Serious Leaders

Serious Leaders


Leonard Zwelling

In Peggy Noonan’s column in The Wall Street Journal on October 15, she discusses the likelihood that Putin can be replaced as were Khrushchev and Gorbachev. Basically, it will be the apparatus around Putin that will determine his fate. If the bureaucrats and generals, and the spies and oligarchs, all conspire to displace Putin since he has now become an embarrassment with his Ukraine campaign and his threat to make Russia a pariah nation with the use of nuclear weapons, perhaps he really could be gone. Few in the west expect that to occur given Putin’s tight grip on the levers of power, but no one is immune to losing his or her job. Just ask Dr. DePinho or Liz Truss.

Given this reality and the fact that we really cannot know precisely what is going on in the Kremlin, perhaps it is time for serious leaders in the west to shut up.

Mr. Biden’s christening of the latest nuclear threat as equivalent to the Cuban Missile Crisis may be correct, but why say it?

The United States must lead the world in trying to prevent the use of nuclear weapons at all costs. That would necessitate silent diplomacy at best, even though it may not have any effect on Putin’s decisions. Right now, Putin has designated the four annexed regions of Ukraine as Russia and those regions are being fought for by the Ukrainians. Thus, in Putin’s mind Ukraine has invaded Russia and he can use any means necessary to reverse the cost of the war. He is already bombing civilian targets. What next?

The point of the comparison with past Russian leaders is that even the most autocratic of systems is self-corrective although the British system is remarkable in its effectiveness to get rid of unpopular leaders.

This should give all people living under repressive regimes hope that in the long run, the good guys will win.

We in the United States are currently suffering under dismal leadership in all directions. Biden is incapable of getting a grip on the government or the economy. The Congress is inept at best and its leadership either old or addled. I predict that the Democratic Party elders will convince Biden after a mid-term shellacking that he must not run again in 2024. This will set off a flurry of activity on the Democratic side that will probably include Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Mark Kelly, Gavin Newsom and a host of others. It won’t matter. I do not see a Democrat winning in 2024 nor do I see Trump even running effectively. I see Mr. DeSantis making a bold move for the Republican nomination, getting it, and winning the general. Whether this alone will serve as self-correction remains to be seen. It will be different especially if a President DeSantis has a Republican Congress with which to govern.

Closer to home, I still see Dr. Pisters struggling to bring the faculty together behind his One MD Anderson nonsense given the one thing faculty are usually not is team players. If they were, there would be a new president already.

At both the national and local MD Anderson level, the people are wishing for serious leadership with articulate elucidation of the nation’s real problems with the same being true for the cancer center.

The nation is suffering from a terrible economy, the perception that crime is out of control, and a severe culture war that seems unhealable. The cancer center is regressing to the mean of mediocrity as Dr. Pisters collects awards for diversity and niceness, neither of which will cure cancer. There are still many leadership roles in academic departments unfilled.

The people are serious. When will their leaders catch up?

4 thoughts on “Serious Leaders”

  1. Your prediction for the 2024 Presidential election is precisely what many of us are thinking. DeSantis is extraordinarily bright, clever and problematic. He has all the qualities of a sophisticated tyrant who would coddle the rich and hamstring the lower and middle classes….and reshape American “democracy” in ways that would intimidate any resistance.
    But, it ain’t over until it’s over! Hope springs eternal in the human heart that leaders with talent, experience and integrity will eventually arise again in both parties.

  2. Although Ron DeSantis has outstanding academic, military, legal, and political credentials (check them out!), I doubt he will be the Republican nominee for the 2024 US presidential election. Donald Trump remains the 600-lb gorilla (down from 800-lb) in the Republican arena. Barring some disqualifying Trump finding (50/50?), look instead for a Trump/DeSantis ticket. If this “unifying” Republican combo prevails, it will put the Florida governor in a near unassailable position for his own White House bid in 2028. Of course with all things Trump, there’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip.

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