LONDON – In a 2013, then-recently inaugurated Pope Francis famously said that, when it comes to sexual orientation, including past homosexual acts, “who am I to judge?” Should we take a similarly non-judgmental approach to the past personal behavior of our political leaders? JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images Nov 23, 2018 urges both countries' leaders to focus on four issues when they meet at the upcoming G20 summit. Cynthia Johnson/Liaison/Getty Images Dec 2, 2018 says the 41st president's foreign policy record compares favorably with that of any other modern US leader. Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images Nov 30, 2018 shows what's really at stake in the US administration's escalating trade dispute with China. Previous Next The question is acutely relevant today in both the United States and the United Kingdom. US President Donald Trump, who has already reached the height of political power in his country, and former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who aspires to keep rising in the ranks, have in common not just their crude nationalism, but also their apparent inability to control their sexual appetites. Trump’s extramarital affairs are common knowledge, despite hefty pay-offs intended to silence his sexual partners, such as the adult film performer and stripper known as Stormy Daniels.
Though Trump is far from the first US president with a long record of adultery, he stands out for the crudeness of his remarks about women, including the infamous “” comment, exposed during the campaign. As for Johnson, reports are circulating that his wife has kicked him out over an affair. While this is hardly his first – nor even the first time he has been given the boot – there are questions now about whether this will hurt his political ambitions, which many believe were the main motivation behind his decision to act as a leader of the campaign to withdraw the UK from the European Union. But is it appropriate to judge political leaders based on their sex lives, as many have been wont to do?
The answer, in my opinion, is no. Of course, actions like sexual harassment or assault should inform our assessment of a leader. But while Trump has faced such accusations, Johnson has not. And, ultimately, we do not elect people to political office because we want them to act as standard bearers for our subjective, varied, and evolving definitions of morality.
Donald Schon And Chris Argyris
Someone who has been unfaithful to his or her spouse can be a skilled leader, just as a faithful wife or husband can be a poor one. For a limited time only, get unlimited access to On Point, The Big Picture, and the PS Archive, plus our annual magazine and a tote bag, for just $75. SUBSCRIBE Nonetheless, there are plenty of other problems with the leadership of both Trump and Johnson, who resigned from his post as foreign secretary in July over his opposition to the compromises that Prime Minister Theresa May’s government decided it would be willing to make in the Brexit negotiations with the EU. While Johnson has some rhetorical skill – which he has been using with increasing vigor to whip up support for a “hard Brexit” – the general view is that he was a hopeless diplomat, always preferring a cheap joke to a serious brief. During his stint as foreign secretary, Johnson was a near-constant cause of embarrassment for the UK, with gaffe after gaffe leaving Britain’s friends abroad with their heads in their hands. Since leaving that position, Johnson has not cleaned up his act.
Nov 17, 2018 Chris Wallace, the anchor of Fox News Sunday, has suggested after conducting an interview with Donald Trump that it is highly unlikely that the president will end up sitting for a Robert Mueller interview.
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Just last month, he made the Islamophobic that Muslim women wearing niqabs resemble “bank robbers” and “letter boxes.” Soon after, Johnson May’s EU negotiating position as being tantamount to wrapping “a suicide vest around the British constitution” and handing the detonator to the EU. The comment was tasteless, to put it mildly, not least because 22 people (including children) were killed by a suicide bomber at a concert in Manchester last year. Such statements are clearly not befitting of a British political leader, much like many of the racially charged and otherwise incendiary comments (not to mention actions) that Trump has made. But these leaders’ failures run even deeper.
To understand them, it is worth looking at three reputable leaders who died this summer: former United Nations Secretary-General, former British Foreign Secretary and NATO Secretary-General Peter Carrington, and US Senator John McCain. Having worked with Annan and for Carrington, I can vouch for their grace, honor, and commitment to truth.
McCain plainly had the same qualities, not to mention a level of personal bravery far beyond what is expected of most of us (though it should be noted that Carrington was also a war hero). These leaders’ combination of honor and commitment to truth – two attributes that are intrinsically connected – is nowhere to be seen in Trump or Johnson. No one would suggest that political leaders must respond to every question they are asked with entirely frank answers.
That would be to expect behavior far above and beyond what is normal. Dealing with life’s predicaments sometimes demands, to borrow the language of former UK Cabinet Secretary Robert Armstrong, that we are somewhat economical with the truth. But there is a big difference between some economizing, as even honorable leaders like McCain and Carrington have surely done, and being a serial liar, as is the case with Trump and Johnson. Trump typically says whatever is in his short-term interest, though sometimes it seems that he does not even know what the truth is.
Even his own lawyer is reputed to have described him as a liar. Yet Trump’s dishonesty runs even deeper: his entire nationalist political platform is based on the mendacious notion that America needs to be made great again. Yet America was great before Trump, and his behavior – riding roughshod over international agreements, trashing allies, and pursuing protectionist trade measures – will only undermine that greatness by, among other things, depleting the country’s formidable stock of soft power. Similarly, Johnson’s Brexit campaign was based entirely on deception, crackpot economics, and vainglorious wishful thinking. A healthy democracy depends on an honest exchange of ideas and opinions, against a background of shared respect for facts and truth.
