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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Romney Leadership Is Tested by Adversity

Romney's outrageous press release about the tragic situation in Libya demonstrates a serious lack of leadership skills.

Romney reacted, rather than led, when his campaign sent out an accusatory press release without waiting for facts about the horrible Libyan incident, where Ambassador Stevens was killed by violence, perpetrated by radical Islamists, supposedly opposing a cheap anti Muslim Internet film.
I doubt Romney knew that our Ambassador was dead when his campaign released the late night statement. Although Romney had the opportunity to affirm condolences about the tragedy, he chose, instead, to stir up anger and discontent.

Great leaders do not stir up discontent during a crises. Rather, great leaders articulate the emotions of historical moments. Winston Churchill, of course, is one of history's greatest examples of an articulate leader, who affirmed the resolve of the English people during World War II.

Romney failed his leadership moment when he criticized the ongoing volatile situation in Libya, criticizing the Obama administration for a comment from the American Egyptian embassy in Cairo, even while the outcome of the violence was unknown. A startling press release went to media outlets without affirming the sadness people felt over the loss of our diplomatic personnel by a violent mob of protesters.

An example of leadership came from Senator John McCain who affirmed the moment by extending his heartfelt sympathy for the loss of Ambassador Stevens. Although Senator McCain advocates for more military involvement in the Middle East, he began his criticism of the Obama administration with an outpouring of praise for the late Ambassador Stevens.
Even as Senator McCain mourns the loss of his friend Ambassador Stevens, he provides some insight to how he would handle the situation that ignited the Libyan incident. The issue is not about a statement that came out of the Egyptian embassy during a street demonstration. It's about what our nation's level of involvment in the Middle East. Romney just doesn't get that.

Governor Romney must learn that being an American leader is not like running a venture capitalist firm where management controls financial transactions to generate profit for investors.

It's time Romney learns political leadership, but Americans certainly can't afford to pay for his on the job training.

Regardless of how Americans feel about Middle East foreign relations, the fact is, the more we involve ourselves in this region of the world, the more the population appears to mistrust our intentions.

The loss of Ambassador Stevens is obviously a setback to America's ability to grow trust among Middle East leaders. He was probably targeted because extremists don't want a resolution to political turmoil, unless it means the return of radical Islamists. Perhaps, he was killed in revenge by Al Qaeda for the killing of their leaders by American drones.

But Romney should have affirmed Ambassador Stevens and his value as an experienced and dedicated diplomat, before using the tragedy, where he was killed in the service of our country, to make Presidential election news.

Romney has led a privileged life as a career chief executive officer. Clearly, his leadership has not been tested by adversity.

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