Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Integral Leader (2)

Both Pictures from theobamadiary.com

President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly this morning. The full transcript of his remarks are here. It was a great speech. It was the speech of an integral leader.

Why do I say that? What elements does the speech need to have to be called integral? Let me list a few:
  • An integral speech will most likely be given by an integral leader. This means that the leader is speaking from an integral perspective; it considers, includes and integrates all perspectives. No single perspective dominates; yet all perspectives are not equally valuable and there is an integrating perspective giving coherence, foundation and solidity - creating a whole out of parts.
  • It will incorporate some, but not all of the viewpoints of the traditional, modern, and post-modern (roughly, conservative, moderate, and liberal) viewpoints. In fact each group, or each level will find something to like and something to hate about an integral speech.
  • This integrating function is not cutting and pasting different ideas from different perspectives willy nilly. It emerges out of a natural selection of elements that fit easily with the higher, broader, often more complex integral perspective.
  • Integral speeches, given by integral leaders, have important common characteristics: They are inclusive; invariably hopeful; driven by values; in the service of ideals, but not idealistic; fiercely clear-eyed and honest about assessments, evaluations and strategies; humble, not about aggrandizing the speaker, deeply desiring broad participation; and there is never an enemy, only adversaries who will be dealt with harshly only if they eschew the shared discourse and sanctions of the relevant community; peacemaking with a crystal clear understanding of the need for force or the threat of force to give peace a chance.
Obama's speech today was integral in every sense of the word. This is Obama as peacemaker - the man who can eat humble pie if it helps give grounding to a new diplomatic initiative (Syria), but the man who is fully ready to use force if important international norms and values are threatened. Peace through shared accountability. This is where we are now with Russia in regards to Syria, and today Obama invited the rest of the world, and specifically the members of the Security Council to help ensure Syria remains accountable.

This is Obama as hopeful peacemaker offering an olive branch to Iran - accepting their implied initiative to begin real negotiations and saying, "Let's give diplomacy a chance."

This is our integral leader fully honoring both the Israelis and the Palestinians, and their legitimate security concerns, but also their deeper aspirational feelings about having a secure home, and being able to live and grow their respective countries in peace. And he called on every nation member present to join in this broader conversation to provide each side with support, honoring, and commitment to find a peaceful way forward.

This is our integral President. We are blessed indeed.

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