The Playing of the Game

July 29, 2014 - 11:55 AM

A good poker player is capable of bluffing his way through with a bad hand of cards, making the opposing parties believe he is holding a winning hand to the point that they will throw in their hands without finding out what kind of cards he is really holding.

Conversely, if a less talented poker player is holding a winning hand and starts betting high too soon he is apt to chase the other players out of the hand before the pot grows significantly and loses out on the major part of the winnings he could have had.

One of the worst things one can do in a poker game is to establish a pattern, to get caught bluffing too often when you have a bad hand and over playing a good hand, to the point that the other players can read your intentions, recognize your weaknesses or gauge your nerve.

Much of what politicians deal with on the international stage could be compared with a high stakes poker game.

Bluffing on a bad hand can be disastrous, as in Saddam Hussein's "Mother Of All Wars" statement, knowing that his forces stood no chance against America's superior war machine and yet, rather than throwing in his hand, allowing the conflict to go forward decimating his country his people and putting his own head in a noose.

President Obama's "red line" statement about Syria was a bluff he had neither the intentions nor the guts to back up. It was superfluous in nature, in that he didn't have to make it and has returned to bite him and this country in the posterior by way of painting him, and - by association - America, as a toothless tiger, resulting in the nations of the world taking no heed to any warnings issued from his office, doing as they please without fear of any form of meaningless retaliation from the last remaining super power on earth.

Every time I write a piece like this, there are the detractors who accuse me of being a war monger and say that I want to see America answer every situation militarily. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I've seen the results of war, in the field hospitals and military medical centers and been among the men and women who are charged with holding the line in America's wars and I can tell you that the very thought of losing even one of these brave young men and women sickens me.

But the options, excepting war, available to a president of the United States are many and meaningful. War is a distant last resort, not a first consideration. Granted, the alternatives are not passive, and may well have repercussions, but in almost every scenario, America holds the cards and if applied full force with determination and tenacity will bring results.

It seems to me that our president is disengaged to a large extent and has no cohesive foreign policy at all. Israel is supposed to be our ally, but when the rockets start flying the administration's first action is always an attempt to restrain Israel's response, admitting that they have a right to protect themselves but wanting to implement caveats on just how far they can go.

Just how disengaged is he? When the United States of America spends untold billions of dollars on international and domestic intelligence and hires what is supposed to be the best and the brightest to keep the president abreast of what's happening, and he claims to hear about important events in his morning newspaper, either he's badly disengaged or needs to kick some serious booty and get some people who are not asleep at the wheel to keep him in touch.

It takes guts to sit at a poker game and face down a table full of experienced players, but it takes even more guts to sit at a negotiation table and face down a table full of hardened, experienced world leaders who have been there and done that, and especially when you wear your heart, your intentions and your nerve on your sleeve.

The problem is that, in the game of international diplomacy, the stakes involve human life and the prosperity and proliferation of a nation and it takes extraordinary intestinal fortitude to sit at that table and play that game.

The implications of anything less than a person of engagement, purpose and exceptional courage are too dire to even think about.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels