If every time you see a news story on the political crisis that could destabilize Turkey, you go to the next news article, because you think what goes on there has no impact on your business, job or family, I suggest you consider the following:
• Turkey, a majority Muslim country has been a stabilizing influence in the volatile Middle East, shares a border with Iraq, Syria and Iran. It was the only Muslim country to have direct diplomatic relations with Israel prior to the signing of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1979.
The “Bridge” crisis swirling around New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has become a pivotal test of his leadership skills to survive a major threat to his promising political career.
The events before and after the bridge lane closings and the actions of Governor Christie and members of his inner circle of advisors offers several examples of good and bad leadership and management practices.
Here are the examples of good leadership and management:
Sunday’s referendum in Crimea will almost certainly favor breaking away from the Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation. Russia has troops on Ukraine’s Eastern border and threatening a military intervention to protect ethnic Russians from violence by “fascists” in Kyiv who ousted Former President Yanukovych.
The armed forces of Ukraine and Russia are on full alert and tensions are high throughout the country, especially in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine. The worst-case scenario is for the start of armed conflict in response to provocations or random clashes between supporters and opponents of Ukraine’s interim government that leads to Russian troops crossing the border and a military response from the Ukrainian military, which then escalates into all-out war and a hazardous East-West confrontation with unknown but likely tragic consequences.
What country is Russia’s next target after Crimea? Some politicians and pundits are parsing every statement made by President Putin and other Russian government officials to answer that question. They say eastern and southern Ukraine, Transnistria, Georgia and the Baltic States are threatened by Russian aggression.
But they are focusing on the wrong question. The important question today is about Ukraine and whether it is in Russia’s national interest to annex eastern and southern Ukraine into the Russian Federation through a combination of regional referendums and possible military action?
Russia’s leadership in helping to resolve the crisis in Ukraine is desperately needed. A proactive Russia could help to find a path to a peaceful resolution and win the respect of the global community for its leadership. Instead, Russia has rejected further multilateral talks to stop the escalating violence in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine is increasingly lurching towards a civil war and possible war with Russia. The amount of death and destruction for Ukraine will be unthinkable, as well as the security and economic crisis of global proportions that will be ignited. The global community has lots of examples since the dissolution of the Soviet Union when major powers failed to take timely actions to stop a human tragedy in the making, such as the Balkans, Rwanda and the Sudan.
As I think about Sunday’s presidential election in strife torn Ukraine, I am reminded of US President Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address on March 4, 1865.
After four bitter years of civil war, President Abraham Lincoln told Americans that at the end of the bloody conflict that would take over 600,000 soldier’s lives to not seek vengeance against the rebels and “to bind the nation’s wounds; ….to do all which may achieve justice and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” In a little more than 30 days, Lincoln himself would be struck down by an assassin, another casualty of a conflict between citizens of the same country.
Lately, I have been lying awake all too often worrying about my children’s future. Political upheavals in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza and the South China Sea, will likely redefine not just political boundaries, but also the global security framework, and have potentially serious impacts on the global economy now and in the future.
In our global economy, incidents in far away places can have significant impacts on our daily lives. If Russia and Ukraine go to war after a particularly violent clash between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists, this will undoubtedly trigger more U.S. and EU economic sanctions against Russia and harsh counter measures against American and European businesses operating in Russia. The negative consequences to global energy and financial markets could be significant, and put at risk the global economic recovery.
Has the US stepped back from the global political and economic leadership role it has played since the end of WWII? The critics who attribute the turbulence in the Middle East, Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine and a resurgent China to a lack of global leadership by the US and specifically President Obama think so.
I suggest, however, that the critics take a breather to consider what happened yesterday and how it could change the world for the better.
A brief reprieve from the rising tensions and outrage over the missile attack that destroyed MH 17 and killed nearly 300 hundred innocent people occurred when Ukrainian separatists allowed international authorities to inspect the plane’s wreckage, and the remains of the dead and the aircraft’s black boxes to be transported to the city of Kharkiv, which is located in an area controlled by the Poroshenko government, and turned over to Malaysian officials.
There is little doubt that the Ukrainian separatists were responsible for the missile attack. The Obama Administration put on public display the results of the classified technology used by the American intelligence services that showed the missile was fired in territory held by Ukrainian separatists, and evidence of monitored conversations between Ukrainian separatists about shooting down the plane.
Isn’t it time to replace stock prices with a valuation rating that truly reflects the financial health of a company? Preposterous, you say. Well, maybe not.
C-Suites, shareholders and the investment community view high stock prices as the Holy Grail for determining a company’s value. Why? A consistently high stock price can result in big rewards for a CEO in the form of salary increases and large bonuses. Shareholders benefit as well with higher returns on their investments. What’s not to like?
With incentives like that, why shouldn’t a CEO of a company with mediocre results aspire to become a Wall Street star by cutting staff and R&D to reduce costs to elevate its profitability and its stock price? The company’s cash flow problems and lack of a pipeline for new products can wait.