It’s the holiday season and a perfect time for gift-giving. I made a list of 10 of my “favorite” politicians and assorted others who I’d like to give a gift.
1) President Barack Obama, United States
A copy of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Originally published in 1936 and revised in 1981 and again in 1998, the book was one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published. Obama could stand to learn from some of the major sections of the book. For example, “Fundamental Techniques in Handling People,” “Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking,” “Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment.” These are some of the important things this book will do for Obama:
- Get you out of a mental rut; give you new thoughts, new visions, new ambitions.
2) President Vladimir Putin, Russia
A J.Crew gift card (please put on a shirt), a subscription to National Geographic Adventure Magazine (for the outdoorsman), Brooklyn Nets season tickets (you can visit Little Odessa after hanging out in political rival and Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s owner’ suite). Maybe the most important gift will be a hearing aid or Bluetooth device so he can hear the “whispers” that are supposed to come from Obama now that they have both been reelected.
3) President Bashar Hafez al-Assad, Syria
Lasik surgery (because he clearly can’t see what’s coming), a private detective (get a clue), an Internet Account (so he can read the stories about the Arab Spring) and a travel agent to plan for his next destination. Assad cut off access to the Internet in an attempt to squelch the rise of the “Arab spring.” It is just a matter of time before he is removed and exiled from the country.
4) President Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel
A plastic surgeon, because he speaks with “forked tongue.” Netanyahu has said that he supports a Palestinian state and that he is willing to negotiate in good faith. However, he knows that the expansion of Jewish settlements represents a major obstacle to that end. Yet after the UN voted to recognize a Palestinian state, he ordered the expansion of settlements into the territory targeted for a Palestinian state.
5) President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt
A history lesson; Morsi is making the same mistakes that led to the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Egypt's first democratically elected president quickly proved that democracy wasn’t his objective. He tried to codify totalitarian authority within the constitution and gave the military the authority to make arrests of civilians. Egypt is set to explode in a second “Arab Spring.”
6) Speaker of the House John Boehner (R–Ohio)
A crying towel, you’re going to need it. After Boehner’s Plan B deal collapsed, rumors circulated that his caucus was considering replacing him.
Thick skin. There are some big cases on the Supreme Court docket for 2012-13, including same-sex marriage, affirmative action, voting rights, and abortion rights, and possibly round 2 of Obamacare. These are arguably the biggest social issues of our generation. Whichever way the Court rules, there will be harsh criticism from supporters of the losing side.
8) UN General Assembly
The seal of good faith for upgrading Palestine to a nonmember observer state of the United Nations. The symbolic vote reasserts and reinforces the Palestinian right to self-determination and a permanent state.
9) American Foreign Policy Experts
A looking glass mirror. Drone bombings, nuclear weapons, the military buildup in Africa and troops on the ground in Afghanistan say more about our foreign policy than “humanitarian aid.” Regardless of how you feel about these issues it is disingenuous to think that these things do not have a downside. For example it is hypocritical in the least to tell Iran it cannot develop nuclear capability while we benefit from the same technology. Maybe the reason peaceful negotiations have been so difficult is because we don’t always give peace a chance. It is hard to negotiate in “good faith” at the end of a gun barrel or amongst the rubble from the latest sky bombing.
10) American Economy
A “Get Well, Soon” card.