The Precious Few

Good Men and Women are precious. They make history – politicians such as Churchill, Reagan and Thatcher, and the many engineers and scientists who built our prosperous societies. It’s as well they exist, since many men and women are scoundrels.

John Bolton is a Good Man – intelligent, honest, loyal, and brave. The reason the BBC foolishly went after him was his statement of the well-known truth that the State Department and Foreign Office are run by scoundrels:

”There have been a number of occasions when the Foreign Office was not carrying through on Prime Minister Blair’s policies just as often happens in the United States where the State Department is not loyal to the President’s policies,”…

“I was told on a number of occasions by British staffers that their ambassadors were not following instructions from London.”…

“I think this is a real problem, both in terms of democratic theory and institutional compliance with democratic mandates in Washington and London.”

But scoundrels only prosper under weak leaders, and the US Secretary of State and Brit Foreign Secretary are both weak – why else would they be selling weapons to Pakistan, and attempting to bounce Israel into a “land for peace” deal less than a year after the concept was proved fraudulent?

Their presence in such senior positions reveal failures by George Bush and Tony Blair to follow the first principle of good management – promote the competent and fire the incompetent.

I admire both men for being right on our existential struggle. But with the exceptions of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Brown, their teams have been third rate, including “slam dunk” Tenet, and Blair’s three Home Secretaries who allowed terrorists to roam the UK while spending billions controlling the law-abiding.

Of course sometimes there’s no choice but to hire the incompetent – talent is rare. But the greatest sins of the President and Prime Minister have been to to betray their few Good Men and Women.

Politics is a rough game, and casualties are inevitable; but to be credible, a leader must defend the Good, otherwise the scoundrels close in.

One of Blair’s first acts as Prime Minister was to ask a very clever man to “think the unthinkable” about reforming the Brit welfare state. He did, and ruffled the feathers of the welfare clients. So Blair fired him, ensuring a continuation of Brit social collapse.

George Bush fired Rumsfeld and replaced him with a nonentity, he didn’t support Bolton, and he’s just cut Wolfowitz adrift.

None of this matters in the grand scheme of things – there are plenty of lucrative positions open to Good Men, and as Bolton has shown, they can still do good.

And now America’s financial institutions know the World Bank to be corrupt, the US will dump it one or two couple of Congresses out.

But meantime, the scoundrels thrive and leave a trail of death and destruction.

And that’s a great shame.


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