The United States is no stranger to crisis. In its history, this country has handled war, threats of war, economic breakdowns, public health disasters and just about any other catastrophe you might throw at it. Thankfully, for most of these challenges of the past, we have had the leadership in place that could bring us through. Today, things are different. We are in a uniquely perilous time where crisis follows crisis after crisis without resolution or recovery. In the last three years, our country suffered through a pandemic taking over a million lives. We watched the ruthless slaughter of thousands of innocent people and the maniacal aggression of a Russian dictator in Ukraine. We continue to fight the crippling effects of the highest inflation in 45 years, and now we wonder at the outcome of yet another international crisis initiated by a barbaric terrorist attack fostered by Iran and its pledge to destroy Israel. As we search for a way to deal with this series of cataclysmic events, what is painfully obvious is that the wisdom, strength, and determination of sound leadership is nowhere to be found.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a global group of almost two hundred countries that works to stabilize trade and monetary exchange and assist in the economic health of its members. Think of it as the Chamber of Commerce for the world. In the 2022 annual report, the Director of the IMF discussed the global crises that we now face. Our country is often criticized for viewing world events only as they affect us. However, in the 2022 IMF Annual Report, the opinions expressed therein seemed to align closely with what is heard on Main Street, USA. The economic picture described in the report was not cherry. The list of recommendations to the 190 global members of the group, from highest priority to lowest, started off with the cleaning up of the economic mess left by Covid, second was putting maximum pressure on Putin to cease his expansionist war, third was to correct inflation created by overstimulation of markets, fourth was to tighten economic pressures on irresponsible currency controls, fifth was to address world-wide debt by prioritizing spending, and the final concern for action was climate change. That gloomy IMF report obviously did not factor in the shock of the recent attack by Hamas terrorists on Jewish settlements and innocent Israelis that resulted in the death of over 1,400 people. It can be fairly concluded from that report that corrective action is urgently needed, both for the world and the United States as well. It would be easy to lay all the blame on our current leaders for the situation we now face. That would be unfair. Still, you cannot help but ask, where is the leadership? Where are the great leaders of our age? Where are the fabled European Prime Ministers? Where are the Presidents who surrounded themselves with advisors like Dean Rusk, Averell Harriman, James Baker, Condoleezza Rice, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. General Colin Powell and all of the others. These men and women were chosen not because of friendship or familiarity or race or political allegiance. They were selected for their exceptional capabilities and calm wisdom to guide this country and indirectly the world, through the dark waters of crises. Leadership in its most basic form begins with each of us and the responsibility that comes with the power of the ballot. We would all do well to remember that whenever we enter the voting booth.