WASHINGTON – One of the questions Americans must decide before they vote in November is whether they want a leader who admits his/her mistakes or claims invulnerability.
Boeing has just eaten crow by admitting that it now recommends simulator training for its 737 MAX jetliners, two of which crashed within five months of each other, killing all on board.
After Boeing's board fired its CEO, the company admitted that it can't assume that pilots typically respond to emergencies in mere seconds. It is a clear admission that it should have gone with new training for pilots when it first introduced its new MAX plane. One of the reasons Boeing sold so many MAXes was its promise that airlines would save time and expense by less simulator training for pilots — as much as $1 million or more in savings per plane. The 737 Max still has not been cleared to fly again; meanwhile, Boeing has halted MAX production.
It was, agree all experts, a humiliating and costly admission from the once-proud company.
Our once-proud country is now in the position of having fought the longest wars in its history in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which thousands were killed and many thousands more wounded, and has no strategy about what to do in the future besides send more soldiers to the Middle East.
Donald Trump scuttled a hard-fought six-nation agreement with Iran to abandon its efforts to become a nuclear power, pooh-poohing 10 years of negotiations. Then he doubled down and imposed harsh sanctions, ratcheted up tensions with Iran (much larger than Iraq), stopped fighting ISIS and now has created a mess.
There are serious indications that Trump purposefully escalated tensions with Iran to appeal to his political base before a potentially tough reelection battle.
Earlier Trump abused his foreign policy authority by asking Ukraine to dig up false dirt on Joe Biden in order to get money for Ukraine's war with Russia that Congress had appropriated. Only after Trump was caught was the desperately needed money forwarded to Ukraine's newly elected reform government to fight Russia, which already illegally annexed Crimea.
Trump says what he did was legal. He intends to use foreign policy however he sees fit because he wants to be reelected.
If he were a CEO, he would have been fired some time ago and his golden umbrella would have failed to open.
But being president apparently means never having to say you are sorry, admit you were wrong or promise to go forth and sin no more. If Trump gets away with his corruption and arrogance by being elected for four more years, no future president will be compelled to act with nobility.
Trump has made traveling more dangerous for Americans and made the risks thousands of U.S. soldiers must take every day far graver. Instead of bringing peace and order to the Middle East, he has made everything worse.
Trump has given the world good reason to believe that American no longer can be trusted to keep its word. When he impulsively threatened to commit a war crime and destroy Iran's cultural sites, he made us no better than those who have destroyed thousands of antiquities in the Middle East.
We have come back to that old argument over the stupid statement: My country, right or wrong. No. If your country does wrong, you are wrong to go along with it. And war is no toy for would-be despots to play with whenever they feel like it.
It is tiresome but necessary to repeat this: Trump does not know what he is doing. He does not listen to those who do. He acts impulsively without doing his homework, and the rest of the world pays the price. Again and again.
An American-made plane, a Boeing 737 (not the MAX) just crashed on takeoff in Iran enroute to Ukraine and eyebrows are raised. What happened to a good plane, well-maintained, with an excellent crew and 176 people on board? Unfortunately, because of economic sanctions against Iran and current U.S.-Iran hostilities, Americans —including Boeing — cannot investigate. An errant missile? A hostile act? A mechanical failure?
Trump's personal decision, against all advice, to assassinate a powerful revered Iranian general, albeit a murdering terrorist, will have huge, still unknown consequences for many people and countries. But you will never, ever hear him say it was a bad decision, poorly timed.
If Trump were a CEO and not the most powerful person in the world, this man — one of the most flawed U.S. leaders ever — would not still be president fighting with every tool available to the White House to be reelected. Boards of directors change their minds and fire incompetent CEOS, and voters have the power to oust a bad president.