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Larry Lindsey

President & CEO, The Lindsey Group

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Why Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy is such a remarkable leader

Nov 27, 2023

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In 2022, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy garnered a standing ovation when he addressed the U.S. Congress, invoking a quotation from Franklin D. Roosevelt. In that same year, he made a Grammys appearance from a bunker in Kyiv, urging unity in the fight against Russia. Since Russia initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Zelenskyy’s prowess as a masterful communicator and charismatic leader has become increasingly evident.

Straight Arrow News contributor Larry Lindsey sheds light on Zelenskyy’s brilliant leadership style and offers insights into the potential outcomes of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

To be an effective leader you have to become the character that you’re playing. You know, when we watch a leader on TV, we say, “Oh, that’s the guy.” No, it’s not the guy. It’s the guy playing a part — that he has to show strength and things like that — much more than he has as an individual [sic].

Really good leaders are really good role players. The best example was Ronald Reagan. Reagan used to know exactly how he looked from every angle. And so you can go back and look at all the shots and you will never see a candid, unflattering picture of Ronald Reagan.

The same thing, by the way, is true of moms and dads. They have to fill a role in raising their children. It’s not exactly them. They’re acting as mom or they’re acting as dad. So role-playing is a key part of all this.

The problem here is that if you fall into that role, you tend to lose perspective. One of the things that Zelenskyy said to Time magazine actually was, “Nobody believes in our victory like I do.”

Well, he’s got to be that way if he’s going to lead Ukraine and a war that was against the odds.

One of the more interesting things to watch is the psychology of leaders. Because often you can predict what their next move is going to be, if you really understand how their brain works, I think one of the world’s most remarkable leaders, is Vladimir Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, here where you have someone who was invaded by a much larger neighboring country, and managed to resist the invasion against everyone’s prediction. And one of his most famous lines, was when President Biden offered to airlift him out in our expectation that the country was going to fall. What Solinsky said is, I need ammunition not arrived. I mean, that’s the kind of feisty guy who’s clearly made to be leader. Well, here’s one of the secrets. To be an effective leader. You have to become the character that you’re playing.

You know, when we watch a leader on TV, we say, oh, that’s the guy. No, it’s not the guy. It’s the guy playing a park, that he has to show strength and things like that much more than he has as an individual. Really good leaders are really good role players. The best example was Ronald Reagan. Reagan used to know exactly how he looked from every angle. And so you can go back and look at all the shots and you will never see a candid, unflattering picture of Ronald Reagan.

It same thing, by the way, was true of moms and dads, they have to fill a role in raising their children. It’s not exactly them. They’re acting as mom or they’re acting as debt. So role playing is a key part of all this.

The problem here is that if you fall into that role, you tend to lose perspective. One of the things that Zelenskyy said to Time Magazine actually was nobody believes in our victory like I do.

Well, he’s got to be that way, if he’s going to lead Ukraine and war that was against the odds.

But it’s also a problem that his staff, senior military people, and the public at large, does not believe in Ukraine’s victory the way Zelinsky does. Let me give you some examples. The average age of soldiers fighting in the Ukrainian army now is 43. The young ones are all dead.

It’s hard to recruit, imagine an army where the average age is 43 year running out of soldiers quite literally. Or consider the poverty in which most Ukrainians live. The GDP of Ukraine is $155 billion.

Compare that with the amount of President Biden’s last aid request, which was 60 billion. We’re about to send an aid package, which is probably not going to last the whole year, equal to 40% of Ukraine’s GDP. And on a per capita basis, it works out to about $3,500, which is somewhere between Egypt and Lebanon. Not exactly the kind of standard of living that any country would like to endure.

Now, in fairness, Vladimir Putin has the same personality and psychology problem as Linskey. He fully believes in his victory, he has no choice to you probably dies, if that doesn’t happen.

So here in the West, our deep state had a idea that what we should do is basically bleed Russia to the last Ukrainian, we would give the arms Russia was our enemy. And it would not be American soldiers or even European soldiers who’d be dying, it would be Ukrainians, we’d give them the weapons, we give them the money.

The plan was to fight

until

I guess it would be Putin gives up that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. And now fiscal times are a little bit tighter. And both in Europe and America, there is increasing resistance.

is sending more money to Ukraine. And if we don’t send the money, it sure looks like Russia is going to prevail on the battlefield. So what is the end game? Really? It’s got to be an agreement of some kind. And that’s what a lot of senior Ukrainian officials are now talking about. The land part is the easy part. What for example, are we going to do about all those criminal

charges and a warrants issued by the International Criminal Court? For Putin and his colleagues, they’re not going to sign an agreement if they’re still remain criminals. And the same thing applies to the sanctions we have on Russia.

Our President Biden and European leaders going to give up those sanctions, are they going to give up their war criminal charges against Putin?

I think that’s going to be pretty hard because it really means that their strategy did not succeed. And that’s a hard thing for any leader to do. So when you look at the psychology of the leaders, then you have to begin to scratch your head. This war has to end Ukraine is being bled dry.

It’s the war will therefore can either be end with a kind of a very bloody Putin victory the demolition of most of the country or through negotiated settlement. But neither is Alinsky nor Putin, nor Western leaders, right now have the psychological mindframe to produce such an agreement.

 

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