Saturday, February 4, 2017

45.7 - Switzerland Second

45.6 - International Support for America First


The rest of the world has a new image of America. I'm not sure this is the real way to put America first...

45.5 - Warren Buffet vs. America First

I've been bothered by this "America First" slogan. Part of this is the fact I work with a very diverse set of people.

I watched the new "Becoming Warren Buffet" movie on HBO this week. And one of the things he said really crystallized my problem with the "America First" slogan. To paraphrase he said:
"I won the lottery. There was a 1 in 40 chance that I was born in the US. And there was a 50-50 chance that I would be born male. So I have a hard time understanding why my life is worth more than anyone else on earth."

Friday, February 3, 2017

45.4 - To Friend or Fight or Hide?

One of the big choices facing not only politicians, but businesses and other Nations will need to choose which strategy when working with Donnie. Like the bully in the playground, the choice is to:

  • compliment him and give him your sandwich at lunch
  • fight him publicly
  • try to avoid him

Putin, most Republican politicians and the business leaders who heed his calling out on the playground yard are "trying to work with him". Just like the bully, he is easy to out-smart by playing to his ego. Tell him you will keep workers in the US, tell him you are creating jobs in the US and he gets his ego rush and thinks it is all because of him.

On the other hand, there are businesses who are trying to avoid - Uber and Nordstrom are the two stories in the news today. But with boycotts going both ways Pro Donnie and Anti-Donnie, most smart businesses who want to take this strategy will just cover up for a while.

For politicians - both leaders of other nations as well as US politicians, there is a similar version of the decision to be pro or anti (or hide from) Donnie. Of course it is expeditious for Democrats to fight - they have a lot to gain if the pendulum swings back from Donnie. For Republicans it is clear he is giving them enough that they will keep bringing him their lunch money. For other Nations who are not under autocratic rule, it is much more complex. While they may receive benefits from their relationship with the US (protection, trade, tourists), politically at home getting too close to Donnie is not politically smart (16% popularity in this poll).

Figuring out how to play with bullies is tough. Just ask the Australian Prime Minister...

Thursday, February 2, 2017

45.3 - President Loses Lawsuit

How do citizens of the US and World take the news that Donnie lost a lawsuit against members of a golf club he bought?

For me, it makes me upset that someone abuses the legal system like this instead of doing the right thing in the first place. It makes me upset that the leader of our country bullies people who have a signed agreement.

He is now playing on a much larger stage. Trying to intimidate world leaders and going back on promises made by our country.  It is just embarrassing and "Sad".

Saturday, January 21, 2017

45.2 - 17 Metrics to Watch

We will see how Donnie's measurements go over the next 4 years. This is a very quantifiable list of 17 metrics to track:

45.1 - Give and Take: America First

As 45 takes office, I happen to be reading Adam Grant's Give and Take. The central premise is that Takers can have short term success, but over the long term Givers have much higher degrees of success.

Obviously Donnie is a Taker (I'll refer to him as Donnie because you can just imagine what he was like in the sandbox as a kid and there was one dump truck toy to play with).

He has to be the "winner". This has resonated with a majority of the Electoral College, so he gets to set the public persona of America. And his "America First" approach is clearly the "Taker" approach that Grant writes about in his book.

This works very well for short term negotiations, which seem to be Donnie's focus. He wants to renegotiate all trade and defense agreements to save us a few dollars. There are two problems with this approach.

First, people see right thru the charade and play to the ego. This is seen by the march of CEO's to Donnie's Castle. Even Jeff Bezos has said "Donnie, you are right, we will create 100,000 jobs right here in the US." This is not a change in plans, and Donnie had no effect on things like this, or hiring an additional 10,000 Walmart employees for their already planned store openings. It serves to raise Donnie's ego, but does little to really make America First.

Second, he has ceded America's leadership position in the world. As Noah Feldman writes in Bloomberg, "there’s no simpler route to renouncing leadership than saying you don’t care about your followers for their own sakes." 

Sadly "America First" will not keep America First, nor will it help advance the world in the direction of freedom.