious purposes.
The system – and thus the “collective end” of the system, namely, order and peace – is now international in scope. And as mentioned in a previous blog post, the system has both diplomatic and military operations that aim to preserve the two core pillars of the system, namely, a security pillar and an economic pillar. But rather than whipping everyone back into line through violence, one is better off resorting to logic, reason, and persuasion in order to smoothen out the functions and operations of the system. As Teddy Roosevelt famously said: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”