The moral case against Trump and Johnson is not that they have been unfaithful to their wives, but rather that they subvert these conditions by lying relentlessly to the people they are supposed to represent. Featured. Nov 29, 2018. Nov 23, 2018.
Nov 21, 2018. Nov 28, 2018. Nov 28, 2018.
Chris Patten names three “reputable” personalities – former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former British Foreign Secretary and NATO Secretary-General Peter Carrington, and US Senator John McCain – who died this summer, as role models for Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. The two have much to learn from the three deceased, because they all had been admired and respected for being honourable and courageous.
The author highlights how Trump and Johnson embrace “crude nationalism,” with an “apparent inability to control their sexual appetites.” While their infidelity is a private affair, their leadership is not. Both men have a penchant for comically coiffed hair, and excel in narcissistic sociopathy, vulgar populist grandstanding, and limitless capacity for blurting out provocative statements.
Their gaffe-proneness makes endless headlines. What critics find amusing is that both men were born in New York, in June - Donald in 1946, Boris in 1964.
And Johnson is a big fan of Trump, because he loves the trappings of power. But he trumps Donald in mental capacity with a Classics degree from Oxford versus Trump’s real-estate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Apart from being a “constant cause of embarrassment” for their countries, they are also serial liars, squandering much of their own trustworthiness. Lord Carrington died in July aged 99. Distinguished Conservative statesman admired for his honour and integrity, he took the blame for the government's failure to predict the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentina in 1982. The Foreign Office was heavily criticised for failing to anticipate, and he took full responsibility and resigned as foreign secretary.
Throughout his career, he had the desire to seek out a peaceful solution to conflict. He was later cleared of any personal blame by the Franks Committee. Kofi Annan died in August aged 80. The former UN chief and Nobel peace prize laureate focused on the organisation’s role in fighting poverty, injustice and disease. He once said 'that suffering anywhere concerns people everywhere'. This belief inspired him to play a key role in the crises which had plagued the world - the HIV/Aids pandemic, the Iraq War and climate change. He brought strong moral convictions, careful judgment and a quiet determination to show that his post is relevant to the search for solutions to some of the most acute problems confronting the international community.
John McCain died in August aged 81. The former GOP senator and presidential candidate was admired for his bravery as a prisoner in Vietnam, and for speaking truth to power. The savage beatings and torture he endured were so severe that to the end of his life he could not lift his arms above his shoulders.
Donald And Christine M. Woollen
He refused offers to be sent home, because he wanted to deny his captors a propaganda victory, and inspire older and higher-ranking prisoners with his exceptional bravery and leadership in jail. For many Americans McCain was an authentic national hero. Trump, who avoided the draft for Vietnam, refused to acknowledge McCain’s heroic status.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. “He’s called a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” Trump’s shameful silence on McCain’s death once agains reveals his smallness and lack of moral leadership. May Carrington, Annan and McCain rest in peace. May they be a source of inspiration for future generations, when the current one is incapable of serving the public, their countries and the international community as models of decency and morality. It is too early to tell for the long run.
Wish him and his people well. During the Occupied Movement in HK in 2014, The government put money before the concerns of HK people and put on a big production of tear-gasing peaceful protesters trapped in the financial district by police in riot gear. Hundreds and thousands more protesters came out to support out of their conscience. Studies show that the occupation of 79 days of the financial district did not have any down side on finance at all. Rather if the moral and ethical and basic concerns of the people of a world financial centre with a mercantile background of the east and west are not attended to, it is of concern.
From the Guardian 9.28.2018: 'Hong Kong, one of the world’s most important financial hubs, has exploded into protest. Since Sunday night, the so-called “umbrella revolution” has turned the city’s gleaming central business district into a virtual conflict zone, replete with shouting mobs, police in riot gear, and clouds of tear gas. Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents – young and old, rich and poor – have peacefully occupied major thoroughfares across the city, shuttering businesses and bringing traffic to a halt. They claim that Beijing reneged on an agreement to grant them open elections by 2017, and demand “true universal suffrage”.
Since then, activists have gone to jail, banned from running in elections, academics lost their jobs, elected politicians disqualified and have their salaries crawled back, police went to jail; a small political party banned using laws on organized crime. An educated generation that has no power is classified as dangerous and persecuted by the truly dangerous, insisting that they must be Chinese with the opportunity of going to jail, and having their money spent and using their status of the last 150 years but without the opportunity of diagoue of what exactly a Chinese is. And now these 'Chinese' are having a dialogue with a European country, namely the Church of Peter in a 'deal'. Buyers beware, with reference to the deal on HK. Religion is the soul of ethics in Europe, by and large in the couse of history. If one thinks that the side effects of that deal would only affect China, it is not very realistic. Since then Germany has sold water cannons to the government to use on any more peaceful protesters as if exporting Marxism is not enough or tear gas did not do enough damage.
It is likely to be effective. HK people cannot do it alone. They have done more than enough. Let their voice not be completely silenced before the world would do something even just for their own good. Same for the Vatican. Let the rest of the world also help the Church.
