“Why do our “best and brightest” fail when faced with a man like Putin?” Ralph Peters asks. “Or with charismatic fanatics? Or Iranian negotiators? Why do they misread our enemies so consistently, from Hitler and Stalin to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph?”
The answer is straightforward:
Social insularity: Our leaders know fellow insiders around the world; our enemies know everyone else.
The mandarin’s distaste for physicality: We are led through blood-smeared times by those who’ve never suffered a bloody nose.
And last but not least, bad educations in our very best schools: Our leadership has been educated in chaste political theory, while our enemies know, firsthand, the stuff of life.
Above all, there is arrogance based upon privilege. For revolving-door leaders in the U.S. and Europe, if you didn’t go to the right prep school and elite university, you couldn’t possibly be capable of comprehending, let alone changing, the world…….
That educational insularity is corrosive and potentially catastrophic: Our “best” universities prepare students to sustain the current system, instilling vague hopes of managing petty reforms.
But dramatic, revolutionary change in geopolitics never comes from insiders. It’s the outsiders who change the world.
An Athenian general once wrote:
The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its laws made by cowards, and its fighting done by fools.
~ Thucydides (c. 460 BC – c. 400 BC)