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Preventing Syria from becoming the new AfghanIraq

I have been so busy diagnosing the Republican lunacy and trying to access the healthcare exchanges that I forgot to take credit for my role in preventing Syria from becoming the new AfghanIraq.

As you may recall, prior to the government shutdown, a million Republican temper tantrums ago, we were about to bomb Syria. Obama was very hesitant. He vacillated between diplomacy and military action. To help the President, I sent him an email with an offer he could not refuse. He has written me several times asking for money, so I figured he has me on his Blackberry. I suggested creating a simple decision matrix with pros, cons, short term, and long term. This simple “two by two” chart could help him decide whether to bomb Syria or work for the elimination of chemical weapons. His answers revealed a close call. See for yourself:

Option 1: Bombing Syria to send a strong message that chemical weapons are not nice

Pros long term: More jobs for our weapons industry to replace missiles used in Syria. Economy improves.  

Cons long term: Syria becomes the new AfghanIraq. Michelle said that if I bomb Syria she will stop baking chocolate chip cookies for me.

Pros short term: Show critics that I can also make thoughtless decisions.

Cons short term: Will miss basketball practice.

Option 2: Eliminating chemical weapons with the help of nice people like Putin

Pros long term: More jobs for our chemical weapons cleanup industry. Economy improves.  

Cons long term: Syria becomes the new AfghanIraq. Putin will never stop talking about it.

Pros short term: Michelle will bake chocolate chip cookies for me on Sunday.

Cons short term: Will miss basketball practice.

Presidential historians say that most decisions by commanders in chief are a close call, unless you are George W. Bush, who was a self-proclaimed decider, and had no idea where Syria was.

I understand the President because I also have tough decisions to make, such as watching Dancing with the Stars or reruns of the Big Bang Theory; eating in or going out; brown rice or quinoa.

But unlike President Obama, I’m a decider. My family and I have moved around quite a bit, and every time we have to buy a house, I have a rule. I want to buy the first house we see. My discerning wife, on the contrary, likes to see 329 houses before we decide what to buy. When we moved to Miami, I was all set to buy the first condo the realtor showed us, until Ora reminded me, and the despondent realtor, that we had 328 to go before we could make a decision on a place.

Ora, my meticulous wife, likes to explore all angles of our decisions. Every airplane ticket we buy must be compared across 17 internet sites to get the best deal. By the time we compare and contrast, and want to buy the first one we saw, which usually has the best price, the ticket is gone because we took too long comparing. I never thought I would say this, but Ora is more like Obama, and I’m more like GW.

When we moved to Australia from Canada, I operated like GW. I landed in Sydney in May 1999 and after half an hour of landing I called Ora to tell her that we were moving to Australia, at which point she said that I was crazy. A few months later we moved to Australia and we looked at 329 houses before we bought the first one we saw.

Recently we were having dinner with a colleague who shared with me a fabulous tip: the 20 minute rule. No matter what he has to decide, he usually allocates 20 minutes to most decisions: get married – 20 minutes; buy a house – 20 minutes; move to another continent – 20 minutes; have surgery – 20 minutes. I really like that rule. I think President Obama should adopt it. After 20 minutes of playing basketball he should decide whether to bomb Syria or collaborate with Putin. In the end, he decided to go for the diplomatic solution, but I never got a thank you note. I’m sure his server went down. IT is trying to fix his Blackberry, but they are tied up fixing the health exchanges.


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