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Role of the Bystander

…the bystander sees things neither actor nor audience notices.

Bystanders have no history of their own. They are on the stage but are not part of the action. They are not even audience. The fortunes of the play and every actor in it depend on the audience, whereas the reaction of the bystander has no effect except on himself. But standing in the wings – much like the fireman in the theater – the bystander sees things neither actor nor audience notices. Above all, he sees differently from the way actors or audiences see. Bystanders reflect, and reflection is a prism rather than a mirror; it refracts.

To watch and think for yourself is highly commendable. But “to shock people by shouting strange views from the rooftops is not.” The admonition is well taken. But I have rarely heeded it.

ACTION POINT: Be a bystander to figure out what has to be done in your organization. Then act, but know you are running the risk of shocking people.

The Nature of Freedom

Freedom is never a release and always a responsibility.

Freedom is not fun. It is not the same as individual happiness, nor is it security or peace or progress. It is a responsible choice. Freedom is not so much a right as a duty. Real freedom is not freedom from something; that would be license. It is freedom to choose between doing or not doing something, to act one way or another, to hold on one belief or the opposite. It is not “fun” but he heaviest burden laid on man: to decide his own individual conduct as well as the conduct of society and to be responsible for both decisions.

ACTION POINT: List specific goals for your work. Think of goals that will meet your need for personal fulfillment, while also helping your boss meet his or her performance objectives. sell these goals to your boss and keep the boss informed on your progress.

The overwhelming public sentiment in India was that no meaningful dialogue can be held with Pakistan until it abandons the use of terrorism as an instrument of its foreign policy.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Our foreign policy needs to support our energy, economic, defense and domestic policies. It all falls within the arch of national interest. There will be windows of opportunity, but they will open and close quickly.

Chuck Hagel

I like Mitt Romney as a person. I think he’s a dignified person. But I have no common ground on economics. He doesn’t worry about the Federal Reserve. He doesn’t worry about foreign policy. He doesn’t talk about civil liberties, so I would have a hard time to expect him to ever invite me to campaign with him.

Ron Paul

How did we win the election in the year 2000? We talked about a humble foreign policy: No nation-building; don’t police the world. That’s conservative, it’s Republican, it’s pro-American – it follows the founding fathers. And, besides, it follows the Constitution.

Ron Paul


Graham Greene, as I understand it, was quite outspoken in his criticism of American foreign policy.

Brendan Fraser

I hope I’m wrong, but I am afraid that Iraq is going to turn out to be the greatest disaster in American foreign policy – worse than Vietnam, not in the number who died, but in terms of its unintended consequences and its reverberation throughout the region.

Madeleine Albright

I think most Americans believe that although it’s better not to use military force if you can avoid it, that the world simply doesn’t provide us the luxury of giving away military force as an important tool of foreign policy.

Robert Kagan

Foreign policy will require a strategic agility that, whenever possible, gets ahead of problems, strengthens U.S. security and alliances, and promotes American interests and credibility.

Chuck Hagel

If there is one lesson for U.S. foreign policy from the past 10 years, it is surely that military intervention can seem simple but is in fact a complex affair with the potential for unintended consequences.

Fareed Zakaria

War on terrorism defines the central preoccupation of the United States in the world today, and it does reflect in my view a rather narrow and extremist vision of foreign policy of the world’s first superpower, of a great democracy, with genuinely idealistic traditions.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

But, actually, it is only Americans who say that our freedoms and prosperity are the reason foreigners hate us. If you ask the foreigners, they make it clear that it’s America’s bullying foreign policy they detest.

Harry Browne

In international relations, in foreign policy, a great deal has to do with historical circumstances, a great deal has to do with the sense and perception of people.

Salman Khurshid

We shall listen, not lecture; learn, not threaten. We will enhance our safety by earning the respect of others and showing respect for them. In short, our foreign policy will rest on the traditional American values of restraint and empathy, not on military might.

Theodore C. Sorensen

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