Countless leaders and organizations have failed because they were not trustworthy or had little credibility. The latest recession saw major banks fail and many excuses were provided, but ultimately they lost trust and credibility. When that Malaysian Boeing 777 aircraft disappeared in the Far East the entire world took notice. How can a large aircraft like that just disappear? The world wondered and many countries have assisted in the search. The Malaysian government has released numerous data that makes little sense concerning this event and as a result it has lost a lot of credibility. It seems that anyone who possibly has any sort of reputation or notoriety appears on TV and offers their opinion of what could have possibly happened. I suspect that many of those will lose a lot of credibility once this event is either solved or forgotten.
The Marine Corps is facing a crisis today because the commandant has been accused of command influence concerning the punishment of an officer. He also is thought to be caving in concerning women in the combat arms. Anytime the top leadership of an organization is under duress, the organization usually suffers. That could be retention of the best people or the recruiting of the best people. In either case, the organization suffers and the length of that suffering depends on what is done to alleviate the problem.
On the national level, we have witnessed Russia annexing the Crimea as President Obama and the West posture about sanctions. President Putin waited until the close of the winter Olympics to act, but I suspect that he planned this quite some time ago. He observed the actions and words of President Obama and determined that he would do nothing if Russia acted to seize the Crimea. When our ambassador and three other Americans were murdered in Benghazi, nothing was done. When Obama drew a red line in the sand concerning Syria using chemical weapons and Syria used those weapons, nothing was done except to allow Russia to supervise the removal of those weapons. To date, the removal of those weapons is beyond schedule and nothing has been done. The United States lifted the sanctions on Iran as an interim agreement with Iran supposedly restricting desire for a nuclear weapon. Iran has used the release of the sanctions to recover some of its economy, but what it was supposed to do in return is in doubt.
On the home front, President Obama has proposed that the defense budget be cut to such a degree that our armed forces will be at a level not seen since just before World War II. That also probably sent a message to Putin. Our allies also see all of these actions by the United States and wonder how they can trust us if we are really needed. The West is being very cautious about how it acts and what it will do. I suspect that our enemies such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, and China also are taking notes and determining what they will do.
Without trust or credibility an individual or country is quite alone because others can not rely on their actions. It takes time to rebuild trust and credibility and it is done by looking at how it was earned in the past and doing those things again.
Donald Myers is a retired Marine colonel and regular contributor to Hernando Today. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.