To the editor:
Wednesday evening’s Congressional debate hosted by the Foreign Affairs Forum showcased two seasoned professionals who frequently shared views on critical international issues, but showed a significant contrast with regards to the “lens” they use to arrive at those views. Steve Obsitnik showed the audience a very fresh perspective, built on years of experience as a Naval officer and entrepreneur. While international issues such as Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the Senkaku island dispute between China and Japan, and the evolution of certain African countries are complex, I hope voters give serious consideration to two simplifying messages Steve Obsitnik delivered:
First, Steve was focused on “defining the mission,” a trait characteristic not only of top military officers but also of successful, goal-oriented business leaders. Regardless of your opinion of the issues debated, ask yourself: how do we define success? Now that the Taliban no longer rules Afghanistan, how do we define “the goal” that justifies the continuing sacrifices made by those who honorably serve our military in the region? What are the trigger points that must not be crossed by Iran without fear of retaliation or support for our allies? This isn’t about making visits, legislation or politics – it’s about clarity of purpose when American lives are at stake.
Second, leveraging the depth of Steve’s business experience, he was able to relate most foreign relations issues to the core concern facing today’s voters: how do our actions drive job creation and prosperity for Americans? The best example was one of the last questions, related to each candidates’ view on a success story in Africa. While Congressman Himes delivered an eloquent explanation of the tremendous social progress in South Africa, Steve Obsitnik, showing his creativity, described how the telecommunications infrastructure is an illustration of success. With an inspiring story about his own experience in Kenya, he described how telecommunications has brought better access to information, micro-finance, and wealth creation to the African people; people who built this infrastructure with American technology.
We desperately need goal oriented, business savvy, creative thinkers like Steve Obsitnik representing our country in Congress.
Eric M. Lindberg