Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech in France in 1910 called Citizenship in a Republic. This particular paragraph is known as the “Man in the Arena.”
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
This is President Donald Trump for he is truly the “man in the arena.”
I’m struck how so many on social media believe they are “in the arena” because they bravely criticize the president. Social media is not in the arena. Neither is today’s MSM.
I think this is particularly poignant when thinking about Syria. I can only imagine President Trump asking the best brains on Syria how he can bring the troops home and being told various versions of “you don’t understand; we can’t.” President Trump isn’t a “we can’t” kind of guy.
In the world of Star Trek, the Kobayashi Maru was a training exercise to test the character of Starfleet Academy cadets in a no-win scenario. Captain Kirk was the only cadet to beat the simulation by reprogramming it so it could be beat.
In the real world, situations like Syria are always no-win or, at the very least, someone is going to lose big time and that often involves a lot of people getting killed. The problem is that it’s not a simulation and there’s no way to know exactly what’s going to happen.
I have the feeling that President Trump would agree with Captain Kirk — “I don’t believe in the No-Win Scenario.” We’ve somehow come to believe that managing a stalemate is doing something and being in the arena. Actually, doing something is doing something.
President Trump was roundly criticized for saying “Sometimes you have to let them fight like two kids. Then you pull them apart.” As long as the United States kept the Kurds and Turkey apart, neither had a reason to come to an accommodation. Will this strategy work? I have no idea. We also won’t have anything to compare it to which is why it takes the fortitude of the man in the arena to force a change in the status quo.