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Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Woman President

The cynic in me sneered at the excitement over nominating a woman as a presidential candidate in a country as advanced as America. After all, women have ruled powerful monarchies at least since the 16th century. More recently women had been elected heads of state in Brazil, England, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Latvia and Lithuania, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, and more.

But the woman in me - a naturalized American citizen, the mother of a daughter, and the grandmother of an eleven-year-old granddaughter (and an eight-year-old-grandson), was extremely proud and emotional when Hillary Clinton accepted her party’s nomination on Thursday night; as emotional as I was eight years ago when an African-American won the Democratic Party presidential nomination in a country with a shameful racist history.  

When Chelsea spoke about her mother, few mothers who listened to her, I believe, did not think about their relationship with their own daughters, and few daughters did not think about their relationship with their mothers.  For all who watched or listened the occasion was certainly momentous. Whether Hillary will win the presidential elections or not – and I hope she will – she paved the way for future generations of women to follow her path. Either way, the prospect of a first American female president is an exciting premise.

While the media has been covering the presidential elections incessantly, it has failed to press Donald Trump on various issues, the list of which is too long to include here.  Just read the now classic work of Allison Graham, The Essence of Decision, or Michael Brecher’s numerous studies of decision making, from Decision in Crisis to Crises in World Politics, to understand the complexities of the decision-making process, especially in times of turmoil. Even with the best of advisers a head of state or commander-in-chief must have a keen understand of the intricacies of the world around them, all of it, including the global, regional and domestic environments, past, present and predictable. They must have that knowledge from political, military, economic, social and cultural aspects, all at once. Only with that wisdom, along with the finest advisers, they can choose the best among alternative approaches.  A “gut” decision can never do on vital foreign policy issues.

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