Napoleon's Thoughts on Politicians

Napoleon Bonaparte’s accomplishments extend beyond that of statesman and military commander. He had a bit of philosopher within him, and authored a number of quips. Like most notable observations, they survive because the author has accurately captured in a few words some timeless aspect of human nature which can be recognized in the present.

For example, “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence,” initially puts a kinder face on the seemingly illogical actions of others. Further analysis of circumstances may prove that both malice and incompetence can coexist.

Recent media reportage of our Congress and State Department evoke another observation by Napoleon: “In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”

Secretary of State John Kerry claimed: “The global impact of climate change is the biggest challenge of all that we face right now,” in Hawaii with a speech entitled “U.S. Vision for Asia-Pacific Engagement.” He certainly speaks as though he has a real-time world view of current events: “Climate change is here now. It’s happening, happening all over the world. It’s not a challenge that’s somehow remote and that people can’t grab onto.”

Perhaps the secretary is handicapped by lack of up-to-date knowledge of goings-on outside his sphere of greatest concern. Did he miss the televised beheading of reporter James Foley, and the possibility that the ISIS caliphate movement is a “challenge” to the U.S, and our allies? Are Syria and its nuclear program no longer of concern? Someone should step forward and bring Kerry the news that Afghanistan is an unresolved U.S. security issue. North Korea continues to develop its missile technology. The Hamas/Gaza/Israeli conflict is ongoing. China is testing our resolve in the Far East as the U.S. continues to downsize its military budget in favor of funding the climate change “fight.” The Russian bear must be in hibernation in Kerry’s world, and the invasion of Ukraine a non-event.

All of these overt threats to global political stability are, in Kerry’s words “here now,” unlike global temperature and manmade climate change. 

Napoleon’s handicap quip seems supported by the latest Pew poll which finds a political/partisan divide in assessing global threats. The poll found that: “global climate change registers for Democrats as among the greatest threats to the U.S. (68% major). By comparison, just 25% of Republicans see global climate change as a major threat to the U.S.” The Democrats’ hold on the Senate and White House has, at least not yet, been handicapped by such convictions.

Charles Battig, M.D., Piedmont Chapter president, VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE). His website is www.climateis.com

Napoleon Bonaparte’s accomplishments extend beyond that of statesman and military commander. He had a bit of philosopher within him, and authored a number of quips. Like most notable observations, they survive because the author has accurately captured in a few words some timeless aspect of human nature which can be recognized in the present.

For example, “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence,” initially puts a kinder face on the seemingly illogical actions of others. Further analysis of circumstances may prove that both malice and incompetence can coexist.

Recent media reportage of our Congress and State Department evoke another observation by Napoleon: “In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”

Secretary of State John Kerry claimed: “The global impact of climate change is the biggest challenge of all that we face right now,” in Hawaii with a speech entitled “U.S. Vision for Asia-Pacific Engagement.” He certainly speaks as though he has a real-time world view of current events: “Climate change is here now. It’s happening, happening all over the world. It’s not a challenge that’s somehow remote and that people can’t grab onto.”

Perhaps the secretary is handicapped by lack of up-to-date knowledge of goings-on outside his sphere of greatest concern. Did he miss the televised beheading of reporter James Foley, and the possibility that the ISIS caliphate movement is a “challenge” to the U.S, and our allies? Are Syria and its nuclear program no longer of concern? Someone should step forward and bring Kerry the news that Afghanistan is an unresolved U.S. security issue. North Korea continues to develop its missile technology. The Hamas/Gaza/Israeli conflict is ongoing. China is testing our resolve in the Far East as the U.S. continues to downsize its military budget in favor of funding the climate change “fight.” The Russian bear must be in hibernation in Kerry’s world, and the invasion of Ukraine a non-event.

All of these overt threats to global political stability are, in Kerry’s words “here now,” unlike global temperature and manmade climate change. 

Napoleon’s handicap quip seems supported by the latest Pew poll which finds a political/partisan divide in assessing global threats. The poll found that: “global climate change registers for Democrats as among the greatest threats to the U.S. (68% major). By comparison, just 25% of Republicans see global climate change as a major threat to the U.S.” The Democrats’ hold on the Senate and White House has, at least not yet, been handicapped by such convictions.

Charles Battig, M.D., Piedmont Chapter president, VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE). His website is www.climateis.com