Gary Sick, the Iran team leader and former Carter-era National Security Council member, was surprised. “We started out thinking we were playing a weak hand, but by the end, everyone was negotiating for us,” he told The Washington Post. But results like this should surprise no one. The strategic premises of the exercise were: Iran wants to continue its nuclear program; Israel wants to stop Iran’s nuclear program; and the United States wants to avoid conflict. These assumptions closely mirror reality and point to why the United States is increasingly unable to influence events. Conflict avoidance is not a strategy; it is institutionalized weakness.
The Wikipedia article for conflict avoidance is quite well written and seems to capture the current situation with Iran perfectly:
The Thomas and Kilman grid views avoidance as a lose-lose proposition since it does not address the issue at hand. But other sources view avoidance as a useful means of disposing of very minor, non-recurring conflicts whose resolution would expend excessive amounts of time or resources.
The business context also applies to the former and current occupants of the Oval Office:
poor-performing executives can survive because the president doesn’t investigate or act on employee complaints; conflict can become malignant between departments, because there is no tie breaker to force resolution; and ineffective managers are passed from one department to the next, because the senior executive would rather play ‘pass the turkey’ than cook the goose.
We’ve definitely let this problem go on too long and are past the point of no return. Make no mistake, we the American People are at fault for allowing ourselves to become too distracted by the menial pleasures and drudgery of life and therefore not putting more pressure on Congress, the President, and the State department to lock this hot mess down. Now we are about to suffer the consequences.
Wait, shhh. Listen.
It’s the sound of “we told you so” coming from the future.
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