We are all God's children. This is quite foolish. Boris was born into the EU oligarchy and understands why it will always be dysfunctional. As Mayor of London, he understood why migration is not a 'human rights' or 'Race' issue. He also gets that British foreign policy is a slapstick comedy. Trump, by contrast, is a Wharton grad of the Class of '68. He is willing to embrace Keynesian methods for an old fashioned, 'Nixonomics' purpose.
The guy is a bricks and mortar Capitalist- not some new fangled eugenicist who think the future of our species is on Mars or as post Singularity silicon or whatever. By contrast, what is Patten? A mediocrity whose Twilight home might be in Brussels or Bahrain or wherever there is more corruption than cognition. Reply. Sep 23, 2018.
Not sure where you get your views from. Boris Johnson was not sure which side to support and has admitted he had drafted notes for both remain and leave. His family are mainly remainers and his sister even joined the Liberal Democrats. Boris also played a part in urging the government towards article 50 because he feared that it could be reversed when people realised the mess.
So I'm afraid your comments do not correspond to facts. Unfortunately it seems very apparent that Boris Johnson has sold himself to the right wing money.
I don't think he planned it but circumstances have pushed him in that direction. With regards President Trump, time will tell if his fiscal stimulus was necessary or good. If the world does have a very severe next recession, the a lot of the current institutions may need to be binned and new ones created. The US influence as a reserve currency could come under threat.
Hence I think the President's approach to institutions both domestic and international should be more measured. The real estate market that he has studied and worked in depends on debt and most of the previous crisis have started in that market. In the last recession we shifted debt to government balance sheets.
Now we have both high personal debt and high government debt. Reply.
Sep 24, 2018. Boris is a bit different from most Old Etonians of his cohort. His Dad was an MEP and wrote a book, turned into a film, 'the Commissioner' about corruption and dysfunction at the 'rotten heart of Europe' to quote the title of another book of the period. Boris was aware that the beds in Brussels are soft and that was always an option if he fizzled out at Westminster. Being Mayor of London gave him a different perspective- that promoted by volatility trading Hedge Fund types. It also showed him that Islington wasn't representative of Labour. There was a Rubicon for him to cross, and he could cross it being all things to all men.
No doubt, his private life and journalistic chums let him down a bit. But, nobody really cares and it is foolish for Patten suggest otherwise. The truth of the matter is that Westminster is a bit shit.
Whitehall has bled executive capacity at an alarming rate. The F.O is staffed by outright nitwits.
That's why most Old Etonians were Remainers. They knew their chums in the Civil Service were not just incompetent, they were incompetent in a frontal, exhibitionistic, way. In the old days, if you invited an old chum from the F.O to meet a foreign client, your chum would puff at his pipe and look cagey. He wouldn't start babbling bug-eyed Blairite nonsense. Look at the 'all hands on deck' Brexit botch up. There isn't a single of the lot who has more sense than a stick of asparagus.
Boris is part of the utter mediocrity of Eton's most entitled, most coddled, cohort. What makes him different is that he knows Brussels too is a snake-pit. Left to ourselves, we might hit on less shite officials and politicians. Tethered to Europe, you'll get the shouty type of Right Wing nutjob ruining things in a manner more stupid yet. You say my comments don't correspond to facts. Do you believe Brussels isn't corrupt and incompetent? What about Whitehall?
Do you think it is staffed by smart people or has done anything right in the last twenty years? Trump, quite rationally, is claiming credit for a boom. If the mid-terms go badly, he may do a U turn on Trade because he'd effectively be a lame duck otherwise without the war-chest to fight off a Republican challenger. Trump's intellectual mise en scene features 'Minsky moments' far more intensively than people like you or me. He knows that there's a workaround for it. I'm not saying the guy is an Econ maven, but I do know the stuff he was taught at Wharton- the big ideas around back then.
The fact is 'optimal tariff' type arguments had more currency then, than in the eighties or later. It wouldn't take a great cognitive leap to see that Keynesian 'money illusion' can be used against lower income exporting countries in the way that Keynes wanted it used against the great unwashed.
Patten is certainly old enough to remember the left Keynesians of the late Sixties and Seventies. He is by no means a fool. Able game design programs for mac. Still, he has written this silly article. 'Inability of control sexual appetites' for sooth! Does this guy really not know that his generation is the biggest market for Viagra? Lying relentlessly is the thing you have to do after you have swallowed that pill.
Civilisation would collapse if these niceties were omitted. Borris Johnson is an Islamophobe? From Wikipedia.
'The bomber, Salman Ramadan Abedi, was a 22-year-old British Sunni Muslim of Libyan ancestry. He was born in Manchester on 31 December 1994 to a Salafi family of Libyan-born refugees who had settled in south Manchester after fleeing to the UK to escape the government of Muammar Gaddafi. He had two brothers and a sister. He grew up in the Whalley Range area and lived in Fallowfield. According to The Times, Abedi had been among a group of students who had accused a teacher of Islamophobia for criticising suicide bombing.'