The Transition from Warrior to Ruler

There are great warriors who win great battles. They are the victors. In war, even cold war, there are so many battles. There are the ones where men line in columns and attack across a line, but for each of these there are a thousand quiet battles, waged in alleys, prisons, in parks at dusk, dropping through the clouds on a moonless night into a foreign place alone.

There exist diplomats who are not, playing a game of chess, or cat and mouse, for life. For these men and women, there is no fanfare, little notoriety – medals given, then taken. One wrong step and a lifetime precipitates down to an etched star on a marble wall, or a simple denial. Why do men strive to be warriors?

The lucky warriors get to fight in the open. They are the ones on the battle lines, in mountains, deserts, and jungles, they load and walk, ride, and fight. The victors are the ones who hold the field after the shooting stops. How very simple.

Castro was a warrior. Alexander was too. Campaigners fight a different type of battle, a war of words, a puzzle. They parlay and jab until, eventually, one is the winner, one retires the field, wounded. Politics is some of each, subterfuge, and aggression. It has elements of war, and elements of diplomacy. Still, I assert, a campaign is a battle.

Often there is not sufficient thought to the state of affairs after the win. If it is a country or a field, a harbor, or a foothold gained, always there must be a strategy for exit, or for holding.

Obama is a great campaigner. He is a wonderful organizer, and a great speaker. I believe that he failed in many ways as a president. A friend and politician once said to me; “I must do what I need to in order to be elected. If I fail to be elected, all of the things that matter so deeply to me fail.” Indeed, this is a terrible truth. It breeds the disparity of elected to ruler. Indeed, such misleading actions are a necessary and celebrated part of warfare, as written in the book,”The Art of War” by Sun Tzu.

Does the game of campaigning prove the value of the office holder? Is it a reasonable way to choose? Does the winning, or the overthrow of a government make one the proper choice for the leader of a new government?

History shows us many, who were most comfortable in battle. Often, when ruling became burdensome, they returned to the battlefield. Alexander was such a leader. Castro made the jump from guerrilla to leader. Obama, perhaps, missed the simplicity of the campaign. President Elect Trump is yet to assume the role of leader. It will be interesting to see his transition from victor to ruler. I believe that he is better suited than most.

Scott Cahill