Immature Secretary Syndrome

March 21, 2009

I worked my way through college as a secretary (and a waitress, and a 7-11 clerk, and a paper boy errr…person…).  When I left one of my early jobs, the person they hired to take my place immediately discarded my system.  She told the entire staff that I was “wasting” computer space with unimportant documents, so she reformatted my hard drive.  A friend from the office called to report the sweeping changes the new secretary was making and to tell me the new chick was disparaging my name.  I explained that maybe the new lady had been to some special school.  After all, I was brand new in the field with zero experience, maybe the new chick knew something I didn’t.  Three weeks later, old boss called and begged me to come in the evenings and help whereever I could until they could hire a new secretary.  I came in to find this woman had literally shredded boxes of old financial files, eradicated tons of old stuff, and written little post-its stating that everything would be re-created under her new, better system.  What she actually created was a chaotic mess that could have gotten my boss in serious trouble with the authorities.

I came to actually see this scenario play out similarly a few times with others, also.  I call it “immature secretary syndrome”.  A secretary comes into  a new office.  Having completed some “secretarial school” (no, really, one of these folks actually presented me with a “reprographic degree” certificate–she got a degree in COPY MACHINE), and not possessing wisdom, they decide the person who was in the position previously was an idiot, so they ignore anything that was in place when they arrived and in many cases, actually destroy things.  I have had to fall back on my secretarial skills from time to time.  If I walk into an office with a system that seems screwed up, I give it a few weeks to observe.  I have NEVER completely eradicated an old system.  I always assume there was a reason for everything in place and try to slowly update or upgrade if necessary.  It causes too much stress for most people to start an entirely new system, and the old system usually has lots of redeeming traits. 

This is what I think is happening with the Obama administration.  Obama spent so much time attacking Bush’s foreign policy on the campaign trail, that he actually must have bought in to his rhetoric.  Obama read books that said that conservatives were crazy wrong in foreign policy!!  Lots of books!  I’m afraid Obama’s degree in copy machine has not adequately prepared him to have wisdom dealing with other countries.  It seems to me that he eagerly scrapped Bush’s agenda, only to find himself lost in a room full of his own post its.

Obama sent a letter to Russia suggesting that he would be willing to scrap missile defense in Eastern Europe if Russia would lean on Iran and stop their nuclear program (http://shadow.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/03/03/is_this_yalta_all_over_again).  The letter got leaked somehow and Russia told Obama to kiss off.  (In fairness, Obama’s staff says the letter did not contain a quid pro quo arrangement, but everyone who has actually read the letter seems to see it that way.)  This ultimately meant that we sold eastern European allies down the river publicly for zero payback.  This begs the question: did Obama not think that Bush or Clinton had approached Russia on this level?  Did he really believe that he was the only one to ever think of offering something very nice to Russia for help with Iran? 

And, by the way, no one likes a traitor.  That’s how everyone sees Obama’s policies now.  The very public revelation that Obama was willing to sell allies down the river makes it that much harder to get consensus on dealing with anything.  Who knows if you’ll be the next casualty to Obama’s double speak?  Why would you risk it?

Then we have Secretary Clinton facing Lavrov.  She hands him a “reset” button that actually said “overcharge”.  Ooops!  While being an amusing foible, don’t you wonder why Lavrov drew attention to it in front of the press?  I mean, this is diplomacy, right?  If you are served a fish that you are allergic to, you eat it and break out in hives while smiling at your host, right?  Lavrov could have made the screw up a non-issue by simply ignoring it or lying through his teeth about it.  Doubtless someone in the press would eventually have caught it, but if Lavrov simply didn’t notice it, that would diffuse the entire issue.  http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2009/03/clintons_reset_button_overchar_1.html   To me, it seems the bigger issue is, why can’t you find someone at State to do a correct translation.  Liberals loudly wondered during Bush’s tenure why he didn’t give the State department more responsibility.  They assumed it was because Bush liked using DOD.  He’s a cowboy, right?  Ummm, maybe he didn’t use State very often because he could tell from the outset that they were a big bunch of useless idiots.  Maybe Obama ought to try and learn that before he gets in any more hot water.  It has certainly played out that way for the Obama regime so far, hasn’t it?  The reset button, the poorly planned visit with British dignitaries,  and a gift that was in poor taste from the White House, they all point to something that apparently Bush knew and Obama is learning (slowly, though).  And the State Department LIKES Obama.  Who knows what kind of problems they could have caused for Bush?

Finally, we have Obama sending a message to Iranian leaders and the people of Iran.  It appears that Obama truly believes that if he is uber-kind to Iran, they’ll stop their nuclear program.  This belief surpasses naive and becomes foolish.  Iran wants nuclear weapons.  They have made that clear in multiple ways.  http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2009/03/iran-responds-to-president-obama.html  Somehow, Obama believes the rhetoric that Bush is a cowboy who just never attempted diplomacy.  It seems to me that Obama might try opening his eyes to what is going on in Iran.  Iran’s leaders have responded to Obama, pointing out that he is in a foolishly weak position.  Basically, G-d is on our side, give us what we want or kiss off.  At least when Bush threatened to invade a country, we had no choice but to take him seriously.  His willingness to use the military probably stopped more violence than it started.  If Obama were to threaten the military option, who would believe him?  His campaign rhetoric has effectively taken that option off the table.  Additionally,  his willingness to take back a previous US promises means you can’t necessarily trust what he says.  I think he’s gotten himself into a pickle in diplomacy.  I hope he hasn’t erased the hard drive.

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