Answering this question would tell us whether a person, a party, or a coalition has what it takes to govern or to contribute to the governance of a country. What we should be looking for is so basic that it is striking to see how much so many have lost or forgotten to put at work their critical thinking abilities.
The first worrying sign to look for is when the politician projects himself as always right and never mistaken. This belief is reinforced when we hear him blaming his opponents for being always wrong and never making the right decision. Always getting angry the minute he shifts into the mood of an argument, whether he expresses it in a false calmly manner or gesticulates using aggressive words, after which he overreacts with the same intensity to any topic as futile or important as it can be.
The second worrying symptom is when he continuously sees his opponents plotting to nail him, by which he then blames them for the decisions he took. He does not understand that in the real world, people with authority and responsibility are accountable for the decisions they take. If we focus on the implications of such behavior in daily interactions within his own group of people, we realize that he trusts very few people and almost nobody fully. His whole living world lacks genuine communication channels.
The third disturbing sign to look for is the way he analyzes a situation and derives his conclusions. A politician with a military background or an ideologist would poorly surround himself with people made of the same tissue and usually of weaker personalities. He would systematically categorize the recommendations and analysis he receives on the basis of who says it and not on content. He would overpower his team during a debate and insert on a need be basis some of his strongest arguments to bring the whole discussion back gravitating around his original idea. The indicator to look for, as a result of this behavior, is the continuous stubborn use of the same boring arguments and speeches, by him and his subordinates, with no evolution whatsoever.
Some basic profile of a politician would be a university degree, a balanced personality, and a previous exposure to the corporate world. With such a background, we, the people, can comfort ourselves that the politician would have a broader view of the complexity of any problem at hand, would analyze his own strengths and weaknesses and surround himself with specialists and experts, and, would feel pressured to establish constructive internal and external communication channels. With all this in place, this politician would have the means to gather the maximum amount of information, to better weight the various components that will influence his decision, to test his ideas, to fix them, and ultimately to make the best possible decision.
This is why Aoun and Nasrallah, respectively a military figure and an ideologist, would always view some aspects of the problem and never the whole picture. This is why Aoun and Nasrallah will occasionally surprise us with their extreme actions. Do Aoun and Nasrallah know what the social and economical implications of their war or the long-term occupation of Downtown Beirut have brought to the lives of the Lebanese? Or the irreversible damage both have created to the pillars of the country in terms of human resources and investment confidence, to say the least?
Now we understand how Aoun, on the basis of the futile argument that he was not involved in the government’s decision, convincingly chose not to support the action of the government to go to Paris-III. Tomorrow he will blame the March 14 coalition for the decision he took.